In spite of its lingering connotation of vintage 1960s swinging and grooviness, a bachelor pad is essentially an apartment rented by a single man or shared by a group of unmarried male friends. This residence generally has less personal space than a two-bedroom apartment or starter home for young married couples, with some rooms performing double duty as a bedroom, living room, dining room or den.
There appears to be two separate trains of thought where a bachelor pad is concerned. Some bachelor pads are treated as little more than oversized college dorm rooms, with little regard to basic housekeeping, sanitation, aesthetics or security. In this kind of residence, dirty laundry may pile up next to a washing machine, dirty dishes may collect in a dishwasher and garbage may remain in garbage cans for weeks at a time. A young college graduate's first apartment as an adult often suffers at the hands of its renter.
Another train of thought involves a bachelor pad occupied by a more financially solvent unmarried man. A residence of this type often features expensive, possibly even ostentatious, furnishings with an eye towards visual appeal and comfort. Instead of purchasing mismatched bargain furniture, a bachelor may seek the advice of professional home designers to achieve a more urbane effect. The emphasis of a typical upscale apartment is on entertaining and creating a comfortable environment for guests.
A bachelor pad can also function as a man cave, a living space filled with sports memorabilia, video game systems, oversized televisions and a generous supply of beer and other adult-level amenities. This residence usually functions as the social epicenter of former college friends and co-workers looking for a place to unwind. These apartments are often located in less desirable parts of a city, which means the monthly rent is more affordable and the tenant/landlord relationship less formal.
Eventually a bachelor or college graduate may decide to commit to a more stable romantic relationship, which means the bachelor pad may either be upgraded to a starter apartment or abandoned completely in favor of a larger apartment or starter home. Some places can survive the upgrade to a couples apartment, however, especially ones originally designed with expansion in mind. Leaving behind a bachelor pad and the single lifestyle it represents is often seen as an important rite of passage for young men beginning their professional lives.