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Let me tell you how I unlocked – for a brief moment – the secret code to coolness by redesigning my teen daughter’s room to an Insta-worthy space.
Bonus: I finally learned what teen girls mean when they talk about “aesthetics”.
When we built our dream house in 2018 I had promised my then 10 year old daughter that we would transform her room into her dream room when we could afford to do it. It took a few years before I made good on my word, but this year we finally did it.
Now every time I walk into my daughter’s room, and I see her snuggled up in her custom-made, cozy box bed, it just makes me so happy.
Because her room has changed from just a place to toss their clothes and sleep into a sanctuary, a safe haven where she can retreat, recharge, and simply be herself.
I think all teen girls deserve that.
I mean, let’s face it – being a teenager these days is stressful.
Between social media, school pressure, and trying to figure out who the heck they are, having their own little place to decompress and relax can make a huge difference.
And, let’s be honest, they need a place to escape the watchful eyes of their annoying parents. I mean, can you blame them?
Our girls are figuring out their identity and sense of self. Their bedroom is like an extension of their personality and unique sense of style. The way they choose to decorate and arrange their space says a lot about who they are as individuals. Some may go for a minimalist look, with clean lines and neutral colors, while others may prefer a bold and vibrant look, with pops of bright colors and patterned fabrics.
Speaking of personalizing, can we just take a moment to appreciate how much more refined and elegant teen girls’ room decor is now compared to the days of inflatable furniture and beaded curtains? These girls can make their rooms look like they belong in a magazine, while I struggled to even hang up a poster straight when I was their age. With it came to room décor back then, I had no clue.
But now, our teen girls have a clear vision of what they want. My daughter was no exception. She had a very specific idea of what she wanted her dream room to look like.
Of course she knew we were working on her room. She was turning 15; I I wasn’t about to make any executive style decisions without her approval.
But I wanted the finished room to be a surprise for her birthday, which meant that ultimately, I had to choose and pick the décor items. I knew I had to tread carefully to make sure I gave her what she wanted, that fit her style. Because my daughter has a totally different opinion of what a beautiful, cozy space would look like than me.
I’d call my style ‘eclectic’ which basically means I throw everything I like together. Our house is a mixture of Mediterranean-Moroccan and Mexican styles, with bright colors and terra cotta tiles everywhere. When we built the house, my daughter begged us not to put those ‘super ugly’ tiles in her room. I am so glad we let her choose her own, cream-colored laminate flooring back then, because our rustic tiles would definitely not have matched the ‘aesthetics’ of her new room.
I had to channel my inner Bobby Berk to get the right mix of style and function for my daughter’s room.
First of I asked my daughter to search and send me pictures of rooms that fit her style on Instagram and Pinterest. That gave me a sense of what kind of style and the color scheme she wanted.
We talked about the kind of furniture she wanted in her room and the functionality of her room. Her priorities were a cozy bed, enough desk space to both do homework and do her art stuff and a big comfortable chair to lounge in.
It helped that she knew exactly what she liked; a room with a light and fresh airy vibe, light colors, the walls in shades of white, green accents like fake vines or wallpaper with leaves, gold accents and accessories and a lot of super soft throw pillows on her bed.
I spent quite a few hours on Pinterest for inspiration by using search terms like “teen girl bedroom inspiration, Scandinavian, green and gold accents, minimalist”. And refined my search by showing my daughter the images I found. Her feedback was helpful, ranging from ‘Ew no thanks’ to ‘hmmm not bad’ and from ‘I’d rather have nothing than that’ to ‘Oh that’s so aesthetic!’.
I used the same search terms for Amazon, which also gave me some great ideas. The personalized recommendations helped me discover new items that I might not have known about, and some turned out to be a huge success with my daughter, like the wall collage kits, the gold-colored mini terrariums for succulents (other plants won’t survive in her room) and the cute square shelves pictured below.
And do you know what she absolutely loved? Something I almost didn’t buy because I thought she wouldn’t like it. A little Zen garden. It’s on her desk and is regularly used. Who knew?!
Of course led lights and the fake vines and plants were the finishing touches.
I also found this cheap fake wooden lattice with fake vines that would look cheesy on your balcony but fit surprisingly well in a teen room aesthetics.
Because we live on an island, finding and buying the stuff you want is not always easy. We don’t have Ikea, Walmart, Pottery Barn, Xenos or Hema. Here on Curaçao, our furniture and room décor stores are either super stylish and very expensive or super cheap stuff from China. Of course, we can order and ship stuff but because of the extra cost we must prioritize.
In the end it was a mix of ordering items from Amazon, re-vamping furniture we already had and some custom-made pieces. For the room décor items I chose affordable items from Amazon but I also found some dirt-cheap cute stuff in discount stores right here on the island.
The biggest expenditure but also the ‘piece the resistance’ was the custom-made box bed. It’s like a super comfy room within her room and the end result is definitely worth the money.
My husband made a desk out of a simple slab of wood, which gave her plenty of space for her to do both her homework and her arts and crafts. Her old desk chair was a bit ‘crusty dusty’ according to my teen, but a simple chair cover turned it into a beautiful chair that looked like new.
The big wicker lounge chair with the soft pillows she wanted fits well with the rest of the room and is as comfortable as it looks. Back in the day, my parents had these same chairs I used to cringe at as a child. I promised myself I’d never subject myself to that kind of torture as an adult. But fast forward a few decades, and here I am, paying $130 for a wicker lounge chair that I could have scored for 20 bucks at a thrift store in the ’80s. Who knew my childhood nightmare décor would become the epitome of cool?
All in all, it was quite an investment. But totally worth it.
I think I was more excited and nervous to show her the finished room than my daughter was. Seeing her face when she saw her newly decorated room was priceless. I’m pretty sure she was surprised to discover that this Gen X mom was able to create a room that reflected her Gen Z aesthetic vision so well.
Most importantly though, she has a space that reflects who she is and where she can relax and be herself, and that’s all that matters.