How to Decorate a Room for a Tomboy

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She doesn't want a girly bedroom.
She doesn't want a girly bedroom. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

It’s common to come across plenty of bedroom decorating ideas fit for a princess, so it might seem like a challenge to decorate a room for a tomboy. Just because some girls express distaste for all things “girly” and are proud to show off a closet devoid of dresses, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t appreciate a stylish bedroom makeover.

Discuss the decorating plan with your tomboy. When your daughter was a baby, she couldn’t protest when you dressed her in ruffles and bows. As she’s grown, you’ve seen her develop into an individual, and although you might want to see her room transformed into a feminine fantasy, she’ll have different ideas. Ask her to describe the type of room that would make her happiest and the type she could never feel comfortable in. Look through decorating magazines together and cut out pictures for inspiration.

Evaluate how the room is used. Above all else, base your design on furnishings that function. Choose pieces that provide plenty of storage and shelving that can be reconfigured easily if the room is rearranged. If your tomboy daughter loves sports, for instance, use storage solutions that accommodate all of her team uniforms and equipment to keep clutter at bay.

Decorate around a unisex bedroom theme. If your daughter is passionate about surfing, transform her room into a beach oasis with ocean hues and Hawaiian-styled accessories. If she loves astronomy, bring the moon and stars into her space with midnight blue walls and glow-in-the-dark constellations. If she’s a budding botanist, base a color scheme on earthy green and brown and add plenty of plants. Themed decorating takes some of the guesswork out of successfully putting a room together.

Steal some tricks from the boys. If you decide against a themed decorating plan, look at boys' bedroom design ideas for inspiration. Picking a color scheme your tomboy loves and pairing it with the functional furnishings and clean lines seen in boys' rooms is a no-nonsense way of decorating for girls who abhor anything high-maintenance. Use bold unisex patterns such as stripes and dots to create a sleek look.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rethink pink. While the color is mostly associated with “girly” girls, some tomboys still like it. Combine pink with black or gray for cool, current tomboy style that is anything but frilly.
  • If you’re decorating a room for a younger tomboy girl, choose a bedroom design she can grow into. Some of the things she loves today probably will feel too childish for her taste in a couple of years. Stick with floor coverings and furnishings that will stand the test of time and easily transition with a change of paint, bedding or accessories.

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