When you get your first apartment, it is the perfect time for reinvention, and for building the blocks of who you want to be now that you are an independent adult. You don’t need to throw everything from your childhood away, and if you went to the trouble of bringing them with you, you would want to find somewhere special to keep them. So, you need to think about how you can decorate and use these items in new ways so that they make your new home feel grown up, but still undeniably you. 

1. Repaint the Walls 

Unless the apartment was painted just before you moved in, you are going to want to repaint the walls for a fresh new look. Keep it neutral to brighten the space, but don’t be afraid to play with color. You do not need to stick with that magnolia standard most apartments come with. You can go for a fresher shade of white, grey, or almost any pastel and immediately make the apartment feel more grown-up and personal to you. 

Tip: Consider asking your new landlord to repaint the space for you before you move in. If it has been a while since the space received a refresh, they might be happy to do this for you. 

2. Use Mirrors to Brighten the Space 

Mirrors are a great trick to use in an apartment to make it feel more spacious and inviting. They reflect the physical space, and more importantly, they reflect light. If your new home is dark, even on a bright and sunny day, then mirrors are going to be your secret weapon. 

Place them both parallel to your window, and next to them. Your goal is to bounce light into the darkest corners of your room, and with these two areas covered, you will be able to do this. 

You could even make use of old college favorites, like a disco ball. By placing a disco ball as decoration in front of a window, you can scatter light throughout your room in a beautiful effect. 

3. Great Space Saving Ideas 

Most first apartments are small, and the best way to upgrade this small space is with smart space-saving ideas. Add hooks to the side of your bookshelf, invest in furniture that has storage space underneath, shelves you can pull out from under your bed. These space-saving solutions were designed for small apartments, and you will need them as you grow and become more comfortable with living on your own. 

4. Upgrade Dorm Essentials for Your First Apartment 

Some dorm essentials just need a bit of a makeover to find a new home in your apartment. Bean bag chairs or cork boards, for example, are staples of a college dorm that don’t often make it into the “adult apartment” category.

This is a huge mistake. You won’t stop needing to pin things up, and the comfort of a bean bag chair is a great thing to have. The only thing you need to do is update their look. Actually, hang your corkboard on the wall instead of having it just sitting on your desk, and invest in better bean bag chairs that are designed to last. These Fombag options come in a variety of outer materials, including a micro-suede or leather-look options that will look sleek and modern in any living room. 

5. Frame Your Art and Prints 

If you have any art, photos, or prints, then you cannot just hang them up with blue tac. In fact, some landlords might outright ban you from doing this. Instead, invest in frames. Frame your posters, put collages together of your photos, and hang them with pride. If there is any decorating tip that will transform college dorm décor into apartment-worthy art, it’s a frame. 

6. Use Plant Life to Decorate 

Now that you are living on your own, it’s time to invest in plants. If you hate them and cannot take care of them if your life depended on it, then save up and buy a few high-quality fake pieces. We are very connected with nature as a species, and simply having some plants and flowers in the home do wonders for improving the look of the space. You’ll feel happier, and your new home will look better. 

If you are happy to become a plant parent, there are so many ways you can grow your collection. One of the best ways is to share plants with friends through a process known as propagation. You will want to save a few jars (any food jars will do) and take cuttings from your friends’ plants. Stick them in water and change it out every day or so, and in a few weeks, they’ll sprout roots. 

Plant these new babies into a pot, and voila, you have a new plant to grow in your home. This way, you and all your friends can enjoy all the top, Insta-worthy plants in your home without paying big bucks for a fully grown specimen. 

7. Invest in Better Bedding 

Finally, you’re going to want to invest in proper bedding. This will be done in two stages. 

First, you have your actual mattress and pillows. If the mattress that came with the apartment is sub-par and your landlord isn’t willing to upgrade you, get a mattress topper. Otherwise, you will want to focus your investment on your pillows and on a high-quality duvet. From there, you will want to invest in high-quality sheets that are breathable and work to wick away moisture in the night. 

Upgrading your first apartment is all about learning essential interior design tips and tricks and using them to improve your belongings. You can have all those posters you had during university. You can bring bean bag chairs into your apartment and still make them look cool. It is all about using the right design lessons to upgrade their overall presence when and where applicable.