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A Room of Your Own

It's the first thing you see when you get up in the morning and the last thing you see when you go to bed at night. It should be a space that really expresses you, not just a collection of random backpack kibble.

With the right paint color, some interesting fabric, cool posters, and one or two fun yet functional light fixtures, you can create a room that's perfect for your daydreaming self and may even make homework time a little easier to take.

To get started, think about what you need to make your room work for you. You may think a calendar and a desk are pretty dorky, but you have to have some place to put your work stuff, yes? And your room is a MUCH better place to get down to school business than the dining room table or the den. So figure out where you're going to put the hafta's and then feel free to play with the rest. After all, Mom and Dad are going to be much sweeter about springing for a few decorating extras if the purpose is to improve your studies. ; )

Here are a few thoughts for fun makeovers:

  • Pick a great color. Your days of passion for bubble gum pink may have faded, but your room doesn't have to be drab. Green, blue, turquoise, sunshine yellow, or mango-- the energy of bright colors can still fill your room.
  • Paint your own pictures. If your parents are game, you can create a giant mural (city, beach, jungle, whatever) that tells a story on a wall. Friends can come over and help you create!
  • Take lots of white netting or other fabrics to define new spaces. A hot glue gun can come in handy here. Just be sure to handle it carefully and unplug it when you are finished.
  • Make a dresser dressier with scarves. Pretty silk or polyester scarves can be had for a song at local thrift shops. Works great for mirrors, too.
  • Don't forget a place for the books! Plastic "milk" crates bespeak dorm room design and come in a variety of colors. If you're gifted (or want to be) with hammer and nails, consider creating a bookshelf from scratch. And yes, it's okay to ask someone to help with this. It does take longer, but it's a useful thing to know.

Read on for books and Web sites with excellent dream room designs.

Groom Your Room: Terrific Touches to Brighten Your Bedroom!
This book from the American Girl Library offers ideas and advice that allow girls to create bedrooms that suit their personalities and lifestyles.

Have Fun with Your Room: 28 Cool Projects for Teens by Lynette Jennings.
First figure out your personality, then get started on a project. The author details four types of rooms: Flower Power, Funky Chick, Teddy Bears, and Nature Girl, and gives very specific instructions on how to create them on a babysitter's wages with little or no adult help.

I Wanna Redo My Room by Clea Hantman
Feeling crafty? Feeling like your room looks a bit blah, a bit humdrum, and maybe a bit like it has since you were four? Have no fear -- Clea's here to inspire you to whip your room into the here and now!

Organizing from the Inside Out for Teens: The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Room, Your Time, and Your Life by Julie Morgenstern with Jessi Morgenstern-Colon.
A mother-daughter team tackle making your room work for you so each day will go more smoothly. Has quizzes, self-tests, and advice from veteran room reformers.

Super Suite: The Ultimate Bedroom Makeover Guide for Girls by Mark Montano.
The author of the column "Cool Room" has step-by-step instructions for transforming your room into your special place without a lot expensive materials or tricky carpentry. Themes include Asian, African, Indian, rodeo, 1950s, flowers, historical, Victorian, modern, glamorous, and more. Includes 15 room makeovers!

On the Web

10 Playful Teen Bedrooms
These designs have elements to inspire you when planning your own room.

Home and Garden Television: Room Decoration,1792,HGTV_3367,00.html
Lots of ideas here: Rock & Roll bedroom, Sports bedroom, Dream Girls bedroom, Old West bedroom, and more.

Teen Room Makeover: DIY
This quick video gives some basics on redoing a room for preteens and teens.