Bye-bye concert posters and vinyl decals! Hello, fancy framed artwork and window treatments! Welcome to adulthood, where you get to spend money making your space feel like it was made for you. In the transitional phase from singledom to newlywed, you’ll learn how to make a house feel like a home while still honoring your personal sense of style. You also want to create a space that reflects both you and your new spouse. Not quite sure how? Here are some of the best ways to kick start the adultifying process without compromising your life’s savings and your individual flavors.
1. Create a Gallery Wall
One of the primary markers of a college-aged person’s living space is unframed artwork. Movie posters, Polaroids taped to the wall, a calendar hanging from a single nail. On the other hand, taking time to design, collect and display original artwork and personal mementos creates a feeling of maturity and permanence. One of the best approaches to take with regard to creating an intriguing wall display is the gallery wall. A collection of paintings, photos, and documents in frames of varying textures can make your living room feel more like an art gallery than a residence. Making a gallery wall featuring photos of you and your new spouse is a great way to make your newlywed home feel more personal.
2. Add a Few (Hundred) Monograms
Is it just us or does nothing say grown and flown like monogrammed everything? Your married monogram signifies the true merging of two households into one. We love the idea of the monogram as a décor item because it makes your home feel totally personalized and provides an extra layer of detail that you can’t get with other kinds of décor. It’s also a little bit traditional, so it can help counter your more youthful or playful accents. The quintessential monogrammed item is, of course, the monogrammed bath towel, but you can put your initials on just about anything—servingware, aprons, cozy throws and even your bedding!
3. Ditch the IKEA
Flimsy put-it-together-yourself furniture was amazing when you were decorating your first apartment with your roommates, but it doesn’t exactly scream “adulting.” We’re not suggesting that you rack up a bill at the fanciest furniture store in town, but perhaps it’s worth your while to consider a few investment pieces that you know will stay with you and your spouse through many more moves. One awesome way to achieve a high-end, permanent look without shelling out thousands is to go the second-hand route. You’ll discover some incredible finds on Facebook Marketplace or at local estate sales.
4. Create a Décor Motif
In college, you probably had a general theme that tied together your space. Maybe it was just generally classy, eclectic or glamorous, or maybe you had a rough color palette that guided your décor choices. As an adult, you’ve got to go all-out with a décor motif. It sounds fancy, but it really just requires you to create a name for your style. Browse the pages of a few interior design mags—or, who are we kidding, Pinterest—and create a mood board to help you tie together your favorite looks.
5. Grow Some Stuff
One big moment in early adulthood is that moment when you stop worrying so much about yourself and worry more about others—a child, a dog, a houseplant. Ease into things with an indoor herb garden or some easy-care plants. Not only do plants show that you’re not entirely self-centered, but they also bring a classy and inviting feel to your space. Grow some basil, rosemary, oregano and chives in the kitchen and hoist some dramatic, draping ferns from stylish hanging baskets. Don’t forget to water.
6. Get Insurance
Creating a grown-up home isn’t all about décor and knickknacks. It’s also about practicality. If you’re renting, it’s a good idea to sign up for renter’s insurance for the simple fact that you’ve put so much into your space and you need to protect it as much as possible. Renter’s insurance can protect your home and belongings from fire, theft, negligence and damage, so if you have anything of value, it’s definitely worth the monthly cost. Those with a mortgage are often required to have homeowner’s insurance, but make sure you do your due diligence to ensure that your policy covers all of your belongings and the natural threats present in your area.
7. Organize Like Crazy
Another important marker of adulthood: the pure joy of organization. Where cleaning out your closet and neatly nestling your Tupperware used to feel like a dreadful chore, now it feels like an indulgence, especially if you revel in neatness. Let your organizational obsession loose when you’re settling into your new space, taking the time to create a special place for everything you own. Maintenance is key with organization—make sure you spend time performing the occasional organizational upkeep.
8. Upgrade Your Essentials
One primary differentiator between the décor of an adult and that of a non-adult is the quality of the fundamentals in your home. We buy more transitional (read: cheaper) things in our youth because it doesn’t make sense to commit to a certain style or product when we don’t know what we’ll be into or where we’ll live in a year’s time. When you become more settled, you can invest in higher-end, longer-lasting home goods, especially those luxurious silk sheets, quality rugs and original pieces of art. While you’re at it, replace your mismatched plates, bowls and silverware for a uniform set that’s worthy of your first dinner party. If you’re still in the planning stages before the big day, consider adding upgraded items to your wedding registry!
When you’re decorating a space with a grown-up flair, it’s important not to force yourself into formality or a “too mature” aesthetic. You don’t have to jump from dorm décor to hard candy and plastic furniture covers in one fell swoop. Allow the transition to come naturally and don’t feel that you have to grow up faster than you want to. If you prefer a more youthful, trendy or playful style, don’t suppress it! Creating your dream space is all about honoring who you are and creating an environment that makes you feel the most comfortable and inspired.
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.