I’m sure you think it’s crazy that someone writing articles about interior design would suddenly start writing about the psychology of parenting a teenager. Well, I have found that I can find some common ground with my teens when we talk about making their rooms look cool or “awesome”. Even if we are in the middle of a discussion about how late they can stay out or when they need to work on homework, if we switch the conversation to interior design, I can smooth over the other issues, and I can get them to come around. It can be something as simple as purchasing a new poster or adding an awesome accessory to the room. I must admit, I’m not sure who’s being manipulated, but we somehow both end up happy.
One teen room that Matt and I worked on together turned out especially nice. It was edgy and a bit wild, perfect for a teen, but it also had neatness built in and that made Mom and Dad happy.
We started with a grid wall treatment that was random in its sizes. We added a washing technique in medium beige to every other space, and the design was bold enough for the teen yet it was in colors from the rest of the house so it still fit in with the family. At the corners of the blocks, we painted silver metallic bolts as if the panels were bolted right into the walls.
Next came Matt’s addition to the room, a rolling platform bed. This turned out great and it was a lot of fun along the way, as you can imagine! He used large industrial casters on the bottom, and even though there was no need for it to roll, the casters were a substitute for plain wooden legs, and they were so much more interesting. The platform was polyurethaned natural with a black painted edge detail. The mattress sat right in the middle of it and was wrapped with a black bedspread.
For studying, which we didn’t want to forget, as much as this teen was coaxing us, we created an area that could be used as a desk, but incorporated a lot of shelving for music and magazines. Matt found some wall mounted CD racks that were architectural in design, and painted black, they worked in nicely with everything else that was going on in the space.
But, the piece de resistance for me was the framed t-shirts. This was a really innovative idea that included building shadowbox frames, in other words, deep frames. Then, cutting a piece of masonite that just fit inside the frame. We then grabbed several of our teen’s rock group t-shirts, and wrapped them around the masonite so the printed design was centered nicely on the masonite.
We used masking tape to hold the t-shirt in place and not damage it so it could be worn. Then, we simply inserted the masonite into the back of the frame. They hung on the wall from saw tooth hanging devices attached to the back of the frame. And, I must say, these were a hit with our teen as well.
Now, the report from the parents of this teen was that for at least a week, this child was so happy; he did anything his parents wanted. I know that seems like a high price to pay, but this is your sanity we’re talking about. So remember, the next time you and your teen are going at it, break the cycle with a simple suggestion, “How about picking out a paint color, and we’ll redecorate your room?” I’ve said that so many times at home that the line is starting to cause extreme laughter. Hey, it’s better than crying!