A bright blue polar bear room for an almost-teen

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by Lynn-Anne Bruns
for a tomboy
All photos by Lynn-Anne Bruns.

Thanks to Heather Ciras for producing this post!

A soon-to-be-teenage girl, especially one who lives in a house full of brothers, needs a little space of her own — somewhere slightly girly and full of the quirky sweet things that she loves; somewhere that reflects her own particular view of the world. When designing her room, my daughter Caroline and I had a few objectives: use the space wisely, store all her belongings in a pretty way, reuse the big items, and use lots of color. It was also a good excuse to spend a lot of time together.

I'm an interior designer, so planning was important before we jumped right in. We brainstormed the different uses for the room: a place for sleeping (naturally), a place for reading, and a place for hanging with friends. She's had her bed for many years so we reused it, but we covered it in a quilt we found together at a local consignment shop. Her simple white bureau was also reused.

for a tomboy

To these pieces we added an inexpensive Queen Anne curio cabinet for Caroline's collections and crafts. Caroline loves to make things, and she and I have an Etsy shop where she sells her origami crane mobiles (like the one seen over her bed) and vintage finds.

for a tomboy

To complement Caroline's eclectic sense of style, we added a bunch of fab vintage pieces. First, a little-used, bright yellow vintage Baker loveseat came from an estate sale. Then the bedside table, which is a tool cabinet from a local hardware store that closed. It's a great choice as there are lots of little drawers for storage. The swinging chair in the corner of the room came from Habitat in the UK — I've been a huge fan since I was little and talked my parents into a hammock for above my own bed. We had so much fun hunting for these pieces together.

for a tomboy

Like lots of girls her age, Caroline likes Harry Potter and other popular things, but, for better or worse, she and our other children take what they want from media, and leave the rest. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't know a Jonas brother if one showed up at the front door; I'm pretty proud of that. She's very confident in her own choices, so as for the design and color choices in her room, it was quite self directed — I just get the idea of what each child is leaning toward and pull color chips for them to choose from. I'm happy that all my children are happy in their personal spaces, and that they all have unique styles with which they are more comfortable. As a parent, I hope this means I did something right.

  1. I LOVE this room! Thank you so much for sharing. Beautiful colors and a wonderfully functional space that takes into account Caroline's needs so thoughtfully. Great work.

  2. thanks for all the sweet comments, everyone! i'm happy to answer any and all questions — i guess the first is the habitat swinging chair — sadly, that's not available anymore (i don't think it had a name besides swinging chair) but ikea has a couple, including the svinga, that i've used instead. if you can sew, you could also maybe buy the slightly less pretty fabric ikea version, which is a lot like the one pictured here, and take it apart & do in funky and fantastic fabrics … i've always wanted to do that so let me know if you do πŸ™‚ x lynn-anne

  3. oh, and the quilt is vintage, 1930s, a lucky find when we were paying at a local secondhand/consignment shop and a little old lady came in wanting to sell … her grandma made it in the 1930s. we treasure it.

  4. This room is beautiful! I want it. πŸ™‚ And I absolutely LOVE the quilt. Sounds like you've got pretty rad preteen on your hands!

  5. As the owner of a huge collection of smurfs i was very excited to see one in Carolines room. My future kids will have no choice but to love them as i will be using them when decorating their nursery!

  6. I LOVE the use of the Queen Anne curio and I've been seeing them in a lot of rooms lately on design blogs…for me, curios have always been kind of tacky, backlit things that held Precious Moments figurines. It's refreshing to see them repurposed in such a cool way!

  7. the polar bears are not on paper – it's oilcloth, and i got it a few years ago at john lewis in england (i'm from the uk) … but happily, oilcloth has become much easier to find in lots of patterns in the us — there's at least one oilcloth shop on etsy, even. oilcloth is a great choice to staple (that's what i did here, seriously – took an afternoon πŸ™‚ because it's weighty and you don't have to line it or upholster the walls like you would with other fabrics. also, if you find a fabric you love you can always have it laminated to mimic oilcloth. and if you can't find something you love, spoonflower will always print fabric in your design … so many options! have fun everyone!
    oh, and if you want to see pro shots of this room (and others in our house) … it will be in the may issue of country living (hope that last statement was not too cringe-inducing …!) x lynn-anne

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