Decorating rules to live by in your 20s, 30s and 40s

Your 20s is the perfect decade to develop your personal style through taking risks and having fun with your decor.
Belinda Merrie

Your 20s is the perfect decade to develop your personal style through taking risks and having fun with your decor.

As we get older and our lives evolve, so to does our sense of style.

"As we get older we develop a clear sense of our own style," said Victoria Bibby of Bibby and Brady. "As is with fashion, your interior style will change and mature. You should always live with what you love, but each decade will bring different needs."

Here are a few interior designer-approved decorating rules to live by across the decades: 

"In a shared house your bedroom is the only space that's just yours," says Victoria Bibby of Bibby and Brady. So, invest ...
BELINDA MERRIE

"In a shared house your bedroom is the only space that's just yours," says Victoria Bibby of Bibby and Brady. So, invest in a great bed and beautiful bedding.

20s

Your 20s is a decade for developing your personal style. This means taking risks, experimenting and having fun with your interior style. 

"Hit the op shops and pick up cute vases, planters or quirky pieces to add life and playfulness to your space," Bibby said. "You'll probably be sharing a house with flatmates, so a bright throw or vintage sari can disguise an old sofa, or double as wall art."

READ MORE:
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Wellington-based designer Bridget Foley said that it's worthwhile to spend a little extra on one or two big ticket items: "It's much better to buy one or two fabulous things than a whole lot of cheap replicas that will not last the distance."

The purple velvet dining chairs in Bridget Foley's Wellington home were custom-made; the pair of Philippe Starck Lord Yo ...
JANE USSHER/NZHOUSE&GARDEN

The purple velvet dining chairs in Bridget Foley's Wellington home were custom-made; the pair of Philippe Starck Lord Yo armchairs in the foreground came with child-friendly slip covers.

Both Foley and Bibby agree that a great bed and beautiful bedding is a worthwhile splurge.

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"In a shared house your bedroom is the only space that's just yours," Bibby said. "Buy the best quality bed you can afford and invest in a beautiful linen duvet and sheet set."

30s

Fruit print cushions complement Foley's comfy couch.
Jane Ussher

Fruit print cushions complement Foley's comfy couch.

As you enter your 30s, life often becomes more family-focused and your home will start to reflect this. 

"Loose covered furniture is a godsend," Foley said. "I have had white loose covered furniture since I have had children and they work really well. There are also amazing indoor/outdoor fabrics now that are great for family focused furniture."

"A friend said recently, "buy furniture your children will fight over", which I thought was a good point."

As your style matures, you might have also begun to re-think a few of your earlier purchases. 

"Look around your home and be honest about what you love and get rid of what you don't," Bibby said. "Start investing in some interesting pieces that reflect your style, and display favourite mementos from your travels. Pubs and clubs may be replaced with dinner parties, so a great dinner set and glassware will be essential."

40s

By the time you reach your 40s, it's well and truly time to showcase your refined style and the keepsakes you've collected over the years. 

Your 40s is the perfect time to incorporate antique pieces into your interior style. JANE USSHER/NZ HOUSE & GARDEN

"Think luxury - statement art and furniture pieces, that designer lamp you could never afford, a cashmere throw to replace your old cotton one," Bibby said.

"As well as art, at this stage in your life I would recommend introducing antique pieces. They're full of character, add a uniqueness, and can look amazing mixed with more modern pieces. You may be lucky enough to have inherited pieces from family, which adds a rich history and story to your home."

 - Homed

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