Upgrade your bachelor pad

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A man’s home is his sanctuary. There are few things as satisfying as having your own home, one that reflects your personality and is a comforting and welcoming space for friends and family. It is a quantum leap into adulthood when a man is ready to leave the nest of roommates, disappearing Hot Pockets and a toilet roll no one ever bothers to replace – and stake out on his own.

When that moment arrives and you’ve signed your name on the dotted line, received the keys and walked into an empty space, the initial feeling can be one of both excitement and dread – how are you supposed to decorate your home when your only possessions are an Ikea lamp and a duvet comforter?

The key is to take it slow – decorating a home is like laying the foundations for a long relationship; it can take a year or more to finally have a space that feels complete. Here are some tips to create a stylish pad that you’ll love to call home.

ART

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A home without art is like a kitchen without spices – everything will just be bland and generic. Now everyone’s interpretation of art is different – if you had any doubts, just visit the MoMA to see what passes these days. That means that you don’t have a spend a small fortune collecting art at galleries – it’s better to find pieces that speak to you – whether that means a vintage poster from a swap meet or your cousin’s original painting or your own photographs you’ve had printed. Your choice in art is a personal reflection of your taste and style. Whatever it is, it will look expensive if you frame it nicely. Don’t be surprised that the frame may cost more than you paid for the art, especially when you’re going custom.

The current trend in home decor is to lean art against the wall rather than hang everything. When hanging, keep pieces at eye level but feel free to stagger frames so they’re not all in a line.

WALLS

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Most apartments comes with blank white walls. Depending on your contract and whether you own or lease will decide how much freedom you have to play around here. If you can paint, grey is a neutral and masculine base that pairs well with wood furniture and metal accents.

For extra vibrancy, you might consider a wall paper, which has come back in style thanks to modern prints that don’t look like anything your grandparents would have in their home. Murals Wallpaper has some beautiful and high-impact designs that can transform any room.

With a mural like this, it acts in place of art – you certainly won’t need to hang anything – and you can leave the rest of the furniture and accents minimal.

FURNITURE

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It is tempting when you move into a new place without anything to head straight to IKEA and just buy everything to be done with it. This will save you time, but ultimately you’ll have a home that is barely distinguishable from every other twenty-something’s pad.

Now that doesn’t mean that IKEA doesn’t serve a purpose – and a good one at that. For the fill-in pieces, IKEA is great. For example, a book shelf is generally a book shelf – it’s not going to be a centerpiece of attention – so for the basics, IKEA is unbeatable. You can customize your IKEA buys by repainting or staining them so they can fit with your color scheme. I did this both with my night tables, which gave the wood a rich finish.

Invest in statement pieces like a sofa and dining table where design and quality go a long way. You can make your budget go farther by scouring Craigslist, visiting swap meets and other vintage stores to score designer or authentic mid century modern pieces for a fraction of what a new piece from a store would cost. Another tip is to go to some of your favorite design stores and ask if they’re selling floor samples – pieces that have been used for display and are sold at discount.

CLOSET ORGANIZATION

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If you spend a little money to properly organize your closet, you’ll save not only time in the mornings getting dressed, but also money. How? When you can easily see everything you have, you’ll be able to mentally catalogue your wardrobe easier and won’t buy things for imaginary gaps. I installed metal rods in the closet and was inspired by an All Saints store where I saw jeans hanging from hooks. Rather than fold jeans over a hanging or have them in the dresser, I like hanging them from their belt loops.

SCENT

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Even (or especially) if you’re a bachelor living off of delivery Pad Thai, you don’t want to live in an home that smells permanently like it. A few scented candles and room sprays go a long way in making your home inviting to others and also a pleasant and relaxing place for you. I love Diptyqye candles for their artisanal scents and long burn life. I also keep a room spray in the bathroom.

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