Teenagers’ Hangout

by Rachel Laurendeau on June 1, 2012

When children are little, it makes sense to leave part of your basement unfinished so they can play around down there on their tricycles or build castles out of refrigerator boxes. As they get older, though, kids tend to want to carve out a comfortable place of their own in the family home.

Creating a place where your teens will want to spend time and feel comfortable inviting friends to can be a fairly straightforward basement remodeling or finishing project. As a parent, I know that I’d rather have them hanging out at home – even if they are a little noisy and messy – instead of having them out potentially getting into trouble in an unsupervised environment.

Let Them Make Choices
Your teen probably won’t be too interested in the nuts and bolts of a remodeling the basement but if they are given a say in some of the decisions, they are more likely to be on board with the project and will be more inclined to hang out there when it’s done.

Find out what they would ultimately like to use the space for and design it with those requirements in mind. Now, I’m not saying to run out and buy a $10 000 billiards table or hot tub just to please them, what I’m saying is, find out if they want a music jam space, a TV watching lounge or a games room.

Also have them help choose the furnishings and finishes for the space. You could even allot a certain budget and challenge them to find everything they need within the budget parameters.

Extras and Amenities
Most teens will tell you that their ultimate hangout would have a TV, music system, game system, computer and a big comfy couch. Think a little further outside the box, though. Would a mini-fridge for snacks and drinks be handy? Or would a popcorn maker be a great extra for your burgeoning movie buff? Are there any other extras that you’ll need to include based on your child’s interests?

When choosing the seating, consider getting a pullout couch for those occasions when they want to have a friend sleepover.

With all the comings and goings of teenagers in the house, you might also want to make sure that their basement lair is equipped with its own bathroom so they aren’t traipsing up to the main floor during their late night movie watching. Including a bathroom remodeling at the same time as you finish the basement is a great idea since it will eliminate the need to tackle this project six months down the road when you start wishing you had done it in the first place.

Privacy and Ground Rules
Teens appreciate their privacy and it shows your kids that you trust them when you respect it. Before your children start using their new basement hangout, you’ll want to establish ground rules around privacy, house rules for visitors and anything else that is important to you.

Congratulations on your successful basement remodeling! You are now the coolest parent on the block!

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