How to: Decorate Your Living Space

Now that you know how to survive your first apartment, it’s about time to make it look like someplace an actual adult lives. This means you might be making a few transitions, and clearing out what may be too “dormy” or like you’re still a teenager.

Here are some things that adults don’t have:

  • posters
  • flyers
  • flags
  • unframed shit
  • thumbtacks

However, this isn’t to say you can’t have fun! If you’ve got some cool posters or a few flags and flyers that are related to each other, you can frame these things, especially if you create a cool, framed collage of your time with your sorority, club, or other organization you’re particularly proud of. Having random flags and posters throughout your apartment? Might as well be living in a dorm room.

bedroom-1078887_960_720This is an example of a good “adult” decorated room. 

On the other hand, we really don’t need tasteless “this is our family” quotations, whether you’re living with roommates or a significant other. Let’s be honest here, no one under 40 should own store-bought decorations with inspirational quotes. If you’re an artist and painting inspirational quotes is your thing, go for it.

Decorating with original art is basically the coolest way to do it, but if you aren’t an artist, buying art is also fine.

Another fun way to decorate is to use dollar store picture frames (they’re a DOLLAR) to hang pictures and posters that have meaning to you. If you’re a budding photographer, this is a great way to show off your own mini-gallery to people who visit your home.

Okay, so a big mistake many young people make is buying decorative items for the way they look, as opposed to what might look good with everything they already have. To avoid this, try to use mostly neutral colors with a splash of color to avoid clashing. And neutrals don’t have to be boring, especially when paired with the right color. Regal colors like dark blue and purple look pretty great when thrown into a mostly neutral room. It’s also smart to put that pop of color in a place where you want to draw attention, like curtains near a window with a nice view, or a decorative pillow on a piece of furniture you especially like.


On the note of pillows, decorative pillows add an air of “adult” to any living space, use them well. Also, if you want to use those pillows to really express yourself, check out Look Human for fun, inexpensive throw pillows like the one below and the header for this post. (Not a sponsorship.)


Next, when you’re picking out rugs, throws, pillows, etc. opt for easy-to-clean fabrics. Before you buy, always look at the tag to make sure it’s machine washable. If it’s not machine washable, just don’t buy it. There is actually no time in the day to hand wash or spot clean your home decor. Even if you think there is, there isn’t.

If you want your living space to not smell like B.O., a good way to make it smell nice without overpowering anyone, candles, plug-ins, and scents that smell like lavender, clean laundry, or fresh flowers, are most neutral and smell most like “clean” and the least like “smell,” which as a new grown-up is what you should be going for.

One last thing: hide your shit: adults houses look best when it looks like they have the least amount of stuff, so cloth bins, bed skirts, and things that hide your items are best, especially if you have things stored under your bed, a nice bed skirt will conceal the clutter while helping with that adult look. One thing you want to keep visible? Books. If you have some nice books sitting on a coffee table or shelving, you look smart and well read. (Hint: at least Sparknotes the books you haven’t read because being able to answer questions about the books you have makes you seem super duper adult.)

Any questions on dressing up your area to make it adult style? Other decorating tips? Share with the class in a comment below!





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