We all know that first impressions are important in dating — especially when it comes to seeing your date’s apartment for the first time. So how can you make sure your living space sends the right signals? We asked Tom Delavan, ThisNext Décor Tastemaker and interior designer, for his tips on how to make your apartment or home date-ready.

Q: What are some embarrassing objects/decorations that people should remove from their apartments or hide before inviting a date over?

A: Get rid of pictures of old girlfriends/boyfriends, and an excess of pictures of yourself. Hide anything that could be considered creepy or fetishistic (unless you’ve already found it is a common ground). Dolls, figurines, stuffed animals, firearms and sex toys all fall into this category.

Q: Many 20-somethings have apartments that are filled with a hodgepodge of hand me downs and decorations left over from college. What are some easy and affordable ways to take your bedroom from dorm to adult?

A: The two easiest things are good bedding and good lighting. A fresh set of sheets and a nice blanket make the bed very inviting. Dimmers can hide a flaws (in your decor AND your person) so they should be on EVERY source of light. Better yet, light some candles.

Q: Someone is, ahem, “coming up for coffee” unexpectedly. You have 120 seconds. What are some quick ways to tidy up?

A: Throw dirty clothes in the closet, dirty dishes in the sink, light a scented candle, dim the lights, and put on good music.

Q: Is it possible for a bedroom to be too girly or too manly to the point of being a turn-off? What are some inviting, gender-neutral decorating tips?

A: YES, as a rule your apartment should not make the opposite sex feel out of place (even if you are courting the same sex). Guys don’t really get turned on by a princess bedroom, so try to keep the frill to a minimum. Edit anything that smells of little girl. Girls might find a place that screams “bachelor pad” suspicious. It should be tasteful and clean, but not too slick or self conscious. I think both sexes appreciate comfort and cleanliness, so make sure there is a clean comfortable place to hang out — a nice sofa is a good start. I generally feel a soft fuzzy rug makes a space more romantic and inviting, even if you plan on staying on the furniture.

Need Specifics?

Check out this gallery for Tom’s picks on How To “Datify” Your Apartment.