Tweens are moving away from the toy sets and floor play of early childhood and into longer-term projects and table work, but they still thrive in a soft, simplified sanctuary. They are taking greater ownership of and spending more time in their space, while still relishing and resting in the love you infuse into the room.
While we incorporated our little one into the design of the kids bedroom (basing it on their needs and personality), the collaboration is going to be even more direct with a tween. How are they going to use the space? What are their needs? What vibe resonates with them? Then as you learned with the kids bedroom, we’re going to start with those 4 main components: rug, bed, bookshelf, closet.
In our home, we use Ruggable rugs (I wish I was an affiliate so I could benefit from all the times I recommend them, but alas, I am not). These rugs are machine washable, which is sanity-preserving in a house with 5 rowdy, messy humans and a dog who are living, learning, and working out of the house.
A rug brings a lot of cozy and the trick to winning with rugs is to get the largest rug that will fit/make sense in the space. So I pulled up Ruggable’s website, filtered for the right size and colors (green and gray for this kid), added the 10 I thought he would like best to the cart, and let him choose. He made the perfect choice, as he is a sailor and this rug looks like rolling ocean swells.
But he saw the beautiful light gray version I had selected also came in charcoal gray. Gulp. This kid’s alter ego is Batman – the darker the better. When I shared West’s room, I reminded you that you’re not designing for Pinterest; you’re designing for rest. This time I’m going to remind you that you’re not designing for yourself; it’s their space (I’m reminding you because I sometimes have to remind myself). And as they get older, they grow into an even more confident and competent partner in collaboration. He was excited. He was committed. I placed the order.
Next on that list of staples was the bed. We chose to get the same simple, light, earthy, inexpensive bed frame for all the kids, so the Tarva from Ikea once again makes an appearance, though this time it’s in a full size. Something about raw wood around the bed feels like mother nature’s cradling arms. We added the same white flannel fitted sheet and colored duvet (each member of the family has 1 color that is their favorite that we use to organize belongings and Bay’s color is green). It’s also worth noting that each bed has just a fitted sheet and heavy comforter. We find the simplicity of this setup life-changing (making the bed is so easy and snuggling down for sleep is tangle-free).
Bay wanted a desk in his room, but with the full sized bed he also wanted, space was limited. So we incorporated the bookshelf component (the Kallax from Ikea) as the supports for a shallow desktop. We then did a little baseboard work and caulking and voila—built in desk!
I had the perfect chair picked out (with the same finish as his bed frame), but on our Ikea run he fell in love with the look and comfort of this chair. (Mantra: this is his space.) We added a set of hyacinth bins and his desk was ready for action.
The wall shelves were there from a previous iteration of the space, but they played nicely with the new set up so they got to stay. We added a sailboat watercolor that my grandma painted for us, a globe we already had, and of course, some plants. Horizontal surfaces like wall shelves, bookshelves, and desks can clutter up quickly, so just be clear about their purpose (his wall shelves are for displaying, his desk is for working, his bookshelves are for storing).
And speaking of what’s on his bookshelves, bonus points if you spied the Bucket System! His bucket lives right here alongside the materials he needs to move through the clothespins that he has this season (guitar, books, computer, etc.).
The final ingredient to a successful bedroom is the closet. I went over his closet in detail here and you can learn all about creating a minimalist wardrobe for your kids here, but sufficed to say, the closet doors are removed and his wardrobe is an artful component of his space.
A refresh of your child’s space is warranted when they enter that age of transition before adolescence because their needs change, they use the space differently, and their identity is evolving. The collaborative process of affirming who they are in this season through an intentional cultivation of their space is a powerful connection ritual. “I see you. I support you. I honor you.”