When we’re young, home decor means stringing together an eclectic mix of pieces from Craigslist, friends, family, and low-cost big box stores. And we can all pretty much form a timeline of those big adult events through our evolving series of homes.
Like the IKEA couch you splurged on after you got your first post-college job or the higher-end mattress you bought after that major raise, our furniture tells a story—and each new purchase is almost like a rite of passage for adulthood.
But as you age, so should your space. We’re not saying you have to dump all of your decor tomorrow, but when you soar from your twenties into your thirties, there are certain items that shouldn’t come along for the ride. Luckily, there are plenty of small changes that will make your home a little more mature without spending a lot of money.
Here are eight pieces you shouldn’t take with you into your thirties:
Unless you’re in college, movie posters are a strong no-go. It’s totally okay if your favorite movie of all time is “Terminator 3,” but that doesn’t mean it deserves a spot on your wall. The same goes for unframed prints haphazardly held up with tape or Command strips. Now that you’re an adult, invest in a few sets of frames, rip down those cheap posters and make your space feel like a place where you’ll want to entertain.
Unless you’re going for a boho-chic look, you’re old enough to buy an actual set of dishes. If your cabinets look like a thrift store shelf, it’s time to purge. You can find affordable matching dinnerware sets that will instantly upgrade your next dinner party. Not only will a matching set make your kitchen look cohesive and well-designed, but it may even inspire you to embrace your inner Julia Child and spend more time cooking and less time eating out.
When you’re young and broke, all you care about is having a place to sit and sleep. But now that you’re a little more stable, it’s time to ditch that second-hand couch with gouges down the back. Sure, you can hide coffee table scratches with books and prop up wobbly tables, but you deserve an upgrade. Donate those pieces that just aren’t living their best life anymore and invest in furniture you can hold on to for years to come.
Even if you consider yourself a bibliophile, there are likely far more used books in your home that you’ll ever need. In your 20s you amass endless books—gifts from friends, used book sale purchases—but after you’ve read that bestselling paperback, it’s time to donate it to someone else. Take a note from Marie Kondo and get rid of all those books that you’ll never read again. Not only can books add clutter, but they’re incredibly heavy and tedious to move around, making your next relocation or renovation all the more tiresome.
When you’re 18, Christmas lights in July seem chic and cool, but when you’re 32 they’re just a little lazy. Instead of cheap lighting that does no one any favors, invest in higher quality lamps. Not only will a pretty lamp make your space feel more expensive and modern, but the right light bulb can really brighten up a space. Figure out whether you want LED or warm lighting in your home and change out bulbs that don’t flatter your decor. If you’re lacking natural light, invest in a sun lamp that can mimic the light from outside.
Whether you’ve accumulated them for free from Target or you’re used to buying packages of cheap plastic hangers, it’s time to upgrade. A good hanger will not only keep your clothes neat and pressed, but your closet gets an instant upgrade when all of the hangers are uniform. Look for wooden or metal hangers all in the same color.
Again, we totally dig the whole minimalist look, but it’s time to put a little bit of effort into your wall decor. Bare walls can make your home feel unfinished and cold. The good news is artwork doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are many places online where you can find free, printable wall art to create your own gallery wall. If you’re feeling adventurous, plan a date night and create your own DIY abstract art prints with colors that suit your decor palette.
Sure, the boho look is in, but gone are the days when it’s acceptable to sleep on a mattress on the floor. Transition this too-broke-for-ramen decor choice of your early twenties for the slightly more mature option of the platform bed. Thanks to the wonders of sites like Amazon, you can buy a simple platform bed for little more than a dinner out, and you don’t even need a box spring. Look for a low-profile bed with slats, and you can easily take that mattress off the ground and into adulthood. If you’re short on space (and dressers), you can even find an affordable bed that doubles as storage.