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posted: 9/15/2012 1:00 AM

Let teens make their own decor decisions

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By Rosemary Sadez Friedmann
Scripps Howard News Service

Teenagers need their own space for so many reasons. Yes, they should be watched over and guided, but during the teen years, a need for independence sprouts. As parents, we can help them feel comfortable in their own, personal independent space.

The bedroom is that place. So let's explore options for decorating and furnishing a teenager's bedroom.

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The best place to start is to ask your teen what he or she wants the room to look like. You probably already have an idea, but asking will make him or her more confident that the space is not one that Mom or Dad is imposing.

Does she like bold colors? Do those bold colors go against the decor in the rest of the house? Perhaps it works to make her room unique and separate-looking from the rest of the house. After all, you can close the door when company comes over.

Perhaps one wall can be red and the other three blue. Maybe one wall can be hot pink while the others are gray. Or one wall can be purple with the other three green. Let him choose, then make him help paint. After all, it is his room! If pastels are the preference, again, let him pick the colors regardless of the hues elsewhere in the house.

The room must have a full-length mirror. This is the age when how the teen looks is more important than just about anything else. Having a full-length mirror on a wall or on the back of the door will let him check out the latest styles before venturing out into the world or critics.

Storage is important in every room of the house. In a teen's room, sometimes the closet overflows. Shelves on the walls might help with storage. Her schoolbooks, computer accessories, souvenirs and the like can be put out of the way, yet still be handy on the shelves.

Containers that fit under the bed are another way for less-used-but-necessary items -- such as extra blankets or pillows for the occasional overnight guest. Off-season clothes like sweaters during summer, or bathing suits during winter, can be kept there.

You might want to keep the window treatments light. If you make the room too dark, it might not be so easy to get up in the morning for school, and sleeping the day away on weekends isn't the healthiest way a teen can spend her day off.

A comfortable room is a great escape from the real or imagined problems teens go through, but be sure to leave the bedroom door open most of the time so the teen is still a part of the family. And remember to enjoy them even in their teen years. They will be off and on their own way too soon.

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