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Photography by CODY GUILFOYLE

Turning 30 can make even the most chill among us panic. Your 20s flew by in a blur of taco Tuesdays and various jobs, and now you’re supposed to have your life together and be an adult. But you’re still eating cereal for dinner, you locked yourself out last week, and you may have impulse-purchased a too-expensive item after one too many glasses of wine.

Don’t panic—all of those things are perfectly acceptable no matter how old you are—but the easiest way to start feeling great about this big front-number change is to elevate your home so it feels less just-moved-out-of-my-dorm-room and more grown-up-professional-woman-who-gets-things-done. Whether you’re renting a small studio in New York or you bought a starter home in Pittsburgh, here are 16 things you should invest in ASAP to make your living space a little more mature. While you’re at it, you can course correct any major design mistakes you made in the last decade.

Photography by JOSHUA W. MCHUGH

A home for your books

Even if your library barely extends beyond an e-reader, it’s never too late to start a collection! Color coding optional, but strongly encouraged.

Photography by JUSTIN BERNHAUT

Coffee table culture

Time to ditch the stack of magazines as your only coffee table accessory. A curated tray of entertaining essentials not only adds a personal note to the decor, but also contributes a visually appealing dynamic to the space.

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Something on the walls

Find at least one piece of original art that inspires you and complements your decor. Pro tip: Buy art when you travel to curate a personal and meaningful collection.

Photography by GEMMA COMAS

Proper cookware

Your 20s may have consisted of takeout for every meal, but your 30s are perfect for investing in a few kitchen basics—even if you’re not quite the next MasterChef. Here’s a list to get you started.

Photography by ANDREA FAZZARI

Dinner party decor

Chances are you’ll be throwing at least one, and that eclectic mashup of cups and plates is hardly socially acceptable. A basic set in a neutral color scheme is the perfect place to start. Plus, your cereal will taste better in a fancy bowl.

Photography by STAFF

A signature candle 

Or at least one that you can call your favorite. Think of it as your home’s signature scent.


Bedside manners

Stick to the basics in the bedroom: a clutter-free nightstand, table lamp or wall sconce, and an inspiring piece of art directly overhead. Yes, you need to retire your much-loved childhood stuffed animal.

Photography by PAUL COSTELLO

Something on the floors

Rugs! Buy them, layer them, love them. They truly have the power to pull a room together. Find a throw rug in a hue that complements your color scheme and adds some visual interest.

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

A luxurious throw

Invest in a high-quality blanket and keep it skewed across the foot of the bed, or casually draped on the side of a couch.

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Window treatments

A room just isn’t complete without them—you just can’t leave your windows naked. Plus, when hung properly, curtains can make your room look larger.

Photography by MATT ALBIANI

Bar cart

Goodbye, red Solo cups. Elevate your drinking station with a small sampling of spirits, glassware, and chic metallic bar gear.

Here’s a checklist to help you get started.

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Bedtime luxury

We spend so much of our lives in bed, it’s only logical that your bed should only feature the best of the best. A solid mattress, high-quality linens, and a headboard are on the top of our list of must-haves.

Photography by CAHAN ERIC

Personal elements

Integrate all the little snippets you’ve collected throughout the years within your decor. Whether it be framed photos, items from travels abroad, or sentimental trinkets passed down through generations.

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

A sorted vanity

We’ve all been privy to bathroom drawers overflowing with tubes of gloss and bottles of oil. A simple tray is the perfect way to display the best of your beauty stash.


Decor you desire

Although interior style is something that is constantly evolving, the root of it should remain true to your aesthetic. Above all else, create a space you can’t wait to come home to.

This story was originally published February 5, 2015. It has been updated with new information.

Get more design tips:

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