Ari’s Rustic Industrial Tween (now Teen) Room: Three Years Later

I realized recently that it’s been a full three years since we finished Ari’s room makeover and I blogged about it. And, honestly, the room looks very similar now overall, so there hasn’t been a huge need to revisit it. But there have been some small changes and additions over time, and I also just like to go back to spaces, and particularly kids’ rooms, and talk about how they’re working out long term.

A couple of months ago, I did a similar update about Milo and Gus’s room. Preparing to take photos for that update required an entire weekend of cleaning and decluttering. Preparing to take photos for this update required me saying, “Hey, Ari: is your room clean?” And then Ari running upstairs to spend 10 minutes straightening up (mostly clearing off his desk) before I showed up with the camera. Because my children are very, very different people.

Here is Ari’s room today:

rustic industrial teen room

And here’s how it looked three years ago:

As you can see, the main thing that’s changed is that we’ve added an orange kitty to complement his bedding.

I see that I even draped that gray throw in exactly the same way.

It looks like either I take better pictures now, or my new camera does. Or both!


Since we first finished his room, we’ve added this shelf that I found at the thrift store and let him decorate however he wanted. Which turned out to be with lots of cats, mostly:


Ceramic cats from thrift stores. That’s what Ari likes. The black and white print up top is one I took of our cat, Gavroche (the orange kitty formerly seen on Ari’s bed), and the cat with headphones print is from Etsy.

ariupdate04s ariupdate03s

Oh, looks like Ari’s neatness does not extend to dusting. Oh well.

I think I might have mentioned this chair that I found for his room (also thrifted) in passing at some point, but it’s awesome so here it is again:


He’s made some changes to the top of his dresser, too:


He gets those things from Mail Chimp for free. I don’t really understand how. I guess you have to be quick about it.

We bought him a hand pencil holder for Christmas a couple of years ago:


I’m not sure why he has preschool scissors in here. He’s perfectly capable of using grown-up sized scissors.

And I found this pictorial map of London at the thrift store awhile back and hung it up in the last remaining piece of wall real estate. He kind of has a London thing going on in here, so I thought it would work well:


Cat again!


So…how are things holding up in here, three years later?

Mostly pretty well. The idea was to decorate a room that would grow well with him and take him from tween to teen and perhaps all the way to college with only some minor tweaks, and so far so good. He’s 15 now, and I definitely don’t feel like he’s outgrown the room. It’s probably at least as mature as most of the rooms I’ve decorated for the whole family. Not that that’s necessarily saying much.

Most of the furniture in here is a set of vintage maple pieces that we had in his old room; we refinished each in a different way so they would be more adult looking and less matchy. All the paint and finishes are holding up very well. (You can read about the two tone desk, subway map inspired dresser, and nightstand in the posts I did at the time).

My favorite project in here has always been (and always will be) the London skyline string art we made, and it’s still going strong. I hope he never wants to get rid of it, because I’ll cry and cry:


But, I must make a confession now about the plank headboard: we didn’t do it right. We went out and bought wood, then cut it to length and hung it on the wall. And at first it was great. But over time it’s kind of expanded and warped, and now there are tectonic plate like movements going on with the headboard, with the planks crashing against each other, attempting to form mountains but instead forming only a messed up headboard with loose planks.

So. I think we either should have let the wood age/weather/whatever the appropriate term is for awhile before putting the headboard together, or we should have left small gaps in between the boards to give them room to expand. As is, we need to take all the boards down and try again so that they’ll fit together better, but we haven’t gotten around to it yet.

But overall the room is working out well for Ari and we’re happy with the choices we made in here. Although I do want a really fluffy Union Jack rug for under his bed. And maybe someday I’ll make that dream a reality!


Ari’s Rustic Industrial Tween (now Teen) Room: Three Years Later — 8 Comments

  1. Great looking room. I have some of the same travel souveniers! Maybe one day that dresser will hold the grandbaby’s necessities?!

    One question: what’s wrong with matchy-matchy?

    I’m from the generation that saw acquiring a matching set of furniture for any room as a sign of making financial progress……a stage where we could pass on the un-matchy furniture donated from family and friends.

    Are you willing to tell why younger people see matching furniture as a negative?

    • I hope he’ll want to hold on to some of his furniture for future grandkids! I don’t know that I can speak for anyone else about matching furniture….I don’t have anything against it, really; it’s just not my style. I tend toward more of an eclectic, “gathered” look in my house. I do have friends my age who like the look of matching furniture. Glad you found the blog–thanks so much for reading!

    • It’s not a younger people thing. My parents, born in 1913 and 1916, were un-matchy (and I got it from them.) I think it’s a symmetry/ asymmetry preference.

  2. I’m glad you added the cat. It makes all the difference.
    I think this room is pretty mature, as in I, at 63, could move right in.

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