BY STEPHEN L. ANTCZAK
IN 2016, “ADULTING” made Oxford
Ready, set, buy
Dictionaries’ Word of the Year shortlist.
It is defined as “the practice of behaving in
a way characteristic of a responsible adult,
especially the accomplishment of mundane
but necessary tasks.”
In real life, adulting means making
serious investments and acquiring a broad
range of skills, such as folding fitted sheets,
cooking an omelet, changing a flat tire,
properly knotting a tie and, yes, buying a
house. Many millennials, the oldest of
whom are now well into their 30s, have been
adulting for a while. They’ve been depen-
dent on help from their parents for longer
into their adult years than other genera-
tions, often because they are underem-
ployed, paying off student loans or saving
toward a goal.
For example, Costco members Meghann
McCord, 25, and Brad Hamilton, 27, recently
purchased their first home, near the Atlanta
suburb of Decatur, after living at home with
their respective parents for a year after
college. Both worked and spent that time
Clever ideas to outfit your first place
paying off debt and saving money until they
were ready to buy.
Their first step: setting their sights on
furnishing it. (They owned no furniture
and no linens, just a hand-me-down grill
and smoker for the back deck.) They
wanted to be careful with their money,
while accommodating and blending their
“His family tends toward the bare min-
imum when it comes to decorating,”
Meghann tells The Connection, “and mine
is the opposite. Mom is an artist, and our
house was always full of bold colors. We
wanted something in between—cool colors
that felt comfortable, not overwhelming.”
Using Pinterest and HGTV for ideas,
they found inspiration in farmhouse style
(see the article on page 43 for more on farm-
house interior design). Making a break from
student décor, they purchased a living room
set and a matching buffet (which now holds
the TV), a farmhouse-style table with
benches and two chairs for the ends. They
plan to furnish the deck in the fall.
“We wanted to make a good impression
with the furniture, but we didn’t want to
spend a lot of money,” Meghann explains.
“We both know people our age or older who
still need help from their parents. We just
didn’t want to do that.”
Decorating and furnishing options
Kate Schmidt, an interior designer in
Maine ( handledbykate.com), spent 14 years
with top design firms in New York City and
now teaches at The Adulting School (the
adultingschool.com). She says that, even
with hand-me-down furniture, millennials
can create spaces that look put together.
If the furniture isn’t quite the style you
want, or if you see it as outdated, there are
still ways to make use of it. Refinishing or
repainting can completely change the look
of a chest of drawers, for example.
“Slipcover a sofa in a neutral color and
add pillows for a pop of color to make it
coordinated with the rest of your home,”
Schmidt suggests. “Pillows are a great way
to spice up any seating area.”
Starter homes tend to have smaller
rooms, but Schmidt has a fix for that, too.
“Mirrors! Mirrors are a wonderful addition
to any room. Not only do they enhance the
feel of the room size, they can also add light
to the space,” she says.
Area rugs are an inexpensive way to add
color and personality to any room. They can
be used on hardwood floors, of course, but
also on pre-existing wall-to-wall carpeting.
“Area rugs anchor a room and individualize it from the others,” Schmidt says.
Bonus? “They are easy to maintain by simple vacuuming.” C
Stephen L. Antczak is a freelance writer and
Costco member in Atlanta.
Costco members will find furniture, rugs,
furnishings, accent pieces, throw pillows
and more year-round on Costco.com and
seasonally in Costco warehouses.
Brad Hamilton and
Meghann McCord outside
their new house near Atlanta.