When you're approaching 30, all sorts of things go through your mind. One of them is where or how you’re nesting. I've always loved finessing and investing in my home surroundings, and generally speaking, I would say that timeless home decor is my go-to. But without telling my age, what I will say is that when the big 30 was coming up, even I was doing a lot of looking around my rental, worrying "How do I prepare for this?" and essentially, "how do I get my s*** together?"
Whether you have a small studio to yourself or a room in a huge apartment, your space, at any age, should be a firm part of your support system and it really deserves your time.
So post-celebrations, in that first month or so of stepping into what is a period of true adulting, I did a lot of reassessing of my space. I considered what I loved about it and what I felt needed to work harder for me, both aesthetically and functionally.
6 adult home decor essentials
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As well as a bulk order of collagen supplements and Sunday Riley Good Genes Serum (opens in new tab), I happened to buy six items for my home that year. I still have and appreciate all of these things, because they are proving to be timeless and continue to serve my 30-something-year-old self pretty well.
If you rent, you’re almost always sitting on someone else’s couch. If it’s comfy you’ve done well, but if it's not, it’s actually just a pain. I love leather couches and as I couldn’t afford a new one at the time, I took frequent deep dives on Facebook Marketplace and eventually found a cute small leather armchair for $60. It makes my space — even though I share it — feel like my own, and the leather finish definitely made me feel like I was stepping up my interiors game.
Saying that, if you do want to bring in a little leather seat to your lounge space or even just squeeze a chair into a corner of a tiny bedroom without blowing your budget, this Wayfair pick is pretty reasonable and gives perfect '70s vibes. Bobby Berk also recommends a couch as a prime investment in your thirties, just sayin'.
If there is one thing that can change up the entire look and feel of a rented (or any) space, it’s lighting. I shout about "layered lighting" whenever I can because it legit works. In your 20s, it’s all too easy to make lazy decor decisions, especially if you’re a WFHer. But let's get real, a desk lamp never cuts it on your nightstand, and there are so many more aesthetically cool options out there to help perk up a space. I went with a floor lamp and have always enjoyed its subtle brilliance. It adds dimension to my room and brightens the space without turning on the big light.
This floor lamp from Target is super cute, especially if you want a little directional light for reading when you're sitting in that leather chair of yours. Plus, it is sans wires, which is an awesome bonus for a clean finish.
I’ve always always had a favorite coffee cup (who doesn't), but over the years I had accumulated my fair share of mismatched crockery that was padded out with generic IKEA picks from rentals past. Honestly, it's just not a look. Not to mention, a couple of years ago Berk outed too much mismatching at 30 as not okay. Quote: "They also make dining a lot less visually appealing." So when a couple of bright green highball glasses caught my eye, I was like hey why the hell not. And that started a new trend of investing in cute, matching kitchenware that I would gladly carry with me to my next home.
Honestly, even if it’s just two matching martini glasses or a couple of ceramic-glazed serving plates, it will make all the difference when you invite friends over. Retro cocktail sticks will get you extra points, too.
My journey with wall decor is never ending, but when I hit thirty, a great friend got me an awesome print rightly named “Croissant” by a London-based artist called Henriette (opens in new tab). It’s a piece that I honestly do not think I would have got myself, and it gave my space THE best boost of energy. It gets a ton of compliments to this day, and it definitely pushed me to explore and experiment with more playful artwork in my surroundings.
I'm into this poppy print from PSTR studio and can see it livening up a hallway or lonely bedroom corner pronto.
As not-so-subtly implied, I have been forever obsessed with out-of-budget skincare products, and it was never out of the ordinary to end the week on noodles following an impulse lipstick buy. In a similar vein, a lot of my cosmetics would live sprawled out on the floor in front of my mirror a little too often. At this VIP moment of my life, I figured it was probably time to actually organize this beautiful mess. So I picked up some caddies — a couple of small ones for lipstick and the bigger one for face masks, lotions, and potions. These are easy to slide into bathroom cupboards, too, which makes for good organization and perfect adulting efforts.
Is there anything better than sinking your toes into a cozy rug? Not really. A good rug is essential if you rent as it adds more personality to your room, tones down sound in noisy apartments, and covers ugly flooring if that's an issue (it's almost always an issue.)
Ruggable has great washable options, and I personally bought a Persian rug. I love the colors, find they are pretty timeless, and you can find some cool materials that can be thrown in the washing machine. This is eternally helpful if you think you'll keep yours in a communal space, or if like me, you have a cat!