Let us begin with a disclaimer – you’re allowed to decorate your space however you like, no matter your age. We’re not here to discourage personal style. So, while age is just a number, it does play into the decorating decisions we make. (We probably all look back on those dorm room days and wonder what was going on.) Naturally, our tastes mature as we do. And certain life phases mean different needs when it comes to designing our homes.
Think about it – when you’re in your 20s, your design choices are usually limited by a lower budget. Then once you reach your 30s and 40s, you have to think more practically about your space, especially if it needs to meet the demands of a growing family. So if you’re in the middle of the design process and feeling a little stuck, consider this a general style guide, no matter what decade you were born.
Most people in their 20s rent, move frequently and live with a variety of roommates over the years. And when it comes to design, you’re probably limited by both budget and the size of your space, not to mention the terms of your lease. But that doesn’t mean your home is a lost cause in terms of style. Start by investing in solid bedroom furniture, since no matter where you move, you’ll probably need those things.
This is a period when you can really play around with your home, so brighten it up with bold pattern and color through budget-friendly items like throw pillows. Since you may not be able to paint the walls, discover art that you like (there are plenty of affordable options out there). Test your hand at caring for a living thing by filling your space with plants. This is a time to allow your tastes to develop, so try incorporating a lot of different styles and see what sticks.
Your career is starting to pick up, you’re probably staying in more, and your financial situation is hopefully more stable: congratulations, you’ve reached your 30s. For many, at-home entertaining becomes more common during this decade. From dinner parties to hosting baby showers, your space might become a hub for all your friends to gather. So put the focus on making sure you have ample seating options and a good entertaining set-up.
If you’re living with a spouse or significant other, find decor and accessories that mean something to both of you. Since there might be more stability in your life, this is also a good time to invest in high-quality pieces, like a durable sofa and dining table. And if you’re designing with little ones in mind, opt for materials that won’t stain easily and multi-purpose pieces.
Whether you’re a parent, a career-driven boss lady, or both, when you reach your 40s, you need a refuge from your busy life. Place the focus on the bedroom with a good mattress, high-quality bedding, and all the pieces that aid in an optimal night’s sleep. If you have kids, give them the space to grow. Make sure they have areas where they can play, craft, or work on homework if they’re a little older.
Though having a family requires that you take others’ needs into consideration, your tastes are likely more refined and elegant at this point. You can invest a little bit more in things like quality entertainment systems and cookware. With age often comes salary growth, so you can finally splurge on some of those statement pieces you’ve been eyeing for years, like a timeless, Turkish area rug or a chic chaise lounge. This decade is one for making your home the most comfortable and stylish haven it can be.
Though comfort is definitely still key in your 50s, now you can really treat yo’ self. If you have kids, they’re either older or out of the house, so you can bring beloved whites and luxe materials into your space without worrying about spills and fingerprints. Go for that white shag rug and succulent leather chairs; you deserve them.
It’s also likely that you have extra room to play with now, so build that home office, guest room, or entertainment den you’ve always wanted. Hate your kitchen or bathroom? Maybe it’s time for a renovation. Invest in the spaces you spend the most time and allow yourself a few more of the finer things in life.
With a solid grasp on your personal style and no more little ones running around, you can basically forego all practicality at this point. Whether you love chic-to-death designer decor, opulent antiques, or kitschy flea market finds, fill your space with whatever makes you happy. Are you a globetrotter? Pick up eclectic pieces on your travels and bring them home to make your space a worldly reflection of your life abroad.
Or, you can make your home a personal oasis. Perhaps you’re getting close to retirement and have the time to hang outside BBQing and sunbathing. Invest in a hot tub, work in the garden, and build out that beautiful library you’ve always dreamed of having. These years are 100% for you, and your home should be too.