I've always said that if you hate natural light, space, and keeping your money, New York is a fabulous place to rent a home. (I was once shown a bedroom which had no windows, and “probably enough space” for a single bed—if you’re reading this and thinking that this bedroom sounds exactly like a corridor, that is because it was one.)

And yet, I choose to live here, because I am drawn to things that hurt me, and because I live for chicken over rice from my neighborhood street food cart, and because honestly, what would anyone need light, space, or money for.

But sometimes people come to my house who are not me, and as someone who enjoys appearing extra-intact to the outside world, I’ve had to get creative when it comes to decor over the years. Here are five solid ways to make any home seem more polished.

Words by Samantha Hillman at Food52

[Photo via @thevintagetablecompany]