Teen Room Re-design

This weeks Just Ask column is slightly behind due to the holidays. I was surprised at the amount of design dilemmas and questions that my readers sent in on December 26th. It must have been a day to relax and re-group, focusing on design projects that you were hoping to start. Several questions had to do with designing bedrooms for teenagers and having designed so many I would love to share some insight. I am also working on a before and after post for my own teenagers bedroom re-design which reflects their individual personality and style (will a little help from Mom). Check back for the reveal.


Q. Can you please post some ideas for how to decorate an almost college student’s room?  What colors are “cool” these days, and how do you make their childhood furniture work, now that they are almost adults? Andrea

t0The first step is to let your teenager make  the decisions, your job is to guide the process and present the options to them (sort of like what I do as a designer everyday). In some situations your teenager will select the options and just needs the green light from you, you are lucky if this is the case. So where to begin? Evaluate what they have and what can be re-purposed in the room. Often the scale of their childhood furniture is too small, pass it on to siblings or donate it. They need very little at this stage and cluttering the room with furniture that is too childlike in scale will look odd. I like to spend a good portion of the budget on a fabulous closet, view some ideas here and closets on my Pinterest. The idea to is to maximize the closets potential and remove large dressers. This leaves more space for a sitting area or workspace.


Then I like to look around the house for random pieces of furniture, end tables, upholstered chairs, picture frames and things that can be used as headboards. Don’t be afraid to paint, gild or take apart pieces that you find. Once you decide what can be re-purposed then make a list of what you need to buy. For detailed steps about how your teenager can design their own space read here. Selecting a wall color or fabric for the duvet or quilt is a great place to begin developing the color scheme. Colors that are trending for teenagers rooms are soft aqua tones, cool neutrals and hints of pink. For boys; charcoal grey, cool neutrals and dark blue. One thing is for sure your teenager needs to LOVE the wall color and it doesn’t have to be in style. I also like incorporating an accent wall of wallcovering.


Black accent walls with modern, functional furniture set the scene for this musician. Below, a hockey theme room with a hip DIY headboard.  The question I hear all the time is, how long will it last before they want to change it? I have found sixth grade there is the big re-design and then in ninth grade usually a color scheme change and seating area addition which will last until they leave for college. For more style ideas click here.


Image via {1,2,3,4,5}

  • Beth

    Being such a control freak, I needed to hear that I should let my teenage daughter make her own decorating decisions. Thanks for the advice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.wolfram.1 Cathy Wolfram

      We are all the same when it comes to teenage daughters, its not easy to let go of the control but this is a good place to start. You can do it Beth!

  • Connie

    My son plays tennis and has quite a few old rackets. The hockey stick headboard is great. I think I’ll try to create a headboard with the rackets. I love your ideas.

    • Cathy Wolfram

      Check out my pins under kid/teen rooms I actually have an example of that. So glad you like my ideas!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cindy.gelormini Cindy Gelormini

    So, do you mean you’re getting rid of the Winnie the Pooh mural?! LOL Yes, I agree, let the kids decide. I tell my clients to choose 3 colors you can live with, and then let the kids decide which one they like. That way, they have a choice, and you’re happy too!

    • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.wolfram.1 Cathy Wolfram

      Cindy did you forget the amazing Disney Castle that came after Pooh that you painted?? And all of the princess’ LOL. Great advice here I will pass that along.

  • Andrea

    Funny enough…I am getting rid of the Winnie the Pooh border in my son’s room as soon as all the Christmas decorations are put away. Since he’s 10, it’s way overdue! I love what you said about teens needing very little and will keep that in mind as we “reinvent” my 17 year old’s room….with her hectic lifestyle and constant late nights, she really needs a calm and organized place to retreat to at night. I love your ideas Kathy!

    • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.wolfram.1 Cathy Wolfram

      I found it so sad when the baby stuff came down but excited for them at the same time. So glad these tips are helpful!

  • claire Rees

    How can you hire a designer to design your room for you? Not super expensive or anything.