If you didn't redecorate your youngster's room during the preteen stage, you will probably want to do so now. Ideally, you and your teen can work together to create a look you're both happy with and one that can last awhile. For starters, new wall paint and a new bed ensemble can be had on most budgets. If the room needs adult-size furniture, good quality hand-me-downs can enjoy a new lease on life with custom refinishing. A computer armoire or a desk/hutch may be the only "new" pieces really needed; if so, ready-to-finish furniture stores offer pieces you can finish to coordinate with existing furniture pieces.
If your teen is the responsible type, new carpeting or area rugs also may be worthwhile now. For practicality's sake, you'll still want to skip the pastel velvety carpets in favor of a more robust variety in a tweedy midtone hue. Oriental-style rugs, with their jewel-tone patterns, give an opulent grown-up look and hide spills, too. For another adult touch, replace floor cushions and beanbag chairs with a small easy chair for a guest. The more the room looks like a hip studio apartment, the better most teens will like it. Not coincidentally, this approach will let the room do double duty throughout the college years, too.
Aside from a dramatic-looking bed, the best investment you can make for your teen, if the budget allows, is a professional closet-organizing system. A walk-in closet is a dream come true for most girls and many boys, but even if the closet is small, a professional system can make the very most of the space. If a closet consultant is outside the budget, check out the do-it-yourself racking and stacking systems available through home storage and organization specialty retailers.
Large framed cork bulletin boards corral posters and other teen treasures; if you provided bulletin boards for your preteen, you may want to change the cover fabric and add an extra board or two. Teens have many of the same hobbies as preteens, but by now, they've also got serious levels of homework and lots of post-high school planning to do. Make it easy for them to build their futures from a safe place, right at home.
More than anything, a bedroom needs to be safe and secure. Keep these tips in mind when you're planning a room for your child, and you'll have both a comfortable kid and your own peace of mind.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Mary Wynn Ryan is the author of numerous interior design books including The Ultimate Kitchen, The Ultimate Bath, Cottage Style, Fresh Country Style, and Garden Style. She has written about home furnishings and interior design for various magazines and served as Midwest editor of Design Times magazine.
Heidi Tyline King is an accomplished writer and editor. She has written extensively about America's arts, culture, history, nature-based attractions, and decorating projects, including All About Paint and Wallpaper, Beautiful Wedding Crafts, Pelican Guide to the Florida Panhandle, The Unofficial Guide to the Southeast with Kids, and others.