Photo: Touchstone Pictures
Whether you’re using it to study, watch Cheer, or sleep (or watch Cheer when you should be sleeping), your bedroom is one of the few places where you can fully express yourself. But decorating a small space can be a challenge, especially if you’re trying to transition from the bubblegum pink bedroom of your childhood. So we asked 16 intimidatingly cool teens about the bedding, lighting, wall art, seating, and tchotchkes they love. Read on for their 35 picks, which include fuzzy chairs, vintage movie posters, and a ton of fairy lights.
For inexpensive mood lighting, many of the teens we talked to said twinkle lights are a must. “They’ve gotten really popular from TikTok and social media, but despite that, they are still a nice accessory and are just fun,” explains 17-year-old Hayley Bruner. “Different colored lights can match different moods and times of the day, and it adds something unique to my room when it feels kind of boring.” Kennedy Garcia , 15, has twinkle lights strung around her ceiling that are remote-controlled, can be set to different colors, and can blink or strobe. Eighteen-year-old Jenna Wasserman likes this rainbow set from MINGER, which she says makes “you feel like you are having a party by yourself or with friends.” It Bluetooth-syncs with music, blinks in rhythm, and “helps relieve stress,” she says. Sixteen-year-old actor and model Brooke Dylan Stein is also planning on installing LED lights around her entire ceiling: “They should be voice activated to go on and off, dim, change color, and even pulse to music.”
For a slightly different take on the twinkle light trend, Wasserman also has these string lights with clips, allowing her to hang up photos of her “favorite days and people, so the memories stay lit up in my mind as much as they are on my wall.” If you just got a Polaroid camera (or are thinking of asking one for your next birthday), then this is a good bet.
Or try the curtain of lights that 13-year-old actor and dancer Bella Yantis told us about. She says she loves to watch “while relaxing or falling asleep.”
Two of the teens we talked to are into neon lights as an alternative to fairy lights. “I love my pink unicorn neon light,” says 13-year-old model Parys B, adding that they cast the perfect glow for selfie-taking. Wasserman agrees, saying that her neon lightning bolt not only gives her an energy boost but is also great when she’s having a dance party with friends.
And if you want your room to look less 1990s — and more 1890s — 16-year-old Vivian Lipson likes this retro lampshade because it’s “a little bit goth” and creates “ambiance in a bedroom” by casting a dim, moody glow.
If you are in the market for a floor lamp, 12-about-to-be-13-year-old actress Miya Cech says “you can’t go wrong with a simple gold floor lamp.” This one was such a “great deal” that her parents even bought two more for the living room.
The teens we spoke to said that having a cozy bed is super important when it comes to unwinding. Yantis loves this wavy quilt because “the color and texture is perfect with soft, cream, faux-fur pillows.”
If you’re a dog person (or have a friend who’s into personalized presents), Wasserman loves her pillow of her dog Cooper. “This was a gift given to me when I went away to college,” she says. “I get to show him off to my friends when they come to visit.”
For a more budget-friendly option, Wasserman recommends her cozy UGG reversible throw blanket, which she says is almost too comfortable. She told us that when she’s snuggled under it, she doesn’t feel “like staying awake to finish studying.”
Garcia also told us that comfy seating is a must. She cozies up in her purple swivel chair when she’s “watching TV or hanging with friends.”
When it comes to seating, a lot of the teens we spoke to were in agreement: the furrier and fuzzier, the better. Parys loves her saucer chair, which provides the perfect place to lounge and read. “You can find them in furry materials and in all different colors,” she adds. Yantis, who got her saucer chair from Pottery Barn Teen, says she loves that it “folds up and is lightweight, but still sturdy and comfortable.”
Yantis is obsessed with her Lovesac bean bag chair that is practically her second bed. “I seriously live for this sack of cozy, warm paradise; it’s the most comfortable bean bag ever!”
Cech says that “comfy floor seating is a must.” She loves this back cushion because “it takes up less space than a love seat,” while still providing additional seating that can be moved around the room when she has friends over.
When it comes to decorating your wall, 17-year-old Ava Marzulli suggests hunting down vintage-looking movie posters. She found this print of 1969 psychological thriller La Piscine digging through eBay. “I chose the Japanese reproduction of the poster because the design was more eye-catching than the U.S. version,” she explains.
“Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki films have been a huge part of my childhood,” says 17-year-old Déspina Rizopoulos, who has a poster of Princess Mononoke hanging on her wall. “I still watch all of those films, and I don’t think I will ever get tired of them,” she adds.
If you’re not a cinephile, 16-year-old musician Aricel DuBois papers her walls in music posters, including icons Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, and Kali Uchis. “They make me happy when I see them and remind me to stay inspired artistically as I get ready to go on with my day,” she says. Her tip: “Take album art from old records and put those up, because they often contain photos that aren’t available as posters.”
This Mac DeMarco zine — one of Rizopoulos’s favorite things in her room — was actually discovered by her mom at the MoMa PS1 fair. The artist, Stefan Marx, followed DeMarco and his band on a tour and drew him along the way, she explains. “My goal at the moment is to get Mac DeMarco’s signature on it the next time I see him live.”
If you have a lot of wall to cover, 19-year-old songwriter and actress Heavenly Reyna prefers tapestries to posters. “It brightens up my wall and brings so much positive energy into my room; the sun tarot card portends good fortune, happiness, joy, and harmony.”
“I have a big Turkish-style rug in my room that my mom gave me,” says Marzulli, adding that she likes the graphic pattern it brings to her room. She suggests looking for recycled vintage textiles online, as opposed to buying new ones, to reduce waste.
“Plants are all over my room because they really clear the air and are very refreshing to look at every day, especially because I’m always on my phone or computer,” explains Rizopoulos. Nineteen-year-old influencer Hannah Meloche–who has over 1 million Instagram followers–agrees: “Plants make your room feel more earthy and alive, especially if it’s still winter.” Rizopoulos has a thriving jungle in her room that includes a Chinese money tree, snake plant, and a little ginseng ficus (that we think looks like a tiny woodland humanoid).
“I used to have terrariums in my room when I was younger, and I always liked the idea of making a little world,” says Marzullii. While she prefers to DIY hers by adding different tchotchkes to her collection of plants and succulents, she recommends this kit if you’re looking for something a little more beginner-friendly.
“You can totally bring new, fresh energy into a room by just adding some plants (even if they are fake, which I recommend because it is easier on upkeep and pocketbook),” says 19-year-old actress Madison Thompson. If you’re looking for the “perfect home for your new plant stand” she suggests this “sleek and minimalistic” cream-colored planter. Because of its wooden base it can work as both a table center piece or on the floor depending on the height of your plant.
Seventeen-year-old Zoe Woolrich’s prized possession is her record collection that she’s been working on building up over the past few years. Old-school tech like records, cassettes, and film cameras have all really made a comeback, she tells us. Plus, not only do they serve an obvious function (playing music), but they also add a fun design element to your room. “Personally, I think it is so much nicer and more fulfilling than having everything on your phone,” she says, adding that it’s like having a “physical playlist of music that I listen to every day.” She keeps both a Crosley record player and a Victrola boombox with a cassette player in her room.
If you want to dial up the nostalgia, 18-year-old Lucia Finkelstein plays her CD collection on this light-up Hello Kitty CD player and radio. She plays mostly CDs she’s stolen from her dad, including Nick Drake, Elliot Smith, Françoise Hardy, and Duke Ellington, as well as personalized mixtapes.
Both Marzulli and DuBois started collecting crystals after being gifted them by friends. DuBois says her collection is a way to add some nature to her surroundings and brings an earthy vibe to her room. If you’re looking for a specific place to start your own collection, Marzulli loves selenite, which is a healing crystal known for its ability to clear energy, which she says to keep on the windowsill to keep unwanted energy out of your space.
Marzulli has also been planning to either make or buy little sun catchers to hang by her window. “I love the way light looks when it bounces around, and I think having little rainbows dancing on my walls would be nice, too.”
Rizopoulos also keeps a small altar in her room, where she likes to burn incense and candles.
If you want to keep something nice-smelling around, without having to actually burn anything, Wasserman says this sculptural essential oil diffuser that changes colors is relaxing after a stressful day at school and helps her sleep better. The rounded lines and wood detailing would add a nice touch to any nightstand.
“I have always struggled with keeping track of my jewelry, whether it be loosing little earring backs and rings or having my necklaces tangle together,” says Thomson. This jewelry stand lets you show off all your jewelry and statements pieces while also keeping your necklace, bracelets, and rings organized, she promises
Bruner also loves this “cool and minimalistic” female form vase because it is “relatively cheap” and “comes in multiple skin tones.” Plus, “having a nice vase reminds me to get fresh flowers for my room,” she says.
To add an “artistic look” to your room, Lipson is a big fan of these $1 colorful, Keith Harring–style stickers. They can be stuck anywhere, from your wall to your laptop screen. Full disclosure: While they were made by her brother, she says, “they also carry an important message that I would want to be displayed,” regardless of her sibling loyalty.
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