When you’re looking to sum up chaos in one image, simply open your teenager’s bedroom door and sneak a look inside. There will undoubtedly be a mess of clothes strewn over the floor, textbooks, and workbooks thrown everywhere, and maybe even some suspicious looking foodstuffs left behind to rot.
Never fear, as most teenagers have a room that looks like this and according to psychologists, it’s all completely normal. If you’re getting a bit tired of the mounting mess in your teen’s room though there’s something you can do to help, and it involves a transformation that will turn it into their own personal nirvana.
When your child’s bedroom becomes a safe haven, decorated with things that they love, and has their own personal input in it, chances are they’re going to respect it a little more. We’re here to show you how you can work with your child to transform their messy room and make life a little cleaner for you both.
The Psychology Behind the Messy Room
Even if you don’t remember it clearly for yourself, there’s a good chance that your own room was pretty messy as a teen. The messy room usually starts at around nine years of age and will last well into the teenage years, but there are good reasons to explain why they do this.
According to psychologists, we need to stop thinking of messy rooms as a disrespectful thing or an affront of the rules. What they usually mean is that your teen has a safe space to call their own, and they are simply using it as somewhere to relax without the usual rules and restrictions that come with teenage life.
The personal freedom that the teen feels their room has means they can pretty much do with it as they please, and this is important to keep in mind when you’re planning a transformation. You really need to approach it as something you’ll work on together, rather than something you’re forcing them to do, as you don’t want to take away this sense of freedom their room gives them.
Consult With Your Kid About Improving Their Room
Before you can dive into the transformation of the messy room you need to discuss it with your teen first. As we mentioned, this will be a team project that you both work on together so it’s imperative that they get a say.
Tell them that you’re going to help them to transform their room and turn it into their own special space. Explain that you’ll be getting rid of the clutter, coming up with a fun new design, and getting them some new bits and pieces that will help bring it all together.
By making a big point about how you’ll need their help, your teen will be gaining some confidence and independence. They’ll be able to make decisions about what they want in their room and what decor they prefer so that once you’re finished with the project they can really take ownership of it. This, in turn, will hopefully lead them to take better care of their space.
Brainstorm Ideas With Your Teen
This is the fun part of any renovation and one that your teen will have the ability to get creative with. Once you’ve explained to them that they’re getting a chance to redo their room, you can then start looking for inspiration online. Sites like Pinterest are great for décor ideas and have plenty of fun DIY projects that you can work on together.
You might want to use this time to upgrade your teen’s bed to something bigger or get them a new desk for studying.
Décor and theme
Decide on a theme and look at paint colors, curtains, bedding, rugs, art, and décor that will help them achieve their dream.
To save money and give yourself something practical and fun to do together, why not try to make some DIY décor items for their room.
Think of what they need in their room and make it a priority – bed, study space, wardrobe, lighting, and windows. If you have space, they may be ready to move into their own room or into something larger.
Discuss with your teen what budget you have to work with and break down each segment into spendings so that you know exactly what you can afford. This is where the DIY projects can come in handy as it can save quite a bit of money.
Declutter Their Room
Think of this room transformation as an incentive for them to achieve if they de-clutter their old space. This is the perfect time to go through their belongings and get rid of any clothes they no longer wear, shoes that don’t fit, and toys or furniture that they’ve simply outgrown.
It can be tempting to completely take over this job but remember that these are your child’s belongings and they deserve a say about what stays and what goes. As we are trying to build on their independence you want them involved every step of the way. By going through their own things and making a pile for goodwill, they’ll feel in control and also proud of themselves for doing something nice for others.
Get A Plan In Place
With all of your organization and inspiration ready to go, you’ll need to put a plan in place for how it will all go down. Once you’ve done a thorough job of decluttering then you can begin the rest of the process. From there, you’ll need to think about the following:
A deep clean is the best way to give their room a fresh start and a chance to get them to help around the house. Explain to them that the clean is their responsibility and once it’s done you can start moving their new stuff in.
Constructing furniture and moving in
With a bare room, you’ll be able to construct their new furniture or move around the bits and pieces that you already have. Put their books away on the shelves and clothes back into drawers and cupboards.
The fun part of the process is hanging new art, decorating with color, and adding the final touches like bright rugs or lighting. This is where you can give your child more freedom to choose what they want to match their taste and personality.
As the parent, you obviously have final say about the process, but try to step back as much as possible and let your teen make some decisions. Giving them the freedom to make their own decisions will make this room feel a lot more like theirs and will allow them to have more respect for it.
Set Some Rules With Each Other
With their new room all set up and ready to go, it’s time to set some rules with each other about what this space means. Venturing into teenage-hood means a growing sense of freedom and independence, and their room can be a huge symbol of this. Here are some things you might want to discuss with each other about their new space.
Privacy and Accessibility
This new room may mean that they are now wanting to use a lock on their door, or that parents and other siblings will need to knock before being let in. Giving them these allowances will let them feel as if it’s more their personal space. Discuss what the rules are in terms of parents or siblings coming in, and what’s expected of your teen when they have friends over (eg. Will the door be closed or remain opened during these times?).
Respect for their belongings
Explain that now they have their own adult-like room they are responsible for taking care of their belongings. There should be no food left around, they will need to look after clothing and electronics, and they should use their furniture with respect (shoes off an no eating on there).
Come up with a plan about cleaning their room and maybe put a schedule in place about when they should be doing a bigger clean with vacuuming, dusting, etc. explain that this new room comes with responsibilities and they must hold up their end of the bargain.
The transformation from the messy room into a personal nirvana can be helpful for both teens and adults. Giving them their own space and a sense of freedom will make it feel as though they are responsible for their room now, rather than just somewhere their parents made for them to sleep, and the results will be dramatic.