Making the Shift: Teen’s Room to Guest Suite

After 18 years at home, your child is striking out on his own, whether to attend college or start an exciting new job. Though you may not be ready to do so immediately, you’ll probably want to convert the now-absent teen’s bedroom into a space you can use.

Teen’s Room to Guest Suite

from Zillow

One of the best and most popular strategies is to remake the space as a guest bedroom. That may seem like a tall order — especially if you’re peering into a chaotic, poster-lined teenager’s haunt — but you’re closer to the finish line than you might think. With luck, you can get the job done in only one weekend. Here’s how to organize the effort:

1. Clear out what’s left behind.

Before your child leaves, or the next time he or she is home, ask them to help you pack all the stuff their not taking with them. From sports trophies to old textbooks, there’s likely a wide and assorted range of keepsakes arranged (or strewn haphazardly) around the room. At least for the time being, pack these belongings into large plastic bins and then relocate those bins to an out-of-the-way storage area, be it the attic, basement or garage. Once you’ve finished packing and stacking the bins, the bedroom — free of all clutter — should already begin to look a lot more adult.

2. Introduce a new wall color.

Your goal now is to alter the mood of the space and give it a fresh identity. There’s no quicker or more affordable way to revolutionize a room than with a fresh coat of paint. Whereas your son or daughter might have chosen a neon shade or a light pastel, consider a neutral hue — something that rarely goes out of style. White or cream are popular options, meshing well with any decor, while leaving you ample opportunity to add punches of personality through accents (e.g., window treatments or wall art). For a room with more shadows than sunlight, consider lime green or ocean blue; these bright hues can actually make a dark room look brighter.

3. Rethink the furnishings.

You may be surprised to realize that most of the furniture in the room can probably be reused, if made to look more mature. For example, it’s fairly easy to refinish a dresser that’s been covered in stickers and decals. It’s just a matter of sanding it down to the bare wood and staining or repainting. By the same token, putting a new shade on an old table lamp can dramatically change its look. Another good idea: Bring in a tasteful area rug, particularly if there are any stains on the floor. Lastly, upgrade the sleeping arrangement to a guest-friendly queen-size bed. If the room is too small for a larger mattress, opt for a pull-out sofa that doubles as daytime seating.

4. Don’t forget the extras.

Think like a hotel manager and outfit the room with thoughtful details to make guests more comfortable. At the foot of the bed, a bench or chest serves as a suitcase-landing zone. A glass and water pitcher, meanwhile, are always welcome on the bedside table. When it comes to wall hangings, don’t limit yourself to landscapes or abstract art. Framed family photos not only personalize the space but also remind you of the room’s history.

This article was originally published  by Bob Vila on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.

Decorating a Kid’s Room to Last

There’s something inherently fun about decorating a kid’s room — bright colors, whimsical prints and accessories — but it’s tempting to go overboard. A room swathed completely in hot pink or centered around a theme may not work in a few years, or even a year from now.

How, then, do you create a kid-friendly space that will last? Two designers — Jennifer Jones, the principal designer at Niche Interiors in San Francisco, and Claire Paquin, the principal at Clean Design in Scarsdale, NY — offer their tips.

Choose big pieces that will transition

A child will eventually outgrow a few pieces in his or her room — a crib, for example, and perhaps a rocking chair — but otherwise, when buying furniture for the room, both designers advise finding items that can transition.

Jones designed a nursery in California for a child named Dylan and specifically chose darker, modern furniture — pieces that the family could use for years to come.

The dresser in Jones’ design can transition into other rooms or be used as the child ages.

The dresser in Jones’ design can transition into other rooms or be used as the child ages.

“When you’re selecting large pieces in the room, you want the pieces to transition,” Jones said. “I like dressers in kids’ rooms, rather than a changing table, because a changing table can only be used for a year and a half. On top of the dresser, you put a changing pad.”

Other items such as a rug or a rocking chair should also be pieces that you’ll be happy with for several years.

The kid touches in Dylan’s room are found in the whimsical dragonfly print wallpaper, the art prints adorning the wall and the aqua chair and pouf.

Aqua, orange and red touches add punches of color to the room.

Aqua, orange and red touches add punches of color to the room.

“The wallpaper is neutral, the rug is relatively neutral. It’s really the chair and window treatment where there’s still a lot of color, but if they wanted to change it in a few years, they could,” Jones said.

However, even as you choose basic, big pieces for a child’s room, Jones cautions against going too far in this direction.

“I don’t think going full neutral is the way to go. Kids and children need color stimulation, so I don’t agree with the rooms that are taupe and grays and browns. It’s too drab for kids,” she said. “I think bold, saturated color is great to make the room feel fun and young.”

Go vibrant — with limits

Like Jones, Paquin reiterates that color is necessary for a child’s room.

“People are afraid of color. They’re afraid they’ll get sick of it, but if you put color on the walls, it’s fairly easy to paint over time,” she said.

Paquin designed rooms for two young sisters, painting one space a bold aqua and another pink.

The soft pink becomes more grown-up with neutral shades of chocolate brown and white. Donna Dotan Photography Inc.

The soft pink becomes more grown-up with neutral shades of chocolate brown and white. Donna Dotan Photography Inc.

“When I design kids’ spaces I try to find two or three shades that are vibrant that work together,” she explained. “In the aqua room, it’s aqua and yellow, with pops of other colors, because you’re always going to have other color. But substantially it’s aqua and yellow.”

Choosing a limited palette of bright colors keeps the room from becoming overwhelming. And like Jones, Paquin chose neutral shades for the investment pieces in the room.

For example, the pink room has a chocolate brown velvet headboard. The aqua room’s bed is a cream chenille with polished nickel accents.

White bedding with pops of yellow make this child’s room fun. Photo by Donna Dotan Photography Inc.

“These are things that can grow,” Paquin said. “You can always repaint, but furniture lasts. You can reupholster, but it’s a lot of work and a lot of money, and if you buy a durable fabric, you won’t need to.”

Be practical but creative

You’ll always need certain items in a child’s room — if you have an infant, for example, you’ll likely need a crib — but try choosing pieces that are more contemporary or that have clean lines.

Want a rocker in the room? Jones said a recent client chose an Eames chair instead, and it’s a piece that can be used elsewhere in later years.

A rocking chair doesn’t need to be traditional, as is shown in this design by Jessica Gersten.

Or, as Paquin mentioned, you may want dark roller shades for sleep purposes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add fun window treatments over the functional shades.

“In the pink and aqua rooms, I added stripes of grosgrain ribbon at the bottom in aqua, pink and orange,” she said. “They’re really cute and make the colors [in the room] very intentional.”

Making the room your own, whether with fun curtains or classic furniture, is always going to be the best way to make the decor of a kid’s room — or any room — last, Jones says.

This article was originally published by Erika Riggs on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.

Stop Real-life Bedroom Nightmares

Crib Detail w/childKeep kids safe from bedroom dangers, and you’ll all sleep soundly.

Your child’s room may have soothing pastel walls and toys that play lullabies. But cute details won’t ensure kids’ safety. Moms and dads need only do a little homework to easily prevent hazards.

Crib slats should be spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches (60 mm) apart. Parents who use vintage cribs and furniture (or pieces from their childhood rooms) should make sure they meet this standard. Also, make sure kids’ furniture does not contain lead paint. Check to ensure that the mattress fits snugly into the crib so the baby cannot become trapped between the mattress and the crib. Remove above-crib mobiles when infants are 6 to 9 months old. If they can reach an alluring mobile, they can grab it, pull it down and risk choking or strangling.

Kids may clamor to sleep in comfortable oversized T-shirts, but parents should not let them. Cotton and cotton-blend garments, especially super-sized ones, are easily ignited and can cause serious burns. Federal law requires that all sleepwear for kids 9 months and older be flame-resistant or snug fitting. Government figures show that burns are a top cause of death among children 14 and younger. And, according to recent data from the National Safety Council, some 540 kids died in fires or from burns in a single year.

Toy chests
Inspect any toy chest to be sure it is not airtight since young children sometimes like to crawl in that little space to hide or explore. If necessary, drill holes in older models for ventilation. All toy boxes should have hinges that won’t nip little fingers and a lid that isn’t so heavy it can crush small hands.

Small items 
Adults’ bedrooms are havens for jewelry, buttons and pins that held dry-cleaned items on hangers. You may not notice if these tiny pieces fall on the floor. But curious crawlers or toddlers may find them, and possibly try to eat them. Be sure to regularly scan night tables and carpeting for these items, to reduce choking hazards and eye injuries, says Connie Harvey, a health and safety expert for the American Red Cross.

Cover sharp edges that can gouge a child’s eye or cut kids’ heads. Rocking chairs can pinch small feet if a child grabs the chair while standing close to it. Wedge a book under the rocker to prevent it from moving and crushing a child’s hands or feet.

This article was originally published by June Bell on To see the original article, click here.

Is 6 years too long for adult kids to live with parents?

Remember when women advised each other never to date a man who lived with his mother? How times have changed.

© Digital Vision/Getty Images

© Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you’re under 30 these days, you may have a hard time finding a man or woman who doesn’t live with mom or dad. A new survey commissioned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate found that young people 18 to 34 believe it’s OK to live with your parents for up to five years after college and that 20% of Americans believe it’s OK to live with parents as long as you want.

Whether this will fly may depend on your parents: Those 55 and older say it’s OK to live with parents for only up to three years, though parents are more tolerant than non-parents. And 13% of people don’t believe young adults should ever move back in with their parents. Plus, 57% believe having adult children at home prevents parents from moving on with their own lives.

The economy may be a reason to move home temporarily, but you can’t let the state of the economy get in the way of living your life,” psychotherapist Robi Ludwig, a consultant to Coldwell Banker, said in a news release. “The key to deciding if this living situation is right for parents, children and families is figuring out whether or not it will help the child develop and thrive.”

The survey respondents made a distinction between slackers – those who lived with their parents because they don’t want to grow up and take responsibility – and young adults living with their parents to achieve a goal, such as paying off student loans or saving for their own home. But 70% of those surveyed believe too many young adults are avoiding responsibility, and 65% believe too many are overstaying their welcome.

Of those polled, 92% believed adult children living with parents should do chores – those other 8% are reallyslackers – and 82% believed they should pay rent. The survey did not ask how many families were putting those beliefs into action.

Most experts suggest setting up rules, expectations and, in many cases, a timeline before the children move back in.

At Empowering Parents, Debbie Pincus wrote a two-part series about coping with adult children living at home, including those who drive parents crazy. Among her suggestions:

Be sure to set time limits and parameters on your adult child’s stay. These can be readdressed or changed around; there can be some flexibility, but be clear about the plan. And that plan might be, “You’ll stay until you get a job,” or “You’re going to stay until you get your first paycheck.” If your child is going to stay until he makes a certain amount of money, be clear and in agreement about that. 

Basically what you’re helping to do is create motivation. If there’s no guide and no set time limit, there’s no motivation. You might say, “What we expect is that after six months, you’re going to have your own place.” You’re not telling them what to do; you’re making clear what you’re going to live with.

What do you think about adult children living with parents? Under what circumstances would you let your children live with you, and under what circumstances would you move back in with your parents?

This article was originally published by Teresa Mears on MSN Real Estate. To see the original article, click here.