At what point can you start calling yourself an adult? Is it when you finally get a job that feels more like a career? The first time you get approved for a mortgage? Or do you have to wait until you have your first child to start feeling like a grown-up?

The concept of “adulthood” has become so hazy that it’s practically a myth. Maybe you’ve just passed the 30 mark, but you don’t really feel like an adult. Even so, like most of us, you’re probably trying to at least fake it.

But then you look at your apartment and think to yourself, “This doesn’t look that different from my college dorm room.” You have one couch that was left behind by a former roommate and a coffee table that was originally a crate. You’re surrounded by the cheapest furniture money can buy while the walls are covered in posters, and you still drink out of plastic cups.

Ok, maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe you have great taste, but you’re not exactly swimming in disposable income because times have changed, and it’s hard out there. You’re doing your best. At the same time, you might be asking yourself, “How am I supposed to feel like an adult when I live in a place that screams immaturity?”

Well, actually, you don’t need a lot of money to make your apartment look more grown-up. You just need to start with a few small changes and then take it one step at a time. It can take years to find ways to settle into a space that feels “mature” but also reflects who you are as a person. You’ll get there. Don’t worry.

So, are you ready to enter this new phase in your life? Do you want to make your apartment look like you have all figured out even though you only know how to cook three dishes and you still have to call your parents for tax advice?

No matter how tight your budget is right now, we have you covered.

Start With the Bathroom

We know that the bathroom isn’t seen as the heart of a home, but it’s often a give-away for fake adults. Imagine that you go visit a friend. Their living room looks put together. The kitchen is tidy. In fact, so tidy that you doubt they ever use it, but you don’t want to make assumptions. Then you go to the bathroom and discover they don’t have hand towels and instead use beach towels.

The toilet paper isn’t placed on the paper dispenser. Instead, it sits on top of the tank, alongside empty rolls they couldn’t be bothered to throw away, and a stack of paper napkins with Christmas decorations that you can only assume is their alternative for when they forget to buy toilet paper. But again, you don’t want to make assumptions.

Would you be impressed? Sure, you’d feel relieved that others are also struggling the same way you are, but you wouldn’t feel impressed.

And that’s why you should start with the bathroom. First of all, get proper towels. You can’t feel like an adult if you’re drying off with a towel that has smiling dolphins on it.

You’ll also want to make sure your bathroom is clean and well-stocked. You can get a basket to store extra toilet paper and invest the 30 seconds it takes to place the new roll on the dispenser. As for the soap, you just need to buy one of those fancy looking bathroom accessory sets that can make any cheap brand of soap you might be using look expensive. And that’s it! Just a few very affordable changes, and your bathroom looks like an adult is using it. Now you can move on to the rest of the apartment.

The Living Room

After you’ve finished “adulting” your bathroom, it’s time for phase two – the living room.

You can start by decluttering. It’s amazing of clearing the piles of clutter from your living room can turn it from a place that looks perfect for frat house parties to a homey space. Most adults are not less prone to creating clutter. They’ve simply perfected the art of disguising it. In other words, you need storage.

In your early 20s, storage meant the cheap plastic laundry basket, plastic storage bins, and MDF bookshelves. Now it’s time to up your game a little with real wood furniture and high-quality storage baskets.

At this point, you might be thinking that you can’t afford it. You can always get storage items at thrift stores for a fraction of the price, and while you’re there, you might even be lucky enough to stumble upon a fancy dresser or a gorgeous coffee table.

As for your hand-me-down couch, goodbyes are hard, but nobody said growing up is easy. It has to go. When it comes to the living room, you’ll want to invest in a couple of high-quality statement pieces, and your couch should be one of them. If your budget is a little tight, you can look for lease to own furniture.

Since we mentioned your posters in the introduction, how about you peel them off the walls and put them in a nice frame. Again, they don’t have to be expensive, but they’ll make the room look more thought out. You get bonus points if you buy some actual wall art from a thrift store.

One more thing and the room will be complete. Get yourself a house plant. If you feel up to it, maybe even a couple. Nothing says I’m an adult better than showing you have the capacity you can keep something other than yourself alive. If you don’t have a green thumb, it’s not a problem because there are lots of plants that require very little maintenance, such as aloe, jade, and spider plants.

If you decide to get fake plants instead, at least make sure that you keep them well-dusted, or everyone will know you’re cheating.

Upgrade Your Sleep Situation

The next step is to get your mattress off the floor or whatever super-cheap metal frame it’s currently on and move it on a proper bed frame where it belongs. If you can afford it, you could even get a whole bedroom set that matches. If not, that’s ok. You’re making steps in the right direction.

Instead, you can buy a headboard and a set of bedside tables. Add some white sheets, and your bedroom will really start to look more polished. Part of being an adult is making sure you get good quality sleep so you can be productive. Just remember to make your bed in the morning.


Author's Bio: 

Cynthia Madison