You did it! You made it to your twenties! Some days you feel gross and unaccomplished, like the hair clogging your own bathtub drain, but some days you feel like an Instagram photo that got over 15 likes- you know, accomplished to be here, even if the accomplishment is a little lame in and of itself.
Nevertheless, you have to live somewhere, and whether that means with your “landlords” (the name you gave your parents so that you sound more adult) or in an old “charming” (a nice word that means broken-down) house with 5 other roommates, fresh decor is key in transitioning into the put-together-person that every TwentySomething article online tells you that you are becoming.
So, let’s get started on revamping your space!
1. Get a plant!
Plants are great, because plants let you pretend to take care of something! Kittens and puppies are cute and all, but even a baby cactus looks adorable in the right light, and watering it from your “vintage” (rusty) sink is a lot cheaper than buying pet food. Not to mention, plants never have to go to the vet, you don’t have to walk a plant, and if you get at least 3 pieces of foliage, your space will look just bohemian enough, as if you shop regularly at Free People, even though you may only be able to afford half a shirt there! Plus, people say plants bring in fresh air and good energy, and since your starter job probably doesn’t provide health insurance, you better soak up all those chlorophyll vibes!
2. Display your Accomplishments
Just because you are young and maybe you’ve never had to actually pay many bills until now does not mean you haven’t done anything! Think about what small moments have given your life some meaning, and make sure to give them some wall space. You can hang your college diploma on the wall and pledge allegiance to it every morning, promising that you’ll try to do something with your education other than googling solutions to tech issues that your coworkers are having, organizing the office, and testing all the fonts in Microsoft Word. Put up a photo of a great romantic dinner that you enjoyed, so that when you’re eating peanut butter sandwiches and considering downloading Tinder because dating seems bleak, you’ll remember that one time you ate something with fresh vegetables and flirted like a grownup instead of only through texts! Lastly, put up your First Dollar from your First Adult Paycheck like restaurants do when they open and make a sale, and then promise yourself you won’t take it down and spend it. (Well, unless it’s an emergency.)
(No, a Doritos Locos Taco is not an emergency.)
3. Jars and Pallets FOREVER
I have yet to meet a person my age, me included, who is not at least a little bit excited about mason jars and shipping pallets. Call it the rise of Pinterest, but mason jars can literally be used for anything in the eyes of our generation, and finding a pallet on the side of the road is akin to Columbus bumping into America all those years ago. Drinking everything from iced coffee to wine to water out of a mason jar seems quaint enough, like you cared about style but also just decided to recycle what you had, but you can also use them for storage, lighting, and if you happen to have any duty in your friends’ weddings in the next 10 years, just volunteer for something involving mason jars and you’ll be set. Pallets are usually free, and for those of us who want to have the novelty of a “dumpster-diving” story without actually chipping our manicure, they can be acquired pretty easily. In fact, even as I write this I am picturing these pallet beds that I still have yet to make and thinking how chic I would feel laying on them, like my own version of a Martha Stewart catalog.
(Added bonus: the cheap pasta sauce you live on for a week probably comes in a ‘cool’ jar that can be reused! Broke and fabulous!)
4. Forget your cares with Christmas Lights
You know what’s cheaper than a really great lamp that gives you reading light? Off-season Christmas light prices. You know what looks way more hip in a photo than overhead lighting? The glow of dim Christmas lights. You know what might automatically make you seem like you probably rent a place and don’t own it and might still be stuck in college in your mind? Christmas lights as your main source of brightness.
5. Ugly things are still things and you need them
I think having some not-so-cute pieces in your home or space when you’re young is important, and maybe it’s just me, but it adds a story. Keeping the stuff you thought was cool when you were a few years younger cause it still works or cause you can’t afford anything nicer is truthful, sometimes painfully. But that rickety chair, those mismatched colored hangers that seemed like standard-issue in dorm rooms across America, that old pile of pillows on the ground or wimpy air mattress or beat-up futon with overwashed sheets that you do all your dreaming on reminds you that you’re still working, still aiming for more, and still building a home while you build yourself and your resume.
One day we’ll all look back on our terrible style and bad furniture and just be thankful that we had personality and had somewhere to sit. (Assuming that we still can sit because of all the damage that we did to our spines with beanbag chairs, lumpy discount beds, and couches we found on the side of the road, and while we’re writing another check to our Chiropractor when we make it to our 40s, complaining about our neck hurting from staring at our laptops and thumb pain from decades of texting.)
However, the future still looks pretty bright for us. (Just not too bright, because we’re trying to save on our electric bill this month so we can use the money to go to that music festival, so please only turn on the light if you absolutely need it.)