While we don’t think you should be told what to do at any age, there are definitely some easy and affordable updates to make to your home as your lifestyle matures that will allow your decor to grow up with it. Whether your preferred style is très French, mid-century modern or something more indefinable, these seven tips apply, and are actually executable to boot. Here’s how to take your home from the random chaos you threw together at 22 to an elevated, adult abode from which you’ll be proud to entertain.
Get It Together, Girl
Ditching your Ikea art doesn't mean you have to invest in pricey pieces—there are a lot of ways to get more creative artwork on your walls while still respecting your budget. Check out Saatchi Art's new Limited collection of affordable, limited-edition prints, and get even more budget-friendly art-for-purchase ideas via this beginner's guide to art collecting.
One of our favorite DIY tricks for upgrading the look of wall art without spending big is to pull pages from coffee table books and frame them. (While we're on the subject of frames, by the way, note that none of your art should remain unframed if you want your home to appear polished—if you must keep that poster from your band's favorite show, frame it up!)
As you get older, sleep becomes increasingly important, and also more and more difficult to enjoy. For this reason, the bedroom is a good place to splurge, specifically on your mattress and bedding. You'll also want to replace any old, faded and shredded towels with a fresh batch—we love Zara Home's affordable selection.
Kitschy Picture Frames
Frames should be classic and, ideally, not printed with sayings like "Live, Laugh, Love." If you're looking for something a little different—but still sophisticated—than a standard frame, try acrylics (a trend we're loving right now).
You don't have to spend big on a floor-length mirror, but you should replace these—you know you have at least one—with something a bit more permanent (and chic!).
Futons are a dead giveaway that you do not yet have your sh*t together. Ditch yours for a comfier sleeper sofa if you need an easy place for your guests to sleep and don't have extra rooms.
Plastic Novelty Cups
If you do nothing else on this list, we strongly encourage you to take every plastic cup out of your apartment and drop it off at Goodwill, stat. Hodgepodge glassware can be cute, and very French, but it can't be souvenir plastic (or say Hooters on it!).
Cheap, Kitschy Lighting
While we don't actually think lava lamps are ever a great idea, you should definitely leave all such cheap, kitschy lighting behind as you elevate your living space. Try instead this genius IKEA globe-light hack instead or, if you want to infuse a little personality into your lighting, look for well designed, high-end pieces like this crush-worthy banana lamp. Chandeliers are also great ideas for those looking to add elegance to their home, and many are budget-friendly, too (try Anthropologie!).
Banana Lamp, $345