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7 things you need to do to your house when you become a full-blown adult

As a 33-year-old woman who spent many years working in the home and design industry, I’ve been on the receiving end of good-natured ribbing from my interior design friends more than once. Why? Because although I’m a full-blown adult and have been for quite some time, my home hasn’t always reflected as much. I needed to transform my house to reflect the stage of life I was in — adulthood.

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In my defense, I moved around a lot prior to having kids. And while I always admired the looks of my friends’ homes that were decidedly grown-up and put-together, I’m what you might call a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants person — I didn’t put a lot of thought into what went into my house beyond my immediate needs or whims.

Over the last few years, however, I’ve begun heeding the advice of those design-wise friends. I’ve been trying to decorate with intention. Mostly I’ve been trying to do the things we all should do to our houses when we become full-fledged grown-ups. Much to my surprise, transforming my home from wasn’t the giant uphill battle I was expecting and the results have been pretty incredible.

Here are a few of those I’ve figured out along the way (with a little help from my friends).

1. Get some honest-to-goodness window coverings

Image: Driftwood Beveled Reed Weave Bamboo Roman Shade from The Home Depot

Trust me when I say I’m as guilty as the next person of putting proper window treatments on the back burner. But the right window coverings can lend the perfect finishing touch to a space, not to mention offer much needed privacy. Do yourself a favor — hang up some actual curtains or shades. No, that old king-size sheet set most definitely does not count. It’s time to put them to pasture, my friend.

2. Buy the kind of bed your parents would approve of

Image: Flickr/John Zacherle

I’m not saying you have to copy Mom and Dad’s style per se. You’re a grown person, and you’ll do as you please. However, if you are over the age of 30 and there is still a futon in your home anywhere other than a child’s playroom, it’s probably time to get your grown-up booty into a bed store, posthaste. Not only will having your bed on an actual frame make you feel like you’ve got your life together, but your back will be eternally grateful for a real mattress.

More: How to buy furniture — 11 savvy secrets from decorators

3. Find a logical place for all of your, well, stuff

Image: Flickr/Katie

We’ve all got it. Stuff. Things. Clutter. By the time we all get around to becoming adults, we’ve managed to accumulate quite a bit of it. Sometimes it’s in the form of things we use and need, like books. Sometimes it’s decorative items that lend character to a space. Either way, it will look much better sitting on a nice bookshelf or tucked into a charming trunk than littering every surface or trying to escape the narrow confines of the multiple “junk” drawers you now have (that can’t just be me, right?). Clean out the items you no longer need, and then organize the rest.

4. Invest in an area rug to tie everything together

Image: Gwendolyn Blue Shadow 8 ft. x 11 ft. Geometric Area Rug from The Home Depot

A rug feels great underfoot, protects your floors in high-traffic areas and can tie a room together aesthetically. What are you waiting for? Pick up one that is large enough that the front legs of the furniture in the room rest on the rug, if possible. The first time I took the plunge and purchased an oversize area rug, I was honestly amazed at how much impact it made in the space.

5. Hang something on your walls (besides a poster)

Image: Flickr/Belal Khan

Or at the very least, buy a nice frame and some matting, and jazz up said poster. We’re all grown-ups now, right? Our walls should no longer look like throwbacks to the thumbtack-and-poster era of our youth. Personally, I’m partial to canvas paintings, but the sky is really the limit. An artful grouping of shadowboxes, a collection of black-and-white family photos or even a found architectural object can add interest and depth to your walls.

6. Add some greenery

Image: Flickr/Amy

There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with high-quality faux plants. If you travel a lot or truly have a black thumb, they might be the most practical option. Every grown-up home should have a little green, though, and you get bonus grown-up points if that greenery comes in the form of real plants. It’s lovely to nurture something. Plus, plants improve the quality of indoor air naturally!

7. Map out an escape route

Image: Flickr/Ant & Carrie Coleman

Here’s the thing: This is pretty straightforward and absolutely something you should have handy if you’re an adult of the parental variety. Store your fire extinguisher somewhere easily accessible. Have a first aid kit on hand. Take a few minutes to come up with an escape route should something catastrophic occur. Fingers crossed the day never comes, but — oh dear, I sound just like my mother — you really can’t be too careful where your safety is concerned.

More: Fire safety in your home should be a priority in 2016

This post was sponsored by The Home Depot.

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