The Ultimate Guide To Decorating Your Apartment Like A Real Adult

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Maybe you are an upperclassman moving to an off-campus apartment for the first time, or perhaps you’re done with college altogether and you’re ready to embark on your new adult life. That’s super exciting, but also a little nervewracking once you realize that it’s your responsibility to furnish your new place. The rooms are going to sit empty if you don’t decorate and now that you’re presumably a self-sufficient functioning member of society (or at least planning to pretend to be one), you don’t want your apartment to look like a giant evolution of your freshman dorm room.  Here are some helpful tips and tricks to make your apartment look like a real adult lives there.


Buy a mattress that hasn’t been previously owned and a bed frame to put it in.

It’s okay to splurge on a mattress that nobody has used before. In fact, I’d recommend it because if you go mattress shopping, you can see which one best suits you based on your nighttime needs. And for the love of God, please make sure you have a bed frame. Nothing screams “college kid” more than a mattress on the floor.

This should go without saying, but have a few sets of sheets for your bed and don’t forget to wash them. You’d be surprised how many people forget to do this. Don’t be one of those people.


Get a matching set of dishes, bowls, cups, and silverware.

In my apartment down at school, the only thing my cups have in common is that I got them all at Mardi Gras. They’re cheap plastic, none of them match, half of them are ugly, and I literally got them because they were thrown to me in the street.

Don’t be like me. Have at least one set of matching kitchenware in case you want to have a dinner party (so adult) and maybe throw in a set of matching wine glasses while you’re at it.

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Don’t forget the rest of the kitchen necessities.

Pots, pans, salt and pepper shakers, mixing spoons, a strainer… These aren’t things you think about until you’re living on your own, and maybe not even then. I know an apartment that houses four (technical) grown-ups and not a single one of them has a pot. They have one tiny, pathetic-looking pan. Come on, step up your kitchen game. Even if you aren’t a master chef, it’s good to cover the basics.


Have a set of matching towels.

On a related note, it’s good to have a set of bath towels as well in case you have guests. Or even if you don’t have anyone stay over, you might be able to convince your daytime guests that you have it all together if your hand towel matches your bath towels (which should be hung up or folded neatly, not crumpled on the floor, FYI).


Keep your bookshelves and visible surfaces organized.

You don’t have to decorate them in an overly complicated way, but just make sure that your bookshelves and tables don’t look cluttered. If you want to convince people that you are a real adult, make the placement of your books and decorations look deliberate rather than disheveled.


Adorn your windows with cute curtains.

If you aren’t used to interior decorating then curtains can be easy to overlook, but they’re a must-have. Curtains are both classy and functional. You can use them to add to the aesthetic of a room, to block out the sun when it’s time for a nap, and to hide from the general public when you’d like some privacy.

Don’t forget a shower curtain so that your bathroom looks put together and water doesn’t splosh all over your floor.

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Place your artwork like a pro.

Wall art, whether it’s purchased or homemade, can add character to a new home and where you choose to hang it is important. Galleries and museums hang pictures about 57 inches to 60 inches from the floor because the average human eye level is 57 inches, so you should follow the same guidelines if you want to look like you know what you’re doing.


Buy plants to bring in some life.

Flowers around the house contained in stylish vases will make you look adult and responsible. If you’re not adult and responsible and you’ll probably kill the flowers, then get some succulents instead; they’re much easier to care for.


A fresh coat of paint will do you good.

If you’re allowed to paint the walls where you are living, consider giving each room a fresh coat of paint, especially if any of them look like they haven’t been updated in a while. It’ll make the place feel cleaner, newer, and like it’s truly all yours since you picked out the color.

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Get a chandelier.

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That wall though! 📷: @mhfranks

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I love chandeliers. They are my favorite. I just love the way they dangle so delicately. Taking the time to hang one up will make you seem like a true adult and chandeliers don’t have to be super fancy or expensive. Amazon has some great ones starting at just $25.


Have fun decorating and good luck adulting!

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