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When did you start decorating?

orange bedroom 2

orange bedroom

gallery wall

boys bedroom

dining room

Prowling around the New York Times website last week, this headline caught my eye: “Go to Your Room (and Decorate).” The piece, which featured an interview with Elizabeth Foy Larsen, author of Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, delves into a specific chapter in her book, which specifically suggests letting your kids decorate their own spaces as a way to let them express their creativity, and yes, pull them out of boredom.

I obviously have no kids of my own, but the title made me think about how I liked to decorate my room when I was a kid, and how thankful I am that my mom didn’t force floral Laura Ashley sets on me. Instead, at various points in my childhood, I had an inflatable chair (in silver), an entire wall covered floor to ceiling with tear out sheets from Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs (my friends all loved coming over to ogle the male models and argue over who was hotter), a water bed (how I managed to swing that one I’ll never know), and even glow-in-the-dark stars all over the ceiling (with an accompanying black light). My room was never especially cohesive, but at different points in my childhood and teenage years, it was certainly a reflection of where I was at the time.

Did you get to decorate your own room when you were a kid? Did your parents try to give input, and did you enjoy the process? What items do you still remember getting (and loving!) for your room, even if you’d never buy them again today (um, hello, an inflatable chair).

{Image Credits: Photos of Elizabeth Foy Larsen’s home, taken by Ryann Ford for the New York Times. The bedrooms were all decorated by her sons! Also, pretty sure the chandelier in the dining area was inspired by Nichole’s post from a while ago…you can see my own tutorial on a smaller scale here.}

35 responses to “When did you start decorating?”

  1. Rachelle, on March 19, 2013 at 4:28 am said:

    I was lucky my parents let me decorate my room as I wanted. all my walls were covered with spice girl posters smh.


  2. brooke, on March 19, 2013 at 5:03 am said:

    oh I absolutely had the glow-in-the-dark stars too! I love thinking about this for my son – and giving him the freedom to choose a creative outlet with his room (though now that might mean crayon drawings all over the walls!) but definitely for the future – thanks for sharing!

  3. Emily Fitzgerald, on March 19, 2013 at 5:06 am said:

    oh my god, i had ALL of those things!! the stars on the ceiling, the “collage” wall….. and what was up with inflatable furniture, seriously?

  4. erika ~TiptoeButterfly~, on March 19, 2013 at 5:55 am said:

    my parents knew better – i decorated my room haha – i must have painted and redecorated my room 10-15 times – and WHY did i not go to design school? – yea beats me – my friends tell me ALL the time i’m missing my calling

  5. Drew @ Catfish & Caviar, on March 19, 2013 at 6:05 am said:

    I need that Chicago poster! I always decorated my own room…and my bathroom…and my parents room. Haha. I was always rearranging things without them knowing.

  6. Peyton | Identical Ideals, on March 19, 2013 at 6:10 am said:

    Oh the inflatable chair… my sister and I each had one. We loved them. At one point we also had a sheet set that had a tent attached to the top, so we could do some comfy indoor camping. I also think I had my walls painted teal (never again!). However, I’m so glad my parents allowed me some decorative freedom in my bedroom when I was younger! It made it all that much more enjoyable.

  7. Christina, on March 19, 2013 at 6:26 am said:

    I cringe a bit when I think of decorating as I kid; remember those Teen Beat or Tiger Beat “Heart-throb” posters? Yes those were all over my walls. And I also had an inflatible chair. Too funny :)

  8. Kelly | Fabulous K, on March 19, 2013 at 6:30 am said:

    I was just thinking about this the other day. I definitely decorated as a kid. I can remember getting to pick out things for my room and finding the perfect place for them. I think it made me keep my room neater — I was not a messy teenager because I cared about the decor. Funny, huh?

  9. Carlene: Healthfully Ever After, on March 19, 2013 at 6:35 am said:

    Bless my parents’ hearts. They let me and my sister re-ararnge our room constantly. When I got my own room I literally was pulling paint swatches at Home Depot in middle school.

  10. Lauren, on March 19, 2013 at 6:52 am said:

    love these homes… can’t wait until i own a home of my own to decorate like these!

  11. christin, on March 19, 2013 at 7:05 am said:

    I think I did, but some things were not allowed, like anything on a wall not in a frame…

  12. The Yuppie Files, on March 19, 2013 at 7:17 am said:

    I got to help decorate about 6th grade. I picked a sunflower theme, which I outgrew promptly! It stuck around until my parents sold the house when I was 22, but I put up some lovely magazine cutouts as posters and other teenage touches that I’m not sure would count as decorating!

  13. bestofbklyn, on March 19, 2013 at 7:17 am said:

    My parents always let us decorate our own rooms- mine ranged from floral laura ashley with a custom padded floral headboard to a tommy hilfiger red bedspread with a “denim” finish wall! My sister had a lime, orange, and hot pink theme for a while!

  14. Tobe | Because It's Awesome, on March 19, 2013 at 7:28 am said:

    heck yes i did!

  15. Folle De Joie, on March 19, 2013 at 7:46 am said:

    Wow — these pictures totally bring the charm.



  16. Miranda {onestylishdayatatime}, on March 19, 2013 at 8:06 am said:

    I loved to decorate my room when I was little. Fortunately my mom was pretty supportive of it, and let me re-decorate my room pretty much annually. I was all about a bed in a bag!

  17. Chloe Moon, on March 19, 2013 at 8:16 am said:

    I loved my Zack from Saved by the Bell posters!! I don’t think I had a say in my furniture mostly because we needed practical and space savers, but I remember that the walls were mine! I could do whatever I wanted!! =)

  18. Haley @ CardiganJunkie.com, on March 19, 2013 at 9:19 am said:

    I sometimes feel bad for the kids who live in the super-perfect rooms that are obviously a reflection of what mom wants. It’s fine for little kids, obviously, but I doubt many 8 year old boys really want lucite lamps and expensive wallpaper that you can’t put holes in or hang baseball player posters on. Surrounding yourself with your few possessions is part of being a kid, and I’m glad I got to decorate how I wanted (within reason).

    I had a door covered in Got Milk ads at one point, and several posters on the ceiling… which gave me heart attacks when they fell down at night :)

  19. Kristina, on March 19, 2013 at 10:09 am said:

    My parents picked out the big things, like paint colors and my bed, but I had free reign after that. It never looked especially great but it was fun to get to do what I wanted! I had a silver blow up chair at one point too ;)


    Kristina does the Internets

  20. Emma, on March 19, 2013 at 10:20 am said:

    Ahh your post just brought back so many memories!
    I painted my room as often as I could (the most memorable was a bright purple).
    I also had one wall aptly titled ‘The Hot Guy Wall’ with magazine tearouts of all the heart throbs.

    But the worst thing I did, was cover a closet door in gum wrappers. I have no idea why it seemed so cool, but at the time, it just was.

    1. Natalie | Natalie Dressed, on March 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm said:

      My bedroom door was covered in stickers. I agree, at the time it seemed so cool. I have no idea why my parents would allow that! It’s still there (now my sister’s room) and looks horrific, but it does bring back memories!

  21. Emily | Sparkle Meets Pop, on March 19, 2013 at 11:09 am said:

    I totally did! I worked with what I had originally, but my parents eventually saw my interest and let me go with it. I even convinced my dad to build a loft into my room and let me paint waves on my walls. It was a great room, although the loft was pretty small and I feel bad that it doesn’t necessarily help them with resale. Whoops! :)

  22. Lena, on March 19, 2013 at 11:43 am said:

    I definitely went gaga for an entire Laura Ashley set at age 5 or 6–right down to the wallpaper and trim that matched my duvet! I’m betting my mother was horrified.

  23. alyson, on March 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm said:

    these images are so good. I do remember an embarrassing NKOTB phase, and definitely the lights in my room. Luckily my parents were pretty flexible, too.

  24. Natalie | Natalie Dressed, on March 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm said:

    I had an inflatable too, but it was a couch! I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I don’t think it lasted very long before it got a hole. I had the collage wall too. Well, mine was more of a shrine to the Sharks. I was obsessed to say the least.

    I think the most horrifying thing was that I had a shed for my clothes…inside my walk in closet. My closet was pretty huge, yet I wanted a plastic utility shed from Home Depot to house my close instead of hanging them or using a dresser like a normal person. So weird.

  25. Dana McDowell, on March 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm said:

    There will always be a place in my heart for my inflatable chairs (see that, I had multiples haha). I definitely was allowed to decorate my room. I remember my first real choices were a unicorn border, white ceiling fan and carousel horse comforter. It was rockin’. Later on, it took a turn for the crazy (like NSYNC posters and self-made art collages). I even dipped into feng-shui a bit. My mom stipulated that I could only decorate every six months (it was a problem). I can’t imagine growing up without decorating my room. It was very integral to my self-expression =)

  26. Rachel, on March 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm said:

    I totally had a silver chair and glow in the dark stars too!! I remember ‘styling’ my shelves on the weekends when I was 13. And I still have my favourite piece, a small jewelry box with mosiac tiles on the outside that I begged my mom to buy me when I was 10 or 11, its on my “grown up” night stand :)

  27. Meghan, on March 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm said:

    As a kid I would draw on my walls , shoes , my moms bags all the mirrors , so I would like to think I was quite artistic from a young age haha (yes I gave my parents quite the headache , Lord please don’t let my future kids be like me )

    xo Meg<3

  28. Mabel and Zora, on March 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm said:

    Cool dresser!

  29. meg, on March 19, 2013 at 8:36 pm said:

    Love the Chicago poster!
    I was about 9 when I started added special touches to my décor. :)


  30. Jessica, on March 20, 2013 at 10:20 pm said:

    I was really young. In elementary school my room was plastered with Hansen posters and in middle school I once painted all of the trim in my room black while my parent’s were out on a day trip. Turns out I used automotive paint and not regular latex.. Oops. I’m just glad I didn’t hurt myself with the fumes.

  31. Camille | Planning Pretty, on March 21, 2013 at 1:00 am said:

    I loved my pink inflatable chair & ottoman! I got to paint my room baby blue and everything was so colorful and bright. To this day I still love bright and colorful decor (not so much inflatable furniture).

  32. Christine B., on March 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm said:

    I can totally relate. I had pink carpet, yellow walls, and a blue ceiling (like the sky). My entire room was a collage of pictures of my friends and family. I loved my room, but looking back I can’t believe my parents allowed it. But I’m glad they did! :)

  33. Heidi | The Rustic Modernist, on March 23, 2013 at 8:19 pm said:

    I totally painted my desk Mondrian style and got a comforter to match. Did a wall treatment same style. Oh God. It makes me cringe just thinking about it.

  34. Lauren | Seventeenth & Irving, on March 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm said:

    Just catching up on about two weeks of blog reading, and I loved this! My parents let me decorate my own room starting around age 7, when I presented a hand-drawn floor plan of how I wanted my dad to move the furniture. They kept it and framed it, and gave it to me when I got my interior design degree in college! I like to think their flexibility in allowing me to do what I please (I had an inflatable couch and glow in the dark stars also) nurtured my creativity. I’m thankful they did!


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