Life with Special Needs: A Bedroom Fit for a Teen

We've moved house recently and Natty had some very strong ideas about her bedroom decor - one cherry pink wall it is then! 

Moving house can be fun!

It never will be a perfect Insta-ready room I can tell you. Her habit of hiding small objects in purses which then get hoarded in multiple handbags will ensure of that...

But just as every teen has their own ideas about decor, and their room layout will be determined by their physical and cognitive needs as well as being led by the space you have available, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make their lives easier and more comfortable.

Natty's room is quite cosy to say the least and that has meant I've needed to be creative in order to help her organise herself. So here are a few hacks I've learnt along the way.

Label Items

We have an labelled underwear drawer, a sock drawer and a pyjama drawer. These can have small stickers with an easy read font and/or symbol, or you can laminate card and blu tac it on. It's also a great idea to label objects such as the door and window depending on your teen's needs. 

Baskets Work

Natty and her sister Mia have multiple baskets which are stored inn and on top of the wardrobe. Each one contains everything needed for a particular activity, say dance or gym class. Another contains sun hats, glasses and sun screen and yet another all the swim kit. This make getting ready to go out much easier. 

Make Clever Use of Space

You can use the space under ottoman beds* or in the drawers of divan beds* to store items that aren't wanted on a daily basis and keep them tidily out of sight.

If storage isn't a problem, then another option is a truckle bed, which has a second mattress tucked underneath for when friends come for sleepovers. Inexpensive shelving can house books, games and puzzles and again these can be labelled.

Desk Area

If your teen has homework to do, they might need a desk with a reading lamp. This can double up for doing art, puzzles or as a dressing table for getting ready. 

Create a Visual Timetable

A visual timetable can feature the morning or bedtime routine broken down into achievable steps, or show the weekly timetable of activities that your teen enjoys. Visual timetables help foster independence and life skills and can even set out the steps for chores such as changing bedding. 

Get the Height Right

Coat hooks can be great for hanging uniform or an outfit ready for the next day as this provides a visual cue for what's happening. But it's no good having a hook on the back of your door at full height if you are petite in stature. So look at your teen's room through their eyes when planning and if they are small, fix shelves and hooks within their reach.

Let Them Choose

Provide options for your teen to choose from so that they can personalise their space and have ownership of the project. Simple cosy touches such as new cushions, a duvet set, rug, lamp shade or poster can really personalise a space.

Showcase Their Collections

Perhaps your teen has a collection of trains or dinosaurs or books, or as in Natty's case, tiaras. They might not be your idea of ornaments but they are precious to them. So display them on a shelf or desktop display unit. Items such as drawings, certificates or old records can be popped into cheap frames and hung on the walls.  

Family Tree

Family photos can be slotted into over door hanging pouches or displayed in frames. This is a way for your teen to cherish special memories or milestones in their lives. 

Get Sensory

Your child might like their room to be quiet, in which case you can use soft furnishings or pin fabric to the ceiling to muffle sound. Equally they might enjoy a sound system on which to blare out Little Mix on a loop. 

Mix and colours textures together to provide sensory interest. Pick different fabrics, faux furs and fluffy throws. 

You can bring aromatherapy into the room safely with a natural essential oil diffuser or by planting aromatic herbs in pots. 

Your teen might find a weighted blanket helps to calm them and aid sleep. They might also enjoy a memory foam pillow for support and some youngsters like a couple of extra pillows packed around them for comfort.

Make your teens bedroom a calm place to unwind

Sleep Hygiene

If your teen has trouble sleeping, it's a good idea to keep their bedroom a calm place. Eliminating tablets and phones before bed, lets them relax and helps their brain switch off for a good night. Read our Sleep Strategies post here. 

So, each room will be as individual as our teens themselves, and they are going to want to spend a lot of time in them, so why not make them as comfortable and functional as possible. 

* This post includes collaborative links.


  1. We turned our daylight basement into an apartment for our daughter Beth. (37) She didn't want to sleep in the bedroom, I guess it was too dark for her so we split the great room, one side has her bed, dresser and bookcase and the other half has her TV, desk, bulletin board, etc. We turned the bedroom into her kitchen with some cupboards and a countertop, refrigerator, microwave... she loves it down there! Safe at home but in her own place. She wanted to paint the great room a very bright pink. But after some discussion she agreed to paint one wall bright pink and the other three a softer, light pink. She is a hoarder and I'm actually headed down there in a few minutes to help her sort through some things. Since I started working I just haven't been able to keep up with it like I should. Thank you for these ideas. I'm going to try to implement some of them in the coming weeks. Enjoy your new home!

  2. As parents of a teen with special needs, we often have to make some modifications to our home to help our child thrive. One of the most important rooms in our home is our daughter's bedroom. We have outfitted her room with all the necessary items to help her be as independent as possible.

    Some of the modifications we have made to her room include: installing a ceiling track for her to move around independently, adding a bed with side rails to keep her safe, and adding a special mattress to help with her posture. We have also added a few items for her to enjoy, such as a reading lamp and a small bookshelf.

    Making these modifications has been a big help for our daughter and has made her bedroom a safe and comfortable place for her to be.

    Thank you for sharing =)
    Cute Baby Girl Names


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