August 6, 2012 by Decorum DIYer
Oh please tell me you get the Dave Matthews reference. I know I am getting old and I cling to my songs from the 1990’s and 2000’s (despite my dance blood), so I hope someone can relate and is possibly singing in his/her head right now.
Anyway, today I am sharing with you my niece’s tween room makeover. You see, my niece, Phalicia, is 11 going on 25. She is at the oh so wonderfully awkward age where one is no longer a child, but just not quite a teenager either. That said, she herself is not awkward, she is actually quite mature and articulate (when she wants to be). Phalicia is a girly girl and used to have a room filled with pink and purple. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of my niece’s previous room.)
This past year, my sister agreed with Phalicia that she was outgrowing her bedroom in terms of both size and style, so Phalicia was moved from a tiny bedroom on the upper level to a spacious room on the lower level. It doubled, possibly even tripled, the space that Phalicia had before. The problem is that the room isn’t actually a bedroom. Having been a former garage converted into a space, the room has french doors where the garage door was, a drop ceiling of two different heights, an odd layout, and a bank of closet doors at one end. As Phalicia moved into the new space virtually overnight, it wasn’t very girly at all – other than the tween paraphernalia. There also wasn’t much of an effort in terms of the room’s furniture layout. My sister spruced up the space with some neutral paint just to make it clean and fresh, but it needed some pizzazz (well that, and a good purge and cleaning).
After months of campaigning by my niece for a room makeover, my sister was open to the idea of a pretty massive overhaul. My niece knew exactly what she wanted and she recruited me to help her mother (my sister) see the vision. Phalicia wanted two colors- ‘dark purple and neon green, and oh yeah, zebra print’ (her words, not mine). Me, I would have said aubergine and chartreuse (a favorite color combo of mine) with a dash of zebra pattern. After putting together this little Pinterest board, we lured my sister over to the dark side. Before we knew it, my sister was fully on board and quite more gung-ho than we were.
So, this past weekend, the neutral room is what they started with. Yes, it was as messy as it looks, but in all fairness, the room clean-out/purge had already begun. Unfortunately, I was unable to help my sister and niece as the very same weekend I was in a wedding and headed to Myrtle Beach for a family vacation. Rats! I love helping others paint and decorate, so I was a little bummed to miss out. First, came the primer…
My niece, being 11, was thrilled and very able to get her room painted. They started with the ‘neon green’ or, more to be more exact, Sherwin Williams’ outrageous green. I’ll admit, this looks pretty scary going on the nice, primed, white walls.
this is the space now:
Pretty swanky, eh? Although it is high contrast and not everyone’s cup of tea, it is quite suited to my niece’s age and personality. Allow me to walk you through the space. As I mentioned, it is an awkward layout. The room is essentially cut in half, both due to the placement of the door in the center of the long entrance wall and the lower ceiling height over the back half of the room. Fortunately, the perfect solution was to divide the room into two smaller areas. One area for sleeping, dressing, etc…, and the other area to act as a study and lounge space. Instead of fighting the cues dividing the room, my sister used them to her advantage and even emphasized them. Emphasis was achieved through use of color divided vertically where the ceiling height differed and softening the transition with sheer curtains. Here is a close up of the division of areas within the space:
Note that the sheer curtain is the same color as the ‘outrageous’ green color and that the sheer is mounted to highest ceiling height in front of the lower ceiling’s edge. This creates a bit of coziness needed to soften the color scheme and also separates the areas without closing them off to each other. Because the room’s only source of natural light is from the french doors, solid drapes or another opaque wall treatment would make the bed area extremely dark and cave-like. The sheerness of the curtains prevents the room’s natural light from being blocked. Notwithstanding table lamps, the only artificial light source is from two very office-like, overhead lighting fixtures within the drop ceiling. Therefore, the sheers also make the best use of the artificial light as well. Of course, the sequin embellishment add a little bling. What tween wouldn’t want that?
In addition to the new color scheme and layout, my niece also received new furniture, from Ikea and Craigslist, of course. The black furniture seems to recede against the dark purple walls, but at the same time provides a nice contrast against the green walls. All in all, I’d say that my niece should be pretty happy with her room for years to come. Not bad for a young lady about to start sixth grade, huh?
I’ll leave you with a slideshow of the room’s evolution. There is still tweaking to be done and decisions to be made about artwork, but it is about 90% done. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you and I am sure my niece would love to know how her room is received.