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Design Secrets: How to Design a Great Room Every Time

How to design a tween room. Design tips for a perfect room every time

What’s the secret to design a great room every time? If you look closely at the rooms that make it to the pages of your favorite blogs and shelter magazines they all have something in common; they look collected not purchased. These professional room designers use a mixture of vintage pieces with new pieces and curated items. After many years of studying the works of my favorite designers, I have come up with my own fool proof formula. In this post, let me show you how this formula was used to re-design my daughter’s room.

My 6 Must Haves for How To Design a Great Room

Pattern. Color. Texture. Lighting. Vintage. Art

How to stencil an allover pattern that is perfect for a tween room

Pattern: I always start with pattern. Nothing is hotter right now than graphic stencils. Since my husband Brooks and I run our own decorative finishing company, Bella Tucker, creating a wall stencil finish is right up our alley. I narrowed down the choices to two and my daughter chose the Chain Link Stencil from Royal Design Studio.  A good design tip is to repeat a similar pattern 2-3 times in other elements in the room. Since I thought the stencil looked like circles, I repeated the circle pattern in the accent pillows and the lighting that would come later.

Color: My daughter had been begging for a pink room for years. The challenge was how to create a sophisticated pink space for a teen that would grow with her. So I took to Pinterest and Houzz in search of a pink that wouldn’t evoke memories of pepto bismol. Even though I have every color deck known to man it really helps to be able to see a wall color in several different rooms. Pinterest and Houzz are a great way to do that. We selected a wall color of Sherwin Williams 6589- Alyssum and paired it with Royal Design Studios Royal Stencil Creme in Shimmer Pink. Because we were going bold with pattern and color on the walls, we decided to keep the other elements kind of monochromatic. Brooks stenciled the Chain Link stencil pattern all over the feature wall behind the bed. Obviously, this was a labor of love for Daddy’s girl!

Secrets for how to design a great room via Paint + Pattern

Texture: We chose solid color bedding that had a nice ruffled texture. We re-purposed a giant  6×8 upholstered headboard with beautiful tufting from her old room. Also bringing texture into the space was a zebra hide covered accent chair, textured painted furniture and a flower petal light fixture. We layered a quilt across the foot of the bed for another layer of texture.

Choosing lighting for how to design a great room

Lighting: Since this room was really small (11×10) we decided on wall sconces to free up space on the tiny side tables. These sconces were actually plugins that our electrician was able to convert to hardwire into the wall. We also went with a vintage chandelier that repeated the circles in the graphic wall pattern. We added a hanging light from IKEA over the built in desk to add a combo of texture and task lighting.

Using vintage finds to design a great room. via Paint + Pattern

Vintage: This is the secret sauce in all well designed rooms. A great place to find one of a kind pieces is Etsy. I started my search on Etsy for a light fixture. I found this piece and fell madly in love. I loved how the circle design repeated the pattern of the graphic stencil. Etsy is not just for vintage, I also scored these designer pillows that have the circular shape in the poppies. The furniture in this room was another vintage find from Craigslist. My husband painted it a funky silver and black. Although space in this room is tight we couldn’t resist the vintage dress form with a 1950’s prom dress both from Ebay.

How to design a great room for a teen girl. via Paint + Pattern

Art: Every room needs it. In this room the graphic stencil steals the show. We also have framed fashion designs that were drawn by my daughter to add a little personalization and whimsy. My husband is working on a dogwood canvas to complete the room.

Using Olioboard for how to design a great room every timeSo, do you want to know the very best secret I can share for designing a great room? Being able to SEE your design before you execute it. Olioboard is a design site where you can upload photos of all your room and design elements and see them in the room to make sure they all work together. I actually changed out the pillows, bedding, and rugs several times before I got this space just right. Pro designers create sample boards for a reason! They want to see how the colors, patterns and textures work together in a room and give themselves a good road map for creating an amazing room. Now, you can do the same thing with pictures using an online design tool like Olioboard.

So, if you follow the formula of pattern, color, texture, lighting, vintage and art you’ll be on track to creating your own “pin-able” space in no time, with a great room design you can be proud of every time.

Royal Design Studio Wall Stencils and Paint Supplies for DIY Projects


  1. I never would have thought to use Etsy to search for a light fixture – enjoyed all the tips, actually. I like the different accent of pink along the walls by the window, too. Did she see the room while you were working on it or was it a surprise? She must love her room!

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