Almost everything about the pre-teen years seems a little awkward, but tween decor for the bedroom doesn’t have to be. Bridge those baby-to-teen years with decor that allows tweens to reflect their budding interests and add some subtle reminders of family to make them feel safe when they want to be kids.

The pre-teen age is the perfect time to redecorate because this is when most kids start having more friends over to hang out. Any parent of a tween knows that anything considered too childish is a source of anxiety and embarrassment, so putting away most of the childhood decor and replacing it with something more mature is a good idea.

Balance Freedom and Safety

The best way to negotiate the gap between kid and teen in the pre-teen room is to provide things that will make them feel connected to family but also reflect their unique personality and the interests they share with their friends. Maybe your daughter loves owls or your son is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. Many Metroplex kids spend time on the lake with the family, so accents that reflect their love of fishing or water skiing might be nice touches to create a sense of security.

Tween bedrooms are the perfect place for the old furniture you’ve been meaning to get rid of. Refinish your old childhood desk to match their decor or add a new lampshade to an old lamp that belonged to your grandmother. Furniture needs to be something that you don’t mind getting scratched or damaged as children learn to take care of their belongings. Scour garage sales or head out to Canton First Monday flea market for some great finds.

Give Them Choices

Let tweens pick their bedding, curtains, and rugs. These are items that can be replaced relatively inexpensively as children grow into their teen years. Consider a duvet cover instead of a comforter that can be switched out. Give them some freedom in their choice of colors, but steer them toward gender-neutral shades that can be accented with their favorite colors as they grow older. Muted shades that move beyond the bright colors of childhood are a good choice.

Although most children’s and teens’ rooms tend to have a theme, avoid that in a tween’s room. Their interests will change frequently, so bring in just a few elements that reflect their personality. Choose pillows, throws, and wall art that represent their interests. Leave some blank wall space for temporary tween decor, such as a Justin Bieber poster or a NASCAR print.

Entertaining Friends

Make sure their room is friend-ready by creating some seating. They need places to sit to play video games or watch movies. Try to create some space where they have room to practice their dance moves or martial arts.

Storage is a must for tween bedrooms. Make sure there are shelves for books, DVDs, and computer games. Create a private “hidey hole” for those occasions when older friends visit where they can quickly stow the toys from younger years that they haven’t been able to part with.

Having tweens involved in room redesign is a way to help them learn to make decisions and think about what they like. With their help, you can decorate their bedroom to create a flexible space that can change with their interests. With a few touches that give them ties to family, you’ll give them a sense of belonging as they start to venture out on their own for the first time.