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How to create a teenage retreat your kids will love

19 August 2020

Teenagers need their own space (as do their parents), and creating a retreat where they want to spend time is the perfect solution. Here’s how.

With teenagers in the house — slamming doors, a cleaned-out pantry and eye rolling are just a few giveaways — the family home can feel a little crowded. Giving the older kids a little space of their own by carving out a teen retreat, whether it’s the spare room, converted garage or a granny flat in the backyard, can be the key to cohesion.

The magic trick? Make it a space they actually want to be in. Here’s our expert advice to creating a teenage hideaway they’ll love.

Work with what you’ve got

We don’t all have the luxury of a second living room or an entire garage to give away. But it’s not the size that counts, it’s the effort you put into provide the kids a place of their own, no matter how small. Working with an open plan? “Zoning the teen retreat with a rug and the way the furniture is positioned can make sure it is a separate space to the main living area,” says interior designer Annie Bowen of Annie Bowen Design. “If you have a spare bedroom or study, this is a great spot. Many people put a sofa-bed or day-bed in their spare room, which can be used for guests but also allows teens to use the space for watching movies or playing Xbox.”

Get them involved

Today’s teens are digital natives, so social media is their bread and butter. “Get them to contribute to a Pinterest board or save images from Instagram of things they like,” says Bowen. “Images could include products, colours, brands or activities they love. This is a great starting point as it not only gives an insight into the interests of the teen who will use the space, but also often gives a direction to the design style.” Once you’ve collated the saved images, look for any common threads to inspire the design, whether it’s in the colour palette, a specific style or the overall aesthetic.

Make future-proof choices

Avoid anything too “themed” in the space, as teenagers are likely to change their minds as often as they change their outfit. “The walls, floor and joinery should be like a neutral base, allowing you to add styling elements to cater for the teen at that given moment,” says Bowen. “If the key elements in the room work for any age, it’s then easy to change the look of the room as the occupant grows.” Look to soft furnishings such as cushions, linen and artwork to mix up the look and keep up with your teen’s style.

Keep your distance

Nothing makes a teenager happier than a sense of independence — so hand over the metaphorical keys and let the kids truly take ownership of the space. This means it’s also their responsibility to keep it neat and tidy. “Put together a list of items that need to live in the space before you choose the furniture or design the joinery. That way everything has a place from the beginning. It’s much easier for them to care for the room if they know exactly where things are meant to go when they’re cleaning up. For example, a drawer for Nintendo games, a basket for extra blankets, shelving for books, and a tray for remote controls.”

Help your kids organise their finances too!


Suncorp’s Kids Savings accounts are designed to help under 18-year-olds manage and save money. They offer benefits like no account keeping fees, no transaction fees and no minimum balance requirements. There’s also bonus interest rates as a reward for depositing $20 and only making one withdrawal each month.

Even if it’s still a long way before they fly the nest, helping teens learn the value of saving can help them get them started towards financial independence.

Discover Suncorp Kids Savings Accounts

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