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Small Spaces: A Teenager's Room

Christine Brun on

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A Teenager's Room

If you are the parent of a new teenager you likely realize that it is time to make some changes to his or her childhood bedroom. This is a fine opportunity to prepare children for being neat and organized, qualities that will serve them well if they go off to college or move out in a few years to cohabitate with roommates. Even the smallest room can be improved.

First, let's consider the function of the space. Kids develop interests in middle school and may take those along into high school, too. Do you need shelf space for sports trophies? Is your kid into anime or comic books, necessitating lots of storage space for collections? Has his or her wardrobe outgrown the small closet that worked for years before?

Think about what sort of sleeping arrangement your child now needs. A 6-foot-tall athlete most likely wants at least a double- or full-size mattress, but a petite cheerleader might prefer a twin trundle, such as the one shown here, so that she has more floor space to do nightly stretches or yoga. Storage beds are wildly popular, for obvious reasons: Their dual-purpose nature maximizes space. For sleepovers, consider purchasing an air mattress: It offers comfort and can easily be stowed away in the closet or in an adjacent room.

Your philosophy as a parent will guide what you include in your teenager's bedroom. Many parents do not want their children to have a laptop or TV in their rooms. Others do not object. Teenagers' rooms used to be filled with stereo systems, speakers, CDs, VHS tapes and DVDs, but those days are long gone. Modern technology enables a range of media toys that take up minimal space, such as a wall-mounted flat-screen TV or portable high-quality Bluetooth speakers. If you are fine with your child creating a den where they can retreat, there is plenty of space for that. How much alone time you want your teen spending in his or her bedroom is definitely a parental decision.

If you are challenged on closet space, consider purchasing a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe. Try to avoid purchasing the cheapest option, and you'll get long-term use from the furniture. But even a modestly priced system can be high enough quality to last for the high school years and through college. I have three white wardrobes in my garage that I use for miscellaneous storage: They're now about 27 years old and still sturdy! Closets such as the one shown here can be ordered with a hanging bar or with adjustable interior shelves -- perfect to hold folded clothes, shoes, handbags or sports uniforms and equipment.

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Never be afraid to push a bed up against a wall or position a bed right in front of windows if it yields better function in the space. Changing sheets is the only complication; I would advise thinking about slides on the bottom of the bed that make it easier to pull the bed away from the wall. Know that you can buy a twin "pop-up" bed frame complete with mattresses for around $430. The separate metal frame that slips under a daybed and then pops up to make the daybed into a king size or to allow you two separate twins is very affordable -- under $100. Google "pop-up bed frame sets" for loads of inspiration! As long as you're willing to make up the bed every day, this approach not only solves sleepover issues but also allows your growing teen to enjoy a king-size bed in a small room while still preserving floor space for other uses.

Photo Credit: Temvinilo

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Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at christinebrun@sbcglobal.net. To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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