july-2011Q: My fourteen-year-old son has announced he’d like his bedroom updated for a more grown-up look. His room is about four metres by four and gets the sun in the morning. Black and brown Ikea storage units along one wall have to stay – he uses it for books, DVDs, the TV and Playstation – and a built-in wardrobe provides enough storage for clothes. He’s said he imagines his room with an American college look, where friends can come round and hang out. I’ve agreed he can have a sofa bed instead of a proper bed. So what do you suggest for colour, image, wallpaper and a good sofa bed, which will take regular use.

A: Well for starters, you have the space and the sunny aspect so GO LARGE! I love the American college look and it is always a winner with teenagers etc but you could mix it up with imagery from other parts of the world and get the colour thing by using big flags – for sure a stars and stripes but what about a Brazilian or South African or Japanese flag? Kind of cool, outward looking and either places he’s been or places he wants to go in life…You can buy flags online and they are a cheap way to ‘wallpaper’ or ‘curtain’ a room plus, almost without exception, very beautiful examples of graphic design. Try and get the backdrop to be white or at least neutral so that the flags are a stand out and how about a mirror – we do a really cool Union Jack one for John Lewis which would fit right in – 14 year olds are pretty keen on a bit of mirror gazing I find! As for the Sofa Bed there are loads around but I suggest going for a properly sprung model and get it upholstered in a strong colour (blue, red, or yellow maybe) to compliment the flags. Not sure about the brown and beige Ikea units though – maybe get his mates round and do a paint party job on them?!?