At the end of adolescence, some kids leap into their teenage years, ready to look and act "grown up." If you have one of these kids, help them achieve a mature yet youthful look in their personal space. You don't have to ditch the bright and happy colors or playful patterns of their childhood room. But you can give it an above-grade-level makeover. To advance a favorite color scheme, turn up the intensity of the hues: Turn pale pink into fuchsia or mint green into chartreuse, for example. Rather than pick patterns that feel childish (polka dots), opt for classic plaids, damasks, stripes, and florals in modern designs and punchy colors. And, limit the patterns to accent pillows or window treatments. When the bulk of the decorating scheme includes solid patterns, it feels less animated and more restful.
For a teen that shares a room with a sibling, the room can hardly be a private retreat. But you can try to give her a space of her own by trading bunk beds for twin beds and separating them as much as possible. Sliding a spacious desk or a bulky dresser between the beds creates a barrier. Give each sleeper his own lamp and electrical outlets for chargers and electronics. Look for colors and patterns in bedding and window treatments that are age-neutral. And try to incorporate areas for personal expression, such as separate corkboards for photos and posters and independent shelves to display collectibles.
Most teens want their spaces to be different -- either different from what they had before or different than anyone else's. To encourage this search for self-identity, include music, art, and collectibles in the room's decoration. These pastimes allow your teen to show what she's interested in. Movie and concert posters, framed prints, travel photos, and sports trophies are standard fare. You can also hang some of the teen's own artwork in frames, or turn it into a wall decal or mural. Another way to achieve a unique look is to hunt for one-of-a-kind items at thrift stores. Look for vintage fabric to turn into bed linens or curtains, retro lamps, or interesting furniture pieces your teen can paint and personalize.
Some girls never want to leave the princess stage. To give your young monarch a not-too-youthful room scheme, ditch the frothy pinks and purples and use regal finishes and motifs. Even if your teen loves pale pink to this day, it doesn't have to cover the walls, bed, and floors. Choose a neutral hue or a complementing muted shade for the walls and bedding. Limit pink to accents like pillows, rugs, and artwork. Shiny and sparkly surfaces, such as a mirrored side table and silvery chandelier, provide an elegant look. For the crowning touch, include a canopy over the bed. It can be as simple as curtains hanging around a four-poster bed, or as ornate as sheer fabric draped from a ceiling medallion.
Most teens are looking forward -- to future schooling, work, or travel. Help them refine that vision with a room scheme that underscores their interests. A world map will help them plot their course. Implements of their future career can also be inspiring. Help a future car mechanic find vintage racing posters or logos of favorite vehicles. For a budding scientist, you could have fun with periodic tables and vintage classroom biology posters. If your teen has settled on a college, incorporate the school's colors into the décor, put up the football team's poster, or look for fabric that displays the school logo, and sew it into curtains.