Let’s face it, your house’s current aesthetic looks a conglomeration of seventies couch patterns and trash. And you probably have a tea towel hanging on the wall…or at least I do.
But despite that fact, approximately 99% of my childhood was spent watching HGTV, more specifically House Hunters- I mean, how can you go wrong with a good episode of a couple people trying to find the perfect flat in Paris with a budget that makes literally no sense? All of this HGTV binge-watching, and the fact that the houses I lived in growing up were under constant renovation (thanks Dad), I developed a passion for everything interior design. I don’t know if passion is the right word honestly – it’s more of a religion than anything. So I think it’s high time to get on the right track to creating a “real adult house”, that still reflects who you truly are, and (best of all) at prices that won’t break the bank! Let’s dive right into it, here are five essential things that you need:
1. A Good Couch
Much like the title of this article states: while functional, a futon is nothing more than the epitome of college living. Futons are NOT visually appealing, they provide little to no support and are overall just horrible (try and change my mind – you won’t be able to). And if you don’t have a futon, I bet you have an old hand-me down couch with a flower pattern and a few tears on it. But I mean, it does the job, right? No, no, NO – it is still not ok, and you should not settle. You see, the couch is the cornerstone of the living room. It is like what the CN Tower (or Drake) is to the 6ix; without it, there really isn’t anything interesting about the place (whoops, sorry TO). Ok, so back on track, rather than splurging on your non-fat, iced americano with one pump of vanilla, invest in a nice couch such as one from the AMAZING selection from Structube. Their couches are trendy, affordable and will suit anyone’s style! Seriously, these couches are amazing – and they are a Canadian brand! Check them out here, I’d seriously recommend it → Structube Couches
2. Framed Prints
There is nothing more satisfying than hanging up a beautiful photograph in a perfectly fitted frame- literally, nothing (at least in my opinion). In your first ‘real’ home it is so important to decorate your home by showing off your photos in nice frames, rather than your old, dingy university posters that have seen better days. Nobody wants to see the Friends poster on your walls (you know the one). So basic. However, make sure that whatever pictures you frame truly reflect who you are. Your pictures and artwork tell a story, so what you put up will reflect exactly who you are. Also, just because framing something may seem “fancy”, it doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. To stay low cost, I recommend finding vintage prints from a cool store, and then finding an inexpensive frame from Ikea to house it in- it can cost as little as $20 to do this! Framing your photos instantly creates a ‘wow’ factor for your home, and is SO simple to do. Check out some fun prints and frames here → Society6 Prints
3. A Nice Carpet
Call me crazy, but I consider this another staple of a nice living space. As I mentioned, your home is a reflection of who you are, so it will be worthwhile to cash-out a little on pieces such as this. A carpet will provide a base for the room (literally), and if you have a gross hardwood or old cat-pee covered carpet, this is the perfect thing to cover it up. Further, they are extremely customizable, for all of you worried about the carpet being too “boring”; playing around with different sizes, colours and textures CAN be fun (I promise). Overall, a carpet can tie everything in a room together, immediately taking an extremely mediocre room to that ‘wow’ factor level. Name another piece of furniture/decor that has the power to do that. I’ll be waiting here for your response. Carpets also DO NOT have to break the bank! Wayfair has some super trendy carpets at some CRAZY low prices. Stay tuned for their sales because that’s when the prices will literally go out of control. Take a look here → Wayfair Carpets
4. Real Lighting
We are not talking about string lights here, or as I like to call them, “house fire starters”. Not only are these things DANGEROUS if they aren’t attended to, but they are, to be
quite frank, FUGLY!! Sure, they were fine for your college dorm or student house, but in your first real house, you deserve real lighting. Seriously. One of the things that has stuck with me the most from taking a few architecture classes is the effect that lighting has on your mood. So, it is beyond important to invest in proper lighting to ensure your space is allowing you to be in the best mood possible, so that you can adult as best as you can. If possible, and your landlord allows you to, hire an electrician (or DIY, if you have that technical ability) to install a dimmer in the main spaces of your home. The right dimmed lighting can set the ~mood~ for the next time you bring your hot date over, or if you just want to watch a movie. Secondly, replace all the ugly blue lighting in your house with bulbs with a nice white/yellow tone. These tones will create a calm mood and won’t make your home feel like a warehouse. Some lighting elements I would personally recommend adding to your home are a nice table and floor lamp. Lamps can help showcase your design flare, and also provide a great alternative to the costs associated with installing overhead lighting. Check out some cool options here: West Elm Lamps
5. Your Personality
Last but not least, an important staple for your home is a good aesthetic that represents YOU. Regardless of all the advice I gave, your home is a reflection of yourself- so make it look that way. Utilize décor such as throw pillows, succulents, or a coffee table book- whatever will make your place more personable is critical to truly feeling at home. I know that my home is going to look like it came straight out of a 60s Scandinavian Furniture ad, so apologies in advance to my future roommates. At the end of the day, you are going to be the one spending the most time in the space so make sure you don’t just like it. Make sure you LOVE it.
Whether you are already living in your first real home in the city, or are on the last few months in your crummy student home, there you have it, a starting approach towards helping you shape up the best version of your first home from, yours truly, a washed-up Pier 1 Imports employee and HGTV junkie.
Aidan & the Zillennials
(PS- If you’re looking for more content, check out my Pinterest board for first apartments!)