Here in rural West Virginia neighbors within walking distance are few and far between. It’s a big change from when I was growing up in the suburbs, where the houses all look the same and everyone lives on top of each other. Though I absolutely adore the seclusion I think my teenaged sons would like it better if they had more friends within close range. Cabin fever really starts to set in around this time of year when cooler weather confines them indoors for long stretches.
Giving Everyone Space to be Themselves
To keep me, and my boys, from going insane we decided to redesign one of the rooms in our house to be a gaming and recreation room. Now they can entertain friends, play video games, and watch movies or sporting events while also enjoying a bit of privacy. The best part is it was surprisingly easy and inexpensive to create.
Inspiration is Everywhere
Much of our inspiration came from the popular television show Man Caves on the DIY network. Though I did draw the line at having a water feature in the finished room. I don’t care if it is considered a quintessential addition in any cave, the sound of trickling water makes me rush for the nearest bathroom.
Use it or Lose it – Makeovers Made Easy
- Out With The Old – Because we were renovating an existing room in our house we had to get rid of some of the old furniture that was cluttering up the space. Much of this we sold in a yard sale and what we had left we sold over Craigslist. By selling off unused items like this I actually spent very little out of pocket when it came to making over the room.
- Stick to a Theme – There’s very little that my sons agree on, except when it comes to sports. Though they may root for different teams and players, they’re both die-hard sporting fans. You can imagine my surprise when they agreed to an NFL theme without punching one another. I’m not complaining, I think I can stare at Tom Brady all day, every day, without complaint.
- Reuse/Refurbish/Repaint – It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do to reinvent an item and bring it back to life. A tired old hutch became the perfect spot for storage and the display of mementos and no one would ever know it came from grandma’s attic.
- Make it Personal – My sons had amassed quite a collection of concert t-shirts and NFL football jerseys and even though they’d outgrown many of these garments it still made for some attractive wall hangings. The concert t’s we converted into a cozy quilt and the jerseys we framed and hung around the room.
- Enlist the Help of Friends and Family – Admittedly there was lots of heavy lifting involved, as well as some moderate construction and painting to complete. Making a party of it we invited over some friends and family to help out then treated them to a pizza party as a token of appreciation. We all had so much fun we joked about redoing a different room each weekend.
- The Beauty of Double Duty – It’s not unusual for my children to host weekend long sleepovers which is why we outfitted the room with two futons that fold out for convenient and comfortable bedding. We also picked up some attractive ottomans that double as storage, these are a particular favorite for quick cleanups. By stocking the room with items that perform multiple functions we ended up saving money in the long run because we didn’t have to purchase multiple items that would only clutter the space.
Remember to Include Something for Everyone
My husband and I are so happy with how the room turned out, and better yet, the boys are ecstatic. Gone are the long faces and heavy sighs of doldrums each time the weather looks a little bit overcast, now they retreat to their boy cave without any fuss. The only thing this room needs now is a “retro” coke machine, which just might be on my wishlist.
When freelance writer Becky James-Muth agreed to write about teen hideaways her two sons asked if they would receive a commission for being test subjects. As a stay-at-home mom who also homeschools her children, she is often treated to similar jokes and antics from her boys. Becky keeps dropping hints, like leaving the browser window open on http://www.menshideaway.com, for great gift ideas! When she’s not busy writing or making handmade jewelry, Becky enjoys beach combing and relaxing with a good book.