There are a few truths about most teenagers: They’re going through a lot. There are a lot of feelings involved.
And they tend to spend an awful lot of time in their bedrooms, which makes the teen years a great time to invest in making your teen’s bedroom a place where they like to be.
If you don’t have a huge budget for updating your teen’s bedroom, there are still a lot of changes you can make fairly inexpensively. You might also be hoping to make big changes that don’t involve painting a bedroom wall totally black, which I understand. Having said that, it’s important to let your teen have at least a little bit of say in what you do to their bedroom, since they’re the ones who will spend the most time there.
Whatever you decide, the options are pretty endless — everything from removable wallpaper to new storage ideas to making a personal charging station. It all depends on what your teen is into.
1. Let your teen set the tone.
I am a big believer in the idea that kids should get to decorate their own bedrooms. I don’t mean that you should allow major changes every time your teen has a new whim, but I definitely think it’s cool to let children pick out the color of their walls and their bedding. I know that it’s not for everyone, and people have their own home aesthetics, but giving children agency over the room where they spend a lot of time can be really empowering.
This is especially true for teenagers. Most teens are just trying to find a spot in the world that is theirs, a place they can claim ownership of. A bedroom is perfect for that.
2. Consider removable wallpaper.
In that same vein, removable wallpaper can be a great way to spice up a teen’s room and make it feel extra special without making permanent changes. A wall that is painted a bold red is exciting, but red is a pain to paint over. Bright red removable wallpaper? Not such a big deal.
There are a ton of options out there. Here are a few sites that I start with when I’m in the mood to shop for removable wallpaper:
3. Update the furniture in the room.
As a pretty thrifty mom, I like to reuse furniture as much as I can. But as your child ages, you will have to give up some of the furniture from their younger days. That might make you sad (I get it; they grow so fast!), but your teen will probably love to have a new look that feels like “them.”
While you might not be able to change every piece of furniture, you can ask your teen to choose one thing they would change about their room. It might be as easy as including a funky chair or a fun rug!
4. Try to choose furniture that they can grow with.
While you’re looking at new furniture to add to your teen’s room, gently encourage them to consider pieces that they may want to take into their young adulthood. I don’t mean fancy furniture, but we’ve all had that desk or chair we picked up off the side of the road, right? Wouldn’t it be nice if your teen didn’t have to?
5. Don't forget the bedding.
My 11-year-old is already very into bedding and has two or three different duvet covers that he substitutes based on what’s clean and what he’s into. They’re all really different, and they communicate different feelings. When I was growing up, I had the same comforter each day, so I like that he’s into accessorizing his room in this way. Bedding is a really easy way to change the mood in a room entirely.
6. Get into storage options.
I know that as a teen, I accrued a lot of stuff, and it all felt really important. Definitely consider exploring storage options, like adding a few shelves to your teen’s walls or even in their closet. My kid stores nearly all of his toys in his closet, because otherwise they’re just a big mess on his floor, but my dream is one day he’ll actually use the shelves he’s got in there.
7. Incorporate your child's interests.
If your kid is a big reader, look into adding a hanging chair or some kind of comfy reading nook where they can sit and read for hours. If you have a gamer, maybe add a desk so they can game from their own room. A futon is another fun addition that also makes sleepovers and/or all-night gaming fests much easier.
8. Turn the room into more than a bedroom.
Teens spend a lot of time in their rooms, right? So it makes sense to turn their bedroom into a multipurpose room. I’ve touched on this a little bit in previous sections, but this is really contingent on what your kid is into. If your teen likes to socialize and have friends over, making the space conducive to that could be as easy as setting up an area where friends can hang out easily.
9. Don't forget wall decor.
Back in my day, I covered my walls with as many pages as I could rip out of Teen Bop. But your teen might be different! Definitely have a conversation about what they really want on their walls. They may be into the idea of adding some kind of board, like a magnetic board or a corkboard for notes and messages. They might be into framing photos. Or they might be super into digging up retro issues of Teen Bop (eBay has them) and going to town.
10. Don't forget the tech.
Listen: Your teen probably has at least one, if not more, devices. There are a lot of fun ways to store and charge devices, and many of those ways are just super-cute decor options. Your teen can even try to make one on their own: This DIY charging station box is pretty straightforward.