The places we call home in our early twenties tend to have us working in small spaces. This is a time when you are still in dorm rooms, first apartments, or living back in your parents’ house. No matter the location, this usually means one room that you get to call your own (if that!), as you’ll probably be sharing living, cooking, and restroom space with friends, family, significant other, and/or roommates for the foreseeable future, even if you work like a crazy person to get your own place. This begs the question, how do you turn a single room into your own safe-haven; a place that makes you feel at home?
The key I’ve found comes down to making the most out of your space. For one, keeping it clean or at least tidy! A small space is just that: small, so the more floor space visible not only makes the room feel and look bigger, but gives you more space to walk around or hang out in. As part of saving that floor space, you have to really think about the furniture you bring in. At home in the valley, this meant I couldn’t have a vanity—no floor or wall space that didn’t completely block the door. Instead, I built my own which saved space and time fighting over my turn in the bathroom.
When it comes to decorating your walls, it’s all about balancing simplicity with personal touches that make a room speak to your personality. For some this can mean a collage of photos on pin boards or hanging in frames, while others use art from their favorite professional artists or their own. In my room in London, making my own didn’t mean creating so much as creating both essential storage space as well as add interest to my plain white walls. Using sticky hooks that can be found almost anywhere (in the US, at least), I hung up three hats and all my necklaces. For me it’s a design that gives my room a personal touch and it’s handy to know exactly where everything is and not have to hunt and entangle, which happens a lot with jewelry!
Like I said and hinted before with clutter, it’s all about storage space: making it and using it to the best of your abilities. Overcrowding, whether on your walls or in the room in general, is not your friend and gives the allusion of being too small to contain everything. It’s the same with clutter. Keeping some of the flat surfaces flat will allow for breathing room.
Finally, if you feel a need to change things, go for it! Bring in a plant (but take care of it or get something fake!) when you find yourself missing spring or warmer weather. Change up your art if your taste changes, or swap out pictures. Your room to really feel like home should grow with you. Just remember, when things go up, they shouldn’t just add—it’ll become too much. Do a swap and see where you can store your older stuff is you need a change up later. Maybe swap art with a friend when your room starts to feel stale. That’s an easy change up and, what’s even better, it costs you nothing.