Whether you are in the first place of your own, or just the first place you are finally proud of, I'm sure you have struggled at some point with big and little decisions when it comes to your home. While I am in not exactly the poster child for smart decisions (like the time I decided to cut my own bangs freshmen year of college), I feel confident enough in these 7 pieces of advice to share them with you and the virtual world.
1. Buy a neutral couch.
If you're finally upgrading from your hand-me-down pink and blue college sofa (thanks Aunt Sarah), then it is in your best interest to get a neutral-colored replacement. It is very likely that your style preferences will change to a degree throughout your twenties, so you may as well try to make bigger purchases last as long as possible. I purchased a charcoal color, and know I'll be able to get several years of use before I decide it is time for another change. Even if you make the leap sooner, your chances of a resale are much higher if it isn't a polarizing hue. Add some color with throw pillows, which can be swapped more readily as trends come and go.
2. Add some life with plants.
I claim I have a red thumb, since it is opposite from green on the color wheel. Yes, I know, I am clever. Any plant that enters my apartment is facing imminent death, but that doesn't mean I don't try. Plants are a great way to add some color into your space. If you are like me, try to stick to something lower-maintenance. If you always forget to water, follow my lead and buy a cactus and some succulents. Those babies survive the desert.
3. Stock up for guests.
You are out of college, and it is no longer acceptable to give your guest the towel you used after your morning shower. If you anticipate that you'll have guests stay with you, then you need to have a reserve of linens - towels, blankets, and (bed sheets if you have a guest bedroom or air mattress). If you really want to go the extra mile, stock up on items that are easy for guests to forget at home, such as tooth brushes, travel size deodorants, disposable razors, contact lens cases, and contact solution. Spending a couple of extra dollars just may make you a lifesaver.
Also, do not forget to share your Wifi information!
4. Donate your unwanted goods.
Even when you feel broke as a joke, you are still infinitely more fortunate than billions of people. It may seem easy to toss an old candle holder or that awful shirt your uncle gave you, but your trash should at least get the shot at being someone else's treasure.
5. Enter your email to get online discounts.
If a store offers an upfront online discount if you provide your email address, and you are looking to make a purchase, then SIGN UP. This may seem like the most ridiculously obvious thing on Earth, but some people panic over the thought of getting too many emails. Sign up, get the discount, and then unsubscribe if you don't want their messages anymore. Boom.
6. Add some light.
No one wants to hang out in a dark room. If your place doesn't have ideal natural lighting, then be sure to position some lamps to offset the lack of windows. Another great trick is to hang a larger mirror on a wall across from a window to reflect the natural light, like in this photo.
7. IKEA isn't your only option.
IKEA can be a great option, but it doesn't have to be your solo shot at having affordable furniture and decor. Shop around and branch out to stores that you haven't explored yet. You may just save yourself from having that "easy to assemble Borgsjo bookshelf" turn out looking like drunken craft time.
Have some great advice of your own? Share it in the comments below!