There’s nothing like having a place of your own – somewhere you can wander around in just your socks without anybody caring, spend all day playing computer games by yourself, or hang out with friends and impress potential romantic interests. However, most places look dull when you first move into them, and when you’ve been there a while, they can start feeling stale. You don’t have to put up with that. Give your home a makeover – you’ll be glad you did.
Making a statement
The first thing a lot of us do when moving into a new place is to put up some posters so that it reflects who we are – but decorating doesn’t have to stop here. Getting creative with paint or even wallpaper is easier than you might think and there are lots of great colours and exciting designs you can get these days. Strip away those frumpy old curtains and fix up some shutters at the windows to let in more light so you can enjoy your work – they’re also great for cutting out the light completely when you want to watch films or you just have a really bad hangover. For artificial light, consider investing in LED bulbs that let you dim the lights or even change their colour using a remote control. Finally, when you want to add things to the walls, don’t limit yourself to what you see in the shops – it doesn’t cost much to get any image you find online blown up to giant size, so be creative.
Smart and convenient
One of the best things about having your own pad is being able to set things up just the way you want them so that everything useful is easily at hand and other things are tucked out of the way. Getting the right storage is a big help with this. You’re bound to need shelving, but it’s also useful to have things like ottomans and stylish wooden storage boxes that are strong enough to sit on, so you can combine storage with extra seating for parties. When it comes to seats, it’s worth looking at futons and chair beds rather than just standard furniture, to make things easier when your friends need to crash. Beanbags can also be fun and are easy to sling out of the way when they’re not needed.
Making more of your space
First homes are usually not very big, and that’s fine when you’re on your own, but finding ways to double up on space gives you a lot more options. For instance, if you need a desk to work at, that’s usually fine for eating too, but being able to fold it out into a larger table is handy when you have friends round to share a meal or play a card game. If you enjoy cooking and find it more fun with all the latest gadgets, getting a rack you can lower from the ceiling gives you a lot more room to store them. If you’re living in an older building with high ceilings, building a mezzanine level to sleep on is a great space saver and a lot of fun – you can find tutorial videos online, and it’s quite simple to do.
Pleasing your parents
Let’s face it – no matter how much you want this to be your personal space, run according to your own rules, sooner or later your mum is going to come round looking for something to complain about. Even if you’re doing your own laundry and you really don’t need the food parcels, she’ll try to make herself useful, and if she starts tidying, she’ll dump half your stuff. To avoid this, you need to convince her that your pad is clean. Mums are eagle-eyed so superficial tidying won’t cut it. Instead, polish up the kitchen and bathroom until they sparkle. Clear all tables and similar surfaces, and stack things like books and CDs that you don’t have shelving for in neat piles. Straighten up all the furniture, air the house and brew a pot of coffee to create a clean, fresh aroma. This will help create the illusion that everything is much cleaner than it is.
Freshening up your pad is a chance to get creative and build in lots of shortcuts that will make long-term maintenance easier. It’s a chance to pick up new skills and have a lot of fun doing so. When you’re done, your pad will feel like home, and anyone who knows you will see at a glance that it’s yours.