It’s that time of the year again. Leases are coming to an end and hopefully you find that perfect apartment… now what? If you were like me, then decorating your own can be very intimating. I went from living in a closet in a house with five guys to owning a five room apartment all by myself. However somehow (thanks to all the advice requested by my friends), I must have pulled it off. Here are some of my tips (I’m so modest guys) that anyone can use when starting their new life away from home in a new apartment.
You find yourself buying things for the first time. Shower curtains, sofas, microwaves… so many things you didn’t know you needed. And then there are things that you don’t need, but it makes living three hours away from your family and friends feel more like home.
Let’s start with the things you need. There are a few things you need to sort out before buying these things; like what will fit in your apartment, how long you will be living in this place, what you already have, and your budget. Budget. You are a new adult with a crappy paying job and loans to pay back, (who needs to eat) it’s okay to be cheap! There are some really great things you can get for almost no money at all! Thrift shops are wonderful! With that though, there are a few things to know. NOT ALL THINGS SHOULD BE BOUGHT USED. Trust me, sometimes it’s just gross. Sofa with a slight rip in a cushion for $15.00 from Goodwill. Good! Buy that! A microwave for $30.00 that you found on your college’s “Free or Sale” Page… don’t do that. It is probably smelly and will break three weeks later. So things to buy used. Big furniture items: sofas, chairs, cabinets, tables, bookshelves, desks, etc… Things not to buy used. Appliances, microwaves, beds, shower curtains, towels….aka things that are need to be sanitary, or electric, or you eat off of…just spend the extra money on it. In the long run you will be be happier.
Next, how long you will be there. This one is actually pretty easy. Chances are, your first place right out of college will not be the place you grow old in. With that, don’t sweat over getting stuff that will last. Temporary. You need decent, temporary items. On the other hand you are also living in this place for probably a year or two…so it should still feel like home. I have been in my apartment now for almost two years, and that $15 sofa is doing great! Will it make it out of this apartment…nope…it will die on the street when I leave, or will go to some other poor, recent post-grad.
That brings us to the next part of apartment decoration, the actual decorating part of it. This is your space. Go crazy in it. That weird Narwhal thing you made in that art class you pretended to take? Um, that’s cool as shit. Put that on display. That reading corner you wanted to try on Pinterest…there’s a corner. Those tins you found at a garage sale? Cute as hell, and makes it look like you cook with cool things. Win win.
There are little things that will help brighten any apartment, and make it feel more like home. You can start with flowers. Such a simple thing. You need three things: a vase, water, and flowers…actually scratch that, you don’t even need a vase. That stein you got from that one beer-fest you don’t remember? Great. Use that. But I digress…flowers. They come in all different kinds, you can get them almost anywhere, you can even grow them yourself. Actually just do that. Potted plants are wonderful. That little bit of responsibility is very rewarding to see how they grow, and this little guy needs you. Needs you to care for, water, and talk to when you both get lonely. In return he gives you oxygen! Who needs to open windows when you have that? Another really easy quick decorating tool is wall art. Whether you are a painter or like funny posters, get something on those walls! It’s a quick fix to dull walls if you can’t paint! It’s all in the details. Fill your shelves and walls with things that make you happy, things from your past, things you want to become.
Put in the extra time to make your apartment something you are proud of. You will start to understand why us 24 year-olds start to spend Friday nights in our pajamas rather than at the bars…
Make your place yours. It will make you feel more at home in this new city you have settled in; which can be a really scary, lonely process. The small things matter. Even that plant.