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Aged eleven, your child is careering towards being a (whisper it) teenager. While they may pretend they don't, they do still want to play and indulge in a little make-believe, but their room is also a study and frankly somewhere to get away from you.
By Kerry Young
Ikea Odda furniture range
5 Golden Rules For Teen Rooms
Plan at least three years in advance – hard to imagine now, but in a couple of years that lovely child will be inviting her/his mates home to listen to rock music.
Storage, Storage, Storage
You cannot have too much storage – even teenagers gather stuff at alarming speed, plus they'll have a burgeoning collection of homework folders and books that you'll need to accomodate.
Let Them Have Their Way
Where once they wanted fairies on the walls, now they might want all black. Hey, let them have their way – their bedroom should be a retreat (from you) and somewhere they can express themselves. Let them feel at home (and keep the door shut so you don't have to look at it). So they love Arsenal and want all the players on the wall? Paint the room a deep red to match the team colours... You get the drift.
Ikea Malm bed and Frederik workstation
Keep it flexible – it's a study, it's a bedroom, it's a hang out. If you've not got space for everything, rework it. Replace the bed with a good sofabed, get them a raised bed with a desk beneath… The options are endless – and you needn't spend a fortune – somewhere like Ikea is a good place for inspiration.
Sound Proof It
Door abit flimsy? A good, solid fire door will help keep noise down in the rest of the house, as will a nice thick carpet instead of floorboards. It works both ways – they'll need peace and quiet to study, you'll need protection from their 'music'.
Before you start thinking decoration, you need to plan the layout of the room, assuming there's some space to swap it about abit.
Odda bed with truckle and foldaway guest bed, all Ikea
Add A Chill Out Space
It's sad but true that your child's social life is more vibrant than your own, so work in a chillout space where they can hang out with friends and chat about boys/football. A sofa bed is a useful investment if there's space – make it more futureproof by choosing something you'd be happy to have elsewhere in the house.
Make The Most Of Space
If space is tight, invest in a cabin bed with a desk area underneath. You can buy all-in-one units from most furniture shops, or get a joiner to build one to order with bespoke storage, too.
Fit An Extra Bathroom?
You may have noticed that the bathroom is occupied for longer and longer, so consider squeezing in a second. If you have two adjacent kids' rooms, look into the possibility of slicing a little off both to create a bathroom between them for them to share.
Light It Well
Don't forget about the lighting. Your child will need a bedside lamp and task lighting around the desk, and fairy lights are a fast and easy way to add atmosphere. Overloaded extension cables are a nasty fire risk so get an electrician to install new sockets where needed.
Get The Electrics Sorted
Any time soon they are going to want a PC, games console, phone and TV in their room at least. If you're having work done in the room, it might be worth getting phone points, sockets and aerial connections put in now for when you give in and let them in the future.
High Sleeper by Aspace
Get Extra Seating
At this age, your kids may actually sit on a chair rather than loll on the floor or hang from their knees all the time. Beanbags and oversize floor cushions are a good choice as they can be slung in a cupboard or under a bed if you need extra floor space and are easy to re-cover, too.
Create A Quiet Space
Homework is really cranking up now, and a quiet study area is essential, so find space for a desk. In smaller rooms, you could fit a drop-leaf table to the wall, which can fold away when not in use, with a folding chair.
Zone The Room
Children that may have shared a room beautifully through early childhood can become mortal enemies as they grow. If sharing is causing conflict, try and introduce distinct areas. A stylish screen can provide a bit of privacy or try a bookcase-style room divider.
If you're looking for furniture that's a bit different but inexpensive, head for the local second-hand shop or sale room. You can pick up unique bits and pieces for a few quid and paint them to suit the current colour scheme.
Decorating A Teen Bedroom
When it comes to how they want their room to look, your older child is less likely than a little one to be fobbed off with a token Angelina Ballerina pillowcase. Fortunately, though, they are probably open to more sophisticated decorating schemes, so there's bound to be a colour scheme between their ideal (black) and yours (eau de nil) that you can agree on.
Show them inspirational room schemes on this site to push them gently in the direction of a shade they might not otherwise accept. If you're thinking wallpaper, there are tons of designs that are neither boringly adult or cringingly childish – check out www.absolutezerodegrees.co.uk, www.timorousbeasties.com or www.cathkidston.co.uk.
Let Them Personalise It
Once you have got the kid-friendly sophistication sorted, your young person may feel the need to personalise the space a little. For creative types, you could stick up oversized sheets of paper on one wall for them to express themselves artistically – lining paper is cheap and disposable. Or buy plain canvasses from art shops for them to paint and produce their own masterpieces. Alternatively, get hold of a really big picture frame and let them fill it with photos, notes, doodles and memorabilia for a cool montage that they can take down and change as often as they like.
Ikea bedroom furniture
Get Grown Up
If they want something really grown up, they need look no further for inspiration than our bedroom design galleries – we've got great ideas for colourful bedrooms, neutral bedrooms, contemporary bedrooms and traditional bedrooms.
Add A Noticeboard
As they juggle their hectic social calendars, some kind of noticeboard for all those invitations is a good idea. Take the blackboard paint idea to a whole new level with magnetic blackboard paint for a chalk board that can hold up notes as well. Alternatively Kidicraft (www.kidicraft.co.uk) sells magnetic paint that you apply as an undercoat before finishing with your chosen wall colour for a subtle wall-as-magnetic-noticeboard effect.
Go Wild For Storage
Whatever their age, there can never be too much storage. Kids these days have a lot of possessions and just one (or even half a) room to keep it all in. Get the storage right and you might have a slight hope of seeing their floor again.
Buy Versatile Storage
Make shelving adjustable to grow with them – cute little bookcases soon look woefully inadequate when piled up with textbooks. Allow different heights for DVDs, books, big books, files, knick-knacks, photos, etc.
Make It Accessible
If they can't reach it, they won't use it – make sure all storage is accessible to the child.
Buy Multipurpose Pieces
Where space is tight, go multi-purpose. Think bench or window seat with lift-up seats and storage inside, or a high bed with drawers in the base.
Use The Walls
Use the wall space. A row of hooks can act as an overflow for the wardrobe, or hang colourful laundry bags for tidying away toys or accessories.
Sherbourne bed by Aspace
Use Wasted Space
Underbed storage is a brilliant use of otherwise dead space (and stops it becoming a toy and food graveyard). Get low boxes on wheels that will adapt from toy storage to clothes to magazines – try Lakeland.
The back of door is good for much more than a moth-eaten dressing gown. Go to Ikea or Store (www.aplaceforeverything.co.uk) for organisers that hang over the door.
If you have a lot of boxes to stash their stuff, don't expect them to remember what is where. Label every box carefully so they don't empty out every one every time they need something.
Lines Not Piles
Stacked boxes are a pain when what you want is at the bottom, so avoid piles. Line up boxes on shelves or modular units instead.