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From the Frat House to Your First House: The ABC's of Decorating like an Adult

Aug 28, 2008
So you've just purchased your very first home, and are now pondering how to dress the space in a way that is both sophisticated, and shows off your personality. You may be used to living with roommates or in a dormitory, where high style involved hanging up rock posters and Christmas lights. Now you're faced with the challenge of decorating in a more grown up way, and you may not know where to begin. To help you with your quest, here are the ABC's of decorating like an adult:

A is for Accessorizing

Action figures and stuffed animals need to find a new home, whether it's a cozy trunk or the thrift store. Anything that has particular sentimental value can be held onto for a while longer, but be sure to keep the kids' stuff to a minimum. Display only the things that have kitsch or style, or that fills you with inexplicable joy. Get rid of anything that weighs you down or fails to bring happiness to the room.

Posters should be kept up only if they're placed in a nice looking frame. It's surprising how chic a frame can make a Night of the Living Dead poster look, but try to wean yourself off of these as well. You don't want to feel like you're depriving yourself of your favorite things, so to start off, keep your posters and wacky collectible photos, but frame them and hang them up straight.

To replace concert ticket stubs and DVD's as your shelf decor, check out local boutiques for interesting pieces. Often the small, independently owned shops have more eclectic stock than the chain stores, and feature everything from traditional to industrial style furnishings and artwork. It's easy to find trinkets that will add some panache to your space, without being too stuffy for your age.

B is for Bedding

The bedroom really needs your attention if you're like most twenty-something's. Most college-aged folks are given hand-me-down comforters, or still have sheets with cartoon characters on them. Updating your bed linens will instantly give your bedroom -and your mood- a lift. Treat yourself to organic cotton or bamboo sheets. They're heavenly to lie on, and better for the environment. Choose colors and patterns that appeal to you and will be easy to coordinate with, and get the most comfortable pillows you can afford.

Having bedding that doesn't have any rips or stains will make you feel more confident in the bedroom, and will give you a relaxing oasis to come home to.

C is for Cohesion

One of the signs that you're in a young person's home is the mishmash of colors, furniture styles, and accessories. Most things have been either picked up at a thrift store, or have been passed down from someone else. While some eclecticism is good, you don't want it to look like Goodwill exploded in your house.

In your new home, make sure that the wall colors flow together well. Neutral colors work best, and can easily be punched up with accessories. If you can afford to, get rid of any furniture, dishes, and linens that are in poor condition. This will not only free up space, but will also make you feel emotionally lighter. Replace your tossed items with new furniture that is affordable and stylish. You don't need to replace everything though. In fact, a basic IKEA couch can be nicely complemented with your grandmother's end tables. With a little creativity, you can mix old and new pieces and create an adult space that's uniquely you.
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