You’ve Googled “teen bedroom ideas” and all you’re finding are either ultra-twee designs, ugly boyish interiors and what can only be described as the remains of an imploded kaleidoscope. Teen bedrooms can be a challenge, to say the least. Parents often want one thing (a neutral haven which can transform into guest-ready space for those periods of out-of-town visitors); teenagers undoubtedly want the absolute opposite (flower power wallpaper and a circular bed). They might be attempting to explore their personal style with “creative” design choices (read: acid yellow walls). Or perhaps they have great style but it’s just not in keeping with the rest of the house. (Netflix’s To All The Boys I Loved Before has given teens some serious food for thought in the shape of Lara Jean’s room complete with what looks like beautiful hand-painted wallpaper.)
If you’re going through this civil war right now, just know that there is hope – a happy compromise between parent and teen. Whether you’re looking for teenage girl bedroom ideas or teen boy bedroom ideas, follow these dos and don’ts and the example of these designers to find a style that you (and they) can live with. Just remember, teenage ≠ garish.
DO get your teens involved in designing their rooms
Whatever you do, figure out what they want in there room. There’s no better way to show them that you trust them and respect their opinion by letting them create their own environment. You might need to give them a little more freedom than you’d like – they are, after all, young adults and they like to feel independent. Start by asking them if they have any bedroom colour preferences, if they’ve seen any ideas on Instagram or Pinterest and suggest going shopping for new pieces. Of course, you can make some suggestions – just be careful not to overrule that newly found creative spirit.
DON’T be afraid of colour
Adults might not like the idea of living with brighter, primary colours but teenagers are resoundingly drawn to them according to studies like this one about teenage boys and colour). It’s probably a remnant from their childhood (kids are notorious for loving vibrant colours) or maybe it’s because it’s one of the easiest forms of expression. You don’t have to resign yourself to brightly coloured walls (although that’s not necessarily a bad thing so long as you’re willing to redecorate or repurpose) because there are many ways to incorporated colour into your teen’s room. Something like a graphic wallpaper, a bright upholstered chair or ombre curtains will let your teen have their colour but won’t give you a headache every time you go in.
DO buy adult-appropriate furniture for your teen’s room
As a single person room inhabitant, teenagers may only really need a single bed and a small chest of drawers but there is a lot of opportunity in buying full-sized, adult-appropriate furniture. Not only does it usually look much more stylish, it also future-proofs your purchases for if/when your children leave home – their beds, cabinets, desks and bedside tables can all be repurposed for a guest room.
If it’s possible, choose a double bed. Not only is a generous double bed a welcomed young adult-appropriate alternative to small, cramped teen beds but it also provides an potential extra guest room when friends and family are in town. And, remember, a suitable mattress is essential for any growing teen.
Two other important purchases – a desk and a desk chair. Teens may be sitting at their desk for extended periods of time doing homework and assignments – the last thing you want to do is compromise on quality. A teenage’s growing body needs something which is as well-made as any chair you’d want to sit it at work.
Image Credit: Finchatton
DO think about liveability
This playful Natalia Miyar master bedroom proves that good design is always appropriate, even for teen bedrooms. If you don’t want to undergo a redecorating job when your teen moves rooms or goes off to university, this about something like this. Its cool grey palette is restful and brilliantly liveable for every purpose. Accenting with fun pops of red in the upholstery piping, patterned drapes and graphic cushions makes this a perfect design for either a teenage boy or teenage girl bedroom.
DON’T think you have to use themed bedding in a teen room
Teen bedding might be another bone of contention in this teen room decorating journey but believe us when we say that your options aren’t limited to chevrons and comic book bed sheets. Solid linens or subtle patterns which can be used in other rooms of the house make a great starting point. You may even want to use some coloured bedding which would make them even more teen-approved. If you want to add even more colour, pattern or texture, find an interesting knitted or patterned throw or a bright quilt which will add a teenager element to even the simplest of linen sets.
It might be easy to neglect the accessorising of a teen bedroom because they already have a plethora of belongings (which are usually everywhere) and what else can they possibly care to have except a bed, a desk and maybe some shelves to tidy it all away into? Think again.
A teen wants to have the same amount of personality and personalisation in their room as you do in yours and teen decor should go beyond school books, jewellery boxes and old childhood favourites on a shelf. Think about buying some fun cushions, cool bookends, abstract sculptures and photo frames for them to fill with personal snaps. It will make their room feel more suited to their individual style and it may give them enough pride to keep it tidy. Win win.
DO use artwork in your teen’s bedroom
If they have a particular hobby or interest, don’t feel as though you’re doomed to install all-over Star Wars wallpaper or fill the room with themed furniture. Why not let your teen channel their inner creativity or passion through artwork? Almost any hobby or interest can be referenced much more stylishly and easily through artwork.
Cool artwork (think photography, vibrant canvases and vivid giclee prints) is perfect teen room decor and gallery walls are a great way to create a personalised focal point in a room. Natalia Miyar utilises a gallery of photography – a much more design-led alternative to the stereotypical poster wall – in this bedroom which adds colour to an otherwise neutral colour palette. (And the neon applause artwork is a teen dream.) Adding colour in smaller doses results in an overall colour palette which is inoffensive to parents but far from lacklustre to developing minds.
Image Credit: Boscolo
DO find some good storage solutions for your teen
From school projects and sports gear to games consoles and nail kits, your teen has a lot of things they need to house in their room. Aside from the usual clothes storage, it’s smart to have some extra storage in the form of baskets, boxes and shelving. In theory, if everything has a place, you shouldn’t have too many issues with untidy rooms. In theory… Hopefully if you include proper storage in your teen’s room, you’ll avoid the problem of “the chair”. You know the one – it sits in the corner covered in a constant pile of their used or not-yet-folded clean clothes.
DO incorporate prints and pattern for an interesting teen bedroom aesthetic
Like colour, you might prefer to stick to less obvious patterns in your space but teens can be highly stimulated by prints and they can be used to add excitement, drama or even a fashion element to a bedroom.
Floral prints are great for teenage girl bedroom ideas; smart stripes are always a winner for boys; and graphic patterns seem to be equally favoured for both teenage boy bedrooms and their girl counterparts.
Interested in how to decorate a kid’s room? Discover more on kids room design ideas.