Do Not Enter

I don't like to interfere with my teenage sons' bedrooms too much. Eighteen years ago I would spend loving, lingering moments in my first son's beautiful nursery peering over his cot. Now, when I remember, I peer around the door of their bedrooms to quickly monitor the chaos. Their mess is no longer a lego strewn treasure trail covering every floor and surface of the house. The debris is contained, and now my loving gesture is to offer them a bin liner or two, a jolly word of encouragement and they usually make a reasonable and amicable attempt at clearing their stuff. You see, it's their space and their mess and as long as they contribute to household chores in general (occasional cooking, putting out the bins and clearing up after meals) I don't mind about the state of their bedrooms too much.They need this space to unwind, dream and take refuge from the pressures of the world (and living with us, no doubt). If they can occasionally clear their bedroom floor that will do. One day soon their rooms will be empty and I know that I'm not quite ready for that.

I loved my bedroom when I was growing up even though it was the smallest in the house. I didn't want to swap it for a bigger one because it felt like mine. I remember... getting my first duvet, a wicker peacock chair, constantly rearranging the furniture, playing my first vinyl albums, putting Vogue magazine covers on the walls, changing my clothes several times a day and my crazy revision habits. Intense years, if you recall. I don't know if I've ever quite felt the same about a space. I know in the early days when we bought our first home I felt quite overwhelmed by the responsibility of owning a complete house even though I was excited.

I love that intensity that teenagers feel about their rooms. And I know I shouldn't peep but I loved discovering a site developed by teenagers for teenagers, The Do Not Enter Diaries, to celebrate the diverse spaces and styles of teenage bedrooms. With a music soundtrack, dancing and video tour of what their room means to them - I love the creativity behind this idea. 

And I found a tidy teenager, how about that? Tell your teenagers to check it out if you have any - if not your inner teenager would be allowed a look, I'm sure. 

This image, fom pinterest found here, is the look I was trying to create all those years ago - checked shirt, flared jeans, guitar and a wicker peacock chair! It makes me feel fifteen again... almost.

Do you remember your teenage bedroom? How did you style it? How do you cope with messy teenagers? I'd love to hear.



  1. I have a tidy daughter who lives away from home, and a messy son who is away at uni now. When he's home for the holidays his room reverts to the teenage tip. I've given up nagging, and just let him get on with it, only venturing in when we've run out of mugs!
    He has improved though, and always tidies it up before he goes away again, so there is hope I suppose.

    I never had the luxury of my own room, having to share with a younger sister who drove me mad. I would have loved my own space!
    Kathy xxx

  2. What a wonderful attitude you have, refreshing! So far my girls are fairly tidy but I know that could change at any moment. Their room, their mess....although I don't think I will be able to do 'smells'!
    I decorated my first bedroom at 10.....I've literally been hooked on decor ever since. I've always had a very strong connection with my environment, colours shapes and design! I may be challenged if the girls ever want to paint their rooms black....the door will need to stay firmly shut and I will never enter!!! :) x

  3. I really like your attitude towards your son's bedrooms. You do sound like a very cool mum and I hope I am like you in ten years time. My two are small, but I remember my teenage bedroom well. It was tidy and just so, and I loved it because it was mine. It was over the garage and my dad used to bang on the garage ceiling if my music was too loud! x

    1. I think you kind of learn as you go along don't you? If you can cope with toddler mess you can cope with teenage mess and the reluctance to do any clearing away doesn't change :)

  4. I was a very messy teenager. I used to decorate with all sorts of "keepsakes" and postcards and souvenirs and magazine clippings. And hung all my clothes on the floor. Oh my.
    It was very colourful however.
    I still love cheerful colours, but I became much tidier when I moved out.
    While my teenage room always felt like a cave (it was under the roof with low ceiling and small), I love the high ceilings and big windows I've had in all rooms since I moved out. A much more spacious feeling.
    Still, I've always enjoyed being able to decorate (and mess up!) my room at home, small as it may have been. It's really important to have a retreat as a teenager.

  5. I read this post with a smile on my face this evening. I was in the middle of a big decision about my older sons rooms. I have decided to leave their rooms be, other than washing their bed linen. I will ask them to put away their clean laundry, and proffer a bin bag to encourage a tidy up.

    I do still remember how important my room was to me when I was teen. But thank you for clarifying my thoughts and feelings.

    Leane xx

  6. Thanks so much for the Do not Enter link! My 12 yo daughter and I have been watching it, and it's inspired her to make her bedroom 'cooler' (and she wants to be the Australian representative for the website!)

    I've recently discovered your blog and think it's just lovely.

    As for my teenage room: it didn't really get updated till my parents built the upstairs extension when I was 19. I had my own walk in robe then, which I thought was the height of luxury. I still used my white Queen Anne reproduction bedhead, beside table (which my daughter now has!) and dressing table, but instead of floral wallpaper I had blue walls, and a white wicker chair, and a long low bookshelf under one window for all my books. Sigh. I loved that room.

    1. Hi Loretta, so glad you liked the link and lovely to hear from you xo

  7. I think I go in his room too much! I'll have to back off a bit! I really enjoyed watching the Diaries, very interesting! Heather x

  8. I have very much the same attitude to my teenage sons' rooms as you do. I remember when my parents allowed me to decorate my room. I chose white walls and cornflower blue woodwork. I bought plain blue curtains and a blue and white checked duvet cover. My sister gave me a blue formica wood effect coffee table (sounds awful but we are talking the 1970s here). I went absolutely crazy the day I came home from school and found that my mum had replaced my white cylinder light shade with a blue floral granny shade (WITH A FRINGE). She had to change it back immediately!!

  9. I loved decorating my room at home and I had my first apartment planned out when I was 14 (although it was many years after when I finally got one!) I didn't bother about my child's room either, just made sure it had adequate storage units etc. I think they need space to spread out and work on stuff over time and not put it away every day. Did help paint it dark grey when asked, though!

  10. My attitude to our children's bedrooms is similar to yours also. With 4 teenagers and four other children at home also I chose to focus on our common living areas most of the time.


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