It may be the fact that I am now in my 30s and am out of the “teen scene” but it REALLY feels like teenagers these days have stepped up their style game, right? Real life 13 Going On 30. 16-year old puka-shell-wearing Jess would not have stood a chance/is beyond grateful she doesn’t have to. But man do I remember my first “grown-up” teenager room. It is a big deal and feeling stylish is of the utmost importance no matter how uncool you actually are (or feel, because we’re all cool in our own way. It’s one of those moments where you feel like you get to reinvent yourself as the person you want to try to become. Now, back in the early 2000s, young Jess went from a baby pink and zebra print (leopard was too basic for me…HA) themed room to a VERY “sophisticated” pale yellow/ black-and-white toile design. It was my moment to show the world I was grown. But I clearly didn’t do it alone. My mom was instrumental in helping to guide me while at the same time not taking over. She was the best. Designing my rooms (umm through college) are some of my favorite memories with her. It’s such an awesome bonding activity…if you listen to your teenager and consider what they want, too. Otherwise, be prepared for endless eye rolls and tears.
So with all that said, redesigning a room, while incredibly fun, isn’t cheap. I know we have said this 378,943,890 times before, but it can definitely feel extra pricey when it’s for someone who will be leaving the nest in a few years. Don’t cry at that thought just yet because I have three pretty great rooms to show you to help you forget. Great, now I’m rhyming. And wait, if you’re not a teen (or have a teen) and about to click away, STOP. Stay. Make yourself comfortable, because all of these could easily also work for budget seekers, young adults, first apartments, fifth apartments and beyond. Something here for everyone, really.
Let’s start with a simple, modern yet bold design.
Faux Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree | Basket | Bed | Rug | Lumbar Pillow | Bird Art | Bird Art Frame | Sheets | Duvet | Nightstand | Lamp | Throw Blanket | Chair | City Art | City Art Frame | Dresser | Black Bowls | Ceiling Light | Basketball Hoop with Dry Erase Board | Bookshelf | Desk | Desk Chair | Wood Hand | Hourglass | Alarm Clock | Mirror | Laundry Bin
When I put this look together, I was thinking of how I would design my brother’s room in high school if I could design it now. This is by no means just a boy’s room though. This room is great for any teenager who likes darker colors, clean lines and a wooden hand. 🙂 That bed is a STEAL (under $150) and is crazy stylish. I am also very into IKEA’s new dresser. Hi, blue tone-on-tone dresser and handles. But while darkness is cool, you want to make sure your teen isn’t in a total dark dungeon. By adding in some greenery and a pop of color with a throw blanket, it will help to liven up the joint. Ultimately, this room feels stylish without trying too hard and leaves room for them to add in things to make it personal and uniquely them.
Onto a slightly lighter color palette…
Bed | Nightstands | Wall Sconces | Cord Kit | Rug | Rust Shams | Faux Fur Lumbar Pillow | Quilt | Sheets | Throw Blanket | Butterfly Chair | Nature Art Set | White Frames | Dresser | Tray | Vases | Calendar | Bookshelf | Desk Organizer | Pencil Cup | Clock | Desk | Desk Chair | Mirror | Laundry Bin
Welcome to the happier sibling to room number one. This is for the teenager who wants to be a little playful but minimal. The rug really helps to make a bold but neutral statement, the rust color of the pillows add that necessary pop of color (along with the printable art) and those sconces are crazy cool and only $28 each. However, I have to say that bed is the showstopper of the room and if I had a normal sized bedroom currently, you could bet your bottom dollar I would make it mine. It’s a great piece with definite design longevity. The last piece I want to note is the adjustable desk. Standing desks are all the rage right now because sitting is the new smoking evidently. Makes sense, no? It would be great for those inevitable late nights when someone may have procrastinated on a paper. I absolutely never did that…
Bed | Faux Cactus | Faux Snake Plant | Plant Stands | Textured Lumbar Pillow | Abstract Art Print | Frame | Nightstand | Marble Frame | Table Lamp | Duvet | Sheets | Throw Blanket | Rug | Flower Print | Frame | Line Figure Drawing | Pendant Light | Chair | Dresser | Vase | Calendar | Tray | Box | Pencil Cup | Clock | Bookshelf | Desk | Desk Chair | Mirror | Laundry Bin
Last but not least welcome to my teenage modern boho oasis. I may have designed it with teenage Jess in mind (if teenage Jess lived in 2019 and traded the pukas for a choker) but I feel that this look applies to may young people’s design sensibility. I wanted it to feel like a cool, breezy yet cozy haven. The light creams, natural tones and pops of pastel colors all help to create that feeling. First and foremost we need to talk about that insanely sick accent chair. I wish I could fit it in my home because I would click purchase instantly. It adds the perfect amount of modern that the space needed and it’s under $200. What?! I also really love the art (again, all printable). It feels young without going into little kid territory (a teenager’s worst dream). Notice the scales of the art pieces and how each one is varied. It’s important to remember to mix scale and pattern to create visual interest.
There are our three teen budget rooms. The really great thing about most all of these pieces is that they are versatile and not too young/trendy. Your teen could easily use almost all these pieces through college with a few minor tweaks to the decor. Once again, the important thing is to let them be creative and help them to find out what their own style is. But don’t forget to embrace the posters and photo plastered walls. The whole point of being a teenager is to grow and have fun. Hope you all do that together.
And as always let us know what you like, what you are looking for next in the budget room world and any other comments/questions.
Love you, mean it.
Oh lordy, my teen room was nothing like this. Though I would have died and went to heaven if it was. When I was 11 my very messy sister moved out of my room and into her own and my room became pink and white everything. But we didn’t have $ to throw around at all so it was a lot of pink and white from garage sales. I would pour over magazine pictures and try to make it look like that. When I was 13 we painted the bottom half of the walls dark green and the top half light green and my Mom and I spent an entire day stenciling ivy in the middle. IVY?! WHY?! But the carpet was still dark pink so my Mom sewed me a quilt that had pink and green (and purple) in to to make it all pull together. Looked straight up like a little girls room but even at the tender age of 15 I knew how much love and heart she put into it so I never said a word though it made me cringe. That room looks the exact same (though the bulletin board covered in friends pictures is… Read more »
my room in high school was covered in a blue and yellow moon and stars motif. I had a giant stuffed cow in one corner that I won at Six Flags, a blue inflatable chair in the other, and glow in the dark stars hanging from fishing wire from the ceiling…pretty sure the teens of today are way too cool for that, but I LOVED it.
I am tearing up at this. You sound like such a sweet daughter.
I love how distinct all three design boards are. There are a lot of great ideas and products to use in kid and adult spaces. I bought the third chair for my 7 y/o’s bedroom as soon as I saw it. I like the color options they have and I couldn’t believe the price. I like that it will be a cool chair that she can keep until she is a teenager. Thanks for the great inspiration and practical products!
You are so welcome! Hope you love it xx
I love these looks, but I also think they are too pulled back for teenagers. I was really expecting one or two items per room that were really fun. Like something graphic, some twinkle lights, something ridiculously fuzzy, or some neon sign. I understand, and even appreciate, that these are pieces that could transition through college. I just feel like they are missing a little bit of the whimsy of being a teenager.
Agree! I was a fairly conservative teen, and even my room was bright teal with posters of cute boys and mobiles hanging from the ceiling. There may have also been sparkly curtains? What a fun time. I need to get some of that “who cares” attitude back!
I completely agree! These rooms scream first bedroom out of college, “I’m a grown up now” !
Ahh we’re bummed you guys don’t think they’re “teen” enough. While I totally get that, I guess our intention was just to lay the foundation with good, styling budget pieces that could extend past the teen years easily, as well. We fully expect any of these rooms to be taken to the “next level” with a teen’s custom flair: lights, personal photos or artwork, posters, collages of concert tickets and photo strips, etc. Those are the types of things that could easily evolve over the teen years, while the foundation stays constant (and pulled together)! But we hear you all!
Agreed! Even our teen Danish exchange student has added some fun “teenager” elements to her room! (Along with empty coffee cups and clothes all over the floor, of course). ?
I am always totally baffled to see a bed sized for a couple in a teenager’s room. Isn’t a single bed or a twin enough for one person?
I have a teen and pre-teen now. They have twin beds from their toddler days, but just because we can’t quite afford new ones yet. When we get new ones, I’ll get a queen because guests can use them if/when they visit (puttingthe two kids in the same room temporarily)!
Extends the usable “life” of the bed in my opinion. You can use as a guest bed when teen leaves or they can take it to their first apartment if you don’t need it.
Also, teenagers fool around. My mom gave me a queen when I was 15 and when I was 16 and 17 – the age when I started dating my first boyfriend who’s still my partner now, almost 9 years later – I was SUPER grateful for it, if you know what I mean. Plus, I loved that even on those super long nights when I studied, I could cram all my stuff on the bed and STILL have space to sleep in it. When my girlfriends were over, we all squeezed and slept together, etc. There are many ways a teen could use a couple’s bed. Teens are, after all, their own people 😉 (also what they said about the longevity of the bed, if you have a double/queen/etc now, you don’t need to replace it nearly as soon)
Ewww Jess, I don’t know many parents who knowingly purchase beds for their kids to make out in and do other grown & sexy things. LOL
I’m team full and queen bed for a kids room if you don’t need the extra floor space. When the kid goes to college you’re all set bed-wise for a guest room.
Bodies grow! My 15 yo has our old Queen bed as we finally graduated to King (so grown up). Our 18 yo is on on a double. They are taller than me and I would hate to sleep on a twin size bed…..eesh….they don’t want to be hanging off the end of the bed!
My 7-year-old daughter has had a queen in her room since she was 4. It’s amazing and we couldn’t go to a twin at this point. Reasons: we won’t have to buy her another bed when she gets larger, it’s very useful for sleepovers, great for mom and dad to read in there with her, and less chance of her falling off the bed in the middle of the night. I highly recommend it!
My 6′ tall husband would definitely say a twin bed isn’t big enough, his feet hang off the end when he has to sleep in one since a twin is only 6’3″ long. You can get a twin XL, which is as long as a queen, but there aren’t nearly as many options, and if you’re doing that you may as well get a queen so that it can be used as a guest bed or taken to their first apartment later. Of my friends and I when we were teens, about half of us had either full or queen beds rather than twins. I even see a lot of people put their toddlers in a full or queen bed after they move up from a crib, since that allows maximum parental cuddle opportunities and is more flexible for when guests come to stay. Not sure where you’re from, but maybe this is more of an American/suburban thing since we have larger rooms than many other parts of the world?
Yep. I feel the same! I think that a person who has grown sleeping on a wide bed will probably find it more difficult to share the bed in the future.
Hmmm, these are all very nice but if they are for teenagers, they are for teenagers who are likely to run away from home to join accountancy school! Grey on grey? Where is the passion, the flair, the rebellion, the experimentation? Where is all the black, the graffiti, the trying something that doesn’t quite work but I refuse to admit it?
Totally agree! These rooms are what 40-somethings think that teenagers will like. Or they are for really boring teenagers
Ha! We get that, but if we put something together that doesn’t quite work, we wouldn’t be doing our job! It’s just the foundation of a room. A teen wouldn’t be a teen if they didn’t bring in their OWN flair (instead of what their parents told them should be how they experiment) right? 🙂
Ditto on everything Arlyn said. My intention was to create a “cool” base that had some style longevity but left space for creativity. Every teen is different and brings their own fun, youthful flair. We really try to make these designs special but broad enough that almost anyone could find a way to make them their own:)
That zinus bed you have in the first picture is such an unexpectedly solid piece of furniture. I’ve had it for years. So easy to put together and it’s still going stronger than most of my way more expensive furniture.
Oh good to hear! Thanks for sharing.
I also came to praise the beds of Zinus. I have two and they’re both incredible.
There is nothing that reads teen in any of these rooms. They are simply bedrooms for anyone. If that is the “look” for teens, now, that’s the way it goes, I suppose, but there is nothing to distinguish them as teen rooms. Sad, to me, but I understand trends come and, hopefully, go.
Can we get a byline underneath the title? Maybe even something searchable since there are so many of you now?
yes, byline please at the top of the article, give the writer credit as a matter of course
Sorry that was on me! I totally forgot to credit myself (hand to face)
I have two teens. My son has zero interest in updating his room and would kick me out if I tried. For example, he needs a place for his sweatshirts which he moves as a pile back and forth from his bed to his desk chair. He won’t let me help so I’ve let it go. My daughter recently relocated to the larger extra bedroom and was very interested in decorating and had Pinterest boards and Ikea store lists, but refuses to put anything away like most kids so despite grand plans, it’s your typical teen room. Again, it is her room and she got her Hemnes trundle bed which becomes a king and that’s all that mattered. I think this an age where you can offer to make it a more grown up space, but it also a time for them to be independent and if they like the status quo, then there’s no point in redecorating until they leave the nest.
I completely understand that. It very much depends on the teenager:)
These are lovely but none of them feel like teen rooms to me. They wouldn’t have appealed to me as a teen, though perhaps as a young adult out of college they would have. Teen me would have necessitated more personality and “fun” stuff, as, after all, your room is the only space that’s solely yours when you’re that age.
My intention was to give a solid base and then leave room for individuality. No teen is the same. I feel like at that age our mission to show our individuality LOUDLY. I wanted these rooms to feel special but applicable to a large audience. I would hope if a teen used one of these rooms as a guide they would throw their own brand of uniqueness on it:) That’s what design and style are about!
Where is the solution to the unsightly charging of phones and iPads and such?
Clearly, I was never sophisticated enough as a teen to have rooms like these. Mine looked exactly like the room in the movie Lady Bird.
I wasn’t either! Kids are exposed to soooo much more these days through social media and the internet. If that’s a great thing, I think that is a big debate. But because of that, I have noticed a major shift in style and these kids are for sure wayyy cooler than most of us ever were:)
Hey, team, THANK YOU for the side-bar reno! It’s fun and pretty to at, and I don’t have to cover my screen to be able to focus on the post (Emily is the cutest and the BEST, but the walking back and forth through the Target montage was so distracting). Love that pic of her in the Paris room–that was such a gorgeous design!
Also, thanks to IT for fixing the zoom/big blank box at the top half of the screen for some of us!! I can now zoom in to a nice font size and read more than a few lines at a time. These changes have revolutionized my reading experience <3
YAY! We’re constantly tinkering with the site (even if it takes longer than we think it will to launch!) so glad to see the changes are being met with excitement/relief!
First of all, I appreciate this post and the budget-friendly items for a bedroom Secondly, the link for the first rug for $319 links to the wrong rug. Can the link be updated to the actual rug in the picture? The rug in the picture might be perfect for my 20-year-old daughter’s room. Thank you.
Hi Kristy thanks for letting us know xx here is the right link and it’s now fixed in the post 🙂 https://www.rugsusa.com/rugsusa/rugs/rugs-usa-herringbone-cotton-flatwoven/Gray/200HMCO4A-P.html
I think this is a great post for getting the foundation right in a teen room but I’d love a couple follow up posts where you focus on bringing in the teen’s personality. For example, a post with an art/poster round up that offered good ideas of how to feature a teen’s interest (art that has nods to sports, snowboarding, music, technology, dance, books, a city they love, etc.). In that same vein, a teen styling round up post with styling pieces for all those bookcases and desks that also shows how to bring in their personality. Another fun post could be a case study where you interview a real teen about their interests and then design a room around their personality, full of foundational pieces and then how you’d style it to bring in their personality. And I would love a post featuring reader submissions of teen rooms that manage to really pull it of–a pulled together teen room with personality–and advice from real teen parents on how they approach teen rooms. I love how the super classy Brooke Giannetti of Patina Farm shared her teen rooms in their old home in this post: https://brookegiannetti.typepad.com/velvet_and_linen/2012/03/a-chapter-ends-our-home-in-santa-monica-is-for-sale.html. The boys room had… Read more »
Wow! So glad to see teen rooms featured! I am in the process of converting my son’s room from kid/tween to teen and it is very much along these lines. He has been amenable to the changes I’ve proposed thus far and lets me cull and style as I wish–albeit thinks I shouldn’t spend money this way. lol. He chose the rug–a black wool shag–and has weighed in on some art. When it was at its most styled up, he stated “My room looks amazing!” 🙂
I jumped straight from Instagram to the blog to read this post and I LOVE IT!!! Not only is it well written but the content is awesome!! SO MANY of the pieces caught my attention and are fantasticly affordable (insert angels crying). I was super shocked at all of the negative comments, maybe I’m living in a different realm but this is so current. It’s sophisticated yet still fun and not gaudy (hallelujah PTL)…. of course your child will incorporate their favourite things but why to teen rooms equate garish?? Sparkles & posters – what!? I was a teen, I had English saddles and French country antiques that my mom and I bought at auctions and flea markets (ps best memories ever with my Mom). Also, I grew up with a queen bed and my kids have always had doubles, why does kid equate twin? Don’t you lay with your kids at night till they fall asleep? In closing, BOTH of my kids loved these rooms and they are only 6 & 10 but I guess they have sophisticated taste. Our houses have always been well decorated and I think that is where this post is coming from. My 10… Read more »
I freaking loved this post! I have so many tabs open from links I clicked through on! I don’t have a teen (not for 13 more years, lol) but so many of the items work for guest rooms or multipurpose rooms. This was a great post!
I don’t get child or teenagers rooms with double beds… What happened to single beds?
Thank you for sharing these room ideas! Love the 2nd rugs.
I can identify with that sentiment of wanting to create a cool space. Mine was 1970’s mod. These are way more sophisticated! Amazing what $2000 can do.
When I grew up I had to share my room with my sister who was very very messy. We basically had all Ikea furniture (dark stain) with bright (white) coloured walls. For some reason my bed squeaked from day one and that was super annoying. However my sisters bed was not! I was glad when we finally got ride of my bed (3.5 years later). Anyway I love the pattern on the carpet for the second bedroom and consider buying it. Me and my husband make actually beds for teenagers that grow with them, as they are expandable. If you like check it out @ quaggadesigns.com.