Transition Your Room From College To Grown-Up

by Sara Tardiff

You've finally done it: You graduated from college and managed to score a "real" job that pays you in actual money. Nothing makes the reality of adulthood set in quite like a grown-up job. Next step: Figuring out how to make your dorm room style more mature. For the past few years, you've probably been living in a dorm, an off-campus apartment, or your parents basement — whatever the case is, you've most likely been on a college budget that left little room for an interior design allowance. But don't worry, once you've graduated, it's not as hard as it seems to make your space a little more grown up.

If you were lucky enough to pick up a job just weeks after graduation, you hardly had any time to prep for this new and fairly foreign lifestyle. Being a working adult doesn't just mean being responsible for taxes, it also involves a level or organization and professionalism that should roll over into your private life. That can be pretty difficult to do when your living space isn't up to par. How do you know when your bedroom is too college-y? Hint: If you still have the same polka dot sheets you bought freshman year and a collection of tequila bottles on your bookshelf, it might just be time for an upgrade. If you fall into the latter category, then here are some tips to take your bedroom design style to the next level.

1. Consider Putting Up Some Real Art

Large Abstract Paintings, $159, Etsy

Assuming you're not in the market to start developing your modern art collection, there are some more affordable options out there to transition from your old posters. Try finding friends who went to art school and are selling their work, they're a great resource to begin with, because buying from them means supporting developing artists while still getting a decent bargain on a hand-crafted piece of art. The same goes for sites like Etsy — you can find amazing pieces that look sophisticated, but won't set you back too much financially.

2. Consider Color-Coding Your Closet

It might sound like a pretty Type A thing to do, but color-coding your wardrobe or organizing your closet begins with one very important step: cleaning out your closet. That is something every college grad should think about doing. There are only so many University Sweatshirts you can get away with taking up precious closet space. Organizing your clothes by color forces you to go through every single piece you own, and make some serious decisions about what stays and what goes. Plus, the final result looks super professional and cuts down on picking outfits in the morning!

3. Make Your Bed The Most Delicious Spot In Your Room

Magical Thinking Printed Woodblock Comforter, $139, Urban Outfitters

If you're working a nine to five job with after work drinks and events most nights, your bed will quickly become your new favorite spot. It will be where you decompress, relax, sleep, Netflix, Seamless; you know, the important stuff. Therefore, you want to make it the coziest place to come home to. If you're going to invest in your room in any major way, make sure it's on a mattress pad to make your bed extra soft, a new super-soft comforter, and tons of extra blankets and pillows.

4. Amp Up Your Book Collection

You might be done with school, but the whole learning thing never really seems to stop. Being well-read can help you in so many different aspects of your life, with work being one of them. So, stay sharp by building up your bookshelf and filling any literary gaps you might have in your collection. Thrift stores are book nerd favorites — seriously, you can get copies of classics for 10 cents. Surround yourself with beautiful books because they're both aesthetically pleasing and good for your brain. Hint: You have to you actually read them.

5. Remember That Nothing Says "Adult" Like A Freakish Amount Of Candles

Mini Capri Blue Volcano Jar Candle, $12, Anthropologie

Candles are obviously pretty awesome for a number of reasons: 1) They create a very chill atmosphere. Adults love chill atmospheres. 2) Grown up houses are supposed to hit you with a wall of delicious scents the second you walk in. Other than being in a perpetual state of baking cakes, candles are the mature way to achieve this goal. As long as you choose scents that complement each other rather than clash, you'll be on your way to creative a relaxing environment for yourself and guests.

6. Make Your Desk More Functional

I don't know about you, but throughout college my desk has had many functions: makeup station, beer pong table, and dirty-clothes-storage-space. Not much studying actually went down there. Now that it's time to be a little more grown up, it is important to take advantage of that kind of space — especially when you have to bring work home. It's been proven that sitting up straight for short periods can make you feel more productive, so give yourself a cool, calm place to get some work done. Stock it with a desktop calendar to easily access important dates, plenty of office supplies, and a comfortable chair cushion or furry throw.

7. Buy Something To Nurture

Geometric Air Plant Holder, $18, Etsy

No, not a puppy. A plant or even a goldfish will do. Just something to bring a little life to your space and make you invest a little time in it. Having a plant is proven to purify the air in your space — plus plants make for a much brighter, happier environment. Just make sure you buy ones that are difficult to kill. Cacti or aloe plants, perhaps?

Images: Courtesy Brands (4); bohohabit, giibooks, bethany.burt/Instagram