Kya deLongchamps has some tips on how to engage in drama-free negotiations when redecorating a teenager’s room
SO, YOU’VE wisely backed off the clothes issue — now it’s time to allow the natural separation to begin at their bedroom door. If you want a teenager to value and respect their space, then give them some respect when decorating — you can fight about the odd smells coming under the door later.
Fashionista flounce or gothic nightmare, this might seem like aesthetic rebellion, but bedroom or den — it is their room. Allow for individuality, edge and even a touch of attitude. If they vouch determinedly for blistering colour or design, fasten it to one wall and go white or neutral on the others. Up-cycle what they have already and include slouch spots for visiting friends, gifting sociable room to grow.
Choose your battles — suggest, encourage, illustrate. Allow your teen full say in how their room is put together, even if they seem confused and riding on a churning sea of hormones. Clobbering their emerging aesthetic confidence with shrill put downs — you get my meaning.
Sampling is a superb compromise — paints, papers, fabric colours — gather up like a good mother/father bird and bring it back for consideration. Mood boards are useful lifelong tools for visualising volumes, texture, colour and feature flash. Hand them the project without your timeline printed all over it — that’s incentive.
Offer a few insights — for example the usefulness of crisp office furniture to rock the gentled industrial Scandi’ trend. There’s pink and there’s PINK — point them towards the differences they see instinctively in clothes.
Subtle suggestions: Pinterest is great virtual vehicle to gather and share ideas. Stores with full room-sets to wander, no-one does it better than IKEA. Acknowledge taste positively — don’t knock even poor practical choices. Take shots with the phone. Browse Houzz, a wealth of possibilities, again visual and collectable, houzz.ie.
A couple of years is a lifetime in the eyes of a developing young adult. The flower spattered bower of 13 may be tortuous to their soul at 15 (vomit motions at the mention of the room were the clue with my interior specialist). Expect rapid-fire demands for change based on limitless spending.
If the flooring is neutral (grey carpet/linoleum/laminate wood flooring) and the vital bedroom storage furniture boxy and unobjectionable — it’s going to be an attack on the walls, bed coverings, window treatments, light shelving and possibly the addition of a new rug. Bought into child-sized furniture? You were warned.
Add key designer (style) pieces they will want to take away with them. Additional seating and even sleeping places for friends — that’s something for an adolescent to genuinely get excited about. Their friend group is the wellspring of all life.
Subtle suggestions: Punches of colour to an all-white room. Redo with pendants, cushions, curtains and bed linens. No sulks.
Keep storage furniture minimalist and crisp — for instance the Argos Home Holsted Gloss 3 Piece Large Wardrobe Set, grey, €740. Cool beanbags? Big Bertha originals from €79, bigberthaorginals.ie.
Teen years are a remarkably short, stormy but transient period. When they fly off to the adult world, they are leaving that childhood shelter behind, probably for just short flits home to emotionally bemoan any changes to the holy of holies — their room.
The shift to gender neutral decorating in adult and children’s spaces is well documented for 2020.
A colour change is often key — and that doesn’t have to mean major expense. Consider some reversible vandalising with peel n’ stick wall panels to one wall that can be removed easily with a tug to one corner if they leave or just change their minds. Clean white walls offer a simple canvas to decorate and easily refresh and repair.
Subtle suggestions: Vinyl digital prints on a large scale can be bespoke (from photos) and cropped to the wall for a perfect fit, from €31m2, wallsauce.com.
Designer lighting is knocked off for style in months — choose dimmers to dial in some relaxing shadow play.
Try The Range (Little Island) and HomeStore & More, HomeSense (Grand Parade) and TJ Maxx for rolling on trend bargains. Command (damage free) poster strips, €3.99 for 12, nationwide.
Throw money at the mattress before all things. Sleeping and lounging, a quality mattress in the right length is essential, and if you can rise to more sprawl with a small double — even better.
Divan beds with a headboard offer greater versatility than fixed frames — altering the entire look and feel of the bed by taking the board away or replacing it (artwork and posters can enthrone the area behind their head once bolstered in lots of pillows).
Described as “funky”, “economic” and “cool” by adults, I’ve yet to meet an older teenager who raves about their combined bunk/desk/wardrobe unit. Simple platforms with extra storage are more serious. Otherwise, prepare to carry that embarrassing particle board elephant to landfill come college. Rugs? Those tender sensitivities love texture and sprawling on the floor is a talent we appear to lose at 20.
Built-in shelving around the bed head right to the ceiling offers a protective feel, raises the status of a new bed and delivers a gallery to furnish and change and to accommodate in-set lighting or a group of pendants. For great ideas and real “murphy” beds go to wallbeds.ie.
Viewed through the lens of naturally pulling away from your style and experimenting in their aesthetic preferences — revolutions to the teen’s rooms shows that you’ve done your job as a parent. Still, what about those marches — the virtue signalling about the environment at school? See what can be up-cycled out of what’s in the space already.
Often what we can afford secondhand outstrips the quality and branding of new things. Gift that lesson to children at a young age. Boot sales, second hand stores, DoneDeal and eBay offer stimulating hunting grounds for everything from lighting to artwork for a highly individual, accumulated finish.
Subtle suggestions: Large second-hand firms like CJM (Marina Commercial Part, Cork) offer style at a fraction of the new cost. Collect Ireland list most of the boot sales and auctions for the whole country — great bonding time at the weekends, collectireland.com. Educate them in the power of specialist paints in tins and sprays.