Every girl wants an inviting bedroom where she can dream (a lot), study (a little) and hang out with her friends (most of all). S4H Editor, Liz Johnson had a project in mind: her fourteen-year-old daughter, Lydia’s room. After the jump, we’ll show you the BEFORE photo that caused us to take this project on. Whoa! Get set for eight easy projects your teen can help with, and a finished result that reaped ‘oohs and aahs’ from Lydia’s friends at her inaugural sleepover.
The room has good bones, but clutter overwhelmed everything. It quickly became obvious to Lydia’s parents that she simply didn’t have enough storage for all the clothes and accessories a teen collects. And, the childhood bunk beds, which had been un-bunked, just looked wacky. Overall, the room lacked any cohesive sense of style and color.
It’s interesting how taking a photo and staring at it for awhile helps you find solutions. This is where S4H stepped in to assist with a step-by-step makeover plan.
Step One: Add storage and replace the bed
Mom and Dad headed to IKEA and solved the storage and kids’ bunk bed problems super cost-effectively with: a new bed frame, two shelving units, a low chest of drawers for the foot of the bed, a couple lights and (woohoo!) a vanity, mirror and stool. They chose a light birch finish that matched the doors in the room and picked up the white woodwork.
Step Two: Improve the floor plan
It’s helpful to measure and try out your layout using a computer or on paper first. Note the natural pathways through the room, and keep them open. Otherwise, experiment by moving pieces around until you find a pleasing plan. Consider your teen’s activities in planning the room. The room will stay cleaner if how it will be used is part of the strategy. Lydia, for example, has a desk where she sews her own projects, and so required some extra storage for her fabric and accessories.
Like most teen rooms, the bed is the focal point. Lydia has a large room and a king size bed. Rather than pushing it against a wall, we recommended angling it for a more inviting look (side benefit: her mom cleverly put a couple storage tubs behind the headboard for more hidden storage and quick de-clutters). By including bed curtains, we added one strong vertical element to counteract the many horizontal surfaces.
Step Three: Pick a color scheme
Lydia loves her saffron-colored walls, and the paint is nearly new. So, that color was set in stone and would become the secondary color in our palette. Lydia chose pink for the primary color, which balances beautifully with the saffron. A room looks best with three dominant colors used in unequal proportions. For the third color, we choose turquoise as an accent to give the room depth.
Step Four: Define a style
Use contrast in colors, patterns, textures, and size to create interest; repeat colors, textures, patterns and motifs to create flow. “Pretty prints, please!” was Lydia’s wish, so we focused on one fabric as a starting point. This fabric contained the saffron, pink and turquoise colors from our color scheme, plus a butterfly that became our repeating motif. We chose some fun fleece to add texture and a complimentary burst of color to the room.
It’s also important to think about scale (how size relates to the overall room) and proportion (how items or patterns in a room relate to each other). A good example is the large size of a bed – even a twin. Because a bed is a proportionally bigger item, a small print can become lost on it, and will visually appear to blur into a block of bland color.
Read our accompanying article, Tips for Mixing Fabric Collections for more detail on how we made decisions using fabrics from the collections of seven fabulous fabric designers: Amy Butler, Valori Wells, Anna Maria Horner, Erin McMorris, Tina Givens, Sandi Henderson and Paula Prass. Their beautiful prints were accented with turquoise and zebra fleece and a pink designer solid from Free Spirit. Also, read Mixing & Matching Colors, Patterns & Textures for additional inspiration.
The Design Board
A design board helps you to work out the pitfalls in a room before you spend a penny or begin a single project. You can make design boards on your computer (copy and paste photos or online images), or by hand using a piece of white card stock (cut photos from catalogs and pick up swatches from your fabric supplier). What often happens is you quickly see a sore thumb – something that sticks out as not belonging. It gives you a chance to try something else until you get a palette that’s pleasing.
Pretty Prints Please: The Tutorials
Patchwork Butterfly Duvet: Jumbo patchwork makes this duvet a striking centerpiece for our teen room makeover. These popular duvets can sell for hundreds of dollars in stores. Make it yourself for a fraction of that. We show how to make a king, queen/full or twin duvet.
Butterfly Pillow Shams: Why are pillow shams so expensive? Make these easy patchwork shams in about an hour and give your teen’s bed a tidy and terrific new look for next to nothing.
Genie Pillow: Picture a genie sitting on this elegant tasseled pillow granting the wishes of your favorite teen. So easy to sew, your teen can make this herself.
Ribbon Memo Board: Take an old frame, some ribbon and fabric scraps and put this board together in about an hour. Five minutes later, your teen will have it FULL of mementos!
Zebra Butterfly Fleece Throw: Super simple to make, yet so sweet draped over a chair or the bed. We appliqued a butterfly in zebra print fleece (yes, there really is a zebra butterfly in nature) to ‘zazz up this cozy throw.
Flipover Floor Cushion: Teen rooms are often full of friends who lounge on the bed and overflow onto the floor. Toss a couple of these two-sided pillows on the floor to create a stylish and inexpensive seating area.
Cotton Gauze Bed Curtains: What teen girl wouldn’t love these luxurious bed curtains. They are snap to make when you use curtain clips. Using several shades from the color scheme ties a room together beautifully. We’ll also show you how we installed the cable wire hanging system.
Star Pillow: The star of the pillow pile. Adding one fancy shape to a mix of pillows keeps it interesting.