Bwog teaches you how to decorate your living space so that you give off “cool calm put-together” vibes instead of “this is my first apartment” vibes.

Alright, so you’ve moved into your first-ever apartment. With dorm life behind you (for this semester at least), you’re starting to feel like a real adult….but does your apartment? Bwog is here to help you decorate like a real adult.

Bedroom – you’re gonna spend a lot of time in here, better make it nice

  • You can mainly reuse most of the elements of dorm room design for this one. Check out our other article to get all the tips. In summary, you need a few things:
  • Bedlinens that aren’t too loud, or too basic. No paisley, no neon colors, but also no boring dark blue checkered print please! Get comfortable linens that you like, in muted colors or simple patterns.
  • Put stuff on your walls! You have a hobby – get some posters. You like pretty things – get some art. You have pictures – print them out and hang them up.
  • Add a small rug to the room, for added coziness and ~style~.
  • Get a laundry hamper that isn’t white and mesh. Yes, I know they’re only five dollars at Target, but they also look like they’re five dollars at Target. Get a nice canvas or wire one, and boom, adulthood.

Kitchen – make your kitchen a place you won’t hate cooking in.

  • First and foremost. Do not buy plastic plates. Specifically, do not buy those plastic plates from Target, you know which ones I’m talking about. They are hard to clean, they look tacky, and just because they cost fifty cents doesn’t mean you should get them. Instead, opt for a nice set of ceramic or glass dishware. If you’re on a budget, Facebook Marketplace and buy-sell groups are a good place to look for nice gently-used dishes: people move a lot, and you can very easily sanitize dishes.
  • On a similar note, get matching glass glasses. A set of water and wine glasses should be enough. Nothing screams “I have no idea what I’m doing” like every person at a table drinking from a different plastic cup.
  • Get some kitchen towels. Not only are they way more eco-friendly than paper towels, but they’re also an easy way to add a touch of style to your kitchen. If you’re looking for budget options, TJ Maxx is always the way to go!
  • You don’t need to worry about room checks anymore, so find a spot for all your alcohol & related items. Make a cute little home bar cart. And get all the proper equipment and mixers: real adults don’t just drink $5 wine, white claws, and vodka sodas.
  • A knife block and spice rack automatically make a kitchen feel classier. Pro tip: if you don’t have the counter space, magnetic knife and spice mounts are your friend.
  • A cutting board. You’re an adult now, which means you need to cut your vegetables on a cutting board instead of….whatever you’re doing now. A simple plastic board is fine, but bonus points if you get a pretty wooden one.

Living room – a place you want to relax in

  • First off, you need a couch. Somewhere you can sit that isn’t the floor, foldable chairs, or an air mattress. Couches are expensive, but you can actually find some pretty decent prices at places like IKEA. Another spot to check out is Facebook Marketplace: again, people are always moving, and always want to get rid of their stuff.
  • Once you have a couch, it can’t be bare! Get some throw pillows! Show off your ~style~ and ~personality~! You don’t need many, 2-4 should do, but a bare couch screams “this is my first apartment”.
  • Along with your couch, you need a coffee table. This can be as simple or as fancy as you like, sometimes you can even get away with just two end tables. But you need a place to put your drink while you lounge on the couch. This is another time you should check out Facebook Marketplace – coffee tables are pretty cheap there, and very easy to sanitize.
  • You also need something on your walls. Some ideas to get you started: themed posters, local art, a gallery wall, a basket wall, mirrors, a tapestry (just not a mandala, I’m begging), flags, the possibilities are endless. If you’re feeling fun, buy some paint and canvas, have a craft night, and hang up your finest work.
  • This is a little more optional, but a rug. Something that isn’t just bare floorboards really brings a room together and will keep you cozy doing the winter. Match the color, pattern, or texture of the rug to your wall art, and your room automatically looks more put-together.
  • If you don’t know what to do, get a shelf and throw some books on there. Nothing says “I’m a well-read professional” like a bunch of books.

Bathroom – a room you use every day should spark joy

  • Soap, towels, and cleanliness should not even be on this list. But. If you don’t have those three things, stop reading right now, buy liquid hand soap, buy hand towels, and clean your damn bathroom!
  • Now that we’ve done that. The minimum you can do to make your bathroom look nice is adding a shower curtain that isn’t just plain and clear, and bathmats. If that’s all you do, you’re honestly fine.
  • If you want to go the extra mile: a nice soap dispenser. Pour your liquid hand soap into a fun little container, and you already look 1000% more put-together.
  • If you’re feeling extra super adult-y, you can get one piece of décor for your wall. You can go with some seashells if you’re a suburban mom, but a small framed poster or a fun quote work just as well.

Overall – here are some general rules you can apply to any room

  • Cleanliness is key! Vacuum your floor. Wipe your counters. Windex your windows. Dust occasionally. A clean undecorated house is infinitely better than a grimy well-decorated one.
  • Say it with me: Empty alcohol bottles are not decoration. Finishing a bottle of mango Svedka is not something to commemorate, so stop using your empty bottles as trophies. If you really must, you can put your wine corks into a little bowl, for the ~memories~. But even that is a little tacky.
  • Curtains! Nice curtains go a long way to pull a room together. Light neutral colors will open up your room, while bold or dark colors will make a statement, so choose wisely.
  • Floor lighting! Nobody likes the overhead light found in most apartments. So buy some nice alternative lighting: lamps, string lights, whatever your heart desires.
  • Check with your landlord – are you allowed to paint the walls? The answer might surprise you. A fresh coat of paint makes a room automatically nicer. If you’re feeling extra artsy, you can do an accent wall or some easy wall art.
  • Plants! You can literally never go wrong with plants. Snake plants and pothos can be over-used, and look a little basic, but check out some ZZ plants or ferns, which are easy to care for and look ~unique~.

Some final thoughts: Your apartment doesn’t have to be extravagant. This is just a list of ideas, and there is in no way an expectation that your space should have every single one of these things. But living in a space that you have put some thought into, whether it’s just by adding a few small touches or doing a full floor-to-ceiling coordinated ~aesthetic~, automatically makes your apartment feel more like home.

Additionally, your decor does not have to be expensive. Yes, you can get everything from West Elm, but you can also scrounge Target, TJ Max, Facebook Marketplace, or thrift stores to get good deals. It’s possible to have a well-decorated affordable apartment, it just takes a little extra searching.

decorated apartment via pixabay