Making a teen’s bedroom room stylish, and keeping the peace while doing so

August 31, 2011

Turning a teen’s bedroom into a stylish space may require a parent’s help. But try to give strict instructions, and you’re likely to be rewarded with an eye roll or an argument.

“You can’t tell a teen how to design their room,” says Christiane Lemieux, creative director and founder of DwellStudio. “What you can do is give them the tools to do it nicely.”

Lemieux suggests parents approach decorating a teen’s room as a place to compromise and listen. “You have to work with your teenager. If lines of communication are open, I think you’ll end up with results you both like,” she says. Talking to kids about their likes and dislikes before designing is one way to keep their interests in mind before changing the space. Ask questions such as: Do you like modern style? Are you a bohemian? How do you want your space to look? What colors do you like?

We spoke with Lemieux, author of “Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design” (Clarkson Potter, 2011) about easy ways to design a fun, sophisticated room for teens. Here are some of her suggestions:

Look online for unique accessories.

Lemieux suggests shopping at eBay “if you’re looking for something and you think it exists and you haven’t found it at any regular retail chain.” She also suggests that parents and teens look at Etsy, a Web site for buying and selling handmade goods. “There are a lot of Etsy vendors that will personalize things for you.”

Keep the room trendy with neon accents.

“I’m loving the neon yellow, pink and green. I think you can mix it with any color and make it look hip.”

Use storage space as a place for personal expression.

Plain canvas bins from the Container Store can control clutter and let kids show off their talent. “They could write on it. They could paint it. They could tie-dye it,” Lemieux says.

Splurge on items that are easy to transport.

Lemieux says bedroom furniture might not be “that sound of an investment. Chances are they won’t take it with them to a dorm” in a few years. What items could make the transition from parents’ home to college? Sheets, a great floor pillow and a beanbag chair.

Kid’s room contest

Have you created a smart design for your teen’s, tween’s or child’s bedroom? Enter the Washington Post Kid’s Room Contest. Upload photos of your child’s room, absent of kids, to washingtonpost.com/kidsroomcontest, and include your name and contact information. Submissions must be received by Sept. 23. The contest is not open to professional designers. The winner will receive a prize and be featured in an October issue of Local Living.

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