Teen spirit | Toronto Sun

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Help your teen create a flexible space to hang out

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The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but the bedroom is where the kids want to be.

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More than 84 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 34 years spend most of their time in their bedroom compared to older family members, who are more likely to spend time in the living room, kitchen, den or deck, patio or porch, a survey by The Home Depot Canada finds.

Seventy-five per cent of Gen Zs (those born between 1997 and 2012) and young millennials (the generation born between 1981 and 1996) admit they’re happiest in their bedroom versus other parts of the home. Like older Canadians, they’re most likely to search for inspiration online (54 per cent) or on social media (25 per cent).

“Teenager life often culminates in their bedroom where personal expression, security, learning, sleeping – sometimes – and connecting all happen, sometimes all at the same time,” says Jane Lockhart, principal of Jane Lockhart Design. “It can be a challenge to set up a teenager’s room in a way that fosters this important development.”

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Assume this room will be multifunctional, requiring different areas and items to support a variety of tasks, she advises. When purchasing new furniture or accessories, consider multi-use options such as baskets that can hold small things like chargers but can also fit socks or clothing if the function changes for your teen over time.

Investing in products ideal for storage, such as bedside tables with large drawers or platform beds with drawers embedded below the mattress are excellent ways to provide accessible storage.

Consider adding charging outlets or extra plugs around the room to accommodate the many devices that teens and their friends have, which can be essential tools for homework.

“While you may need to consider an electrician’s visit to ensure adequate installation of plugs and outlets, it will be well worth the peace provided by preventing any complaints about lack of power,” says Lockhart.

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Embrace versatility. “Rather than a specific theme, teens are inclined to be drawn to a certain aesthetic or mood for their bedroom – their first ‘living space,’” says Benjamin Moore Paints colour consultant and representative Sharon Grech.

Encourage them to create an inspiration board with colours and/or an overall aesthetic that inspires them, such as music, travel or sports.

“Carve out ample space for homework as well as a lounge area to hang out with friends,” Grech says. “Accent walls or colour blocks are a great way to help define different zones in a room. Visual clutter can also be reduced by confining posters and photos to a single gallery wall or pin-board or paint a large rectangle in a contrasting hue to create a smaller collection area.”

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Work surfaces range tremendously for teens, as they’ll often drift from working seated at a desk to lounging on bed throughout the day. Ensure they have access to both a surface for sitting and working, such as a desk, and a computer tray table for more relaxed work from the couch or bed, says Lockhart.

Encourage your teen to choose their bedding and key accessories – a great jumping off point for selecting specific paint colours. “Learning to budget is an important skill, so give them some parameters here so they can learn to determine what’s most important to them – where to save and where to splurge,” Grech says. “

Having them contribute to the actual painting of their room is another great skill, plus it’s economical and gives them a real sense of accomplishment.”

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Finally, make sure there’s adequate lighting in your teen’s room, either by adding multiple table and floor lamps or, if budget permits, a combo of table lamps, a centre light fixture and pot lights.

“Good lighting is important for both concentration, relaxation and prevention of eye strain,” says Lockhart.

She recommends blinds that offer light translucency during the daytime for privacy and fully operable drapery to blackout the room at night. “Research has shown light at night can be detrimental to health and good sleep hygiene.”

Top trends

The Home Depot Canada lists four of the hottest bedroom trends among Gen Zs and young millennials:

Accent ceilings. Re-imagining the fifth wall, A.K.A. the ceiling, is on point, says trend and design manager Cindy Jardim. “From accenting it with decals or peel-and-stick wallpaper to drawing the eyes upwards with biophilic designs, they’re proving a bland ceiling can now be a blank canvas for further DIYs.”

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Retro realness. Rich, saturated tones like orange, burgundy and caramel, and earth tones are hot. “Décor, including natural materials, circular rugs and fringe accents are not just trending, they add character and a laid-back vibe to your space as well,” says fellow trend and design manager Carla Moreira. “Don’t forget to set the scene with both mood and task lighting.”

Studio apartment swag. The time to optimize your bedroom as a flexible, multi-functional space with multiple areas for living is now. “Think about creating a nook that’s separate from the bed and workspace so you’re able to decompress, sit somewhere new and focus on an activity that makes you happy, whether it’s gaming, watching a movie, reading or doing some yoga,” says Jardim.

Multipurpose masterpiece. “Why have multiple pieces of furniture when you can have one special piece that does it all? The perfect table, paired with a few portable add-ons, can make for a great all-in-one coffee bar, desk and dining room table,” Moreira says.

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