A picture says a thousand words, and an empty, sparsely furnished apartment says a lot about the lonely soul who lives there. No art on the walls, hardly any food in the fridge, very little furniture (probably just a mattress on the floor to sleep on).
These guys either don't have much disposable income or have other priorities like a big TV or gaming rig. They would prefer to do as little housework as possible, or simply can't keep house because they never learned how. The fridge contains only the basics or nothing at all, or food supplies are not replenished until they can walk out by themselves. They like having lots of open space around. Or to put it another way, in fiction women want their apartment to be cozy and welcoming to guests. Men want their apartment to be a place to be utilitarian and welcoming to themselves.
Note that this trope is not limited to males; the phrase "bachelor pad" has been gender-neutral for years now.
- In Ghost in the Shell: Arise, young Motoko Kusanagi's apartment is pretty sparse — consisting of four walls, a bed, a bathroom, and a chair. This is in stark contrast to the apartment she shares with her boyfriend in the original manga, which is more decorated — at least until it's blown up.
- Haruhi Suzumiya: Yuki Nagato. Kyon comments on how empty the places feel and ask himself if Yuki feels the same way as her apartment.
- Kara no Kyoukai: Ryougi Shiki's apartment is very sparse, containing only a bed and clothes stand. The refrigerator is also mostly empty save for a few cartons of Haagen-Dasz ice cream.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei Ayanami, her room contains only a bed, a desk with a few clothes, a few medicines and a pair of glasses.
- In one Wolverine comic, a woman breaks into Logan's apartment and sees that the only thing in it is a pile of old newspapers he uses as a mattress. Possibly justified in that he isn't staying very long.
- Ratatouille: Linguini's initial place of residence is one of these. In his own words, "I know it's not much, but it's... not much."
- Treasure Planet: The compartment where the robot B.E.N. resides blends emptiness with salvage and litter strewn about haphazardly. As he explains to the arriving Jim Hawkins, Doctor Doppler, and Captain Amelia: "Sorry about the mess. When you've been baching it for 700 years, you kinda let things go."
- Crazy Stupid Love. The apartment Cal moves into after separating from his wife: bare walls, cheap furniture...
- La La Land: Sebastian's apartment has a piano and a bunch of boxes lying around considering that he had been struggling to pay a lot of his overdue bills. When he got into a relationship with Mia, the apartment is already clean-up and furnished.
- Last Action Hero. In the movie-within-a-movie, Jack Slater's apartment is unfurnished, and very unremarkable, besides the ninja hiding in the closet and the closet full of identical outfits.
- Matilda: Miss Honey's house is furnished with only a couple of wooden crates (to show that she's extremely poor, rather than that she's lonely.)
- Up in the Air. in the movie, the apartment that Ryan keeps in Omaha is sparsely furnished with an almost empty refrigerator.
- Boiler Room: After work, a couple of the guys from J.T. Marlin all get together at the house of one of their senior brokers, which is a huge, almost completely empty domicile aside from a tanning bed and a big flatscreen TV. Seth even asks one of his colleagues if the owner just moved in, but is informed that he's actually been living there for months.
- In Men at Arms, Carrot and Angua discover that Captain Vimes lives in a one-room undecorated apartment with no furnishings but a bed. He puts all his disposable income into the Watch Widows and Orphans fund.
- In The Millennium Trilogy, Salander initially lives in a tiny, minimally-furnished apartment. After taking a huge "windfall" at the end of the first book, she decides to buy a much nicer apartment in the second book, offering her old one to her girlfriend Mimmy, who comments that it's actually not a bad apartment; Salander was just too lazy to actually clean it.
- In Les Misérables, Marius stayed in a run-down apartment after his grandfather kicked him out of the house. It turns out that he lived in the same apartment as the Thenardiers. After the scuffle between Valjean and Thenardier, Marius left and stayed with Courfeyrac's place instead.
- In Venus Prime, whenever Sparta is on her own for extended periods of time, her dwellings become quite... Spartan. It's especially pronounced in the fourth book when she develops a particularly bad drug addiction that causes her to spend a lot of time in a stupor.
- In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jemma Simmons' apartment during her infiltration of HYDRA is so bare that Coulson decides to risk her cover to buy her groceries.
- The Big Bang Theory. In a flashback to when Leonard became Sheldon's roommate, it's shown that the living room is furnished with just a couple of lawn chairs and a TV.
- Community: Overlapping with Feng Schwing, Jeff's apartment is a classic rich man's tasteful bachelor pad, to the point that it looks like it came straight out of a magazine. That means it's rather dull and boring, with almost everything colored some shade of gray. When he hosts a party, Annie comes over early to "help decorate," and within five minutes has filled with place with colorful pillows, curtains, and overall made it look like the well-loved home of a married couple.
- Due South: Lampshaded repeatedly. Constable Fraser's apartment is not only in a run-down apartment building in a bad neighborhood (Detective Vecchio claims that drug dealers are afraid to go there), but it is also very sparsely furnished. In one episode, where Fraser is suffering from Easy Amnesia, he sees his apartment and wonders if he was living like that as punishment for something he had done.
- Graceland: Subverted with Jakes - the modest apartment he buys in the second season has a very nicely-furnished room for his son because he's hoping his son will visit him. After he finds out that his ex has taken away his custody, he smashes the room's contents to bits.
- Home Improvement: One episode has Tim design the ultimate male bathroom. The toilet unfolds into a recliner, there is a fridge and a large TV for sporting events... All good for a single person to live in, of course, but there's no way two people could live in it.
- Life: An ongoing subplot, where Crews has bought a big house with the settlement money he got from his lawsuit against the state of California for wrongful conviction, but he has practically nothing in it. Subverted in that he keeps it mostly empty because having that much empty space for himself is a luxury he didn't get in prison.
- The Mentalist: Patrick Jane has a large house he almost never goes to; when he does we see it nicely furnished - except his bedroom (the only part he really uses), which is just a mattress under the "Red John" symbol a Serial Killer left after murdering Jane's wife and daughter.
- The Wire. For a while, McNulty's apartment has nothing but a mattress on the floor, which makes it very uncomfortable when he wants his kids to visit.
- In The X-Files, the Cigarette-Smoking Man has a minimally furnished, dimly lit apartment that emphasizes how empty his life is outside the Syndicate. When Mulder ambushes him there in "One Breath", he points out that he has "no wife, no family, some power..."
- The Pink Floyd song "Nobody Home" (from The Wall) depicts an apartment loaded with old, worthless crap, made all the more worthless by the fact that the narrator has nobody with whom to share it.
- In Dragon Age II, Merrill's apartment in Kirkwall is a rat-infested hovel in the Alienage. Curiously, even if you romance her and offer to let her live with you, she'll still keep returning to the hovel in the daytime - presumably because she can't move the Eluvian into your house.
- In Metal Gear Solid 2, it's mentioned that Raiden's home looks like this, despite having a girlfriend. A sparse bed, bare walls, nothing else. When Rose broke in there because she started getting paranoid that he had a second girlfriend (he wouldn't let her visit his room), she commented that "There was nobody there. Not even you."
- Lucas Kane's apartment in Fahrenheit is pretty swanky, but it still gives off a definite bachelor pad vibe, right down to the unopened boxes lying around and there being just a mattress on the floor rather than a bed. He's just gone through a breakup, so this is to be expected; his ex even comes over in one chapter to pick up some of the things she's left behind, although at this point he has the option of seducing her into getting back together with him.
- In Hey Arnold!, Sid's home is dilapidated and messy which made him worried when Lorenzo suggested that he could come over his place to make their school project. To remedy this, he asked Arnold if he could borrow his room for a while. Arnold, being a Nice Guy, lets him borrow it until he suspected that Sid is lying to Lorenzo and told him to tell him the truth.