Budget Decorating
(featured column)

Teen Rooms on the Cheap

by Kathleen Wilson


How to decorate a teens bedroom is one of the most common questions I receive. Especially for those on a budget, this can seem like a daunting task! Never fear, The Budget Decorator is here!

Teen rooms are different for kids rooms in that they should be treated more like an adult space, but with a fun flair. Involve your child and come up with a theme that helps to express who they are. (NOT what you want for them!) Be sure to give the theme a name, even if it's something like "Modern Plush in Blue", or "Country Princess," whatever will give it life!

Let your teen choose their colors, but give them some guidance. Buy a decorating magazine and have them choose a color theme out of the pages, or surf decorating sites on the internet. That way, they feel they have chosen themselves, but you are assured you two have chosen a proven color scheme.

Now, use these quick ideas for transforming your teens room, on the cheap!

1. PAINT!!! Perhaps a teen's room is the most important room you could consider painting. Teens are very sensitive to color, and they are much more free with their sense of adventure. Use a bolder color on the wall behind the bed, and you have instant drama and a great focal point! (Teens LOVE instant gratification, the paint will be one of their favorite parts of the decorating project!) Cost of paint: around $12.

2. Bedding. The bed is usually the focal point of the room, and a favorite hangout spot for teens to read, do their fingernails or talk on the phone, so it definitely deserves some attention. An easy way to update bedding on a budget is to create covers for the old comforters. You can do this quite easily with two flat sheets the same bedding size as the comforter. Flat sheets are cheap, you can pick up twin size at your local discount store for less than $5! Sew the sheets wrong side together on three side leaving one short side open. Turn right side out, then add Velcro, ribbons, or snaps to the inside of the short end. Insert the old comforter, and close. Easy, quick, and cheap! Throw pillows can easily be made out of flat sheets as well. Try using bright, funky colors on the bedding to make a real statement. Cost of four twin sheets for comforter cover and pillow, $20.

3. Windows. Light control and privacy can best be met in a teens rooms with vinyl mini blinds, they are cheap, and easily replaceable. If an extra boost of color or softness is desired, add simple curtain panels over the blinds. Keep it simple here, fussiness is rarely a quality teens are looking for in their rooms. Remember those cheap sheets? These are great for sewing curtains because of their large size, no piecing panels of fabric together. You also don't need to worry about quality of fabric as much as color, after all, the blinds are really providing the light control. Cost of sheets or blinds, less than $10.

4. Accessories. Punch up a teens room with some funky details to add drama and style. Pick up some cool (and maybe a little tacky) fringe or beading from the clearance table at the craft store, and glue around the bottom edge of the lampshade, the hems of the curtains, even onto shelf edging. Save all those free cd's from Aol and the like, and then turn them over to the clean side and glue to the frame of a mirror, or to cover a closet door. Glue together in an overlapping fashion to make faux frames for all your kids inevitable posters. Pick up wooden letters from the craft store in their initials, or to create a significant word or phrase, then paint one of the brighter accent colors of the room and hang over the bed, window, or doorway. Use old sports equipment picked up at a yard sale as curtain rods, hat racks, or magazine holders. Even hung on the wall as an art grouping, sports memorabilia can be meaningful for a sports buff. Total cost can be done for less than $15.

5. Finally, personality. Inject your child's own special personality into his special place. Hang those ribbons and certificates, frame a few personal photos of family vacations, or find a shelf for those special stuffed animals they aren't quite ready to part with just yet. Use this opportunity to recognize your child's individual gifts, and celebrate them. Cost, not a thing. As the commercial goes; memories, priceless.

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Copyright 2005 by Kathleen Wilson.  All rights reserved.

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