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Room of the Week: A Child’s Room Designed to Also Work for a Teenager

It can be difficult to design a child’s room that will see them through their teenage years, so take tips from a family that got it right

Houzz Australia Contributor. Design and copy writer, designer & stylist, collector… More

When kids are leaving childhood behind and becoming a teenager, it can cause challenges for the entire family. Often, childhood rooms don’t accommodate teenage requirements, and can be quite difficult to update. On the one hand, teens can still cherish their childhood toys and not want to be without them; on the other, they now need a more grown-up space in which to hang out on their own or with friends.

This family embraced their son’s transition into the teenage years and – with the help of interior designer Sarah McCarthy-James from Greenwood’s Home – created a multi-purpose space that will adapt as their son grows.

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Room at a Glance
Who lives here A 10-year-old boy
Location Brisbane, Australia
Size 12.5 sq m
Designer Sarah McCarthy-James of Greenwood’s Home

The brief for the project was simply to create a room that would take a young boy into his teenage years. ‘It had to give him a more useable and relaxing environment with plenty of storage,’ designer Sarah McCarthy-James explains.

The new room should include a study desk with good lighting, ample storage for clothing and toys, display shelving, and a hang-out area for the growing boy and his friends. On top, the design needed to be adaptable so he can update the look and feel as his tastes change. The new room was also expected to suit the homeowners’ favourite decorating style – clean and fresh Scandinavian.

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A wardrobe that originally sat against the back wall was removed and replaced with a custom-designed bed, with three full-depth drawers for storage. ‘By removing the existing furniture, I could change the floor plan and position the bed against a feature wall, which we had painted in a low-sheen charcoal,’ McCarthy-James points out. The white paint on the remaining walls makes the room look spacious and contrasts beautifully with the dark feature wall.

Feature wall, Metalise by Dulux. Bedside table, Matt Blatt. Bedside lamp, The Modern Furniture Store. Duvet cover, Ikea. Cross blanket, Pia Wallen.

Get tips for choosing the perfect bedding

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A new custom-built wardrobe and overhead storage cupboards were installed along the main wall. This unit frames a 2m-long plywood desk with drawers underneath. Above the desktop are a couple of plywood shelves covered in a glossy laminate, used for books and personal items. This change of layout maximises the flow of natural light in the room.

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‘I planned for spaced shelves over the desk, so that in the future, my clients’ son will be able to accommodate binders and books for high school and university studies,’ McCarthy-James explains. An LED lighting strip on the underside of the first shelf provides task lighting for reading and writing. All cupboards were made from Laminex CrystalGloss in white, to reflect natural light and blend in with the wall colour.

Eames chair, Globe West.

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A table lamp next to the computer provides a secondary source for task lighting, while the white wall is a creative backdrop for the boy’s inspiring images and photographs, which are washi-taped to the wall. A clipboard functions as a reminder of upcoming events.

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Custom-built storage boxes, some in marine plywood and some with a white polyester finish, function as practical and unique wall display units for the boy’s treasured objects. This look has been achieved through grouping the different-shaped boxes and mixing the colours.

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‘It was important to our client that the room had enough storage spaces to display and/or pack away their son’s more sentimental pieces from boyhood, leaving room for new items that would take his interest as he matured,’ McCarthy-James says.

See how your home style will evolve through the decades

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This versatile bench seat is custom-made and incorporates plenty of storage for school bags and bulkier toys and items. Together with the stool, the bench creates an inviting area for the boy and his friends to hang out together, while at the same time there is still enough floor space to sit and play. When he is on his own, the bench provides a perfect spot to chill out and read a book.

Stool, Matt Blatt.

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