You’ve gotten older — man, when did that happen? You weren’t ready for that at all. And, from the looks of it, neither was your home. Your place is looking a little — how to put this? — well, maybe a little less classy than you imagined that it would when you reached this age. We’re busy, and it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and let a room stay the same for months and months or years and years. Then we wake up one day and suddenly find we’re too old for our dorm-room interior design.
Don’t panic. It’s not that hard to get your space looking like the home of a real, actual adult. With a few simple changes and a couple of smart ways to look at interior design, you’ll have no trouble at all classing up your living space. Here are our top tips.
Keep the personality, not the dorm-room vibe
We’ve been customizing our spaces since we were kids. Now, as adults, we feel like we should put away our posters and push-pin photo walls and instead hang up boring, adult art. An old map of the world, maybe, or a black-and-white photograph of a European city we’ve never been to.
Forget that. Yeah, you need to upgrade your posters and photos — but you’re creating a room to live in, not a set for an Instagram photo shoot. So why not keep those photos of friends and family and have each one framed or turned into a custom canvas print? You don’t have to go with stuffy old maps (unless you love maps, of course).
One piece at a time
When you look around some people’s homes, all you see are fantastic, classy pieces of furniture. Maybe the pieces are antique, or maybe they’re spartan-looking Scandinavian numbers: but whatever the case, these pieces look good. Your place? No so much. So what can you do?
Here’s what not to do: Go out and upgrade all of your furniture at once. When you do that, you’ll spread your budget too thin and end up with moderate improvements that you’ll want to scrap in a few years. Instead, focus on one piece at a time. Invest in something you’ll love for a long time, if not forever, and buy it for good. Take care to buy quality, lasting stuff. Then save up for the next piece. This is how great homes are built: one piece at a time.
Organize away the clutter
What is it about your space that makes it look young and sloppy? It may not just be the furniture or the wall hangings. One of the hallmarks of a “classy” space is its neatness, and who among us can say that we always live up to that standard?
You can achieve your neat-and-tidy dreams more often, though, if you give yourself the storage and organizational tools that it takes to reign in the mess. Using under-bed and under-couch space, using a storage chest as a coffee table, or adding shelving and cabinet space can give you lots of places to put all of that stuff that’s now sitting out in the open and making your place look ridiculous.
Living in a small space? No problem. You’ll just need to bust out the big guns and take advantage of the best small-space organizing techniques. And no matter how big or small your place is, you’re going to want to commit to the sort of regular tidying that is essential to any long-term neatness plan. Just do a little bit of cleaning — but do it every day. If you wait to clean in big bursts, you’re going to find that you can’t stick to the habit.