How do you tackle your teenager’s bedroom?
- Credit: Archant
The teenager was born in 1944, in LIFE magazine. The hormones may have been there long before, but the term ? the definition, the cult ? arrived in the US only 70 years ago.
In a United Kingdom still on its knees after the devastation of war, the teenager did not truly rear its head and flick a perfectly-created quiff until at least the 1950s.
It was the dawn of the beat groups and tabloid panic over Mods and Rockers that truly signalled the arrival of the teen in British culture.
By the 1970s the NME, Melody Maker and latterly Smash Hits provided a constant supply of new wall art in the shape of posters. Then, with the invention of the internet, every teen had access to the wider world.
But now something has changed – the teenager has grown up.
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And that is replicated in bedrooms up and down the nation. However – and this is very important – saying “no” to all-black walls and “not a chance” to a hand-painted skull over the bed will only make them want it more.
Trust them a little and offer a compromise. These days, teens are far more savvy than you were. A poster of The Cure stuck up with Blu Tack will not cut it.
Instead, why not look at some wall art – if they want to at least appear rebellious, they might as well do it in style.
There is a plethora of designs to choose from ? from Bronx-style graffiti to sports badges, or even copies of recognised artists’ work. It definitely beats a magic eye poster.
Petra Vitler, of Suffolk Interior Design, agrees that teens should have a say in the creation of their room.
“Should your teenager proclaim undying ? but ever-changing ? love for boy bands then magnetic wallpaper might be the answer. This could eliminate the endless tape marks from posters and keep your walls intact.
“Get creative – blackboard paint is an easy-to-apply product that creates an instant noticeboard.”
Let them be bold with colour
Sooner than you think, they will be off to university and you can hire a skip and start designing the guest room you always dreamt of…
But until then, let them be young.
If he has his heart set on the blue and white of Ipswich Town, or she is determined to turn everything bubblegum pink, hear them out.
You can be bold and remain stylish. Gently suggest that pink walls might be a bit bright but agree that all accessories can be in her favourite colour. Vibrant curtains, bedspreads and even carpets against pure white walls offer a flash of youthful exuberance while retaining the room’s dignity.
Petra says: “Bright colours will cheer any space. But if it’s a small room, painting just one wide vertical stripe on a neutral wall can inject colour and personality without overload. You could carry this theme through the accessories and even paint it on the furniture and floor.”
But it is not the colours alone that will give your teen’s room the wow-factor – use space wisely.
“If this is at a premium, perhaps a high-sleeper with storage underneath would free up floor space while creating storage at the same time. Try www.studybed.co.uk who offer an ingenious bed that’s also a desk, and best of all you don’t have to clear the desk in order to go to sleep.”
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Probably more important than any other aspect of today’s teen bedroom is the technology contained within. Whereas yesterday’s teens flounced to their rooms to escape their woes and read maudlin poetry, today the tech-obsessed bunch reach out to the world.
You need space for a laptop, a decent speaker (maybe you’ll grow to love loud techno music?) and a screen.
Look at it this way: create a comfortable corner and they are also more likely to use it for revision. Allow natural light to reach the desk and keep the colours light and inviting. If you value your walls, add a pin-board behind the desk for homework reminders.
Petra says: “The desk and seating is vital – take time to make sure it is the right height for the desk/table, to avoid neck strain.
“These don’t have to be bespoke pieces; get creative. Items that perform these tasks well are more useful than pieces that look great but for whatever reason just don’t work.
“Some students might need more space, like art obsessives for instance. They may, if there’s room, do better with a kitchen table than a desk. Computer studies may require more than one screen, so perhaps wall brackets, shelves or an adapted bookcase might work a treat.”