If you’re a first-time homeowner, you probably don’t have a whole lot where matching furniture and quality home decor are concerned. But that’s okay! Even if all you own are the bare necessities, your new place doesn’t have to look like a frat house living room. Give your starter home a more grown-up and put-together vibe with the following tips.

Fill Spaces with Live Plants

Greenery is a surefire way to make a house feel homey almost instantly. Adding live plants throughout your space will not only elevate your decor, but will also help create a healthier living environment. Plants and people are natural partners. They take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, and we do the opposite. They help remove toxins from the air and also release moisture vapor. It’s a win-win situation. Even those of us who don’t have the greenest of thumbs can use low-maintenance plants like succulents to liven up a space.

Utilize Trays on Horizontal Surfaces

Trays help contain clutter and add a certain polished look to surfaces like coffee tables, islands, and sideboards. Instead of spreading out everyday items on the table or counter, arrange things like remote controls, candles, flower vases, coasters, tissue boxes, and the like on a tray. Doing so makes things look more deliberately placed and also makes it easier to move it all when you need to clear the space.

Style Your Bookcases

Don’t just shove all your books on the shelves and call it a day. Organize them in an aesthetically pleasing way. Arrange books both horizontally and vertically, and add in accessories for interest and as space fillers.

Coordinate Throw Pillows and Blankets

Coordinated throw pillows and/or afghans make for a quick and easy way to pull together furniture that’s seen better days or doesn’t necessarily go together. Pillows don’t have to match exactly, but they should go together in some way, through color, size, style, etc. If you want to mix and match for a boho feel, make sure the vibe matches the rest of the room.

Get Some Nice Matching Frames

Find a nice, simple style of picture frame that you like and buy that style in several sizes. Use the same type and color of frame for photos, prints, and posters for a put-together feel.  Even if your wall art consists of different styles and colors, having the same type of frame will pull it all together.

Go for Grown-Up Window Treatments

Ditch the blinds and roll-up shades and add some nice curtains to your windows. Curtains add a certain something that helps pull a room together. They also help keep out heat in the summer and cold in the winter while adding a layer of privacy as well. Make sure to install a good curtain rod to add some polish, not just one of those cheap bent aluminum bars.

Decant Your Soap

Pour your hand soap, dish soap, and laundry detergent into pretty dispensers or bottles. Promotional plastic packaging can add visual clutter to countertops and shelves.

Invest in Matching Dishes

Donate or toss your mismatched hodgepodge of plates, bowls, and glasses and get a new set. This doesn’t have to be anything expensive. You can find nice matching sets at places like Walmart, Target, TJ Maxx, and even the Dollar Store. If you like the mismatched look, make sure it’s intentional and not just cheap-looking a mess of plates and bowls of different sizes and materials.

Create a Bar Cart or Coffee Cart

Solve your kitchen storage problem by making room on a rolling cart for your bar or coffee-serving items. For a bar cart, store wine and liquor bottles on a bottom shelf and organize your best glasses, an ice bucket, a corkscrew, and some other pretty accessories on top. For a guest-pleasing coffee cart, put your French press or Keurig on the top shelf along with all your coffee and tea needs, like creamers, sugar, tea bags, stirrers, etc. If you run out of space, you can always add hooks or glass racks under the top shelf for storing those mugs and glasses.

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