Times have changed.Teens face more pressures than ever before: peer pressure,sports,academics,college,and personal relationships. The need for acceptance and a special place to hang out however, hasn't changed.Teens need a space of their own.
Annie Neelon, a former director of WMCA said, "Teens need an area where they can relax and be comfortable, as well as safe.A lot of what a parent does in those terms of recreation will depend on the teen and their interest."
Creatures of comfort, that's what teens are first of all.Look at their clothing style,often loose,casual,even baggy.That may over lap into their personal space as well. They are comfort weasels,they like to lie around and sprawl out. Large over stuffed chairs for one.
When planning a recreational space for teens, be an active listner and know the teen. Teens need to feel good about themselves and their image is important to them.Combining both elements will help ensure success,add in some degree of privacy and structure and parents can have both the safety of their teen being at home and not on the street,and teens can have a place they want to be and still have a space of their own.
The How to accomplish the design?
Avoid being the "Rec Police" as part of the plan and design make sure the rules are posted in the recreational space created,and make sure the teens are encouraged to share those rules with their guests.More than one teen requires a written time schedule for room use when company is over,otherwise, it should be used on an as wanted basis.
Since age is critical in how the area is designed,think about what the teen likes and what is appropriate, obviously the needs of a 13-year old teen are very different from a 19-year-old.
Any space can be used for a recreational area.
Size does dictate what you can put in it,still it needs to be a place of leisure and comfort with big furniture (such as a futon and over stiffed chairs, bean bags work well)and some privacy. Keep in mind there is a big difference between privacy and isolation. A space that acts like an apartment ,separate from the living quarters.If little space is available,even the corner of a room can work with folding room dividers, such as a Shoji Floor Screen Room Divider,or many other types and materials from fabric to wood.
Teens like to be no further apart than 8 feet when they chat, and affiliates with the American Society of Interior Design agree, "Color plays a big role in remodeling any area'.
The Must Haves
Munching and media are popular at all ages, teens love to snack, eat and love computers, and game systems.Multipurpose can be accomplished with sections for video( TV and DVD/VCR/game system) and another area for art, game ( a calk board background with a Dart board with age appropriate darts( magnetic for younger teens,safety rule and distance for real darts for responsible teens).
Lights:inexpensive strobe lights are fun(make sure no one has has seizures before use).Access to a house phone in the area can be used when friends can't come over to chat and keep connected.A small pantry stocked with snacks and posted rules on how often and how much can be used is also a great idea.
Unwinding- how does the teen do it? Some need to get rid of energy because they use so much mental concentration.A small exercise bike,mini basketball hoop,table top ping pong hook up take down..Table top pool table and air hockey, and Foozeball games are also space saving and entertain alone as well as with company.
A card table was transformed into a game table with paint and made to become a chess/checkers table, when eating plastic table cloths covered it to use for eating and other uses. It can be even more fun it you invite the teen to take part and let them paint he table and chairs, maybe even the floor.Allow teens to have as much input as possible, and it's endless.Music with headphones,an art area.Acting or play? Vintage clothing and funky posters(a great place to begin and help a good cause is the Habitat for Humanity outlet in Bangor, ReStore - Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor(83 Washington Street - Penobscot Plaza).Small green indoor outdoor carpet for a golf fan.No windows? Window mirrors are a great addition. The goal is to have fun and allow it to be done in the home safely,and allow it to grow with the teen, the inexpensive remodel will be a wise investment.