Walk into someone’s apartment for the first time and you’ll instantly have a better sense of who they are. Our furniture, our décor, and how we keep our home speak volumes about us – so are you sending the right message?
Making the transition from college or your parent’s house into your own apartment can be tricky in a lot of ways. But decorating doesn’t have to be one of them. If you want to feel like an adult and live in an adult space, there are some things you’ll need to leave behind.
Ready to start adulting?
Here are 7 things that no adult should have in their apartment. Ever.
Nothing will make your apartment look less adult than temporary furniture. Using a beat up old futon in place of an actual couch? Storing your clothing in stackable plastic storage bins rather than a dresser? Still using milk crates as shelves?
Guess what? It’s time to get rid of all of it.
Anything that you used as makeshift furniture in your dorm room or college apartment has no place in your adult home. It’s time to invest in some real furniture – and you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to do it. There are plenty of furniture retailers that sell affordable furniture for every room of the house.
You also don’t have to buy everything all at once.
Start with little things like end tables and accent chairs or start with the biggest things, like a real couch and a real bed. And no, a mattress on the floor is not a real bed.
(If you like the look of having your mattress on the floor, invest in a low platform bed. Not only will it be more supportive, but it will bring a little Zen into your bedroom!)
Remember one rule when figuring out what to get rid of: just because something serves a purpose doesn’t mean you need to keep it. Donate it to someone else who can make use of it (like a teenager living in a dorm or a needy family with a lot of kids).
Shelves Full of Collectibles
Still displaying those shot glasses you collected from every spring break trip? Still dusting off the Disney figurines you had in your bedroom when you were ten?
There are certain things that adults don’t decorate with. And that list includes stuffed animals, dolls, bobble-heads, and anything else you had as a pre-teen.
Your college collection of drinking gear also needs to go away, including those Cancun shot glasses and all of those empty beer bottles and liquor bottles that you’ve been holding onto. (We’ll never understand why anyone does this).
Empty bottles are a big no-no in an adult apartment. No one cares that you’ve tried 20 different types of whiskey or tasted 50 different craft IPAs. The only liquor bottles and beer cans that belong in your home are the ones that still have booze inside.
Throw those empties in the recycling bin and move on!
As for any childhood figurines or toys you still have lying around, you don’t actually have to get rid of them. Go ahead and keep them forever if you like, just don’t put them on display.
If there are sentimental things you absolutely can’t part with, it’s fine to keep them for posterity. But they belong in a box in the back of your closet or in a storage unit – not on your living room shelf.
We have nothing against posters per se, but there’s one thing we don’t want to see in your adult apartment:
Posters that are taped, thumbtacked or push-pinned to the wall.
There are these things called frames.
They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, and they are the mature way to display any sort of poster, print, or photo on a wall.
And we’re not talking about poster frames either. You know, those shiny, skinny, black plastic ones where the four edges slide off and attach to a piece of plexiglass? Those don’t count. As an adult, it’s time to invest in some real frames – like the ones that come in wood or stainless steel.
If you really want to step it up a notch, add some mats to those frames. Just like frames, they come in all different colors and sizes. The addition of a simple mat can make even a crappy old poster look like an art print.
The theme of your posters matters too. Adults don’t usually decorate with sexy girls on cars, band photos from album covers, or anything that includes a list (like the top 10 reasons to do something or how to make various cocktails).
Unless you’re a fabulous artist, it’s also time to get rid of any DIY posters you made yourself. Most adults don't decorate with poster boards covered in concert ticket stubs or collages of old friends on past vacations. No one cares how many times you’ve seen Phish or that you went to the Bahamas your freshman year of college!
Plastic Dishes and Cups
Unless you have a toddler in your home, your kitchen cabinets should be free and rid of all plastic cups and plates. There is no reason that you should ever eat on or serve anyone on a plastic plate unless you’re hosting a super casual outdoor barbecue by the pool. And even then, we prefer to use paper.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a twelve-piece place setting. Start small by buying an inexpensive ceramic setting for four people until you’re ready to splurge on the fine stuff.
Glassware is also inexpensive, so ditch the plastic cups and get an actual set of glasses. You might even want to invest in a few different sets – like water glasses, juice glasses, wine glasses and rocks glasses for cocktails.
Are your kitchen cabinets filled with mismatched Tupperware from your mom?
It’s time to get rid of that as well. Trade up and buy a set of reusable plastic storage containers with matching lids. They'll stack better in your cabinets, they'll be easy to organize, and they'll even look good when they're piled up in the fridge.
Frames and Photos From College
We’ve already stressed how we feel about frames, but certain frames are not allowed in an adult apartment. If it’s decorated with flowers or hearts, says BFF or “best friends,” or is emblazoned with your fraternity or sorority letters, it’s time to let it go.
We are not saying that you need to forget about your childhood, high school, or college friends. But the pictures and frames you decorated your dorm with have no place in your adult apartment.
It’s also time to rethink those collages of round, square, big, and little photos in one frame. If there is a photo in a collage that you absolutely love, take it out and display it in its own frame. There’s no reason to camouflage it amongst a bunch of other photos just because they’ve been side by side in the same frame for the past five years.
Anything From High School
It’s understandable if some of your college memorabilia has spilled into your adult life, but nothing from high school should.
Trophies, awards, high school diplomas – none of these should be on display. (If you went to college, you can get away with hanging your framed degree on the wall in your home office, but it doesn’t need to be living room art).
Take a hard look around your apartment right now.
Do you have a CD tower full of discs from middle school? Do you have a collection of DVDs that you never watch because it’s easier to cue up a movie on Netflix or your DVR? Are there tee shirts in your dresser that you wore in 11th grade?
Anything you owned, won, or wore in high school should be donated or, at the very least, boxed up and put in storage.
That includes lava lamps, sports lamps, or any other type of lamp that’s more kitsch than the actual lamp. Adults have real lamps with real shades, so if you’re still using a lamp decorated with a soccer ball or a football, it’s got to go.
It’s also time to take your cork boards and photo boards off the wall. The only place you should hang a cork board is in your home office if you like to tack up work schedules, travel documents, or bills you need to pay.
Generally speaking, sports memorabilia is not exactly what we would consider adult décor. However, there is one exception we will make for the guys and girls who have been collecting gear from their favorite team their entire life.
And that exception is a man cave/bar when you have your own home and have enough space to contain all your sports gear together in one room. Until then, your collection of sheets, towels, caps, cups, and jerseys do not need to be on display.
Now if you have an autographed Babe Ruth baseball, by all means, display it prominently on a shelf in a clear glass case. That’s allowed. But what’s not okay is letting get lost amongst a ton of cheap Yankees gear from the 1990s.
We’ll let you slide if you have a couple of team-themed pint glasses that you like to drink your beer from on game day. That’s acceptable adult behavior. But having Red Sox sheets on your bed, an Eagles jersey framed over your fireplace, or a Laker’s shower curtain hanging in your bathroom is not.
And, while we’re on the topic of sports memorabilia, you might want to limit wearing your team gear to game day. There’s nothing worse than a grown man wearing a jersey (unless, of course, he’s on the team!)
Some Other Things That Actual Adults Don’t Have
Starting to wonder if anything in your apartment feels adult enough? Don’t feel bad – you’re certainly not the only one breaking some of these rules. The fact is that you probably didn’t even realize how juvenile your apartment looked until now.
And since you’re so willing to learn, we’ll wrap this up with a few honorable mentions of a few other things you’ll want to get rid of or replace.
Cheap or Old Bedding
The older you get, the more you’ll appreciate fine bedding. If your sheets or comforters are pilling, ripping, tearing, or difficult to make the bed with, it’s time for some new ones.
The Throw Pillows that Came with your Couch
It always seems like the less money you spend on a couch, the more throw pillows they add-in to make it look better. But that actually has the opposite effect.
Get those matchy-matchy pillows off your couch right now. You don’t have to get rid of them, just stuff them into pillow covers so that your couch looks more inviting and more unique.
A Vinyl Shower Curtain
Fabric shower curtains are the way to go. If you’re currently showering behind a plastic sheet, it’s time for an upgrade. Vinyl should only be used as a shower curtain liner to create a waterproof layer.
There’s no need to put your collection of bongs and pipes on display. If you live in a state where smoking is legal, keep one pipe or a small glass bong on hand for your recreational use. It’s legal now and you’re all grown up; it’s no longer cool to have dirty, smelly bongs all over the house.
What Should Adults Never Have in Their Apartment?
Ready to decorate your apartment so that it looks like an adult lives there? Here’s what you need to avoid:
- Temporary furniture
- Collectibles from your childhood or college days
- Posters taped or tacked to the wall
- Plastic cups and dishes
- Frames that describe who’s in the photo
- Anything from high school
- Sports memorabilia
There are plenty of other things we could add to this list, but we think you get the point! So go about your apartment, start packing up what you can, and start making room for some new things.
You’re an adult now, so it’s time to start living like one.