Tween, that age between 10 and the dreaded teenage years. Between barbies and selfies, slime and social media and Disney and Er… nah actually, you’re never too old for Disney are you?
Decorating a bedroom for a not yet 13 year old girl can be a tricky one. In previous homes Harriet has had a butterfly theme of green and pink (tbh it looked like Laura Ashley and Cath Kidston had had a drunken party and left their shit all over the shop) and a hot pink and black Paris inspired space. But if you follow me on social media, you will know that we have recently moved house and the first room on the list to spruce up, was our daughters.
Knowing that they long for a Facebook account and a party bag at the end of events still in equal measure, how can you create a bedroom that will grow up with your child? Here are five tips I have learnt from our recent foray in (not quite) teenage interior design.
1. Keep it neutral
The teenage years are when your child begins to explore who they are. I was going to say they chop and change their interests as often as they change their socks but perhaps that’s not the best analogy in this case?! As often as we change ours is maybe better?!
I’ve seen some stunning Harry Potter bedrooms on Pinterest and I know H would have loved it, but decorating with such a strong theme could mean you find yourself back with a paintbrush in your hand earlier than you wanted. Going heavy with colour and or a character, while appealing at the time, drastically shortens the life span of the decor, it also means it tends to look dated quite quickly. Going for a more neutral pallet will hopefully extend the life of the space.
Everyone knows kids make a mess and a teenager’s wardrobe is the floor. We were lucky that Harriet has built-in cupboards all down one side of her room. This is ideal for storing away her craft supplies, books and Lego so the space seems more grown up and clutter free. We also made an effort to ensure that everything has a designated ‘place’ that way it’s (theoretically) easier for her to keep tidy as she begins to take more responsibility for its upkeep….. there’s also no excuses as to why things are not where they should be….. we are still working on this one.
3. Make it personal!
It may seem like by keeping things neutral and hiding away clutter you remove all sense of individuality from the room. But you can still have a theme without going overboard. We chose to incorporate polar bears and sewing into Harriet’s decor with smaller touches like prints and ornaments. These are easily changeable as she grows but also ensures that it is a space that truly feels like it belongs to her and not just a generic magazine feature.
4. Let’s be practical
Of course style is important, but in order for the space to grow with your child, you probably need to plan ahead and think about what they will be using it for. Typically in our household our children play in the playroom and their bedrooms are reserved for books and sleeping. But, as H gets older she’s beginning to need more privacy. I’m not an advocate of teens shutting themselves away in their rooms (although I imagine a certain amount of this is unavoidable) but at the same time, with three younger brothers, I wanted her to have a retreat, somewhere she could go for peace. Later on I expect she will need somewhere for when friends come over.
At 12 she has no need for a double bed but we knew that if she had sleepovers this room is an ideal place for her and her friends to hang out…. luckily I’m also told it’s totally Instagram worthy.
5. Involve your tween in the process.
This is easier said than done when your daughter wants a Disney descendants themed room (see point 1) but there is no point in spending time and money on something they hate. After all it’s meant to be for them. We had a chat through with Harriet about what she needed/wanted. Her priority was a space for crafts, so we included a desk area and storage boxes for certain items. She also did a fab job of helping me make push-pins for the notice board, customising her sewing machine, organising the shelves and most importantly, shopping and choosing little ornaments and decor. It truly is a room she can be proud of and hopefully, it and us will survive the teen years to come!
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