There's a term for kids who are hurtling toward adolescence, but it's preteen no more. They're called tweens, and they have their own important role in the marketplace, driven by a slew of retailers making products that appeal especially to them.
Given that tweens are still family-bound and too young to be out with their friends all the time, they spend a lot of time in their rooms. Playful color palettes and creativity reign supreme, but a hangout spot is essential to accommodate their growing group of friends.
It's a transitional age, so you should be designing a transitional bedroom. Think of it as buying a pair of pants that's a bit too long so that you can slowly let the hem out.
Once your kids enter Tweendom, you realize that they're not only outgrowing the look of the kid furniture in their rooms, they're probably outgrowing the size of their furniture, as well. So it's time to Freecycle the kid furniture and start adding stuff they'll carry with them into adulthood.
Choose well-made, classic pieces that will hold up through the years but can be altered to suit those ever-changing teen moods. A coat of paint or some brightly colored fabric can completely change the way furniture looks, so embrace your creative side and help your tween choose colors, however temporary they may be.
Kids come with lots of stuff -- toys, books and lots and lots of clothes. As they head toward their teens, they'll amass even more stuff -- yearbooks, photo albums and movie and music memorabilia -- all of which needs a place to live.
Even though your tween may be so over Barbies in public, she may want to pull out her Barbie Dream House in the privacy of her own room occasionally. And just because your son thinks blocks are for babies doesn't mean he won't spend hours building Lego castles. With this in mind, make sure your tween's room is outfitted with plenty of storage for success in the clean room department.
Being a tween is a big transitional time, so tweens need a bedroom to match. Furniture should be purchased with the understanding that your tween probably will rearrange a lot to accommodate fluctuating needs.
While adult furniture will work for your tween, it's best to skip the built-ins for now and get a couple of freestanding bookcases instead. Beanbags are great because tweens can move them to accommodate different seating arrangements, and they're cheap enough to be replaced with something more permanent when the time comes.
As your daughter's obsession with Hannah Montana matures into a love for Lady Gaga, she'll be quite ready to rid herself of all of the Hannah décor. Your son may love Transformers and dinosaur posters for years to come, or he may not.
You can expect a steady evolution of changing artwork over the next few years, so plan a room that will accommodate this. Skip the framed posters and prints, and instead, create a corkboard wall. This will allow your tween to decorate with photos and drawings of the moment that easily can be changed each time he or she gets a new wave of inspiration.
Tweens do become teens, and one thing both of these demographics have in common is a love of color. His friends' rooms or his own ideas probably inspire your son, while your daughter is more likely to pore through back issues of your magazines or take a trip to the mall for her inspiration. And she's bound to love the bold and the beautiful, so don't bother trying to convince her to go with your penchant for neutral walls or white minimalism.
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- Better Homes and Gardens. "Tween & Teen Rooms." 2010. (Sept. 7, 2010)http://www.bhg.com/decorating/kids-rooms/teen-rooms/
- Chaffee, Karen. "Decorating your tween girl's bedroom." Helium, Inc. 2010. (Sept. 7, 2010)http://www.helium.com/items/1556589-decorating-a-tween-girls-bedroom
- FurniturePlanners.com. "Tweens, Teens and Cool Room Trends: Furniture Ideas." 2010. (Sept. 7, 2010)http://www.furnitureplanners.com/buyingtips/Detailed/41007.shtml
- Jayson, Sharon. "It's cooler than ever to be a tween, but is childhood lost?" USA Today. Feb. 4, 2009. (Sept. 7, 2010)http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-02-03-tweens-behavior_N.htm