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Decorating tips for a twentysomething: how to stay inside the lines while representing your style
October 4, 2008 - Bethany Fehlinger and Marjorie Stromberg
As a "twentysomething" — just out of college and beginning my life as a working adult — my closet is going through various changes. I've given away most of the clothes I wore in college, most of which I also wore in high school. I'm trading them in for more "young adult" savvy attire: longer skirts, blouses and less crazy-looking jewelry. Even though I'm someone who's always been interested in fashion, I'm kind of surprised my closet, and my sense of style, would go through such changes. I've found the same to be true when it comes to decorating.
One of the biggest challenges I've run into deals with age-appropriate decor. Now that my furniture is bought, put together and arranged appropriately, it is time to concentrate on decor. Even before I bought my furniture I had decided on a bright and colorful scheme for my apartment, mostly shades of pink to complement my personality and style. As a 23-year-old, I know my apartment should match my unique style, but at the same time I want it to look classic. When picking out art, mirrors, throw pillows and lamps, my initial instincts tell me to go for the cute pink ribbons and bows, but then I try to imagine those ribbons and bows with me three years down the road. Sure, they're cute and they represent who I am, but will I like them in two years? Are they cute for a 25-year-old? Or a 27-year-old? These are the questions I face. I want my apartment to stand out and be unique, but I also want people to know I am a young professional.
So I've decided the solution for this decorating dilemma is to still pick out things I will like and enjoy, but also be practical. A lot of the stuff I'm buying today I will want to keep for many years. Like my closet and developing wardrobe, I still will focus on things I like and things that represent who I am, but I also will take into consideration that I am a young adult and I want people to take me seriously.
Although it can be tricky, there are many ways to buy things for your apartment that represent your style and also make you look like a respected, young professional. If you love the color pink, like me, you don't have to shy away from it. Focus on small pink accents, like throw pillows or flowers. Too much pink will bring you back to your teeny-bopper days, but just the right amount will not only add color but add personality. Avoid using too much color for large areas, such as for furniture or rugs. This can result in the color losing its appeal. You don't want to be overwhelmed by color, you want it to be subtle and pleasantly surprising.
For other decor, such as wall art that includes shelves, ledges, clocks and mirrors, stay with the color scheme of your apartment. It's best to stick with neutral colors because they're more likely to match your next few apartments or houses. If you're going to place picture frames on wall shelves or ledges, it's best to have the shelves and ledges match the color of the wall. That way, it won't take away from the actual picture frame you are displaying. If you plan on putting a floral arrangement on a shelf or ledge, also stick with the color of the wall. The floral arrangement will add enough color. Both a colorful ledge and a colorful floral arrangement is too confusing. You want your guests to be able to focus on a few things at a time and enjoy them, not get dizzy from too much color.
For wall clocks and mirrors, it can be confusing. You certainly don't want them to look dull, but again, if they're too bright, they take away from their actual purpose. I have always been one for funky mirrors with crazy designs. I think this is OK if the mirror is in an area of your apartment that doesn't already have a lot going on. A perfect way to spice up a plain wall is by adding one or more mirrors. My mom always has the right idea when displaying mirrors. She takes a plain wall near or in an entryway and adds around five or seven little mirrors, all with different designs and patterns, but mostly the same color. I think guests are pleasantly surprised when they walk in and see a unique collection of mirrors.
If you're going to do something like a mirror collection, make sure the items are a combination of vintage and contemporary styles. Your purchases should come from a variety of places such as flea markets, yard sales and furniture stores. That way, you'll have a very unique collection that nobody will expect.
Whether it's a bright green throw pillow to complement a black couch, or a mirror collection to add flavor to a dull wall, when it comes to decor, the owner knows best what will make him or her happy and comfortable. Just remember though, for decorating for personality as well as age, you want to please your guests when they visit. Using too much color or crowding your walls can be overwhelming and take away from the look you're trying to represent, which is that you have a unique style, but you're also a young adult.
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Focus on small color accents, like throw pillows or flowers. Too much pink will bring you back to your teeny-bopper days, but just the right amount will not only add color but add personality.