We're always looking to the younger generation to see what's new, fresh, and right now, and there's a reason we take teen trends seriously. After all, what was once a silly dance app for teens now has real estate agents using TikTok to sell houses.
When exploring what cool room décor teens are pulling out for 2021, what stuck out is just how fun these trends feel, and after a year of attending virtual school and being barred from social activities, teens deserve to have all the fun that's coming their way in the form of décor.
Meet the Expert
Alyse Eisenberg is an interior designer and owner of Studio Alyse, a full-service interior design studio with a focus on home.
Try Patterned Wallpaper
Wallpaper is everywhere, and there's a reason it's a great choice for teens. "With the rise of peel and stick wallpapers, parents are more willing to allow their teens to explore this trend," Alyse Eisenberg, interior designer and owner of Studio Alyse in Brooklyn says.
The temporary element allows you to go bold one year and opt for a more neutral palette the next without too much elbow grease involved.
Add Colorful Accessories
If you don’t feel like throwing color up on your walls, colorful accessories are a great way to throw in some statement-making décor without getting wallpaper or paint involved. Colorful candlesticks are especially having a moment this year, and these baby blues don’t disappoint.
Add a Disco Ball
Disco balls are fun. They just are. "Whether hanging from the ceiling or placed on the floor, disco balls create a frenzy of sunbeams that are sure to instantly bring joy," Eisenberg says. "For a teen looking for an eclectic or bohemian-inspired bedroom, a vintage disco ball can do no wrong."
Hang a Neon Sign
Neon signs are never going away. They’re such a unique way to quite literally make a statement, and like a disco ball, a neon sign is just pure fun, and it's multi-functional.
"It brings life to a space in a unique way, especially if the sign is vintage or custom," Eisenberg says. "A neon sign is a light source, piece of art, and expression of personality all in one."
DIY a Squiggle Mirror
Another item that just makes you smile: a squiggle mirror. Eisenberg says she recently completed a playful project with an Etsy squiggle mirror placed on top of a dresser to double as a vanity. Can you imagine how fun it would be to get ready with a squiggle mirror on your vanity?
"Squiggle mirrors, whether placed on the floor as seen here or used as a vanity mirror, are a great way to incorporate organic shapes and a little bit of fun into any design," she says.
Highlighting Someone You Look Up To
When you’re a teen in your formative years, it’s good to have a mentor or someone to look up to during those hard moments. Placing icons (like Frida Kahlo) in a visible place can help provide strength and motivation while you’re pulling an all-nighter to finish that passion project.
"Artists like Ashley Longshore have propelled this trend by creating beautiful and unique artworks centered around celebrities and social icons," Eisenberg says. "Over the years, she's brought new life into portraiture that is playful, fun, and brutally honest. All of which are perfect inspiration for a teen's bedroom."
Create a Functional Desk Setup
While the adults were working from home this past year, teens were studying from home, and a proper desk setup became a trend for both age groups. While having a place to do homework has always been important, having a good desk setup for virtual school became imperative for teens to focus and keep up with their work.
This trend is sure to stick around, as teens and parents have enjoyed having a specific space dedicated to schoolwork, according to Eisenberg.
Hang a Swing
Ok, another one that is just pure joy: swings. I'm not sure how much virtual schoolwork would be getting done in this room, but it a swing sure would make for fun sleepovers.
Go With Earth Tones
Eisenberg says she's noticed many teens staying away from overly saturated colors and incorporating more naturally occurring colors into the design of their spaces.
"This trend also lends itself to incorporate more handmade and locally sourced décor. It's a great way for the younger generations to become more socially aware of how they can help support their communities through design," she adds.
Hang a Round Mirror
"I love adding mirrors above a bed as an accent, and this round mirror works perfectly to tie in the use of rattan throughout the space," Eisenberg says.
She adds: "Using similar wood tones, with different textures and materiality, is a great way to create balance in a space. Just add a colorful pillow such as the one shown, and the look is complete."
Jazz Up Your Bulletin Board
Bulletin boards have been a staple for teen décor for generations, but that doesn't mean you have to stick with the ordinary brown cork style. Opting for a different material such as a magnetic board or even painting your bulletin board with a design that makes you happy is a great way to upgrade the classic trend.
Spell It Out
Another way to express yourself? Through actual written expression, like this tongue-in-cheek laundry setup.
Don't know what AF stands for? Don't worry, your teen does.
Add Cane and Rattan Furniture
Cane and rattan are having a moment. For adults, young adults, and also teens. "As a headboard, cane is a fun and youthful twist on a trend that seems to be sticking around for a while. It provides a neutral foundation for more colorful and patterned bedding," Eisenberg says.
Opt for Pastel Artwork
Pastels are showing up all over people's houses this year, and when it comes to teen decor, it's no different. While pastel walls might feel a little too much like a nursery, accenting with pastels or opting for lighter colored artwork is a great way to incorporate this trend.
Try On Navy
Navy is everywhere. "Naval" was Sherwin Williams' color of the year in 2020 and "Classic Blue" was Pantone's choice. Everyone can agree: navy is here for a hot minute.
"Navy is perfect for a teen's space because it's both sophisticated and playful at the same time," Eisenberg says. "Bringing navy up the wall only a few feet is a great way to incorporate this trend while maintaining a bright and airy aesthetic."
A Room That Can Transition
Eisenberg says that more neutral and sophisticated color palettes are so popular in children's and teen's bedrooms because they allow children to grow into the color palette without having to repaint every few years. The above room was designed by Eisenberg and is a great example of this.
"In this bunk room, we designed custom millwork that incorporates two twin-sized beds, a trundle bed, drawers, shelves, and two desks for homework, making the space very functional and long-lasting," Eisenberg says.
She adds: "The white oak and dark blue accents create a color palette that can age with both boys. The longevity of this design trend is not only appealing to parents from an aesthetic standpoint, but also from a financial one."
Add a Shell Pillow
Shell pillows are everywhere: on couches, on beds, and on the floor. They are fun, cute, and a great way to remind yourself not to take decorating too seriously.
"Creating a space with bold contrast is a great way to show one's personality," Eisenberg says. "As teens are expressing themselves through the design of their bedrooms, it's easy to see why bolder colors and patterns are becoming more popular."
Eisenberg suggests adding bold accents through artwork, bedding, lamps, and found objects before moving onto bigger, more permanent (and more expensive) bold moves.
Organize Your Closet
Organized closets are not just for adults. If your teen was binging The Home Edit’s Get Organized on Netflix and has been known to color coordinate their bookshelves, having an organized closet with cute baskets and labels is going to be a must.
Hobbies as Décor
"When designing a space for teens, it's always important to understand their personality and interests," Eisenberg says. Once you know those things, they might also inspire your design decisions. She says this room works well because it allows for a surfboard leaning against the corner to blend in with an already laid-back aesthetic.
Musical Instruments as Décor
In the same way as hobbies as décor makes sense, so does displaying your musical instruments, especially if they look as cool and colorful as these.
Whether you're a teen or just young at heart, try on a trend just for pure fun and see if it's worth keeping around. You might surprise yourself.