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You’re an Adult—It’s Time to Kick These 6 Things Out of Your Bedroom

updated May 17, 2020
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Credit: Hayley McCormick

If you’re living with roommates, chances are you spend a lot of time in your bedroom—especially under quarantine. Beyond being the place you put your head down at night, it’s likely the spot where you get work done, indulge in your favorite movies, or dive into your favorite books. So making this space feel as welcoming as possible is important.

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Unlucky for bedrooms, they often get the short end of the stick when it comes to decorating, since they’re less visible than living areas. That means it’s easy to fall back on “decorating” “tricks” from the teenage years, or let things go un-fixed forever. (You’ll get to it later, right? Same.)

But those tiny, easy-to-overlook things can hold you back—making your room look sloppier or feel less comfortable. That may have been OK a few years ago, but you deserve better! You’re an adult! Your bedroom should be a beacon of relaxation and comfort—and definitely should have things that work. Here are the six most egregious offenders—plus easy, affordable fixes to them that will take your space from kid- or teen-level to totally grown-up.

A pallet bed

Yes, they’re a slight upgrade from a mattress straight on the floor, but DIY pallet beds are no substitute for the real thing. Once considered a beacon of hipsterism—a trend within the movement toward minimalist design and recycled fashion—pallet beds aren’t comfortable, and as far as environmental impact goes… well, there are better ways to recycle (think: vintage bed frames). They provide far less support than a traditional boxspring and frame, and can contribute to sleepless nights and back pain. And while the idea of repurposing a shipping tool might seem environmentally-conscious, it’s potentially dangerous to bring them into your home (they’re often “exposed to water, all manner of vermin and insects, not to mention bird droppings and other nastiness,” one cabinet maker told Apartment Therapy.) You are an adult with an adult human body. You need a real bed. If you’ve got the room in your budget, consider instead buying from furniture companies that use recycled or reclaimed materials to source their creations, like Keetsa or Modish.

This doesn’t mean pallets can’t make great home DIYs, though. If you have a little balcony space, try repurposing them to create a vertical planter. And keep in mind that you don’t need a bed with a full headboard, either. Creative options for custom headboard alternatives abound, including woven hangings above the bed, or even a bit of wallpaper.

Dead or dying plants 

We get it: It’s hard to keep plants alive. But if you passed your egg-parenting assignment for health class in middle school, you can pass this, too. Neglecting plants at home doesn’t just look bad—it’s disrespectful to an organism that just wants to be happy.

If your greenery is dying left and right, it might be a sign that you just haven’t found the right plant for your bedroom. If your bedroom doesn’t get much natural light, for example, consider investing in a Chinese evergreen or a spider plant, both of which are low-maintenance and can tolerate low light. If you live in a basement or space that’s typically rather moist, an English ivy will thrive. The opposite is true for succulents, which can go weeks without watering and do better in drier environments, like rooms with space heaters. Do a bit of research to find the plant that works for you—and if your greenery is still turning brown at the end of the day, there’s no shame in going the artificial route. (The most adult trait of all is acknowledging and owning shortcomings—and faux plants still look good!)

Curtain-less windows 

Yes, plain blinds will do the trick when it comes to offering privacy in your space, but by themselves they make a room look a bit bare and uninviting. The look is more dorm room than design-savvy, and makes it look like you never really finished moving into your space. Hanging curtains—which you can do by yourself in an hour or two—can tie together your design scheme or make your room feel larger. Plus, that pulled together look definitely communicates, “I’m a grown up who owns a drill and cares about finishing touches.”

There are tons of great options, depending on your needs. Sensitive sleepers can get some extra shuteye with light-blocking blackout curtains. If you don’t have a ton of natural light, try a curtain that’s lighter in color or more sheer to make your room feel brighter and more open. Above all, make sure they fit your window; curtains that are even an inch too short will let in enough light to wake you up at sunrise every day. Measure the height and width of your window, plus the distance between the top of the window and the floor, before buying to ensure the right fit. And once your ideal curtains arrive, don’t take any risks: Hang them properly.

Broken dresser drawers

Let’s face it: You probably have insufficient closet space. Dressers are a great solve for that, but cramming too much stuff inside your drawers can lead to breaking or sticking. But regardless of how cheap or expensive their furniture is, adults take care of their stuff and don’t let broken things sit around. So it’s time to fix that!

The good news: this is an easy chore, and won’t take you long. First, remove the problem drawer and take a look around in its slot. Do any parts need replacing, or any screws are loose? If any metal pieces are bent out of shape, a pair of pliers is all you need to reposition them, and if a screw’s fallen out, a drill or screwdriver is all you need to put it back in. Splintered wood tracks might require a light sanding to help smooth them out. If a drawer is sticking, apply a lubricant to its tracks to help its slide in and out with grace. 

Lamps with bare bulbs or too-small shades

You may have picked up that lamp from the curb (and kudos to you, because that’s a smart way to outfit your home cheaply), but if it has a bare bulb or the wrong-sized shade, your lamp might like a busted hand-me-down. Add a properly-sized shade, though, and it looks like grown-up decor you added as a choice. And, for a modest price, a lampshade will warm up your room and help tie together your room’s color scheme. 

Before you get started, make sure you’re shopping for shades that will fit. As a general rule, a shade’s width should only be two times larger than the width of the base, and it should fall midway down the length of the lamp’s neck to keep it from swallowing up the base. Also, keep in mind that different bases have different fitters (the piece that connects the shade to the lamp), so check yours out before browsing.  

A ‘clothing chair’

This is a tough habit to break, but hear me out: The quickest, simplest way to feel like a grownup is to retire the “clothes chair” you have and hang the items so your clothing stays wrinkle-free. How easy is that?

Invest in a set of hooks (stick-on or permanent) on which to hang your favorite jackets every night. Or, make your own industrial clothing rack, like the one above. For scarves, hats, gloves, and other odds and ends, leave a pretty basket by your bedroom door to dump them in without guilt. With a bit of planning, it’s not hard to keep your bedroom design both convenient and easy on the eyes—and, of course, oh-so-grown up.