When I was growing up, my bedroom was my sanctuary. I suspect yours was too? It was a place of retreat. It was a place of calm in the midst of a loud and chaotic family life downstairs. It was where me and my friends would hang out. It was where I used to listen and sing along to my favourite bands. It was a place that I did my homework. It was a place that I was sent to when I had been naughty or rude, which was quite often.
This is a picture of my bedroom, that I found the other day whilst rummaging in my photo box:
It's the only photograph I have, and I have sat and looked at it for a long time today. I asked for white walls, which was considered rather bizarre by my family (It was the 1980s. Wallpaper and peach paint were de rigeur). My records - yes I am that old - are stacked on the floor, my books stacked above. I remember my shelves were rather small. They had been used to display my collection of china mice and Whimseys. The furniture is pine and the bed is a sofa bed. I thought that was very cool. It was almost a Futon.
You can see a few pictures ripped out of magazines. I had a bit of a thing for Keifer Sutherland. I think it was 'The Lost Boys' that did it. Matt Dillon featured heavily too. There are no curtains at my window. I'll let you into a secret....I used to open the window and climb out onto the flat roof below to smoke my John Player Blue. Ooh dead rebellious, that was me.
I already have a penchant for an exhibition poster and dried twiggy arrangements. And I loved my Winnie The Pooh mobile. Did anyone else have one? He's hanging from a balloon and surrounded by bees. I'd love to get hold of another one.
I stare at this picture and see so much. My teenage past. It's not particularly girly. I was never into make up or nail polish. I don't think I had a mirror in my room either. But I think you'll agree that it's definitely a teenage girls room. It's a hybrid of my younger self and emerging young woman that I became before I left that room forever. I was nineteen when I moved out of my bedroom, and into student flats.
|Oh dear. Nb deck shoes, very cool in Bristol in the summer of '87.|
Also stripy tee and leggings. Nothing ever changes round here.
What we have been trying to achieve is a more grown up space for Sam and Alfie. A more organised space, that they can retreat into. A place to study. A place to hang out with their mates. I don't know whether you share this feeling, but boys rooms are not easy to get right. Especially an older boy. My boys aren't massively bothered by the ambiance of a room. They couldn't care less about colour schemes, lighting or how a room looks. They are quite happy with a bare bulb and a desk. In fact their main priorities seem to be that the radiator works and they have an office chair that swivels.
It's really about my need. Which is to give them a room that they love to be in, but that also looks good too. Is that bad of me? That I would love to style their rooms to death? That I would love for them to have some cool band or other on their wall. A mixing desk in the corner. A set of drums for band practise maybe. I would imagine that it is far easier to dress a girls bedroom than it is a boys. Am I right?
Because to be honest, boys of a certain age are grim. They leave smelly socks lying around. They think nothing to wading through a mass of debris strewn liberally around their room. Usually chocolate bar wrappers, soft drink bottles and the like. They like dark sombre colours for their walls. Black was mentioned as a genuine suggestion, when we talked about wall colour. In your dreams matey pips, thought I.
So the challenge was to create a room that would serve their purposes, and look easy on their mother's eye. I don't think its much to ask, that I smile rather than shudder when I enter their bedrooms. I am not allowed to show you what we have done with Sam's room. He is very insistent on his privacy, and has asked me to respect that here in this blog. (So if I don't mention him as much from now on in my family's journey, you know why).
Alfie on the other hand is happy to let me show you his room. He is at that in between stage, being a pre-teen and all. So there are still Bionicles and Star Wars Lego to display. But the toys have dwindled to next to nothing. They have been replaced by books, video games and DVDs. Lot of stuff that was shoved under the bed has been re located to the loft. My feeling is that if said toy has gathered more than six month's worth of dust, it's probably no longer a cherished item.
We have bought him a desk that can house his TV as well as lots of space for homework, writing stories and playing with his Lego (he still does occasionally). He has a comfy chair - although he insists that it isn't as nice as his brother's - that swivels. It enables him to hardly move at all once he is ensconced, whixh is every teen boys dream. To slouch within reach of everything. I have bought him a new duvet cover. It is still gingham, but no longer baby blue. It is funky red. I love a bit a gingham for a boy. It gives me a lot of pleasure to see it on his bed. Alfie thinks it's snugly, and that's good enough for him.
The bed was part of bunks that have been dismantled. They seemed a little babyish. And redundant, as sleepovers are now held in the conservatory. Actually he's no longer allowed sleepovers for the foreseeable future, but that's a whole other story. Gone are the posters of a younger boy. These have been replaced with maps of 'Skyrim'. He's asked for other pictures for Christmas, so the wall by the bed is bare for now. I'm thinking of replacing the pin board. It was for certificates from school, but this doesn't happen so much now that he is at Secondary school. I suspect it's rather uncool to show off your 100% attendance or 'Super Spellings!' award. I'm not sure what to replace it with. Any ideas?
Finally, he has a reading lamp and bedside table. I think a bedroom seems eminently more cosy with the subtle glow of a lamp. It's my attempt at mood lighting. And if the boys want to read into the wee hours, it really doesn't bother me. Experience shows that they drop off over a book much more readily, than being forced to have lights out by 9pm. I do get cross if I find them arsing about with a games console. But then aren't they the bane of every parent's life?
I like Alfie's room now. It has a place for everything and everything has a place.
I enjoyed styling it for you today!
I wonder how long it will stay so neat and tidy?