For many millennials, the apartment game has begun to transform from “crash pad” to “living space”. This is a natural progression- we’ve grown from the days of pizza and beer out of plastic cups to pizza and beer out of real glass. Naturally, we want our living space to reflect our newly grownup selves, and here are 21 ways to make them do just that.
A Sophisticated Palette
Color schemes are a great way to create a sense of contemporary elegance in your home. Using a palette in which the colors either complement or match each other creates a sense of cohesive design in any space. Plus, the complementary palette creates the opportunity for a differently colored accent wall or piece of furniture to really stand out.
All The Trimmings
In a bygone era , interior trim and wainscoting were a sign of wealth and class. These days real wainscoting has pretty much vanished but it’s faux trim cousin remains. Adding faux trim to your room creates a layer of depth and a sense of space by creating a visual break for the eye.
Leave It All On The Floor
The floor is arguably the most important part of a room, since it’s the part we stand on. So why do so many people neglect to decorate it? If you have carpeting already, try to use complementary colors for the walls and trim. If the floors are bare wood or tile, consider adding an area or throw rug in a complementary hue. A well placed carpet can transform a room from boring to soaring.
Lose The Thumbtacks
Nothing screams “dorm room” like a poster stuck to the wall with pins or thumb tacks, or even *shudder* scotch tape. Framing you wall art conveys a sense of cohesion that otherwise vanishes from unframed posters. Also, don’t be afraid to frame things that aren’t posters or pictures, like leaves and flowers.
Run A Decal-A-Thon
Wall decals are awesome because they add a unique decorative touch with literally no mess or cleanup. They’re available in basically every conceivable pattern, so you can always find something that matches the rest of the the room. Plus, you can always take them with you if you decide to move, which gives them a huge advantage over painted murals.
Most of us started out our apartment experience with a couch that was, um, previously used. In my case, it was a sprawling green monstrosity that had begun its life in my grandparent’s living room. Upgrading the seating is a great way to bring some maturity into your home without having to do a ton of redecorating. Look for a piece with sleek lines and slim arms to convey a modern motif. Modularity is also a great feature, because it can transform a couch that seats three into seating for five or six.
Having pillows on the couch in a contrasting color is a great way to add a splash of visual interest to the room. And if the couch is contrasting the room, it’s just as easy to use pillows complementing the room to tie everything in together.
Having blankets that match either the room, the furniture, the carpet or all three is a great way to help tie the theme in together as well. Another fun blanket idea is to use one that mostly matches, but has enough contrasting color in it to draw the eye. Besides, who doesn’t love blankets?
Through The Glass
Gone are the days of warm beer in Solo cups. Since we’re adults now, it’s important to have the appropriate glasses for each drink. You don’t need to have a ton of them, but a set of martini, highball and wine glasses is a great investment. You could also go country-chic and serve everything out of Mason jars like I do.
Speaking of glassware, let’s talk about flatware. Having a matching set for at least 4 people is a good idea, but you don’t have to stick with basic white. Look around at various shapes and colors of flatware until you find a set you really love.
Raking Up Glass
With all that stemware, you’ll need somewhere to put it. If your house is like mine, wine glasses are used far too often to be stored in a cabinet. Consider a clever upcycle like the one shown here to bring some country charm to your wine drinking experience.
Hi Ho Silver
Your silverware shouldn’t be plastic any more, especially if you ever plan to have anyone over for a meal. Silverware is one of those things you absolutely need, so it makes sense to pick a style and pattern you really like.
Reclaim Your Own
Reclaimed wood is a source that makes a truly grown-up statement about recycling and sustainability. Use your newly acquired grownup handyman skills to create a reclaimed table like this one.
Calm The Chaos
The bedroom should be a place of peace and rest. If yours is cluttered or simply ‘busy’, considering cutting down on the amount of stuff in the room. After all, you want the place you lay your head to be a serene oasis as opposed to a busy intersection of life and sleep.
The Thread Counts
Invest in a nice set of sheets with a thread count of at least 500. These sheets will be more durable than their 350-count cousins and will nice for much longer. Consider ‘jersey sheets’ for softness and durability or cotton if you’re looking for something lighter. While you’re at it, get a comforter that works with the bedroom’s color scheme to tie everything in.
Shower Yourself In Color
The bathroom is often the most neglected room for decoration. After all, it’s a pretty utilitarian space. But there are really simple things you can do, such as adding a contrasting shower curtain, that will make your bathroom much more appealing. Consider deploying a matching shag rug at the base of the shower for both design and practicality.
Keep It Clean
Nothing says ‘frat house’ like a dirty bathroom. Take the time once a week to clean the tub, sink, toilet and floor. Cleaning is the easiest and cheapest way to breathe new life into a room, and you really should be doing it anyway.
Keeper of the Keys
We’ve all had days where we just could not find our keys. Solve this problem by adding a key rack. A key rack will also help to give you a sense of permanence in your space, and that goes a long way in terms of turning your house to a home.
Keep A Tool Jar
For your kitchen tools, that is. Having a container to keep all of your whisks, spoons and spatulas in one place. Store them upright to save space and add a creative eye catcher to your kitchen counter.
Toaster Time Machine
A vintage toaster or oven is a great accent piece for your kitchen. It’s also supremely functional, and many of the vintage designs have more character than their sleeker modern counterparts. They’ll also be a constant conversation starter which is great for dinner parties.
Make It Your Own
I left this for last because I think it’s the most important. Find a way to make your home your castle, whatever that means for you. Make it a place you can’t wait to get back to every evening after a long day’s work. It will make you much happier overall to know your oasis will be waiting there when you get back.