In all aspects of life teenagers are starting to express themselves and assert their identity. That is why if they liked the music you played when they were 10 years old, they will very quickly consign that to the box marked “uncool”. The same is true of household decor or interior designs.
Fortunately it is relatively easy to work with your teen to give them much of what they want without too much financial of other sacrifice
In most homes we are talking about the teenager(s) bedroom though if you have space a teen den or games room in the loft or over the garage is a cool idea.
Typical teen bedrooms – in a mess!
A few design tips:
- rooms need to reflect the growing demand for independence, whilst still being a safe haven
- a games room or den is a great place to bring friends back to; you will be reassured that they are safe & not hanging out in some unknown “dive”. Watch out, though, as they will raid the refrigerator for food and drink!
- rooms which teens grew up in will suddenly feel too childish, prompting a sudden desire to revamp or remodel
- the open door policy to a child’s bedroom will also give way to greater demands for privacy. But if you can do not put everything they need in the bedroom or you may never see your teen again! If you can (and it is very difficult) try to resist the demand for a TV and computer in the bedroom. If your children had them before age 10, it may be too late to get out of this situation.
Colour and style
This is easy to deal with and also can make you appear to be a pretty cool parent. Work with your teenager to choose the colour scheme, even if you think you would never, ever, use black, purple or psychedelic patterns on the wall or ceiling.
For practicality use standard emulsion paints that are easy to retouch or change as tastes change. Walls and ceilings will soon be covered in posters and so on, but as long as the wall construction is sound you do not need to worry about sticky tape or Blu-tack (Fun-Tak) on the walls. Picture tacks and drawing pins are not the end of the world – just impose some adult rules about safety in relation to electric wiring and plumbing.
If graffiti is a design idea why not paint one wall in special black-board (chalk-board) paint?
Storage and furniture
You will probably want to work with what you already have in the interest of economy. But remember a growing teen will need a bigger stronger bed, which always raises the possibly embarrassing issue of whether it should be a double bed. Likewise bigger and more clothing calls for a taller wardrobe.
What ever you do make sure there is plenty of storage space and hooks on door backs. It will not prevent the sedimentary accumulation of clothing and detritus on the floor but at least there will be no lack-of-space excuse.
If you can separate function, DO SO! If you can separate play from study then you will have visibility (if not control) of your teen’s time management. In an ideal environment split sleep, study and play if possible. You may say that there is insufficient space but you could cheaply install a desk, a light and a computer under a staircase.
You might be able to clear out all the junk that usually lingers in a garage; old tins of paint, golf clubs and so on often mean there is no room for the car. With a bit of thought a corner of the garage could be turned into a teen den. Put down some end-of roll carpet, a second hand club sofa and an armchair, a book shelf, some anglepoise lamps or spot lights and a mp3 docking station plus hi-fi amplifier. A quilt or throw and an electric fan heater work well for colder nights.
Your teen can chill out here with friends and have their own private space. And it will not matter too much whether it is neat and tidy in adult eyes.
Finally, interior design with a teen in mind is one area where you do not need to feel that you are making a concession or sacrifice to a rebellious or angst-ridden offspring. In fact you may not get the appreciation you deserve for your efforts until your teen is ready to leave home for college or the big bad world. The acid test then is to see if they still want to come back to stay in the room they grew up in (and to eat good old fashioned home cooking!).