A Teenage Girl’s Room

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A Teenage Girl’s Room

Q. I would like help thinking long-term for my 13 year old daughter’s room so that I don’t have to decorate her room twice. We are about to move into a home that we plan to stay in for at least 11 years which will be when our youngest completes college.

Her room is a nice size: 16×20 with one double window, and a single door closet.  She will have a full size bed and a desk in the room. Right now, she isn’t hard to please, but I have heard other mothers complaining bitterly about the rooms of their older teenagers. They want black paint on every surface (even textured ceilings). The girls want to write on the walls and pin posters and mementos everywhere. I’m having a hard time imagining my quiet 13 year old turning into a “goth princess.” Do you think all teenagers end up wanting clutter and black walls? Do you have any suggestions for decor which would transition well? If you think I will have to do the room twice, and if so how could I save money?—J.M.

A. It is true that most girls transform into a new person somewhere around age 16. It is also true that most young women will experiment with style through their 20s, often re-adopting favorite themes, colors, and styles of their childhood.
I would divide the project into two categories: furnishings which must last the full 11 years and decor that may change. The bed and other substantial furniture are in the first category. An upholstered chair or ottoman could be in the second, but you would change only the upholstery. Usually a favorite color at 13 will remain within the top 3 colors for a lifetime.
The request for black may come, but it is unlikely your daughter will dislike her current favorite color at any time. I would expect at least one paint makeover and one touch-up during an 11 year period. Initially, I would choose a lively color that your 13 year old daughter likes. Keep in mind that the decor that is in place at 16 is what you would like to make last the longest, so it deserves the higher budget.
You might not simply cut prices at 13. You could also consider items of higher quality which may be repurposed. For instance, transitional geometric fabrics or traditional florals could be made into draperies that could later be moved to a guest room or library. Virtually no wear and tear exists on draperies. Make pillows for a 13 year old full of whimsy or novelty as they won’t last more than 3 years in any case.
When it comes to black, I see parents reject the idea outright. In reality, black makes for an easy room. Repainting walls is not a big deal. I would not recommend painting ceiling or trim, though as the labor to repaint is intensive. I have occasionally talked a teen into eggplant instead of black.
Here is an idea for an accent wall divided into vertical sections. This particular color group is extremely versatile. It goes as well with the floral silk as chartreuse linen and then could be used with sophisticated black and white fabrics and the art deco decor shown. The best way to control clutter is to direct it. Mount a bulletin board as large as the room will allow on a wall which is not seen from the door. Place shelves in an orderly fashion leaving room in the middle for a focal point which may change as your daughter ages. A quality mirror and ottoman or bench would be excellent in this space. After age 16, resist change, because she will want to change again before the paint dries.   u
Note: We welcome all questions related to home design—ask us about color, room arrangement, planning for a new home, selecting furnishings, lighting, flooring, and more. Answers provided by Tanna Espy Miller, who has operated her award winning interior design practice DesignNashville.com for 23 years. You may also contact Tanna at 615/ 601-0552.

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