A childhood bedroom needs to grow up along with your teen.

How to Make a Teenager's Room More Sophisticated and Grown Up

by Benna Crawford

One day you will find it is time to make sense out of the hodgepodge of teddy-bear-cute and baby-doll-pink decor that survived your teen's childhood. Consult your fashionista and your newly suave son before cracking open any paint cans -- but then transform the private lair into a fun and functional retreat that expresses emerging personality, not nostalgia.

1. Reclaimed Cool

For a teen who cares about the environment -- his and the planet's -- recycle and repurpose to create a grown-up bedroom. Color walls in low-VOC dove-gray paint as a neutral backdrop to everything else. Build a platform bed from wood construction pallets to support a mattress with a pillow-ticking-striped fitted cover on it for lounging. Remove the fitted cover to reveal plain blue bedding for sleeping. Stitch together enough outgrown, blown-out and recycled blue jeans to make a rectangular area rug, backed by a thick rug pad. Line up a row of old gym lockers for clothes and storage along one wall. Paint the lockers glossy medium-gray and invite the boys to graffiti the exteriors into a personal statement. Cork tiles stuck to the wall offer a green bulletin board. A giant world map or a wall mural of a snowboard shredder's paradise lets him plan his next eco project or big adventure.

2. Hooray for Hollywood

What could be more sophisticated than Audrey Hepburn captured in a black-and-white movie poster on your teen diva's wall? Give that girl an all-white room with a big, fluffy flokati rug by the bed, a Hollywood headboard of tufted white leather, bedding printed with black-and-white movie stills and a Mid-Century Modern artichoke pendant lamp. A clear acrylic molded desk holds a white princess phone, a potted white orchid and her laptop. A canvas director's chair with her name stenciled on the back serves as the desk chair. An oversized clapboard slate over the desk is really a chalkboard and white-painted cork rectangles on either side of it offer pin boards for tacking up scripts. Surround a full-length rectangular mirror on the back of the closet door with round white or clear fairy lights to evoke a backstage dressing room. A small clothes rack on wheels holds her costumes du jour and adds a splash of color to a sophisticated room.

3. Clear the Decks

Make space for hanging out in a small room by pushing a twin bed against one wall and treating it like a daybed. Add a narrow desk under the window or along the opposite wall, with a comfortable desk chair on wheels and docks for charging electronics. Fitted bed covers in denim or neutral linen blends disguise the bed by day -- add a couple of photo-fabric and pop culture throw pillows that underscore your teen's interests. Pale blue or pastel lime-green paint on the walls gets picked up in deeper blue or green stripes on an area rug. Display shelves high over the bed provide a changeable gallery for sports trophies, photographs, artwork or favorite books. Paint a stripe or two that matches the rug on Roman shades in the same color as the walls.

4. Polished Pink

Think pink for a growing-up girly girl but take a stylish approach to her teen bedroom decor. Blush-pink walls are barely there -- they seem to reflect the stronger pinks scattered throughout the room. Go for muted raspberry -- fuchsia with a touch of black to tone down the exuberance -- on a plain canvas window shade edged in aubergine velvet. Use the same material for a duvet cover and a tailored raspberry bed skirt with an aubergine border. An armless tufted velvet chair in stormy gray with a hint of purple allows extra seating when friends show up. Match the smoky violet color in chandelier shades or a pendant lamp. Cover the floor with a modern swirl of raspberry, violet, gray, cream and aubergine carpet and spend some time selecting contemporary art prints or posters that mirror her taste and growing sophistication.

Photo Credits

  • Marili Forastieri/Photodisc/Getty Images