Teen Boys Bedroom: How To Secretly Make Your Ideas Their Ideas
So after many months of procrastination, I've decided it's time to start revamping the boys bedrooms. It's a job I've put off for a while as boys bedrooms are the deepest abyss of interior decorating and therefore notoriously hard to get right. Not taking into account that children have a habit of growing up super quick - one minute they can be into Paw Patrol, the next minute it's The Regular Show and Love Island. By the time they reach their teenage years, the sound of machine gun fire from Call Of Duty will be a constant rattle and X Box Live is the Holy Grail. I knew that action had to be taken when I was doing a house show round for the Styling Your Home workshop and I had to keep my boys bedrooms off limits due to their total Non Instagram Worthiness.
Another problem that you encounter when your children reach a certain age is that they have their own opinions. I know, it's shocking. I've tried to hold off this eventuality for years but they've finally decided they should have a say in decor. Needless to say, my dreams of a cool, white, art filled bedroom for Max were immediately shot down. He wanted it black. He wanted LED strip lighting. He wanted a gaming chair. I literally had palpitations.
Max's room isn't very big. When we moved into this house, there were three bedrooms for the three children - Ella got first pick as she was the eldest, Max came second. He went for the smallest room, a decision which he has regretted ever since. Unfortunately Leo, who had therefore been allocated the second largest room (painted lilac but hey, Leo didn't care) refused to budge from his allocated room so Max and his new double IKEA bed were stuck.
As rooms go, it certainly isn't the worst decorated room I've ever seen. It's a mid grey with a cream carpet and has a small sash window. Space wise, there's enough for the bed, a Expedit IKEA unit sideways and a chest of drawers. Storage wise, it's a big fail. If you were ever brave enough to look under the bed, you would find seven years worth of school books combined with countless empty packets of Pringles, half filled Haribo packets and at least six mould topped squash glasses.
The end of year 'return with the school books' thing has always flummoxed me. WTF are you supposed to do with them? I've got three children and much as I love looking at their Maths books from when they were six (that's a total lie), they serve NO PURPOSE WHATSOEVER. But that small, niggling part of me says that in order not to be a #parentingfail (again) they need to be kept until they reach adulthood and moved from house to house in boxes forever.
I have the same problem with Joe's collection of Rupert The Bear Annuals (don't ask) which are permanently in boxes in the garage, awaiting the time when everyone realises that Rupert The Bear Annuals are the equivalent of a furry first edition George Orwell and we'll be able to buy a house in Spain with the proceeds.
So Max is 13. The carpet that was cream when we moved in is now stained with who knows what from countless groups of 13 year old boys crammed into a small space playing FIFA 17 and has remnants of Dorito's Tangy Cheese and Babybel wax wrappers melted into its fibres. The room bears resemblance to a Curry's Superstore and is littered with dead batteries from X Box remotes and countless other unspecified technical items which are no longer working. We also recently allowed Buddy to upgrade from the kitchen at night to sleep on Max's bed so there is an aura of dog permeating throughout. Work was required.
My first port of call was the App Of Hellfire known as Pinterest. Whenever I go on Pinterest, I know that I am going to come away from it feeling as if I want to change my entire house immediately. More inspiration than you can throw a cat at, most of it wholly unachievable (big up the Instagram where it's the real deal when it comes to homes) but lots of aspirational ideas. So I approached it with caution, knowing that Max's ideas for his room needed to be taken into account.
I decided that the best thing to do would be to mood board my plans. If I put all my ideas, with a lean towards his, on to one sheet he would be able to look at it and see that although he might not like the individual ideas originally suggested, once they were all put together he would immediately move over to my way of thinking.
And it worked. He did. He liked it. I had included all the things that he had asked for with some slight adjustments. I'm not an industrial trend person in any way at all, but I managed to swing it by incorporating the 'idea' of what he wanted with some more practical items that were appealing to my eye. Note the 'my eye'. I still have to live with it.
This is what I've come up with.
So despite being only a year old when we moved in, the carpet is going to have to go. It's received the same amount of abuse in the two years we've lived here as in twenty years in anybody else's house. My brainwave? Vinyl flooring. Washable and hygienic and perfect for a 13 year old boys room.
A bit of investigation turned up a couple of companies who specialise in this and the catalogue of designs are amazing. I'm thinking that a white plank wood effect floor would look super hot and super practical.
Max requested black walls. So that's not happening, obvs. I've compromised with dark grey which is likely to be Farrow & Ball Railings, to go on three of the bedroom walls. The fourth wall will be wallpaper. I'm thinking brick, distressed plank, cement, tiles? Not red but grey or maybe even off white.
This will provide a good contrast against the white floor and dark walls and will satisfy Max's craving for an industrial look. Perfect.
Every room in my house has white roller blinds. Some people may find this pretty boring, but they were installed by the previous owner for a reason. We live in a Georgian house and the window frames and surrounds are original and really attractive, so the thought process behind this is to show them off to their best advantage.
Max and Leo's rooms are both in the side extension of our house that was built in the 1940's. They don't have the high ceilings but the previous owner replicated the sash windows in line with the rest of the house, so it all gels nicely. As a result, Max's room has a white roller blind and I'm not thinking of changing this as it does the job and keeps the lines of this fairly small room clean (no fussy fabric or curtain rails).
When we moved into this house, we bought Max the Trysol bed from IKEA. Unfortunately, Joe was responsible for putting it together and forgot to put the screws in at the bottom to hold the slates so the bottom of the bed is constantly falling through as the slats fall out. I really should have married Handy Andy. I've worked out that I can fit an IKEA chest of drawers in the alcove to the right of the door.
I'll move his bed to against the window wall so that we don't need to stand on the chest of drawers every time we need to take a hammer to the sash window when it expands and refuses to open. The downside of wooden window frames. I'm thinking a Componibili would be perfect as a side table and moving the bed would free up room for a storage unit. I'm thinking an industrial style locker to fit in with the theme, plus they look super cool.
I considered a desk but tbh, my children tend to do their homework downstairs on the dining table so it would quickly become a waste of storage space. He's desperate for a gaming chair so I compromised (again) by looking at bean bag chairs specifically for the purpose that don't take up loads of room.
So I have a total addiction to the IKEA picture ledges and Max's room isn't going to get away scot free. I'm going to put these above his bed, the 125cm version and the 55cm version together in two rows. Not only can I put some (approved) art on them, but they are also wide enough for his X Box games and random technical stuff. I might even attempt a hanging plant although that could be pushing it.
It's a small room so I need to make the most of the walls. I've been looking at metal hanging shelves, ledges with hooks underneath which are perfect for hoodies (of which Max has hundreds) and the mass of football paraphernalia that occurs when your son plays football five times a week. Yes, seriously, five times a week. I'm going to go for metal to keep it industrial.
I've found some really cool prints that would look good. Max likes street art and already has some Banksy prints so I'll add to these with a few extras. I'm also thinking that I will invest in a neon as it will really give the room an edge.
The television will go above the chest of drawers in the alcove and one of his specifications was that he wanted LED colour changing lights. I've checked on eBay and these are super reasonable and easy to attach around the back of the television, as I've shown on the moodboard.
Bed linen wise, I'm thinking grey linen or similar to keep the monotone effect that he's after.
There's a central ceiling light which I am thinking I will replace with something fairly plain, black and industrial. To the wall in the top corners of his bed, I am going to attach brackets to hang Edison bulbs from.
With the television LED and the ceiling light, plus the possible addition of a neon, that's more than enough light for a small room.
The Mood Board
So that's the plan. I'm intending to get on to this in the next month or two so will keep you posted on developments. In the meantime, I need to get thinking about Leo's bedroom - he's only eight so an unknowing prime candidate for my cool, white, art filled bedroom plans. Oh yes.