We all have our own interior design dreams that for now seem unattainable and irrelevant until the day we turn into fully-fledged adults and get our own places. We make a few changes to our rooms here and there but don’t really commit to anything drastic. But until we get married, unlike our Western counterparts, most of us have been conditioned to live with our parents throughout a large chunk our early lives. It’s just a way of life within our society. However, while some of us never outgrow our childhood rooms and choose to maintain them as they are, with Disney princess stickers, Peter Pan bed sheets and all, others smartly choose to transform their rooms into proper living spaces, fit for the adults they’re becoming.

A while back I was invited over to a friend’s house for a girly sleepover and I was just astounded by how adult she was in the room she grew up. Not only did she have her own dainty coffee table and an adorable candelabra that rested on top of it, she also poured me water from a fancy pitcher, all of which she had purchased on her own for her “guests”. I mean, which kid buys their own water for at home? Don’t we all just get our drinks from the fridge or drink water from the filter by the kitchen sink? For someone whose decorative spurs only go as far as stealing petty furniture from her family’s living room and still has that one chair in her bedroom that serves as a makeshift wardrobe, this was a far cry from what I was used to in my friends’ homes, especially since we’re quite close in age.

I asked her for a few tips on how she managed to completely revamp her space and I conducted some of my own research (which was actually just me creepily walking around her room and looking at her things while she slept). Here are some ways that you can make your room a better living space:

  1. Buy your own furniture and room accessories

You know how as a kid, you would always complain about something you didn’t like to your parents and they would always smartly tell you to “Buy it yourself then!” while fully knowing that you were a kid and only had about $1.80 in your Velcro wallet? It’s still like that, except as adults we can actually do so with our own money. If you don’t like something in your room, for example, your curtains are generic or your hand-me-down bookshelf is covered in childhood graffiti and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stickers, then take the weekend to go shopping at a proper furniture store and find the things you need. Whether it’s a new full-length mirror, a cozy armchair or a cool floor lamp, it will definitely make your place feel more personalized.

  1. De-clutter your room

Once you throw away all the things you don’t need and allocate the right places for the stray objects lying around, you’ll find that you start to make full use of your space. Take all those spa brochures or food flyers with their outdated vouchers and either throw them away or put them in folders. Open your drawers and put the odd pieces of stationery into empty containers or cups. Throw away broken jewelry and sunglasses with snapped arms that you’re never going to fix, despite what you’ve been saying for the past eight months. Colour code your wardrobe and organize your books into alphabetical order.

  1. Decorate!

It may seem like a very obvious move but you’d be surprised by how little people think to decorate their childhood rooms. Come across a picture on Tumblr or a hack on Facebook that you’d really like to bring into real life? Then do it! Whether it’s fairy lights on your headboard, making your own quirky key holders out of cutlery, or bringing in a customized terrarium, it doesn’t have to be too far-fetched to make you feel like more of a boss of your own place.

Just three baby steps to convert the childhood room in your parents’ home into a grown up living space, fit for the adults that we’re all trying hard to be!

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"I'm the writer your mother warned you about." A modern South East Asian girl who's ahead of her time and currently in the midst of self-rebranding. Plans on being a lazy, entitled, money-driven millennial even when she's seventy. A perfect combination of all four Golden Girls, her fruit equivalent would be a spicy strawberry.