As a college student moving among cities, homes, dorms, and apartments on a regular basis (six moves in the last year alone), most of the places where I hang my hat are necessarily temporary. The same is true for the recent graduates I know, who hop from apartment to apartment in cities far from where they grew up and who often travel for business.
When I visit friends’ apartments I often see blank walls, bare floors, and nowhere to sit down for a meal. My friends tell me they don’t see much point in decorating, since they may only be in their apartment for a year. While I sympathize with the budget-friendly “slow decorating” process, what really seems to be going on here is a lack of investment in the present moment.
Millennials are moving to coastal cities and renting for longer than their predecessors. The average first-time home buyer is about 33 and has rented for six years
Younger millennials, and some of the older ones, still have many nomadic years ahead. Millennials are moving to coastal cities and renting for longer than their predecessors. The average first-time home buyer is about 33 and has rented for six years. A choice not to decorate your space because it is only going to be yours for one, two, half a year is often, then, to make a longer-term choice about your lifestyle and mentality.
Your apartment isn’t forever, but nothing is. This is your life, so live in the moment and hang up some artwork already.
While this may not be the case for everyone, when I unpack all of my clothes, add a couple of house plants, and hang my wall art, I feel like I am committing to the present moment, asserting that I am physically and emotionally here, that I have a home that is truly mine to go back to at the end of each day.
Decorating is so important to me because it expedites the “settling in” process in a life of transience, and because the various tokens that make me happy serve as anchors of continuity when everything around me is changing. The way I see it, your apartment isn’t forever, but nothing is. This is your life, right now, so don’t wait until you buy a house six years from now to act like you’re going to stay a while. Live in the moment and hang up some artwork already.