When you were a kid, it seemed easy to put your own stamp on a place. You’d put your favorite toys here, your favorite books there. You’d hang up posters and prints, and you’d ask for a certain kind of wallpaper or border. Done! These days, though, things don’t always seem so simple. As you perfect the space that you live in as an adult, you’re going to feel the pressure to keep things “classy.” You’re going to want to follow the interior design best practices and tips that you read in magazines, and you’re going to want your space to look like those fancy, unattainably neat interiors that you’re always seeing on Instagram.
And, actually, all of that makes sense. Of course you want your space to be beautiful and look functional and mature! But here’s the thing: creating a beautiful space worthy of your day-to-day adult life does not have to mean sacrificing the fun sort of individuality that you loved to express as a kid. It’s possible to have your cake and eat it, too, and it all starts with customizing your decor.
Make things personal
When the experts shoot fancy-looking bedrooms and living rooms for Instagram or Pinterest, they create spaces that appeal to lots and lots of people. What they don’t do is make spaces that look like they belong to specific people. You won’t see a lot of books in those interiors, much less personal photographs.
For your personal space to feel lived-in and comfortable, you need to do the opposite. You need to put your favorite books on your shelves (or in other creative displays), display your favorite collectibles and decorations, and display and hang up photographs that show you, your friends, your family, or your favorite places — or artwork that was created by you or your loved ones.
Don’t limit yourself. You can hang things on the wall that were never designed to be decorations — there is no law against creative decorating! When you pick out pieces that are truly you, you can get decor that nobody else will have.
Make things look nice
Is that all there is to it? Of course not — if that were the case, you’d still be decorating your spaces in the freewheeling way that you did when you were a kid. But you feel like a space should be a bit more refined than that, right? Well, not to be a downer, but you’re right.
It takes a bit of thought and a bit of work to make things look nice, but it’s worth it. You’re an adult now. You wouldn’t be truly comfortable or relaxed in a space that looks like it was decorated sloppily. You want a grown-up space, and it’s a good thing to make your space look mature and elegant. Here’s how to do it.
You need to be judicious about how you select your display pieces, for starters. Vintage stuff looks great; brand-new knickknacks and toys may look like things you simply left out and forgot about. How you arrange your things matters, too, of course, especially if you’re using non-traditional items as decor. If your decor looks deliberate, people will realize that it is decor — and not just clutter!
Let’s talk about those wall hangings, too. Do they look good? You’ll want to frame your personal photos or — better yet — transform them into one-of-a-kind prints on elegant materials such as canvas. It’s very affordable to print to canvas these days, so there’s no reason not to create a custom piece of art to hang on your wall.
Find your balance
Ultimately, interior design is a type of design that has an express purpose. That purpose is to make your space better, of course. So if you like your space, there’s a good chance that it’s doing what it needs to do! If you think your space balances personality with appearance in the right way, then that’s all you need.