Think about every place you’ve ever lived; from your bunk bed at overnight camp many moons ago to your last college dorm room, there was something uniting about all your past abodes. And, even though living on your own for the first time might feel foreign, if not a bit terrifying, there are tricks to make it feel like home in no time.
The first shortcut is incorporating the familiar with the new; just because you’re on your way to a new future doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten your past. One item I’ve had with me since my freshman year of college is a print of Midsummer’s Eve, a painting by Edward Robert Hughes. I can’t explain why I love it so; it’s just always struck an emotional chord with me. Accordingly, I’ve always hung it above my bed. Thinking about it now, without it, I don’t think a bedroom could ever feel like mine.
During my many moons on this earth, I’ve also become a bit of a pack rat, collecting post cards from beaches and hostels, and photos from everywhere in between. My first day away from home, I took out every familiar thing I had and instinctively made a collage. In the years since, it’s become my surefire new-place survival guide. I add to the collection yearly, and make a new design every place I go, fitting my mood of the moment. True, sometimes a few pictures have to sit one out, but on the whole the images remain constant, reminding me where I’ve been and where I want to go. Now that I’m living in a non-college apartment, I wanted my security blanket to have a more adult feel (yes, yes irony), so I’ve upgraded by adding a frame.
Moving into the living room, when I moved into my first college apartment, using a sheet as a pseudo slipcover over my sofa was considered by friends a thrifty idea. Now, thrifty had morphed into cheap. Yet, correcting that lapse was easy enough, merely by buying a cute slipcover. Suddenly, the sofa is a furniture piece– not just a place to eat pizza while watching Grey’s Anatomy.
As for other tips, have a housewarming party. Make your place feel lived in. Like new shoes, an apartment takes some time to break in. So, take a deep breath. Better, take a seat on that newly slipcovered sofa. Make yourself a drink. Finally, get your mother’s voice out of your head—it’s okay to put your feet up on the coffee table. It’s your home, and you’ve earned it.