How I Revamped My Teen Boys Room (And He Actually Likes It)
So a couple of months ago I announced that I was going to take on a job of hell - revamping the bedroom of Max, my 13 year old son. The response I received can only be described as immense. Countless messages from desperate mothers, too horrified to enter their teen boys rooms for fear of what they might encounter. The main point of concern, aside from the fact of what they may or may not find under their son's beds, was that it was impossible to find a style that the teen actually agreed to without the revamped bedroom looking like The Batcave.
I wasn't looking forward to the task but knew it had to be done. The situation with Max's room had reached tipping point and I needed to find a style that would suit both of us (*read 'me'). I wanted to try and create a room that would keep him going through his teens and also, most importantly, was easy to keep tidy and fairly free of clutter.
I am always astonished at the things I find in Max's bedroom. He's even got a baseball bat in case of burglar intrusion. He's inherited this from the Dawson side of the family - us Kerman's are far more free and easy with general safety issues. Dawson males, without exception, are clinically OCD security conscious - Joe's brother Sam once locked himself in error inside his own flat and had to call the Fire Brigade. Many is the time I've tried to leave the house, only to find a sophisticated burglar trap of briefcase and guitar combo blocking my way.
It took me some time to produce a moodboard that didn't cause me to have style palpitations. Max did attempt some input and I tried to take his ideas into account (*read 'ignored completely'). The one thing that he did insist on was that he had dark walls. As someone who definitely errs on the light side, this was a bit of an issue but I soon realised that wallpaper was my saviour and I would be able to break it up with pattern.
So what did I do?
Gutted It. Basically.
Prior to commencement, I had to undertake full room clearance. This sounds like a fairly simple task but I can tell you, Stelios from The Hoarder Next Door would have struggled to get his head around it. I was ruthless with the eight year old school books. Only English diaries managed to make the grade and only Art that showed any signs of talent was placed in the To Keep Box (AKA taped up and put into the garage, never to be looked at again and only ever touched by removal men during house moves). All other sentimental things such as letters from girlfriends when he was ten, sand vases from the Isle Of Wight and a bongo drum from the Dominican Republic went into said sealed box.
Max has always been a Tom Gates boy rather than a Beast Quest reader so I swiftly moved his entire collection into Leo's bedroom who was delighted to have more stuff to cram on to his shelves. If I'm going to be honest, I basically narrowed down his possessions to the following: football trophies, X Box games and The Guinness Book Of Records.
Went Under The Bed
I was expecting this to be a shocking task and I wasn't disappointed. A total of five half filled squash glasses with mould in various stages of growth were discovered, plus countless empty crisp packets, pepperami wrappers and empty Muller Corner yoghurt pots that had been finished off by the dog. There were also six pairs of shoes that no longer fitted him due to the fact that his feet grow half a size every week.
Two bin bags were filled but it was a therapeutic task. I can only count my blessings that my son is not 18 and old enough to buy Razzle or it would have been a far worse job.
Got The Paintbrush Out
So I decided to go with a Valspar paint which, as usual, went on brilliantly. I only needed to do one coat and although my painting is quite slapdash, it looked fab. I used Almost Charcoal and it contrasted perfectly with the wallpaper.
I can honestly say that there is no sign of cat wee smell whatsoever, despite the recent news reports of issues. Apart from the normal smell of cat wee that permeates my house, of course. Only joking, Daily Mail Online readers.
Wallpapered Two Walls
So the lovely Sophie at Wallpaper Sales sent me a HUGE amount of samples to choose from. I'd wanted an industrial look so she sent me everything from concrete to wood planks to brick work. In a rare moment of parental niceness, I allowed Max to choose the one he wanted and he went for a pale brick (phew) from Galerie.
It arrived super quick and was SO easy to put up. I'd never used ready pasted wallpaper before and you basically just soak it in the bath for 15 seconds and it's ready to go. Really thick, easy to move around and looks brilliant. Just don't look too closely around the window. My Grade C Maths unfortunately came to the fore when I miscalculated the amount of paper I needed but Sophie was quick off the mark and ordered an extra roll that arrived the next day. Really fab service.
Pulled Up The Carpet
So the carpet (which was new when we moved into the house two years ago) looked as though it had been there since 1945. Virtually destroyed by crushed Pringles, squash spillage and unknown stains, it was time for a refresh. The lovely people at Brintons provided me with a new one and I chose the colour Flint which matched perfectly with the intended decor.
It's Woven Wilton from the Bell Twist range and it's suitable for extra heavy domestic use, perfect for a teen boys room. The underlay was undamaged and still perfectly useable which was a bonus. The result? A totally transformed floor.
So Max's clothes storage situation had reached crisis point. He'd never had a wardrobe and half of his clothes were hanging out of a chest of drawers in his bedroom, the other half in a chest of drawers on the landing. I did a thorough cull of what he had and managed to get his wardrobe down to half of what it was within about five minutes.
Maisons Du Monde came to the rescue with the most brilliant triple locker storage from their Loft collection. It's slimline and fits perfectly into the alcove, with one shelving section and two hanging sections. Best of all, the boxes that had been in his IKEA Expedit unit fitted perfectly into the base section.
It came flat pack but was actually really easy and straight forward to put together, particularly with the aid of the man who had come over to fit a cat flap. It also looks ridiculously cool and is a brilliant alternative to the standard wardrobe arrangement.
Maisons Du Monde have got the best ever Junior range. Everyone knows how hard it is to find bedroom furniture suitable for teens and they have the most extensive selection of products I've ever seen. I did an edit of my favourite products - if you click here you can see what I picked.
Max is going into Year 9 which means he actually needs to start working at school, so we really wanted him to have a desk to work on. Or at least pretend to work on when actually watching YouTube videos.
Again, Maisons Du Monde had a fantastic selection and we chose one that would fit Max's small bedroom space. We'd wanted an industrial look and the desk we chose, the Andrews, totally looks the part. I actually put the entire desk together myself (no cat flap man assistance required) and it was really simple. Am waiting for the call from DIY SOS for my next career move.
I've loved the Componibili unit for years and Max's bedroom was a perfect spot to put one. It's super practical, a perfect height and is brilliant extra storage. Plus it looks ridiculously cool. This two compartment choice in black came from Nest - delivery was super quick and efficient. Nest specialise in quality, investment items of furniture and this Kartell lovely is both affordable and timeless.
On the wall, I went for my old favourite, the IKEA Mosslanda picture ledge. They've marginally upped the price, I noticed, but at £8.95 each they are still a complete bargain. I put two rows above Max's bed and then added a single normal width IKEA shelf above the desk.
Recycled What He Had
So Max already had an IKEA Trysil bed that was in perfect condition. I did a few room plan sketches and came up with the best position to maximise the space. I moved a midcentury Tulip chair (eBay cheapie) that had been in our bedroom to put next to his desk. I moved his IKEA Expedit unit into Leo's room (now full of Max's cast offs).
I put the two pine chests of drawers immediately on to Gumtree for £100 and someone collected them within four hours. I am absolutely obsessed with Gumtree at the moment - no fees, set price, quick collection and no Paypal issues.
Boys accessories are SO difficult to pick. I got around this problem with Sandra from Isak Design Studio who provided me with some cool Scandinavian style products that Max really liked.
With a monochrome feel, they are ideal for a boys room. A Midnattssol round tray is perfect for his toiletries and a ceramic lidded pot from the same range is perfect storage for his bits and pieces. I added a grey cement ampersand from Wilkos that I bought last year which looked super cool.
Changed The Bed Linen (Finally)
His current bed linen really didn't make the cut - it didn't fit in with the decor plus he'd had it a while. So Jess at Piglet In Bed sent me the most gorgeous linen bedding in Charcoal which looked perfect. Linen bedding is a really practical choice for a boys room - it doesn't need ironing and it's a natural material - and the dark colour looked great against the wallpaper.
Bed & Bath Emporium 400 thread count fitted cotton bed sheet, pillowcases and bath towels in white completed the set. Isak Design Studio again came up trumps with a fabulous Midnattssol monochrome blanket which looks perfect at the end of the bed. It's double sided so super practical and looks brilliant.
Max already had some quite cool art in the form of Banksy canvases so we kept those and added a print that he had chosen from Desenio last year. I put one of my Dad's old Beatles albums into a square frame and added that to the ledge.
Tipperley Hill sent me two of their new Dino Punk prints which I framed and put on the wall. These are part of a new range from the store and they are absolutely perfect for a teen room. It's so difficult to find suitable art work for boys that isn't themed and Tipperley Hill have nailed it.
Lit It All Up
So lighting wise, Max already had a white central light so we kept that as it looked fine in the new room. I kindly donated my Anglepoise desk lamp (a birthday present for Joe a few years ago, self gifting at it's finest) and it looked perfect on the Componibili. I relocated a marquee star light which I'd received last year from Nickie Kelly on to the picture ledge and that looked great.
I used a string of plug in festoons from Festive Lights that were previously in my study and hung them in a drop using Command Hooks. I was sure Max was going to complain about me festooning his room, but actually he commented on how much he liked it, which was a bonus. My festoon and fairy light addiction has obviously rubbed off on my children. The final lighting touch was a cool plug in neon lightening bolt from Violet & Thistle.
Remounted The Huge TV
Unfortunately, this was one room element I couldn't avoid reinstating. Max spends 99 percent of his time watching YouTube, playing FIFA or battling randoms in Call Of Duty so a television was essential. I put it in a dead space - above the radiator - which luckily for Max was at the end of his bed so a perfect viewing spot. Joe got out his drill - always a hit and miss experience - and managed to use a spirit level to put the bracket up.
Max, unbeknown to me, had been perusing Pinterest and had found pictures of LED back lit TV's. I went on to eBay and managed to find two strips for £6.95. And they work! Amazingly. So simple, he plugs them into the back of the TV and they come with a remote control that colour changes them, you simply stick them to the sides. Super effective.
Yes, I never thought I would be writing this on a Teen Room Revamp blog post, but I have indeed managed to get away with putting a cactus and a spider plant in Max's room. Dee Campling would be proud of me. Whether they survive the smog of David Beckham aftershave and Lynx deodorant is, of course, another matter.
So there you go. One teen boys bedroom - tick. Next move? Eight year old boys room. Leo's idea is a football haven with astro turf carpet (*read 'over my dead body'). Wish me luck.
With lots of thanks to all the lovely companies who helped me to pull this bedroom revamp together.