Here are five tips from the editors of Domino.com to up the level of sophistication in your first home or apartment. Advice for that moment when you stare at your futon and “College” poster and realize: It’s time to grow up.
1. Repaint! Ideally, with a shade that you’ll enjoy for years to come. Neutrals are a great option because they allow you to use color more freely in the space and won’t intimidate buyers when you trade up.
2. Edit ruthlessly: Before you can decorate, you must organize! And before you can organize, you must toss the junk! Sort through everything in your home and get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the last year or used in the past three months, aside from the most sentimental possessions. Donate everything else to the thrift store or trash it.
3. Upgrade your window treatments and lighting: Nothing says dorm like those paper shades and standard white frosted domes. Choose window treatments that suit your style. Cell shades with top-down-bottom-up features are a modern choice and will save you money on your energy bill. Replace college halogen desk lamps with something more decorative, and use freestanding floor or table lamps instead (these tend to cast more flattering light than overheads, too).
4.Work with your proportions: If a king-size bed will dominate your entire bedroom, downsize. You may sacrifice a few mattress inches but at least you will have a bedroom and not an awkward “bed-closet.”
5. Contain your collections: A series of matching baskets or pretty storage containers can be an organizational savior. Store loose items in themed bins-one for hardware, another for stationery, etc. —and you’ll always know where to find them!
Get more tips from Domino Editor’s on Decorating Small Spaces.