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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
Best posters and wall art
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.”
Best accent pieces
“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.