My two nieces are currently visiting while their new house is under construction. They are 10 and 12 years old and definitely have an opinion on what their rooms should look like. Their ideas of the perfect bedroom are past the age of ‘themes’ and ‘girly girly’ ruffles and are usually inspired by the latest Pottery Barn Teen catalog. The downside of being inspired by the PB Teen catalog is that is changes every quarter, but their room will not!
In order to better understand what they thought was important in a room, I decided to do a little ‘market research’.
I asked them to give me a list of what they thought would make a great tween bedroom. Both lists came back something like this:
1. Colorful- bright and happy.
Blues, pinks, greens and yellows. The color could come from the walls, furniture, décor or bedding. They were particularly enthralled with using paint or decals creatively to make designs on the walls (polka dots, bird cages, etc).
This first room was the hands down favorite of all the pictures we looked at. It was bright, happy, fun and practical.
Source: House Beautiful
Both liked this next room because of the wall décor. They said they would prefer it in a bright color (versus gray) but the wall designs captivated their imagination.
The bed canopy in this room was too youthful, but the wall design was very interesting to them.
The bright, fresh look of this room was appreciated, although the floral was considered to be a bit ‘mature’.
Source: Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles
This next room had interesting wall décor, a place to sit and the infamous ‘fuzzy’ accent pillow (keep reading for how all 3 items hit the mark for a ‘great room’).
Source: Cottage Living
This PB Teen room was pleasing because of the wall tree with practical display boards, as well the storage and colorful bedding. All their bedding is very colorful with dots, paisleys and swirls in a multitude of colors.
Serena & Lily is less familiar than PB Teen, but one of my favorite sources for children’s and teen bedding. They just have great style. Here they use bright color, a fun rug and unique artwork which was appealing to the 12 year old.
Source: Serena & Lily
2. Storage, especially built-ins.
Who knew kids could be so practical? They wanted low profile, full sized beds with under bed storage as well as built in bookcases flanking the bed or the window, which would then allow for a window bench seat.
This room was a particular hit- bright colors, plenty of storage, personalized pillows.
Source: Traditional Home
This bedroom designed by Lee Kleinhelter of Pieces in Atlanta had bright furniture as well as interesting storage with cubbies.
Source: Cottage Living
3. Work desk.
Their mother should be proud. Both wanted a practical desk (with drawers, not parsons style) to hold their homework clutter. We couldn’t find a good example of the practical desk, but here is one example of how a desk can work even in a small room.
4. A relaxing place to sit.
Side chair, poufs or floor pillows for reading or hanging out.
They wanted anything monogramed- throw pillows, walls, lampshades. Anything that puts their name or initials in the room and claims it as theirs.
This picture was shocking at first (they didn’t like the people’s faces on the pillow) but they noticed something I didn’t, monogrammed lamp shades and thought that was fabulous.
The next picture has not only bright, modern bedding, fun curtains to hide behind, but also it has custom artwork depicting the child. Notice the rug in the bottom right of the photo as we lead into item #6.
Source: Cottage Living
6. Soft textures.
“Fuzzy” seems to be a key word when it comes to rugs, pillows, bedding. The infamous flokati rug still has a target market.
7. Cool lighting.
Interesting pendant lamps or chandeliers, cool table lamps beside the bed. This was definitely an area to have a little fun.
Source: Design House
Source: Elizabeth Dinkel Design
This age group probably grew up with toile and ruffles in soft pinks and is now starting to lean toward graphic designs in bolder colors. I pulled this photo from South of Market’s website. It is a hotel guest room which was featured in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles a couple of years ago. I love the designs of Kay Douglass, although they can be very bold. I expected this photo to be polarizing, but it is so visually interesting. Believe it or not, the girls thought it was very cool. You really can push the envelope with younger kids who don’t have the same fears adults do when it comes to decorating.
Source: South of Market
The placement of this bed (as in several other photos) is nice for tweens because it gives them more space within the room.
This next room had a “bit much” pink, but got raves for the wall decoration, bed placement and chair. They liked the modernity of the style, and that it wasn’t too cold.
Not knowing exactly what to expect when I started this experiment, I had pulled a few pictures that I thought were pretty for a tween girl, but were traditional. Both are by Phoebe Howard (creator of the “Keep it Pretty” mantra).
Both girls liked the rooms a lot, even though they didn’t fit neatly into any of the categories they claimed to want. I think that just goes to show anyone can appreciate good design no matter what their age!
One point to consider before you design any child’s room. When designing a young person’s space, you don’t have to buy the cheap stuff and plan on tossing it in five years. My room growing up had an antique bed frame, which my parents still have, and antique chests used as nightstands that I still have to this day! They weren’t precious antiques (in case I might leave a drink on the table without a coaster), but I was taught to appreciate a nice piece of furniture that could grow with me through the years. And, it really was a lot less expensive in the long run!
The last few photos here are of boys rooms. Poor guys, they always get shorted when it comes to decorating. There aren’t as many pictures to pull from, but that doesn’t mean you can’t design a great space for the guys, too! The girls weren’t the least bit interested in looking at these, but if you have a boy in your home, hopefully they can serve as some inspiration.
Source: Elle Decor
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post about how to create a winning room for a tween. Just focus on the 8 key elements and the room is sure to be a hit.
If you’d like help designing a room for your tween (or child of any age) feel free to contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org.