Graduation season is here and that means it’s time for parties, punch, cake, countless family photos and an end to essays and exams. (Finally!) And while we’d like to take a moment to congratulate grads everywhere for finishing school, this is also a time to celebrate graduating into the “real world.” While adult life isn’t always as crazy and carefree as college or grad school, there are perks, such as finally living in an apartment that’s free from sticky floors, Craigslist couches or long waits for the shared bathroom.
Yet, when setting up your post grad apartment, remember to take the advice of your mentors and look towards the future. While it’s tempting to go the cheap and trendy route on big purchases, remember that the furniture you buy now will likely be what you schlep from place-to-place over the next several years. Do you really want stuff that might fall apart after a year’s use? Will that neon pink armchair even look good in your next apartment?
In order to stay flexible, save money and create an awesome environment that you love coming home to, here are our tips for furnishing your post-grad pad:
Embrace minimalism (a.k.a. don’t splurge on the small things)
When decorating, remember this: stay simple and buy smart. While those heart-shaped salt and pepper shaker sets, silicone muffin pans and ice pop molds might seem fun and useful now, they’ll likely be used once and then end up collecting dust in some cramped cupboard for years afterwards. Keeping a clutter-free apartment not only creates a less stressful and more manageable environment, but it makes it much easier to pack up and move if your career (or lease) demands it. Our advice? Make a shopping list for the household items you need and stick to it.
Invest in durable and high-quality larger pieces
Instead of spending your new earnings on lots of cheap, trendy and questionably sourced furnishings, put your money towards one or two well-built essentials—like a really great sofa or loveseat. Investing in a few top-notch, durable and stain-resistant pieces will ensure that you don’t have to keep replacing large items due to wear and tear. For instance, a Burrow two-seater loveseat is not only adorable, but it’s also excellent for studio apartments. For those with a little more space, Burrow’s sofa has enough room for everyone to spread out, including the cat. Burrow’s furniture is also affordable and shipped to you, which means more time to relax…or party.
Buy higher cost items in neutral, adaptable tones
When decorating an apartment, it’s tempting to buy flashy, eclectic and colorful furniture. Yet, while that bright purple couch or plaid chair may look cute in your first funky space, they may not jive so well in the design and color palate of your next place. In order to ensure that you don’t need to drop thousands of dollars on new furniture each time you sign a new lease, it’s best to buy larger items in easy-to-blend tones. Grays, tans, blues or even a deeper hue—like a sophisticated brick red—will be easy to build a design scheme around for years to come. Plus, if you buy fashionable, high-quality pieces, no sofa or armchair should need polka dots or busy patterns. The design should be able to speak for itself.
Use less expensive items to add flare
Even though it’s sensible to stick with the theme of “adaptable” when purchasing large items, that doesn’t mean that your post-grad apartment can’t be full of character and charm. There are lots of ways to get creative with your space through decorations and accessories. For example, forgo the youthful trope of tacking up posters on the wall and, instead, frame your favorite photos, prints or paintings for a more polished look. Pick out interesting curtains to help your rooms feel less bare. Decorative pillows with different colors and textures also make any living room or bedroom more fun. Hanging string lights from the ceiling or buying a couple of cool lamps creates a relaxed and welcoming ambience. These little touches will make your place unique, and can easily be replaced as your tastes change.
Above all else, keep it comfortable
After enduring dorm life and/or messy roommates, the thought of actually investing time, money and thought into an apartment is exciting. Yet, remember that post-grad years are filled with changes and new challenges. Thus, whatever choices you make for your first “adult” place, remember to keep a focus on comfort. As you get older, home may increasingly be your sanctuary, as well as the spot where you hang out with your loved ones. By choosing stylish but cozy furniture and creating a peaceful vibe, you’ll ensure that you have one less thing to stress about.