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. 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 they’re 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.

Read more: Making the Shift: Teen’s Room to Guest Suite

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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