TIPS + ADVICE FOR DECORATING A TEEN/TWEEN BEDROOM

As I mentioned a little while ago, I am giving my tween daughter’s bedroom a makeover. My apologies for how slow this project is coming! The delay has been a result of a combination of many TOTALLY unexpected things, including dealing with a fire in our home (yes, we had a fire in our garage and thank the Lord no one was hurt but it’s taking forever to get cleaned up!), our hot water heater bursting in the attic and damaging our ceiling, prepping for my son to go on a mission trip to Haiti this summer, me getting distracted by other design projects, my son accidentally destroying a DIY project I was about to photograph and post about last month, and last but not least, not being able to find the right used furniture piece to start my first project for her bedroom (all the equipment I needed to make this project was in the garage and it’s ruined now so I wouldn’t be able to do this project for awhile anyway so I guess it’s kind of a moot point). Throw in my kids’ activity schedules and the regular responsibilities of life, and it’s been an exciting past couple months! Okay, it’s been a FRUSTRATING past couple months, but c’est la vie! As soon as I can get the items in my garage replaced, I’ll be back in business and hope to share some progress on her room with you!

In the meantime, I’m going to share some tips for redecorating your teen/tween’s bedroom.

Maybe you’ve been considering giving your teen/tween age child a bedroom makeover for a while, or maybe your child has been nagging you for a cooler room for over a year now and you can no longer come up with an excuse to put it off (I’m slowly raising my hand for the latter option here). Either way, you’re not super excited about the prospect. After all, it’ll take lots of time, some money, and even worse you and your teen will have to make lots of decisions together and you’re not sure it’s even possible that you can actually agree on something… anything! I am the mom of a 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter so I get it! Parenting teens and tweens is a challenging task in general, and the idea of decorating your teen/tween’s bedroom successfully can feel daunting. But it doesn’t have to! Here’s some advice to help you navigate this process with ease…

come up with a plan

Your current plan for your teen’s new bedroom may simply be to spend a day shopping together and let them pick out whatever they want. But this is not the best way to end up with a room that you and your child both like. Instead, I recommend coming up with a plan before you hit the mall. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or involve learning how to draw a floor plan in AutoCAD, just a little brainstorming and a few thoughtful ideas is enough to help you create a room that works for your child.

I suggest starting by sitting with your teen in his/her bedroom. Have a quick conversation about what’s working and what’s not working for them in the room. What’s important to them? What items do they feel they’ve outgrown? What items do they never use? What areas of the room feel overcrowded? Is there too much furniture and storage or not enough? I suggest having a pad of paper handy and jotting down your child’s answers so you can remember them.

Discuss how your child will be using the room. Will they do their homework in there? Practice music or sports in there? Do their hair or makeup in there? Regularly host friends in there?

It’s important to design a room around its functional needs. If they’re doing homework, they’ll need a desk and chair. Hosting lots of friends? They’ll need lots of seating options. Practicing an instrument every day? They’ll need a designated space for a chair and music stand. You get the idea. Write down things they’ll need in order to accomplish their desired tasks in the room.

Now that you’ve finished brainstorming what’s needed, you can focus on coming up with a room theme and/or color scheme. Browse Pinterest or online stores like Pottery Barn Teen for some great ideas and color options.

If you have the time and want to take it a step further, go visit places of inspiration for your teen’s room. For instance, years ago when I redid my son’s bedroom, we visited a sports museum. Since he loved sports and wanted that to be a part of his room, I took notice of the displays, colors, and decor in order to help bring that same vibe back to his bedroom. Does your daughter love horses? Go visit a local horse farm then take note of the colors, textures, and items around the farm. Try to incorporate those types of things in her room.

Once you know what you need and have a general idea of what styles and colors your teen/tween likes, it’s time to let the shopping begin!

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This teen girl’s room covers lots of current design trends including pastel colors, lots of texture, and hanging furniture.

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This teen boy’s bedroom includes storage space for all of his hobbies and interests.

let them express themselves

Remember this is your teen/tween’s room, not your room. Since you are in charge and are likely paying for this makeover then you get a final say in what goes in the room, but it’s important to give your child as much freedom as possible to express themselves in the one place that’s really all theirs: their bedroom. In case you haven’t noticed, teens love to express themselves any way they can and here is a safe environment for them to do it. So if your son wants the theme of his room to be some trendy rock band you find weird then let him do it, just keep it in moderation (see tip “don’t overdo a theme” below). If your daughter wants a hot pink zebra stripe theme that you find annoying, let her do it… again, just have her keep it in moderation. Your teen likely needs to feel some ownership to what happens in the room, so let them make as many decisions as they can while you give them some general guidance and boundaries.

It’s also important to personalize the space to your child. You’ll want to include things that are important to them like a place to display photos of their friends or room to store all their art supplies. Create an area to display their collections, hobbies, or trophies. My daughter was big on having her initial somewhere in her bedroom. All of these things put your teen’s personal stamp on the room and define it as theirs.

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I love the way the teen’s trophies are neatly and prominently displayed in this bedroom.

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This teen girl’s bedroom has lots of seating options which is great for hosting friends,
and the gallery wall puts a personal stamp on the room.

REVEAL: A NEW BATHROOM ON A BUDGET!

I am so excited to announce that I am done with the renovation of my kids’ bathroom!!! Bathroom renovations are never fun as you usually have to spend some time living without a useable bathroom. We spent three months without a fully functioning bathroom, including the holiday season when we had guests staying with us, but fortunately we do have two other full bathrooms in the house. I literally had a couple days in December where I spent all day out in the garage building the vanity, working hard, covered in sawdust and paint, and then quickly had to clean up to look nice and rush off to attend a Christmas party. It made for a unique and extra busy holiday season but it was all worth it!

Let’s get to it… Here’s a reminder of what the bathroom used to look like:

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And here is the new bathroom!

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I wish I could have gutted the tub/shower combo and replaced it with a new tub and tile surround, but our limited budget kept me from being able to do that. As much as I wish I had a nice new tub area, I still feel like it was the right decision to not invest money in that.

So let’s get to the details of this reno…

NEW PROJECT #2: A POSH GIRL’S BEDROOM

Happy New Year!

I had mentioned a little while ago that my kids’ bathroom reno was not the only project I was going to be working on. Shortly after posting that, we had dear friends of ours who now live on the other side of the world ask if they could stay with us for a little while during the holidays. I, of course, said yes and was looking forward to seeing them, but realized that the bathroom we had just started renovating is the bathroom that they would normally use as overnight guests at our house. Ugh!!! I felt a time crunch to hurry up and get that bathroom finished before their arrival so I put my other project on hold so I could go full force on the bathroom reno.

Well, the holidays are now over and we had a wonderful time with our friends! But sadly the bathroom reno was not completely finished when they came 🙁 . I made a lot of progress but still didn’t have any functional sinks in there. Yikes! Fortunately, they are gracious people and were okay with it… And fortunately we have two other fully functional bathrooms in the house.

I am now close to finishing up the kids’ bathroom, but I’ve also gone back to doing some work on my second project so I’ll give you a look at that today.

My daughter, who recently started middle school, has spent the last year and a half asking me if I could give her bedroom a makeover. She’s watched me redo other rooms in our home and enjoyed the final results, so she thought it’d be fun if I gave her own bedroom a new look—a more mature look now that she’s so old.

Here is her current room:

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I decorated her current bedroom when she outgrew her crib ten years ago. I’ll never forget the experience! My kids spent a week with their grandparents out of state, and I spent nearly every hour they were gone transforming my daughter’s room into a new “big girl” room so that it would be completely finished when she returned.

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I created my own stencil for these daisies on the wall which go all around her room. With my OCD I had to get each one perfect, so I ended up touching up every line by hand which took about three straight days of work! But it was all worth it in the end because my daughter came home so excited to see her new “big girl” room!

Now that she’s getting close to the teen years, she feels like this is a “little girl” room and she wants something cooler. I was happy to oblige! I have to admit I was excited about the idea of redoing her room for her. It’s fun having my daughter as my client and getting to create the perfect bedroom for my favorite girl in the world!

My inspiration for the design of her room came from old New York City apartments and brownstones. So many of the old New York buildings are filled with so much character and detail. They tend to have a traditional look influenced by various European styles. Just take a look at what I’m talking about…

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BONUS ROOM REVEAL: A PLAYROOM GROWS UP

My bonus room makeover is finished! This room started out as a playroom for our young children. But a full decade has since passed, and they are now teens/pre-teens and no longer need a room to store their toys. Instead, what they really need is a room to hang out with their friends. So we turned this room into a second family room. That allows me and my husband to be able to have the family room downstairs all to ourselves while all of the kids are upstairs.

I didn’t want this bonus room to feel like a totally teen room though. I wanted it to be a room that my husband and I could still use to host our friends and it feel “mature” enough for adults.

I focused on a mid-century modern style with some industrial accents. Overall, I’m happy with how the room turned out. Even more important, my family is happy with how it turned out!

My goals for this room were:

  • improve the lighting
  • add comfortable and flexible furniture
  • provide storage for video gaming equipment, books and board games
  • alter the look of the outdated TV nook
  • create a casual comfortable feel that works for both teens and adults

So let’s see the before photos…

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And here is what it looks like now…

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Here are the changes I made…