She’s been asking for her own room for more than a year. She’s always shared a room with Elea and they’ve been so close over the years that they’re almost like twins. I couldn’t stand the thought of them being separated. So, I put her off for a while. And I put her off some more. We had an extra room over the garage that we used a craft room and it happens to be connected to the girl’s bedroom. She wanted to move into there and then she could still share space and a bathroom with her sister. I finally ran out of good reasons why she shouldn’t do it, and when we gave up homeschooling, it seemed like the right time to start working on her new tween/teen room. The winds of change were blowing and I wanted her to know I was listening.
This project took all summer and we were intentional and slow with the renovation. Packing up a craft room is no walk in the park, but she and her sister decided they would do it themselves. I’m a displaced, gypsy crafter now, still looking for a home for my wares, but we love the new arrangement and it’s become one of my favorite rooms in the house.
We started a Pinterest board so she could pin spaces she liked. She wanted a chalk wall with an otherwise pink room, different shades of red and pink in the decor, and space to be able to dance. I’ve done a teen girls room before , so I knew I wanted to give her something to grow into—inspiration for her changing mind and body, space to breathe and dance and be, and healthy ways to express herself and blossom into a beautiful young lady.
Here are the elements I thought were important in making this room a place to grow and thrive.
Art and Beauty
- Every room needs art. We are big fans paintings, prints, and photography, but we had a small budget here, so we decided to order a few things and make a few things ourselves. We love the Hey Y’all sign from Stephanie Creekmur’s shop and the Leigh Viner print called About a Pearl. (I have several Leigh Viner prints in the sultry master bedroom and I love the girly feel of them.)
- We loved this print from Blimp Cat and bought the frame for $2 at a thrift store and had it framed at Hobby Lobby. I RARELY buy frames from anywhere but thrift stores. They’re so cheap and you can repaint or repurpose them however you want.
- We also bought a giant Audrey Hepburn poster from Amazon and taped it to the wall with glittered duct tape. We added some book page butterflies for embellishment. We added some awesome oversized ballet prints, which MAKE the room, in my opinion. I had huge prints made of some Emme’s ballet photos and we had them mounted to foam board. I embellished the top one with a red emerson flower. The red tutu is getting loaded in the car as we speak, for a little road trip to Nashville to see Taylor Swift. #canyouhearthesqueals
This room had terrible lighting, with only a few can lights in the ceiling. We added a cheapish chandelier from Lowe’s and then two bedside sconces. For most everything else in the room, we skimped and borrowed things from the house or shopped in thrift stores. But the money we invested in the lighting was so well worth it. It changed the room completely. (Side note: We bought this dressing vanity at the room of requirement and Emme sanded and repainted it herself. With a little help from mom, of course. We LOVE how it turned out and it is always chocked full of girly goodness.
The room should reflect the girl. Let her hobbies and passions shine. Our Emme is a great little dancer, so we use her point shoes, photos of her dancing, and a tutu to decorate the room. She wants to learn to play guitar and got one for her birthday so we got a little stand so it’s easy to pick up and strum. There are two disco balls in this room and one of them is huge and hangs over the bed. It’s epic, that’s all I can say. There are foo dogs and antlers and bedazzled busts. The room has personality and is uniquely hers.
Did I say it’s quirky?
She wasn’t so sure about hanging the disco ball, but who could resist it once it’s up?
We didn’t sacrifice function, but we made the room work for us AND be pretty. Every girls needs a dressing vanity and you can do wonders with thrift store finds. This vanity was $50 and we spent $10 on paint and $20 for new pulls. So, for less than $100, we have this beautiful, functional, and vintage vanity.
And every room needs more oxygen, right? I love decorating with plants. I was in Anthropologie and saw their canvas covered pots, so I decided to embellish the heart plant with a painter’s drop cloth and add it to her room. Live plants do something magical to a room. They teach so many life lessons, too.
Give your tweens and teens all the tools they need to express themselves. Because they will express themselves, somewhere, somehow.
I make sure there’s lots of paper, pens, watercolors, chalk walls, embroidery thread, musical instruments, knitting needles, and plenty of time and space. If they learn to express themselves in healthy ways, maybe they’ll avoid years of heartache and pain. I want to encourage her to read, write, think, sing, love, and dance. We all need to create and express, so help them find their niche. (More on the DIY lacquer desk renovation!)
I’ve spent hours in this room already and my fingerprints are all over it. I want her to know that I’m here. I want her to feel my presence and my spirit in this room. I’m not going anywhere and though these years will have their challenges, I want her to know that I’ll walk with her the whole way. I’m in her corner. As she stands on the verge of this precipice, I want to plant myself firmly in her heart and life.
Sources coming on Monday. Right now, I’ve got a car full of girls and red tutus ready to head to Nashville to see Taylor Swift. I may never recover. Like Ever.