Bedrooms should reflect teens' coming-of-age status

January 02, 1994|By Ro Logrippo | Ro Logrippo,Contributing Writer Universal Press Syndicate

5/8 TC Once the teen years hit, take a last look at kids' rooms with circus stripes and other cutesy touches. Like getting a driver's permit, revamping personal space goes with the territory of being a teen.

For a '90s teen, a room will often end up a funky mix of finds. The trick to blending them? Imagination, basic know-how and an open mind for eclectic looks. For a savvy parent and an eager teen, it adds up to concocting pure fun.

Charting a course

First, assess the situation. List functions the new room should serve. These may include areas for grooming, exercising, relaxing with friends, etc.

Be practical. Can existing furnishings be updated? If there are low modular pieces, stack them in a more adult configuration such as a high bookcase. If the bed is in good condition, let a new headboard and covers lend grown-up status.

Once you know what can stay, make a "wanted" list. Comfy seating for more than one . . . a bigger desk with a larger work surface . . . more storage -- all might be considerations. If your teen likes music, it's also wise to include sound-deadening material. This could range from wall-to-wall carpeting to insulation such as Homasote or Celotex, available in 4-by-8-foot sheets about the thickness of drywall.

Establishing a realistic decorating budget is next. Start the kitty with sale profits from the room's old furnishings.

The final preliminary involves color, which influences all major buys. Let the one who lives in it choose the palette. No matter what's picked, don't bombard the site with it. Even used sparingly as accent, color makes a distinct impression. Used all over, it makes a bigger statement that will be either enjoyed or endured for a long time.

Scavenging finds

For fun and funky looks, turn to second-hand merchandise from home or a thrift shop. Search for recyclables such as these:

* A spare door: This old standby makes an ideal oversize desk top when stained, painted or resurfaced. Just add sawhorse legs or two file cabinets as a base.

* A worn sofa or easy chair: Either of these could fill the bill for extra seating in a teen's retreat when draped with a makeshift cover like an old chenille bedspread or some yardage.

* Director's chair: Paint the frame and decorate or stencil the fabric covering and this becomes a one-of-a-kind creation.

* A tired trunk or footlocker: This storage find is rejuvenated with a collage of snapshots, postcards, ticket stubs, magazine pages or other paper paraphernalia. To adhere the works and keep them intact, use glue beneath each item and a coat of varethane on top. For a table look, add a piece of acrylic.

* An old folding screen: covered in burlap or other heavy-duty material, this takes on new life as a place for pin-ups. It's also ideal to zone off work, play or sleep areas.

PD * A cast-off mirror: Maybe it once hung above the fireplace or a

long-gone dresser. Refurbished, it can transform a corner of a teen's world into a grooming center.

While sleuthing through family cast-offs, be mindful of old lamps, picture frames or other items that could be "shaggy chic."

True new

If the idea of recycled furnishings meets with resistance, think about more modern options such as these:

* Futons: This fold-up furniture converts to stacked seating when closed. Flipped open, it's Oriental-style bedding. Some stores sell combination sleeper/sofa futons with elevated frames.

* Platforms: Turn a corner into a relaxation center with a raised, carpeted platform built from sturdy scrap lumber. If you're not a do-it-yourselfer, go the handyman route and design multilevels for sleeping, exercising or stretching out. For extra mileage, build in storage doors and drawers.

* Big floor pillows: If space and budget are limited, these are the best bet. Store on the bed as bolsters.

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