How To Decorate Your Apartment Like A Grown-Up

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"Adulting is super fun!" Said nobody whatsoever. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that the minute you turn 18, you enter a life stage with a new set of responsibilities. This stage is called adulthood. Most of these milestones are social markers, such as securing a paying job, moving into your own living space, settling into a long-term relationship, having children, paying taxes, or being able to vote for the first time (via The Atlantic). Other markers include doing your own laundry, cooking, starting your own Netflix account, and paying for health insurance (via BuzzFeed).

In reality, adulthood is more than a specific number. You can decide when the time has come to transition to the next life phase. Once ready to take the plunge, decorate your home to reflect your move toward adulting. From classy carpeting to considering ways to organize your bedroom closet, there are plenty of ways to age up your living space. Here's a great guide to help you decorate like a grown-up.

Ensure your bathroom is ready for visitors

To decorate your apartment like a grown-up, keep your bathroom well-stocked, coordinated, and tidy. If you are in the habit of winging it with mismatched towels and a lack of hygiene products such as tissues and soap, your guests do not need to know this. 

According to Poosh, every adult should have matching towels (both body and hand towels) since this creates a sense of organization in your bathroom. Other must-have items include a toilet cleaner that matches your bathroom's aesthetic, a mirror with good lighting, and an attractive soap display. You can use a trendy dispenser set for your liquid soaps and hand creams but ensure they are still easy to pop open and refill. Another item often overlooked is a trash can. Matching this functional piece to your bathroom's aesthetic makes it more fun (via HGTV). As for hand and body towels, strive to purchase high-quality versions that last long and feel good against the skin (via The Seattle Times). White is a classic towel color used in hotels for sanitary purposes because it's easy to kill germs with a bit of bleach.

Stay classy with carpet

Whether in one room or the entire home, wall-to-wall carpeting is considered a high-maintenance decor feature. According to Custom Floor & Design, carpet adds beauty to a space but requires periodic maintenance. This maintenance sounds like a task for a responsible grown-up like yourself.

When buying carpet, there are a few things to remember (via Real Simple). Firstly, which areas do you want the carpet? Is it for your bedroom, your living room or the whole house? Secondly, what is the exact measurement you need? You do not want a carpet that falls short or is oversized for your floor space. Lastly, what style works for you? There are many options. Pay attention to quality while selecting your carpet (via Culture South West). For rooms with less use, opt for a lower-grade carpet. Consider paying the price for a high-grade option in high-traffic areas.

Place rugs in every room

If you choose to avoid wall-to-wall carpeting, there is always the option to elevate the vibe in your grown-up apartment with a rug or two. According to Carlisle Homes, a living room rug can differentiate zones in an open floor plan and tie elements together. Unlike carpets, rugs and floor mats can work in every room, including the bathroom. Just be sure to place your rug away from the bath, to stand as a decorative feature. If you add a rug to your bathroom, commit to a consistent vacuuming schedule because this area often has high traffic and attracts dust (via Sisal Rugs Direct).

Consider the size of your bathroom before integrating a rug. If your bathroom is on the small side, it's best to stay away from rugs (via Plush Rugs). Since the bathroom can be damp and moisture-rich, the rug material should be durable and dry quickly. Cotton and chenille rugs are both ideal options.

Appeal to the senses

According to The Cut, if your home smells foul, it could affect mood and productivity. Investing in an essential oil diffuser can go a long way. Diffusers and humidifiers, especially those that dispense scents from essential oils into the air, are ideal for the home because they can soothe headaches and pains while boosting sleep (via Healthline). One of the most common types of diffusers is the affordable and low-maintenance reed diffuser (via AromaTech). The Nebulizer is another type of diffuser. While much more expensive (some go for a whopping $2,600), it does a great job of filtering the air in your apartment and dispersing fragrance at a level you control.

If you want to keep things as price-friendly and organic as possible, construct a DIY reed diffuser (via Apartment Therapy). All you need is the formula for your diffuser liquid, composed of 12 drops of essential oil mixed with ¼ cup of water and a few drops of vodka. Place this in a glass receptacle, and add reed sticks into the mixture. Allow the reeds to soak, then turn them over so that the soaked reeds are upright in the air to allow dispersion of scents. Rotate your reeds consistently to keep the air smelling fresh.

Maintain a cohesive color scheme

Every adult faces ups and downs in life. Sometimes you may feel like you are spiraling and everything is in disarray. In moments like this, a cozy apartment can act as your haven and help keep you grounded. To make your living space feel cohesive and grown-up, maintain a level of cohesion and continuity in your apartment. According to Homes & Gardens, one way you can achieve this is by sticking to a color scheme throughout your decor journey.

Are you confused about where to begin and what colors to choose? You are not alone. Finding your perfect color palette can be quite tasking which is why many individuals hire a color consultant (via Houzz). For those who do not have the liberty of hiring a color consultant, one tip to consider when choosing where to add color is to open all the doors in the apartment and stand in a spot where you can witness at least three rooms easily. For example, if you stand in the foyer and can see the kitchen, the guest bathroom, and the living room, all these areas in your view should reflect the same cohesive color scheme.

When choosing your color palette, feel free to add emotion to the decision-making process. Is there one color you adore because it reminds you of your favorite article of clothing? Is there a color that always makes you happy? Tap into your feelings to gain inspiration for your apartment's color palette (via HouseLogic).

Keep decorative containers close by

According to SelectHealth, a lack of organization can blur your focus, decrease productivity, and increase stress levels (particularly your primary stress hormone cortisol). As grown-ups, we all need some form of organization to make life worth living. In your apartment, find a balance between organizing and decorating with containers and canisters that will help keep clutter at bay.

Starting with your entryway, if you are someone who comes home with letters from the mail, or you need a place for your car keys, house keys, crystals, ear pods, and other bits and bobs, a leather catchall tray like this one from Etsy can go a long way with helping you stay organized. In the bathroom, use decorative trays to gather and display hygiene products. These trays could also come in handy in your living room. Consider this remote control holder from Amazon, which ensures your remotes will never go missing. In the bedroom or dressing room, lean towards acrylic storage containers for jewelry, perfumes, and makeup as a tabletop staple to stop clutter from rearing its ugly head (via Cosmopolitan). As long as you live in your home, clutter may pop up. However, it's up to you to anticipate this as a grown-up. Collect canisters for storage and decoration on your table tops, in the kitchen, and above the fireplace (via Louisa Jane).

Delve into the world of art

One way to say "I'm grown" is by having beautiful art in your apartment. Art levels up your living space, whether you decorate it with wall paintings, framed posters, table edifices, or free-standing sculptures. According to InLiquid, art expresses who you are and what you are about. Art could be your third-grade paintings or posters collected during college, hung on the wall. However, these may not come across as grown-up decor unless they have frames that help the pieces make bolder statements (via Frame It Easy).

The beauty of art is that you can use it to shape your space in different ways. You can visit an art gallery to find a work that speaks to you and maybe even meet the hands that created the art (via Artwork Archive). Alternatively, you can opt for the inexpensive yet priceless route of creating your own artwork to display in your space (via Country Living). This experience involves tapping into your creative side while expressing yourself through the medium of your choice and being vulnerable enough to display it for the world to see.

Introduce a dining area into your space

Say no to eating breakfast in your bed or on the sofa! Whether you live alone, with roommates, or with family, it is essential to take things up a notch with dedicated dining space to at least give you (and your guests) the option of a grown-up meal setting. A poll from K102 shows that most people consider dining furniture a significant sign of adulthood. A well-decorated dining area adds value to the home, and eating at the table helps grown-ups carve a moment to detox from phones and other digital devices (via La Belle Assiette). Families can also benefit from having an avenue to connect deeper. Eating at the table also ensures that you are more mindful.

When choosing dining furniture, consider your space. If your apartment space is spacious, you can get away with different options. Creating a dining area in a small apartment may be trickier. Opt for a round table with a small surface area. The circular shape does away with edges and saves some space, so the room does not look overcrowded (via Better Homes & Gardens). If the dining table is close to the kitchen, it can also double as an island and offer you more bang for your buck (via AsiaOne).

Tidy up your closet

Are you one of those individuals with a closet bursting at the seams? If the answer is yes, this section is for you. As adults, we have more stuff in our lives than we had as children. According to Closet and Beyond, an organized closet makes it simple to find the clothes and items you need quickly. However, it's not always easy to store these items strategically, especially if you have small closet space. A messy closet is the antithesis of a responsible grown-up.

To kickstart the declutter process and maximize storage, purge your closet (via Clutter). Dedicate time to taking out everything in your closet and sifting through what you need and can throw away or donate. Be blatantly honest with yourself during the process. Once you have a clear picture of the items you need, work toward hanging as many items as possible. You can expand your space by integrating this Shelf Track Organizer kit from Amazon. The tool separates areas in your closet, ensuring it remains tidy. Soon you will be on the right track to showing how grown-up you really are.

Fit in a beautiful bed

Unfortunately, sleeping on a blow-up bed or sleeping bag is not a sign of being grown-up. A quality mattress will ensure you get a good night's sleep. According to the Independent, your mattress is an investment piece you will utilize for a while. It's best to do your research before purchasing. If you have a mattress store in your area, visit the store and try out the beds to know what works for you (via Sleep Foundation). Make sure you remain on the bed for at least 15 minutes to understand what works for you.

Once you decide on the mattress, consider the bed frame. There are various options to choose from, including the MALM from IKEA. It's sure to offer you minimalist decor and maximized storage options, and which grown-up says no to more storage? When your mattress is on the bed frame, elevate it by attaching a headboard. People often avoid purchasing headboards, fearing the price tag (via Realty Times). In reality, if you patiently research your furniture brands and stores, you are bound to find a budget-friendly option that fits your room's aesthetic.

Light up your apartment

Windows are entry paths for natural light. However, if your apartment does not have enough windows or features dim lighting like many homes, consider adding some lamps. According to Canadian Association of Optometrists, having adequate light in your home will reduce eye strain. Lamps can add to the decorative aesthetic and cozy mood. There are different lamp styles to choose from for your home. If you love reading a book before bed, reading lamps can come in handy (via Riperlamp). Table lamps are easy to switch on and off and can be set up on your bedside table. There are also adjustable reading lamps that you can mount onto the wall. An even more contemporary style that will work wonders in a minimalist apartment is the CORA reading lamps available from Lightinova. They also have a USB port where you can charge your digital device.

Floor lamps are a popular staple in living rooms (via The Light Company). These lamps are usually taller than table lamps and shine a light on a task you wish to accomplish (such as reading or sewing). They bring character to a space and add ambiance by reflecting onto the ceiling and bouncing light around the room.

Match your dishes and cutlery

Cutlery and crockery may appear to be a trivial detail in the grand scheme of things, but it definitely falls in the category of grown-up decor. Matching your stainless steel cutlery and opting for coordinated flatware will cement your grown-up status. You don't want to consistently serve guests with frat house party-esque paper plates and red disposable cups.

According to Refinery29, this does not mean you must spend all your money on expensive china. Start with a cost-friendly set of white ceramic plates, then purchase a good amount of silverware. Since silverware tends to vanish mysteriously, purchasing additional sets will come in handy. Stock up on drinking glasses for guests and entertaining. Perfect your grown-up decor by ensuring you use the right glasses for the right drinks. Wine glasses are for wine, pint glasses for beer, tumblers for other beverages and water, and rock glasses for liquor (via The Times Of India). If you wish to move beyond this baseline, use a tea set for teatime.

Win big with a wine rack

Whether you drink wine or not, your visitors may be wine drinkers, and the least you can do as a host is keep your guests happy. You may not have the space for a wine room like the floor-to-ceiling version in Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's NYC penthouse. However, you certainly have enough space for a wine rack. According to MasterClass, you can implement a wine rack into your home decor by storing wine bottles (especially the corked versions) horizontally.

Place wine racks on a tabletop or the floor, depending on the height (via Wine Cooler Direct). Consider installing a wall-mounted rack where you can display other drinks and wine glasses. Consider that you will be drilling holes into the wall when mounting this feature. Lastly, maximize your space with a mirrored glass tray like this vanity version from Wayfair. The tray can store your drinks and perch on a tabletop to display the libations. The mirrored glass offers dimension and complements a variety of aesthetics.