Millennials are growing up fast, but are their apartments? There’s a certain point in your life when you wake up and realize you don’t want your home to look like a college dorm anymore. But sometimes it’s hard to put your finger on exactly how to make a place look grown-up, while still retaining your unique sense of style. Having a grown-up looking place doesn’t mean you have to lose all of your own flair; there are a few general ideas that you can put your own twist on, whatever your taste. It all boils down to having an apartment where you can make people comfortable. Here are ten steps to get started.
Look, you can keep something alive! Start with a cactus if you’re reluctant. Having a plant around makes a place look more settled, lived-in, and grown-up; it doesn’t have to be a high-maintenance plant. You can even get one of those little bamboos from the florist section of the grocery store.
Congratulations! You finally own a couch! Now you have to think about how to make your guests comfortable on it. A few pillows and blankets will go a long way to making a social space appear more settled and grown-up. They’re not just decorative items; they’re the things that make you and anyone who visits feel like this is a space they could get cozy. If you live in a studio apartment, you can turn your bedroom into a social space by pushing your bed against the wall lengthwise, and then lining the wall with pillows, like a large daybed.
Poster frames aren’t that expensive at Target and other retailers, yet they’ll instantly make your place stop looking like a college dorm. Isn’t that an investment you’re willing to make? Just follow one simple rule: no more taping stuff to the walls. That’s all. You can do it. It only seems scary at first.
You can be trusted with candles without setting your whole place on fire! Like the potted plant, this is a two-fer: it looks nice AND it says something about your ability to function as a human being.
Tidy places look more adult than messy ones, and the best (and simplest) way to keep a place tidy is to make sure everything has a home from the get-go. That means that before you even start about decorating or rearranging, just figure out where all your stuff should live. You know, the printer paper and random computer items; that stack of personal papers you have to keep around for taxes every year; the junk mail you haven’t gotten around to tearing up. Once everything HAS a home, it’s a simple, easy, low-maintenance process to make sure you put it back in that home whenever you use it. At least it’s a lot easier than trying to find a place to hide it all when you decide it’s time to clean up.
This is another relatively inexpensive purchase at Target or WalMart that goes a long way toward making a place seem grown-up and comfortable. Give yourself and your guests a place to hang their coats, instead of throwing them on a chair or a heap on the floor. It could be wall-mounted, on the back of a door, or an old-fashioned freestanding coat rack. Just get one. Like nearly everything else on this list, it’s a little detail that makes a powerful difference.
Once again, the presence of these items is far more important than their price or quality. You can find this kind of thing at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army, and have the fun of picking through lots of oddball items to find it. Start with something to put chips in — a large bowl or a basket. The next time you have friends over, you won’t just throw a bag of chips in front of them, you’ll have something to put them in. Wasn’t that nice? Two big serving bowls of that kind can go a long way toward making social munchies seem more grown-up.
3) Clean Your Baseboards
You know what’s gross? The built-up dust and grime and muck on baseboards. You may not notice it specifically, but it has the magic ability to make the whole room look a little…off. Plus, it’s unhygienic — think about all the nasties that could be dwelling in that ever-accumulating layer of dirt. When you vacuum your floor, take the five extra minutes to use the hose attachment and run it quickly over your baseboards, too. No one’s going to walk into your house and run their finger along the baseboard, then judge you; but without exactly being able to pinpoint why, they will notice the whole place seems a lot cleaner.
2) …And Your Bathrooms
No elaboration necessary.
1) Be Kind, Welcoming, and Generous
No matter what kind of furniture you have, how the decorations are hung, or what you serve the chips in, the best and most important way to make your place seem more grown up is to act like a grown-up. Be kind, welcoming, and generous to anyone who comes over. Make sure they’re comfortable. Offer them something to drink. Be attentive. Even if you’re all still sitting on the floor.