Your college years might be behind you, but what about your dorm furniture?
Now that you are a bona fide adult, it is time to live like one when you move into your first apartment. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make your space feel like a grown-up apartment, and you don’t even need to hire an interior designer or break the bank to do it. It may require getting rid of the bean bag chairs and One Direction posters in your storage unit, but it is a small price to pay to have an adult apartment that will make a strong impression on your soon-to-have group of young professional friends.
To set you on your path, here are five easy ways to give your first apartment a grown-up feel.
Think Beyond IKEA
Don’t get it twisted, Ikea is awesome. They make it possible to achieve a modern home decor aesthetic on a budget. They also have quality home goods you will want to buy for your new place such as dishes, hand towels, bathmats, trash cans, and much more. But before you binge on Billy bookcases, take a step back. Nothing screams “this is my first apartment out of college” than having all the furniture in your pad bought from Ikea. The same goes for Target, by the way.
By all means, grab a few cheap flat pack pieces like end tables or dressers. After all, you are on a budget. However, if you want to truly have a grown-up apartment, you should be prepared to spend some money to buy two or three quality pieces of furniture. Your coffee table, dining table, and sofa would be the most impactful places to put your money, as these are the pieces that your guests will interact with the most.
Look for pieces made of solid wood and consider higher-end retailers like West Elm or Anthropologie. If you are on a budget, you can find great bargains on good pieces of vintage or antique furniture at thrift stores and flea markets. Or, you can test your hand at a DIY project. The good news is that mid-century modern is all the rage, so incorporating some older pieces of furniture will definitely up your apartment game.
Stock Up on Everything
There is no experience that will make you feel like you are “adulting” more than opening your bathroom cabinet to see it is stocked with no less than 24 rolls of toilet paper. A true grown-up apartment is stocked up with all the necessities at all times.
Now is the time to join Costco or Amazon Prime so that you can supply your home base. In addition to toilet paper, keep a steady supply of paper towels, hand soap, laundry detergent, dish detergent, and tissues. You should also stock up on bottled water, snacks and other beverages for your guests.
Dress Up Your Windows
Gone are the days when you could thumbtack your bed sheet over your dorm room window and call it a day. Your first apartment will probably come with blinds, but it is up to you to add curtains and drapes. You can also mount pull down cloth shades that will add a pop of color and elegance to any room.
You might have to check with your landlord before changing out blinds or drilling holes, but you can always use a tension rod to quickly hang curtains without drilling
Remember those posters we talked about earlier? It is time for you to channel your inner Jay-Z and invest in some real art. But you don’t have to spend a million just yet.
Instead, reach out to friends and family members who are artists and see if they have a piece you can buy. Attend local art walks and find an affordable piece that fits your personal style. Again, you can also find vintage pieces of outsider art and unique photographs at thrift stores and flea markets.
Compose different framed pieces together to form a gallery wall, or go big or go home and invest in one awesome statement piece. Or curate a collection of unique decor items. Whatever your preference, adding art to your home is a sure-fire way to give it a more grown-up feel. And no, action figures do not count.
Sweat the Small Stuff
If you’ve followed the first four tips here you are well on your way to having an upscale, adult apartment that shows others that you have it together. Finally, turn your attention to the small things and add a few refinements to take the grown-up appeal of your abode even further.
Place a house plant near a sunny window. Put an area rug under your coffee table. Add some fluffy throw pillows to your couch. Small details like that will go a long way to take your apartment to the next level. Just don’t overdo it, or you might have to call Marie Kondo.