10 of the Best Decorating Lessons I Learned in My 20s

With my 30th birthday rapidly approaching, I’ve naturally been doing some major reflection. And in the spirit of looking back at everything I’ve learned in my 20s, I of course had to make note of all of the design-related tidbits I’ve gathered over the past 10 years, too.

Admittedly, some of these takeaways are simply notes to my future self , but hey, at least I’m trying to make progress.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 decorating lessons I learned in my 20s.

Stop Purchasing Coffee Mugs

Cozy living room with lit candle and coffee mug.
HOME AND SPIRIT

You don’t need another coffee mug—like, ever. Yes, they’re cute and full of fun designs and witty sayings, but you’ll realize that you only end up using the same handful each week anyway. Save yourself the cash, the cabinet space, and just stop buying ‘em.

Embrace Change

Soft neutral white bedroom with plants.
HOME AND SPIRIT

Your style will constantly evolve, not just because you love design, you’re always catching wind of new products, and swooning over all types of rooms, but because a change in preferences over time is natural. The pink and gold accessories of your early 20s may make you want to cringe now, but they brought you joy at a certain stage of your life, and that’s all that matters.

Save for a Splurge Piece

Large leather sofa with throw pillows and blanket.
THE HOUSE ON HILLSIDE LANE

In the long run, it’s more economically savvy and sustainable to buy the expensive item once rather than opt for the budget-friendly finds and replace them every few years—looking at you, cheap sofas and nightstands. So if it’s possible to wait a bit, you’re better off saving up for a durable piece that will last.

Rearrange Furniture for a Fresh Feel

Living room with wooden coffee table and pink candle.
ANN LIVING

Moving your furniture around can be a great way to make a space feel new and fresh without spending a dime. Just don’t drag your furniture across your apartment’s hardwood floors…or else.

Invest in a Good Rug

Soft neutral kitchen with jute rug.
HOUSE OF CHAIS

A good rug can majorly transform a space and add tons of personality to any room, no matter how small. It doesn’t need to be expensive to be chic and functional.

And Quality Bedding

Soft neutral bed with cane bedframe.
HOUSE OF CHAIS

Comfortable bedding makes everything better at the end of a long day. Linen sheets and duvet covers are 100 percent worth the investment.

Enjoy Single Living

A neutral bed with abstract art above.

Living alone is something to enjoy and celebrate—your circumstances will likely change in the not-too-distant future, so don’t waste the opportunity to design the bachelorette pad of your dreams. Fill the bathroom cabinets with all of your favorite beauty products, display your prized possessions freely, and enjoy the freedom of having an entire closet to yourself. It probably won’t last forever.

Let Your Style Grow

Soft pink pastel bedroom with wooden nightstand.
HOUSE OF HARVEE

Go ahead and change up your style a bit each time you move apartments. Not all spaces are meant to be decorated in the same way. Take your apartment’s unique physical features into account when deciding which items to feature.

Enhance Your DIY Skills

Painted teal dresser in traditional bedroom.
KAELYN GUERIN

A little DIY or IKEA hack can go a long way. Don’t be afraid to bust out that spray paint and revive a piece with good bones. You’ll be happy owning something that’s totally one of a kind but doesn’t break the bank.

Mix and Match Materials

Neutral bedroom with metal chandelier and wooden bedframe.
HOUSE OF HANES

Mix and match colors, metals, textures, and the like. A room should never be too uniform-looking, and it’s more fun to feature a range of items and styles anyway.