Child Changes

By Tawny Maya McCray

June 19, 2009 5 min read

CHILD CHANGES

Kids growing up means making statements in their rooms

Tawny Maya McCray

Creators News Service

As your kids get older, so does their need to express their personality and individuality. And there's no better place for them to do this than in their bedroom.

Taking your child from kid to tween and then to teenager in their room is practically a rite of passage for you both -- and a great time to let them take charge a bit.

"It's really crucial that the kids are able to have input into their room," said Andrew Dottermusch, director of home improvement for Disney Consumer Products. "I would even encourage parents to let their child start pushing the envelope just a little bit and create their own space."

But that's not to say that parents shouldn't set some guidelines. Remodeling your child's room should be a team effort to ensure that everyone is happy with the results.

The first step is making a game plan. "Start with a vision for the room and begin filling a folder with ideas you like," said Kimberly Stone, owner of Adore Your D?cor, an interior decorating firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. "Next set a budget that's realistic. This will save you time and money in the long run and keep you from making costly mistakes."

Inspiration for decorating can come from many different places -- online, magazines, TV shows and talking with your kids. Explore them all to come up with a sense of style for the room.

Having some sort of theme is okay, but don't overdo it, said Debbie Greene, a professional interior designer who owns DC Designs Inc. in Atlanta.

"You don't want to get too theme-y because teenagers tastes tend to change almost on a weekly basis," Greene said.

Stone said that teens today tend to lean toward more modern designs and are attracted to contemporary furniture, funky patterns, and bold color statements, as well as wall decals and room-size wall murals.

It's best to pick out the furniture and fabrics first and then choose the paint, Stone said, since paint can be mixed to match anything and is less expensive if it needs to be redone. She added that most paint brands offer sample sizes so you can test out a color before getting too far into the project.

Affordable furnishings and paint can be found at places like Target, Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and online at Pottery Barn's PBteen.com. You could also look at secondhand stores, swap meets, yard sales and even hand-me-downs from family and friends.

Teenagers use their rooms differently than they did as a kid -- studying, socializing and using technology instead of playing with toys. This lends itself to a more sophisticated space, where you can incorporate breakable items, expensive furnishings or even invest in furniture that can move with them into their future college dorm or first apartment.

Greene said she recommends investing in a solid mattress, buying a full or queen size bed over a twin bed because it's more likely to transition with kids as they get older -- particularly with boys.

"When they become big, they go from these little kids to these 6-foot-tall young men," she said. When buying a bed for your son or daughter, "you have to think, 'Is it something that's going to be supportive for this growing young man or woman?'"

Despite the changes, keeping a little bit of the past in the new room can be a good thing. You can integrate favorite awards and recognitions for nostalgia or put cherished photos or papers into albums.

Keeping some old pieces of furniture and refurbishing them might be a good option for the new room, as could be adding some new window treatments such as drapes and blinds.

Creating this new room with your tween or teen can be a fun and interesting way to get to know them a little bit better and could make it easier to connect with them in this transitional phase in their lives.

And there's another upside to it as well. "A teen who is involved in the planning and decoration of their room will be much more likely to keep it clean and tidy," Stone said.

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