Apparently, kids don’t put posters on their walls anymore. In fact, postering up your bedroom wall has been on the decline since we hit this century and today, it is only the few (about 7% of girls and 12% of boys) that actually get their super heroes stuck or taped to the wall. Decoration is still going on, but the experience is different. Generally, although not exclusively, girls now want a space which represents themselves and which includes every bit of the room thought through, and the boys want one wall covered with a huge screen for games and TV watching. Lying on your bed and listening to music and staring at the posters on the wall has gone. No more inspiration is being sought or gathered from those magazine centre spreads that have sports or music stars on them or the pictures of sports cars, motorcycles or bicycles.
So it’s clear that today’s kids have moved on and stare continuously at their phone, tablet, laptop, and not the wall for entertainment. Their posters are in their phones. Is this a bit sad? I don’t think so, and mainly because the classic posters are still being put on walls around the world. The art of bedroom wall decoration has not been lost. This is because the kids from the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s are now grown-ups and invariably seeking their own space, like a shed or spare bedroom, or one of the kid’s bedrooms as they got married a few years ago, left home and can’t return to their old room because it has now got a lathe in it, or a knitting machine, or is full of bicycles.
Having your own space is a luxury. Having your own space where you decide what goes on in your world is one level up, and having your own space where you have just unknowingly, recreated that old bedroom feel, is priceless and very personal. I’m sure global lockdowns have accelerated this yearning for own space, as well as an acceleration of creativity of doing anything to a small room or shed. After all, it really is as much fun decorating your own space as being in it.
Looking at the online images of people’s personal spaces, like a shed for example, shows that the bedroom decorator gene pool is not lost. Not only do we see rooms with the iconic posters of old on them, and LP record sleeves (this is not blasphemy to pin an iconic record sleeve to a wall if the vinyl inside was scratched, warped or missing), and even vintage clothing like a jacket or t-shirt. Of course, for those that have got well into the cycling collecting, there will be a bike frame on the wall or some old jerseys or even a temple to the ‘Gods of Speed’, which are things that have been broken in action like cracked helmets and tarmac shredded Lycra shorts.
It is all about identity. The room has to represent you, how you feel and how you want it to make you feel. We are a little bit spoilt nowadays because we can get so many ideas from the ‘net. People can share their spaces and creative ideas without actually inviting anyone in to start poking around and picking stuff up.
All you have to do is type ‘man cave’ or ‘woman cave’ into Instagram and you’ll get equal numbers of spaces, and you’ll see all of the things mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago. So, the 20th Century kids bedroom is now the personal space and special retreat. A simple definition of this type of personal space is like a region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs, just like the kids bedroom of old. People value their personal spaces and are usually proud about creating something that represents them, their lives and their interests. It is also about ‘me time’, somewhere where you can go and live by your own rules. This can mean keeping a space where there is total order, or total chaos.
Your 20th century bedroom replica can be anywhere and not necessarily a room in your house like a basement or cellar. Whilst garden greenhouses, sheds and allotment buildings are traditional getaways, I’ve been impressed by some innovative thinking form the conversion of containers to an old van or caravan parked in the garden. One of the plus points is that you are the one who can choose how to nail, tape or glue your stuff to the wall, and not have to worry about upsetting grown-ups when you swap posters and rip a bit of the wallpaper off, only to be quickly concealed with another poster.
One thing hasn’t changed though. It was invariably hobbies and interests that fuelled our bedroom design in the last century, and that has not changed. What is amazing is how many songs have the two words ‘bedroom posters’ in the lyrics, and that just proves my point, which I have failed to mention so far, in that you never lose that desire for your own space which is fuelled by images and things on the wall and music that has the ability to help you dream, reflect and gain inspiration and energy.
Oh yeah. One last thing…..Turn that bloody awful music down!!!!!!
Photo by the Author