We’ve made it.

Moving season has come to a close in Boston, and thank goodness Allston Christmas is in the rearview. If most of your boxes have been broken down and you’ve made it through the relocation without contracting bed bugs, you did really well this year.

Now that the worst is behind you, it’s time to look around and assess what to do with your new living space before you can really settle. Boston is known for its countless college apartments, small, overpriced spaces, and lovely, outdated charm.  Here are a few tips to make your new apartment feel homey and chic and look like you’re not a full-time college student (even if you are).


  1. Whether you’re in the market to buy all new tableware or merging shot and pint glasses with a few roommates, investing in a nice matching set of plates and bowls is really inexpensive. Being able to set your table with matching sets of plates really shows off to dinner guest that you’re a grown up. I also love adding a few decorative items to your kitchen to give it some charm. Anthropologie will have everything you need for this and more.
  2. Kitchen storage can be tough in some old Boston apartments. If you don’t have a pantry to hide all your nonperishables in, consider investing in some pretty storage containers that show off how much quinoa and almonds you own. (These are the types of things adults brag about.)

Unless you are very lucky, the bathroom is probably the smallest room in your home – but that actually makes it the easiest to decorate. With just a few nice items, you can make your bathroom go from locker room to powder room.

  1. A super easy add with a big impact is a soap dispenser. Not only is this more eco-friendly, but it will make even run-down bathrooms look substantially nicer. It’s the little things.
  2. It costs only a little bit more, but if you want to really upgrade, spring for a cloth shower curtain. Yes, you will have to also get a liner, but that $3 investment is just part of growing up.
  3. This applies to all small rooms, but each piece matters a lot, so be careful with what you’re choosing. One cheap, ratty shower mat can really bring down the room, especially if it’s a mismatch. Also, while you’re at it, throw a plant in there too. Air plants are great and will sit in any little dish or bowl, will not need dirt, and drink the moisture in the air from your shower.

  1. This is the most personal part of your home. It’s important to love your bed, so don’t skimp on warm blankets and good pillows. Apart from that, give yourself a clean and serene space. Invest in one nice dresser than can hold a lot. In Boston, you’re actually pretty lucky if you can fit more than a bed and dresser in your room, but even if you have the space, be careful not to over-fill it.
  2. Treat yourself to a clean dresser top. Don’t be scared to decorate it, but don’t use it as a catch-all. Throw a few books on there, put a pretty jewelry box or key dish out, and maybe top with a plant, but do your best to keep the rest of your dresser clear.  Displaying all your belongings is not the point, it’s hiding them inside.
  3. If you really want to make your room seem more grown up, hang one piece of framed art up. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but if you’re reading this, you are past the age of posters hung with sticky tack. This doesn’t mean buying stock art from Urban Outfitters or IKEA either – Boston is such a creative city, do it proud and find a local artist or designer to support with this purchase. Keep an eye out next time you hit up SOWA or your local gallery – 13 Forest in Arlington shows a lot of great local and emerging artists.

Hopefully soon your new apartment will feel like home and a place you’re excited to spend time in. Be sure to remember these three tips if all else fails: hide your clutter, get lots of plants, and hang art. Living in Boston doesn’t need to mean living like a student forever.

Happy decorating and best of luck with your credit card bills, Boston. And once you’ve given your space a good, adult makeover, share your improvements with us on Instagram (#BDCdeco).

Living Room
  1. The number one tip for home decorating is to get inspired and excited. Check out design blogs, put together some Pinterest boards, and trawl your favorite shops for ideas that get you excited about the potential your new space holds. I personally love Style-files, Apartment Therapy, and Design Sponge, but keep reading if you want to figure out how to make these inspirations attainable for your new home.
  2. There is a lot of pricey furniture out there, and once you start shopping, you may get discouraged because of sticker shock, but you’ll be surprised by what you can do with a few simple pieces. No matter what couch your roommate already had, or which Ikea couch you purchased, you can make it look as expensive as you want with a few add-ons. Stick with simple pillows that don’t clash with the couch or each other and add a nice throw blanket.  Try to keep table and floor space clear and tidy and use those areas to show off your green thumb and have a plant or two out – it will brighten up the room and make it feel clean and organized. Everyone loves some cute succulents, and they are really hard to kill.
  3. No matter what kind of entertainment you choose to have in your living room, if you can hide your wires, the whole room will instantly look nicer. It might be as simple as some zip ties and double-sided tacks, or you might need to invest in some stuff serious wire organizers, but this one change will make it look like you put a lot of thought into the room.  Your local hardware store will have almost everything you need for this project.