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Decorating a teenager's bedroom

Rebecca Elliott / 01 August 2016

Growing children have different needs, so read our tips and ideas for decorating a teenager's bedroom to create a cosy space for work and play.

Teenager's bedroom
A floor to ceiling wardrobe and bed with built-in storage provides plenty of storage space. Pictured: the Elkin range in cream from Hammonds.

As children grow and become teenagers their needs change. Their bedroom, once a colourful playroom that was always open to you, needs to grow up with them and become their own private space for studying, relaxing with friends and storing their seemingly endless possessions. So how do you go about revamping your child’s bedroom and turning it into a haven for teens?

Let them plan

Get your child excited to be planning their new bedroom and come up with colour combinations, patterns and styles that they like. Go old-school and create a mood board with magazine clippings or, for a digital alternative, virtual scrapbooking site Pinterest is a great tool for planning a makeover – simply type in ‘teenage bedroom’ into the search box and you’ll be bombarded with fantastic and creative ideas that can be ‘pinned’ onto your own board for you to come back to later. 

You can do this together or, depending on age, let them use their own account. Once they’ve amassed a good stash of their favourite pins look through them to pick out common themes that they like and prioritise the most important, but lay down ground rules and a budget so your child doesn't get carried away.

Read our guide to using Pinterest

Provide plenty of storage space

Remember that a child’s bedroom is often one of the smallest rooms in the house so every inch counts, and teenagers accumulate a lot of stuff. 

There might be toys they are keeping hold of for sentimental reasons, mounds of reference books for all the different subjects they’re studying and, inevitably, all the make-up, clothes and sports equipment that they grow into. Some of this, such as old toys, might be able to be packaged up and stored in a garage or loft, but the rest will need a home. Look for creative storage solutions – such as seating or a bed with storage built in, and consider floor to ceiling wardrobes to make the most of the space available.

Find out how to maximise wardrobe space

Create a study nook

Teenagers will definitely need a space to study, so make sure they have a desk that’s kept clear of clutter. Shelving near the desk will help keep their books and binders organised and to hand when they're at their desk. Look for fun and funky desk accessories to make this study space an enjoyable place for them to sit - the high street stores like Paperchase and Primark, plus online stores such as Red Candy, are full of fun organisers, lamps, pin boards and desk accessories to really make this space stand out. Never underestimate the importance of an Instagram worthy space for a teenager.

You can get desks with storage space built in or put shelves up above it, or even get a wall-mounted cupboard to keep the dust off. If they use a laptop you could use an old writing bureau that can be closed up when not in use, allowing the room to transform from a study to a sanctuary in an instant.

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Make it homely

When teenagers have a lot going on – be it exams or drama in their social circle – they need a space to relax and chill out. Their bedroom should be their safe space, so make it cosy. Some nice cushions and fairy lights, or a comfy chair or big beanbag in front of the window where they can sit on their phone, will give it a calm, homely feel. A cosy but cool feel will also make their bedroom a good place for them to relax with friends after school – you might not like the idea of a house filled with teenagers but at least you’ll know where they are!

Allow for change

Your child is still growing and their taste is going to change, so their bedroom needs to be versatile. Opt for modern neutral furniture, such as the Elkin range from Hammonds (available in cream and white) and highlight with colourful accessories, framed posters and soft furnishings that can be rearranged. 

If your child wants to go for something really outlandish then have one key area – such as a statement wall or item of furniture, so that updating it later down the line is not too much of a hassle.

Have fun

You might feel sad to be deconstructing a child’s bedroom – after all, you probably have fond memories of decorating it when they were born and reading them bedtime stories. You might even have warm and fuzzy feelings for the tantrums they used to throw when you tried to get them ready for bed now that they're in the distant past. Take comfort in the fact that decorating a teenager’s bedroom is a wonderful opportunity to get a glimpse of the adult they are going to become as they carve out the part of the family home that's ‘theirs’. Understand their different needs and let them express themselves – within reason! The memories of the first bedroom they decorate themselves will stay with them for life, so be a part of it and help them find their personal style.

Read our top ten rules of interior design

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.