Northern Design Awards Finalists

11 Nov 2021

November celebrations and teenage bedrooms

November isn’t usually a month associated with words like fun and celebration, that’s December’s job, but we’re making an exception this time round. Not only have we welcomed Erin to the AMC Design team, but we’ve been shortlisted in the Northern Design awards for the Bank Top Farm project, our first commercial, office job. I am beyond thrilled!

I’ll be dressing up for the awards dinner (you know me, I love a sequin or two). It’s being hosted on Friday 26 November at the Concorde Exhibition & Conference Centre at Manchester Airport which looks like a phenomenal space to spend the evening.

It might be a cliché, but genuinely just being shortlisted is a thrill. I’ll let you know how we get on, but if you want a see how we turned Bank Top Farm  into a contemporary working space, click here.

I mentioned Erin, who’s joined us as an interior design assistant last week, but did I tell you that Charlotte joined us too?  There are four of us working in my revamped office now – me, Rebecca, Charlotte and Erin. It’s cosy, there’s a buzz and maybe next month once Heidi has popped round to take some photos, I’ll properly introduce everyone.

Inky greys and skull patterned accessories turned this attic bedroom into a gothic retreat
Bags of personality in this older teen hideaway at the top of the house

Teenage kicks

The other big change at home is that I now have a teenager in the house. Yes, those Cousins children keep on growing up and in honour of my eldest turning 13, I thought I’d shine a light on teen bedrooms.

I know the thought of shining a light into the corners of a teenager’s bedroom might be a little alarming but trust me. I’ll show you how you can design a teen bedroom that passes their cool test, and that you’ll love too.

Disclaimer: I can help you with the design but sadly I can’t help with the piles of dirty crockery, discarded clothes and multiple chargers that end up scattered around the room after I’ve left.

Black taps and shower give an edge to this attic en suite showeroom
Keeping the monochrome vibe going in the teen en-suite

Designing a teenage bedroom: involve them from the outset

First up and possibly the most important – involve your teen. Really listen to them and their ideas. It might sound obvious, but a teen’s bedroom is a small version of their first home. It’s where they can hideaway when life becomes overwhelming. Find peace and quiet to study, eat and drink whilst also acting as a base for their social life. It’s where they can express themselves.

I know these conversations can be tricky, which is why bringing in a third party can help. Sometimes it’s easier to hear ideas from adult who isn’t the parent. I’m happy to be that person. The go-between who interprets ideas and finds design answers that work for everyone.

Start with the practicalities: layout, electrics and heating

Secondly, while your teen is merrily creating Pinterest boards and scouring social media for inspiration you need to start with the practicalities. It might not grab attention the way a fabulous light fitting or cool rug will, but they’ll thank you when they realise they have more than enough sockets for all their electronics.

So, start with the layout. Where are the windows and radiators? Where’s the best place for the bed, desk, shelves, wardrobe and other furniture? Once you know where everything goes and that there’s space to move around the room comfortably, you can position the lighting, heating and plugs.

If these foundations are right, it’ll make it much easier to ring the changes in years to come when tastes change. What your 13-year-old wants from their bedroom will be quite different when they hit 16 or 18 and they’re getting ready to head off into the big wide world, but still wanting somewhere to comfortable to crash.

Geometric wallpaper brings a sophisticated vibe to this boy's bedroom
You can base a teen bedroom on your football club colours without it looking like the club shop
  • Layout: grab a pencil and paper and sketch out the room. Think about where the bed, desk and storage can go, working round the window and radiator
  • Electrics: sockets for plugging in all the electronics, hair straighteners and hairdryers plus lighting that shines light in the right places making everything from reading and studying to applying make up a lot easier
  • Storage: flexible and stylish for hiding mess, keeping books and files under control and showing off their passions and interests
  • Bed: they’ll spend a lot of time there sleeping, so it’s worth taking time to get it right. If you have the space, think about a double bed and flexible sleeping arrangements friends sleeping over
  • Flooring: Carpet that’s hardwearing and soft underfoot plus rugs to add texture and colour
  • Heating: efficient at warming the room and they can look cool too

Designing a teenage bedroom; be brave, bold and creative

This is one room in the house where you can have some fun, so don’t be afraid to embrace their ideas. It’s not a room you’ll be spending a huge amount of time like the family kitchen or living room, so give them some creative licence.

When they insist on theming their room around their football club’s colours or want to embrace a darker, moodier colour palette – think laterally. It doesn’t mean the room has to look like the football club fan shop or painted entirely in black. Weave those colours through the textiles or pick them up in the wallpaper or in other ways.

Teenage bedroom design: wallet friendly ways to ring the design changes


Iamfy and Desenio are both for inexpensive art, a great way to add style without eating into the budget, especially if you keep the same frames.


Homesense is always a fantastic for cushions and throws, even if you’re the only one who straightens and arranges them.


Cool lights and lamps add style without a long-term commitment and can be changed quite easily. Plus, lighting can be anything from Ikea price point up to designer, so you can flex the budget to suit your situation.

I’d also invest in the pendant light, and then choosing bedside or table lamps that you can change over time.

And finally!

It’s hard letting go of the reins when you’re revamping your teen’s room. It’s not like designing their nursery or when they grew out of their cot and graduated into a big bed, and you had complete creative control. There might be a few creative differences along the way but, go for it. Have some fun and you know where to come if you need a design mediator!

Ann Marie