3 Things A Tween Learned From Redecorating Her Room

I’m not a mom. But, I was a tween once. That was about the time my mom let my sister and I have our own room and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Not that I didn’t love her, but while my sister was discovering The Smiths and a slightly goth look, I plastered posters of a young Johnny Depp and had a thing for large brimmed hats.

Decorating and redecorating my four walls was a satisfying way of expressing myself. From moving furniture around to creating wall collages, the changes in that room shifted with my pre teen development.


Recently, I had the joy of working with my youngest interior design client yet. Eleven year old, Mimi, has the can-do attitude of her mom, loves to read, and wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. This summer break she had a budget of $400 and the green light to redesign her bedroom.

To help guide my design concept, Mimi let me know a few things:

  • her color preference had moved from pink to teal

  • the existing furniture had sentimental value, but was outdated

  • she’d love a space for reading + doing homework

With these criteria in mind, the design embraced budget savvy decor options and a pretty challenging DIY project.

The result was a fun, functional and feminine bedroom for Mimi to hang out in. “My room feels like a place I can go to read, draw, do homework or just relax,” she shared. “It is a comfortable place I can do anything! I can’t wait to show all my friends.”

A little learning also happened throughout the process. Here are the top three:

1. Going neutral can be cool too

One thing Mimi did not like about her room were the color on walls and furniture; “way too much tan for one room!”. But, while she liked the fresh approach to painting the dresser and bed frame white, there was a concern that she wouldn’t care for the gray on the walls. “I thought teal would look better than grey on the walls,” Mimi confessed. The room, though, came together with teal accents here and there. Mimi had collected favorite decor pieces from summer travels (a teal pot, gel candle, teal-tinted mason jars, and a teal frame shaped like a sea anemone.)


before after

Through this she understood the power of neutral walls. The Benjamin Moore’s Gray Tint, is subtle enough to allow pops of color whatever the favorite may be to stand out. This allows for versatility as kids grow and change their minds on decor.

2. Design does not have to break the bank

With an eye for sales and some flea market shopping, Mimi and her mom sourced the pieces that really pulled her room together like the duvet and metal heart. But, what saved the most money was a desire to repurpose the larger furniture pieces.

“Some items I wanted to keep in the new design were my furniture set from my mom that she had when she was eleven, and my bookcase. These were both important to me because they had been in my family for a long time and have sentimental value.”