Decorating & Design - Bedrooms

Home decor: Tween rooms

How to design cool rooms for growing kids.

Growing kids have changing tastes. Tweens aged nine through 13 often decide it’s time they made over their bedroom. But don’t have a heart attack, Mom and Dad: A tween room makeover can be done stylishly without breaking the bank.

Room design
When designing for a savvy, opinionated tween, keep in mind you’re not really calling the shots anymore. Think of yourself as a designer working with an inexperienced yet enthusiastic client. He or she will have plenty of opinions, likes and dislikes, though not necessarily the skills to pull everything together in a cohesive and affordable room design. That’s where you come in.

Don’t be afraid to put your foot down – no, you’re not buying her a $3,000 bed frame or no, he can’t paint all four walls, plus the ceiling, black – but do let them flex their creative muscles.

Ways you can make your design relationship work

  • Browse design books, magazines and design websites together in search of inspiration. Flag things that appeal, whether colour palettes or window treatments.
  • Head to IKEA together. Have a meal, flip through the catalogue and browse the room vignettes. You don’t have to buy today, but just think about furniture, textiles, colour palettes and design choices. Even if you don’t end up buying at IKEA (though it is a kid favourite!), you’ll leave inspired.
  • Once it’s time to make design decisions, offer your child options you can live with – then, let them choose from among them.
Tween room makeover must-haves
Some of the existing items in your kid’s room will be fine – a twin bed, for instance – while others may be culled to accommodate your offspring’s changing needs and taste. Here are five easy updates that will refresh your tween’s room in a flash.

1 Desk
Transforming a play space into a workspace is one key change to make now. Increased homework demands necessitate a dedicated study area. It should include:
  • A desk with storage (whether built-in, or a separate drawer unit).
  • A comfortable, adjustable seat with good back support.
  • A desk lamp.
  • An area to post notes and reminders – a wall-mounted bulletin board, whiteboard/magnetic board combo, or ribbon-memo board is essential.
2 Walls
There’s no compelling reason why (aside from in a shared room), your tween can’t pick his own paint colours – after all, even the biggest colour faux pas is easily repainted down the line. However, if you’re not comfortable with that, offer your child paint options you can live with and let him choose from among them.

Likewise, if special paint treatments like pearlized finishes or Venetian plaster aren’t options given the extra work involved in applying them correctly (or covering them up down the road), let your kids know this upfront.

Choose low- or, better yet, zero-VOC paint. (Volatile Organic Compounds are hazardous vapours harmful to human health). Besides being eco-friendly, they dry faster, helping to make one-afternoon makeovers a reality.
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