Create a teen-friendly space at home
Teenagers are busier than ever before. But even the busiest teens need places to unwind and relax with friends. Many parents aspire to create that type of environment in their homes but don’t know where to begin. Having teens close by and interacting with them on a regular basis can benefit families. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics notes that parental involvement correlates to higher grade point averages. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says certain parenting styles, including those that set rules and monitor teens in supportive ways, develop kids who are more likely to wear seat belts while driving, while such support also lowers crash risk. Involved parents also may reduce the chances of teen drug use and promiscuous behavior. Parents who want to keep teens nearby can create hangout spaces at home that make it easy for teens to feel comfortable with their friends. These “teen caves” can be private but permit supervision when necessary. With a few modifications, it’s possible to transform a room in a home into a teen-friendly hangout space. • Talk to your children. Involve teens in the process of renovating a home to create a spot in which they would like to congregate. Talk about elements they would like to see in the space, whether it be a particular design style, technology or activity.
• Establish a shared budget. Paint is inexpensive and can transform just about any room in a single afternoon. If the room being renovated is the teen’s own bedroom, allow him or her to choose the color palette and other accents. Even if it isn’t to your taste, he or she will be proud of the results and may want to share it with friends.
• Have a snack station. Some teenagers always seem to be hungry, and hanging out with friends while enjoying food is a popular pastime. When renovating a room into a teen cave, find a way to make food a focus. Install a mini-refrigerator and non-alcoholic bar where kids can serve snacks to friends. Think about a space you would like as an adult and modify it to be more accommodating to teenagers.
• Add more seating. Having friends over means having enough seating to handle a small crowd. Beanbags, cushioned benches, a daybed, modular seating, and more can ensure everyone has a place to sit.
• Make a private outdoor spot. Teen spaces do not need to be restricted to the indoors. Design advice site Houzz says an outdoor escape zone that includes comfortable seating in a private area — particularly a spot that can also be enjoyed into the evening — will be a coveted spot.
• Invest in “indestructible” materials. Teenagers are bound to make messes, and having other people over means contending with a certain measure of damage. Design the space with indoor-outdoor carpeting, water-resistant fabrics, distressed wood, and other durable materials.
Adolescents are always looking for spaces to gather without overbearing adult interference. Homeowners can create such spaces for their children in their own homes.