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Divine Design Candice Olson



Left: Before, this teen girl’s bedroom lacked style and organization. Right: After, with a punch of color, a personal phone line and a swanky canopy above the bed, this teen girl’s room got an entire makeover.   SHNS photos courtesy HGTV

Candice Olson gives teen girl’s room a campy, theatrical makeover

Ask any teenage girl to describe her perfect bedroom and you’ll get answers like “a room with a private phone line, a place to hang out with friends and for it to be way cool and funky.”

My client’s daughter exhibited all the other characteristics typical of her species, particularly when it came to her own room. The floor was covered with clothes. Disorganization ruled: books, CDs and makeup were everywhere. And homework was hidden under a mound of teenage-girl paraphernalia.

Mom and daughter were at their wits’ end, so I was called in to do an emergency room rescue.

I know it can be difficult for parents, but I believe children need to play the predominant role in the choices that go into their own space. The daughter was allowed to choose her linens, and she picked out groovy linens in tones of teal blue and lime green. This started the design ball rolling. The walls were painted a brilliant tropical blue.

Grandpa’s refurbished antique iron bed was a sentimental keeper and was positioned as a feature on the longest wall, right across from the door.

Then it was time for a bit of fun and campiness. I designed a simple canopy that attached to the wall to form a backdrop for the bed. Layers of teal and lime-colored fabric trimmed with white feather boas framed the bed and window. The whole effect was kind of Liberace meets “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” — theatrical and fun.

Now to organize all that stuff. The solution came by way of large storage units on the wall opposite the bed. The blonde wood of the cabinetry combined with the existing white dresser looked gorgeous against the vibrant blue walls. Instead of simple shelves, these units had mobile storage components that were custom designed to the size of CDs, magazines, books and stereo components.

I chose a sleek glass desk with pullout work surfaces and paired it with a modern side chair. The desk was subtle enough that it didn’t overpower the bed as a focal point, and, when lit from below, the glass seemed to float off the blue walls.

A large storage bench nestled between the cabinets is a perfect spot for seating friends and hiding junk. To help prevent the nightly migration of clothes to the floor, I sourced a wire Judy (those armless, legless forms used by seamstresses) on which to drape clothes, since hangers seem to be far too technical for most teenagers.

A bedside and desk lamp provided necessary task lighting. The old incandescent ceiling fixture was replaced with a long halogen track light that focused pure white light on the walls, highlighted art and mementos and designated the bed canopy as center stage.

Every girl wants a place she is proud to call her own, where she can express her individuality. Add a private phone and you’ve got teen-girl heaven.

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Divine Design.” For more ideas, information and show times, visit or

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