It feels as if you’ve only just finished hanging the dinosaur curtains or ballerina lights and covered the wall in matching decals when your tween starts begging for a ‘grown up’ room. “Didn’t you JUST redecorate?” say your in-laws, helpfully.
Before you reach for the lime green paint and Ikea catalogue, bear in mind that tweens can be totally feckless and whatever new scheme they go for now could very well be redundant in a year’s time. The challenge is staying ahead of an ever-changing list of requirements for their bedroom space: privacy, sanctuary, inspiration, areas to work, space to socialise. So planning how your design might evolve in the long term – right into young adulthood – can really save you time and money.
Here’s our list of top tricks for updating your tween’s bedroom without breaking the bank...
Wallpaper can be a brilliant way to add dynamic pattern and texture into even the smallest room. Think about using designs that will also stand the teenager test. Realistic textures like wood, concrete or brick work well and have an edgy appeal that can be softened with the artwork and accessories you choose. Geometric designs and metallic papers are brilliant for this age group too, and can be incorporated into a new scheme easily as their tastes change. Another great look to consider is wallpaper inspired by nature; think plants, botanicals, natural history – all great ‘grown up’ themes.
2) COLOUR SCHEME
Your tween is bound to give you clear instructions about the colours that are going to be acceptable in their new room, “Black, Mum, just black,” was my latest brief from my 12-year-old son! As much as I love the little fella, I know that filling his room with black was only going to make him depressed. So, rather than just sticking to one basic colourway in matching tones and shades, it can be a good idea to incorporate their favourite hue into a wider palette and choose a range of other colours that your tween may not have considered.
For my son, I added in pale grey and white stripes, vivid green cupboard doors, vibrant blue cushions and splashes of neon pinks, as well as grungy metallic furniture.
TOP TIP: By using the wilder colours in the soft furnishings, you can easily update the room by switching a few cushion covers. Keep the timeless tones for the wall and floor treatments.
For incredible colour inspiration check out www.colorhunt.co/palettes
3) FLOORSPACE Vs SLEEP SPACE
As they grow, tweens usually stop rolling around on the floor and start lolling around in bed instead and so prioritising a larger bed over space to play can be a good idea – especially considering that they may grow 12 cm in a year when they have their adolescent growth spurt!
If the room is quite small, a 4-foot wide bed provides ample sprawling space without filling up the bedroom. The extra surface area is great for cosying up with friends too.
TOP TIP: Your tween might be small now but any day now they could be hanging out of the bottom of the bed, so it’s worth looking for one with a low foot.
4) WORK AREA
When the secondary school homework kicks in, having a space for your tween to spread out in peace and quiet can make the whole household a nicer place to be! A large desk area means space for a computer and plenty of room to create artwork and posters. You can make even more room on the desktop by providing shelves and storage close to hand. Hanging lights above leaves space on the desk and looks great too. If you don’t want to splash out on an expensive new desk, you can upcycle a pair of drawers or old trestle legs by adding a large piece of MDF on top. Tada, bespoke furniture!
Inspiration boards are still a brilliant way for your tween to express their passions, surrounding themselves with the things they love. Corkboard now comes in wall-sized panels and can be easily applied with industrial adhesive.
Another neat product is chalk board magnetic paint that means your tween can draw straight on the wall AND hang images using magnets. Double win!
If you want a solution with less commitment, why not create hanging picture spaces using fairy lights and mini pegs?
Houseplants absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen and purify the air. They can reduce symptoms of asthma and improve sleep too. So adding a couple to your tween’s room adds a little sophisticated elegance and provides fresher air!
In an ideal world, your tween would water their plants and demonstrate a desire to nurture new life, but let’s be honest it is another chore to add to the list! However, they only need watering once a week and if you go for tropical plants that prefer dry soil you can’t go too far wrong.