Your Room & Your Identity Expression

By Shreena Bhakta

From Freaky Friday to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, many teenage coming of age movies show the main character’s bedroom as a sanctuary — a place filled with memorabilia that represents that character’s personality or interest. Anna from Freaky Friday has a Parental Advisory poster plastered to the door of her bedroom, revealing her punk rock edge and want for privacy. Lara Jean from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before has a bright-colored bedroom, however, it’s incredibly , which symbolizes a lot of inner conflicts she has, especially regarding her love life. As you can see, I’ve done a lot of analyzing of teenage movies, specifically, their bedrooms, because it’s always made me curious. A room is just a room, right? But why does it tell so much about who a person is? It took analyzing my own room to figure it out.

Bedrooms are a place for teenagers to relax — a space for them to be themselves — and a place only meant for them. Our bedrooms express pieces of our identities and personalities: the things that make us, us. Our rooms are almost like this empty canvas and we are the artists in control of what the space looks like and how it’s used. I never understood this until I started really noticing the pieces of my room that represent me. The pieces of my room that represent my interests, values I embrace, memories I cherish, and more


My favorite part about my room is actually something that I can’t even see — it’s not meant for me. I have sticky notes posted on my window; this window overlooks my neighbors front porch. Although it’s not the best view, I have used it to my advantage.

My neighbor’s husband passed away towards the end of 2020 due to a long and hard battle with cancer. In an attempt to help her keep strong, I had written the phrase, “Stay Positive,” separating each letter onto one sticky note. I didn’t think she would notice it, as my window is on the second story, but she told my mom that she looks for it every day and that it reminds her to keep going. Empathy, kindness, compassion for others: these are things that I value greatly and I have shown that part of myself through my bedroom’s decorations.

After deeply analyzing movie character’s bedrooms and learning that my own bedroom has served as an outlet for me to express my personality, I asked many of my friends to share pieces of their room that best represent them.

My Friends' Artifacts

Cami: This wall really represents me because it’s a sort of modge podge of all the things I like. Whenever I look at this part of my room it’s my favorite area because it feels put together but also me! It also is a bit of a weird combo: marvel figures, nail polishes, snowglobes among other Knick-knacks — wonderfully messy but organized.

Collette: My travel bulletin board represents my love for adventure. The continents on the world map are covered with some of my favorite memories—learning a new language, climbing a mountain, and spending time with people I love. My bulletin boards serve as a reminder of who I am and where I (both literally and aspirationally) hope to go.

Cloe: I picked this wall to represent me because I think it shows the various aspects of my personality. There’s a jello advertisement framed representing my love for antiques and quirkiness, a very small drawing of Winnie the Pooh for the side of me that holds on to nostalgia so much, so it’s like I’m still that kid, and underneath I have a portrait of myself (not because I love myself so much, that’s a work and progress) but it’s a drawing someone from my host family made for me when I was in Japan. I love to travel and make connections and will always remember my time with them. To the side is a recent piece of art by a girl named Lilliana, she works at the same place I do and is an incredible artist. I love collections and collecting art pieces is something I’m trying to do more of. On top of a shelf is a whole host of collections and memories that put me on the edge of a hoarder which is also a part of me. I’m a cluttered and quirky soul waiting for my next adventure.

Olivia: The decorations on my walls represent who I am — which may be a little strange, considering that it’s a conglomeration of posters, postcards, my own artwork, songbook covers, and lights. But when taken together, I think that both my aesthetic tastes and my personality shine through. My decorations also have special significance as I started to really cultivate my walls during quarantine when I began to spend so much time in my room that I grew tired of looking at the same boring walls all day.

Jade: There are a couple of different ways I feel my bookshelf represents my identity. The first is that I feel it shows some of my growth. Though it is not totally comprehensive — as there are many books I have borrowed and returned, or just have digital copies of — the top shelf is organized by how recently I have read the book. In looking at the books, I think there is a pretty clear progression of my interests, especially when taking into account the books on the second shelf, which I plan to read next. The second way in which I see this representing me is in the sort of ~decor~ on it. I am very particular about decorations in that they either serve a purpose or are a result of something meaningful to me — often gifts from people who are important to me, or things I’ve acquired from experiences; in both cases, they elicit positive memories. Overall, it’s kind of like a time-capsule of my life on display, and that feels representative of who I have been and who I am becoming.

Jayden: This is my record player, a Victrola record, cassette, and CD player. I absolutely love this thing! I got it in June as a birthday gift along with some vinyl from my family and it’s become a total quarantine hobby; in the almost 7 months I’ve had it, I have gotten 17 vinyl, 2 cassettes, and 4 CDs. It’s awesome being able to look at music I love and remembering the people who were thoughtful enough to give them to me, and play music while studying after long days of Zoom classes

Torrien: If I could name something that represents me the most, it would be clothing. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a love for clothes. I like how some of my pieces would make me look, and once the compliments started coming in, it made me want to improve and grow my own style and create my own clothes. Getting the compliments fed my need to buy and wear certain things.

Taylor: I know I was asked to write about an object in my room that is of significance to me, but I had a hard time choosing-there’s so many! This wall in my bedroom holds a lot of significance to me. While I do appreciate that my room tends to be aesthetically pleasing, there is a lot of meaning that goes behind what I choose to decorate my room with. On this wall in particular, I chose to hang notes and letters from some of my favorite people, to remind myself of the love that I felt when I read them for the very first time. Knowing that I have them displayed and easily accessible to me, rather than having them tucked away in a drawer somewhere, makes me feel comforted and at ease.

Molly Z.: My favorite item in my room is my guitar. I feel as though it is the item that would give an onlooker the most information about me, and the stories that I know (that aren’t observable to a stranger) are also contributors to its significance. In order to purchase the guitar, I drove to L.A. (which is roughly 2.5 hours away from my house) alone. I love going places by myself, and I especially love separating myself from familiar places and existing alone in a new space that feels unique and specific to me. I like that a lot of things in my room have stories or memories linked to them that perhaps my family and friends aren’t aware of, and my experience at Norman’s Rare Guitars (where I bought the guitar) is definitely one of those memories. Many items in my room are things that represent my interests or things that I know a lot about, and I think that (in a semi-annoying way) I really like that I know a lot about my guitar. I enjoy talking about its many specific qualities and what makes it a unique instrument, and being able to confidently talk about it makes me more confident when playing it. As an overview, the guitar is an archtop, specifically a 1955 Gibson ES-175, and it has two P-90 pickups. This guitar is, through and through, a “jazz box” as they are affectionately called, and I like that just from looking at it, you can get at a sense of the type of music I like to play. I’ve always given the fact that I play music as a main descriptor of myself, and having something in my room that already starts to tell that story for me is something I enjoy.

Whether it’s a “modge podge” (as Cami calls it) of wall art or items that we’ve learned to treasure due to quarantine, the items in our bedrooms hold a special place in our hearts: they document important memories, they tell stories, they reveal things about ourselves. And as I am ending off this blog post, a strange coincidence happened to me. I’m currently reading Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and one line particularly caught my eye: “Although not large, the space I live in is graced with only those things that speak to my heart.” This line couldn’t have come at a better time — it was the perfect ending to my own discovery story. Throughout analyzing movie bedrooms, investigating my own bedroom, and hearing my friends’ stories, I have learned that my bedroom is a place where I get to reveal my authentic and genuine self to essentially, an audience of one: me.