The Tween Bedroom Challenge

By Sharon Naylor

January 18, 2012 5 min read

When your child says she doesn't want a "kiddie room" anymore, it might tug on your heartstrings to realize that your baby is growing up. But it can also kick-start a rewarding new project that you can share with your preteen son or daughter. At this milestone age, kids are discovering their personalities and want their personal spaces to reflect that. Your tween wants -- and should have -- a great amount of creative choice in room styling.

Of course, as the parent, you'll determine the budget for this decor redo, so take the opportunity to make the creative process an important financial lesson for your child. Together, search for budget-friendly finds, coupons and sales, and establish a smart method, such as your tween performing extra chores for greater allowance with which to buy some indulgences. It's also wise to set firm ground rules at this point, such as no television in the bedroom.

With your rules set and your child excited to work with you in redesigning his or her bedroom, here are some smart tips for the room makeover project ahead of you.

--Don't expect a theme. Tweens are far more into colors.

"Painting is one of the quickest ways to freshen up a room," say Scott Sicari and Jordin Ruderman, hosts of "Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls." "Try two or three different colors on walls," says the duo -- one blue wall, one purple wall and one blue-and-purple striped wall, for instance.

Together, visit to upload a photo of the room, which is then used to try out different paint colors on walls, ceilings and trim. The interactive site provides color names and numbers, as well as a calculator the tween can use to figure the amount of paint needed.

--Assess the tween's bed and dressers. Obviously, a race car bed will need to be upgraded to a twin- or full-size bed, which is often a pricy purchase. A tween girl may want a canopy bed. Ask your friends and relatives if they're planning to upgrade their teens' bedrooms and if you might purchase their furniture from them. A new-to-you bedroom set can still thrill the tween, especially if he or she idolizes an older cousin who owned it first. You also might re-finish or paint bedroom furniture to give it new life. Visit for video lessons on refinishing wood furniture.

--Clear everything out of the room, taking every book and toy off the shelves, and have your tween sort belongings into plastic bins marked "keep," "donate" or "sort later." Artwork and other items you wish to keep could go into your own plastic bin for keepsakes.

--Professionally clean or steam-clean carpets to give them a like-new appearance.

--Experiment with moving furniture around, perhaps placing the bed against a different wall or moving the computer desk to a different corner. Even if furniture is not new, simple repositioning may create a new style for the room.

--Tweens love to pick out new bedding and pillow covers, so use coupons and store discounts to purchase fresh, new linens. Reversible comforters give your tween the opportunity to flip the look of the room on a whim.

--Give windows a makeover. Sicari and Ruderman say, "With a few yards of fabric, you can create a new window treatment by draping fabric around the window frame."

--Give lights a makeover. New lamps might be in your budget, or you can simply replace lampshades with a funky, colorful new choice.

--Choose artwork. Tweens love to display photos of themselves with their friends, so an oversized corkboard with colorful pushpins can suit their wall personalization wishes for under $15. Inexpensive poster frames are available for less than $10 in craft stores -- perfect for hanging posters of favorite celebrities or sports heroes.

--Create an organizing system. Closets and bookshelves can hold plastic or canvas bins in which your tween could store essentials, and desktops can get new organizing trays and penholders.

--Add extra details. Vinyl-cling decorations affix easily to walls and can be removed without damage to paint. Your tween can also choose new metal hardware, such as light-switch plates and dresser-drawer pulls, both very inexpensive at Target, Home Depot and Lowe's.

--Add a social space. Sicari and Ruderman say, "Game areas where the tween spends time with friends can also be injected with personal style."

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