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How To Create A Cool Hangout Space For Your Gen Z Kid

Your tween or teen has abandoned the playroom, and the years of toys they've collected. Now what? How do you morph their kid-friendly play space into a Gen-Z-friendly hangout? This project can be an overwhelming one. First, how do you create a space that's not childish yet not quite adult-friendly? And what must-have features should you add to make it fun and functional?

Pew Research Center defines Gen Z as those born between 1997 and 2012. This set of the population grew up immersed in technology. Many don't even remember lives without smartphones, WiFi, and constant connectivity. So, developing a tech-centered space is key to appealing to their lifestyle.

However, social interaction and creative outlets are essential to mental health. So, you also want to design a space they can use to practice their hobbies and hang out with friends. Building a hangout tailored to these unique needs can take a lot of creativity and a little input from your Gen Zer. Follow these helpful tips to create a cool teen hangout space for your Gen Z kid that's perfect for their needs.

Get input from your Gen Z kids

When it comes to designing a space, your Gen Z kid might have clearer thoughts and more clever ideas than you would think. They likely have seen cool spots in their friends' homes with features they'd like to have. They also might have individual style choices to add their own personal touch to the space.

Communicating with a fast-paced Gen Z kid can be a challenge. You might want to sit down and plan the entire space in one design session. However, as Science of People points out, these kiddos desire bite-sized communication and quick convos. If you can't hold their attention, break up planning their space into quick text conversations or chats over dinner.

You can work with your Gen Z kid to develop a vision board for their hangout space. Forget the traditional route and go digital — this is a tech-focused generation, after all! Use a program like Canva to create color schemes and copy and paste visual ideas from the internet. You can also scroll through Pinterest together and pin ideas to a designated board for their space.

Another great way to use technology to plan their hangout is to use one of the many online wishlist features. Your tween or teen can create their own hangout wishlist on sites like Amazon or Wayfair. This allows them to keep track of any items they'd love in their space. You can check out their preferences and even have friends and family contribute items as gifts.

Select the ideal spot in your home

Giving kids their own space and privacy are ideal. Not only does it give them a designated hangout spot, but it reduces noise for the rest of the house. It also gives them a space to keep their belongings, like video game consoles and hobby supplies. A finished basement is one of the best places to create a Gen Z hangout. It gives your kids the privacy they desire while still being part of the home. If you have a smaller, unfinished basement, consider finishing it for this purpose. If you have a larger basement, you can always wall off a hangout area and reserve the rest of the space for other uses.

No basement? No problem. There are a few alternative spaces that you might be able to re-purpose in your home. U.S. News suggests transforming formal dining rooms into multifunctional spaces. Many homeowners only use this space a few times a year, or not at all. Consider a remodeling project to morph it into the perfect teen hangout room.

You can also use a guest bedroom as a hangout space. If you want to keep your hosting options open, make it a flexible room. Interior designer Gonzalo Bueno tells Associated Press News that adding a Murphy bed is the best way to go. That way, you'll have extra sleeping space when you need it, but you can tuck it away when you don't.

Creating a Gen Z-friendly color scheme

Creating a color scheme for your Gen Z kid's space can be tough. You again face the challenge of bridging the gap between childlike hues and adult-oriented colors. However, one of the best strategies can be to lean on neutrals and add pops of fun colors. Tweens' and teens' tastes and color preferences can change on a dime. Create an overall neutral space that's easy to evolve with them. Choose a gray or white color for the backdrop, then find fun ways to add color that is easy to switch up.

For example, you can paint one wall a bold color for a fun accent wall. Or use colorful artwork to add character to the space. Textiles like curtains, pillows, and area rugs are another opportunity to add color and patterns. When deciding on accent colors, don't be afraid to step outside the box. As the color consultants at Nolan Painting point out, Gen Zers tend to abandon the traditional gender-associated color rules. So, don't be afraid to add navy accent pieces to a teenage girl's space or use a splash of neon pink to make a statement in a space designed for boy tweens.

Integrating Gen Z-friendly technology

It's no secret that the Gen Z crowd is all about their gadgets. As Pew Research Center notes, technology has played such a central role in their lives that their entire generation is defined by it. So, naturally, technology should play a major role in designing their space. Take note of your kiddo's technological interests when creating their space. Are they gamers that would love multiple TVs? Do they adore music and would enjoy a state-of-the-art sound system? Maybe they love playing on their VR headset, so a wide-open space is key. 

Creating a smart hangout is all about integration. Add a virtual assistant as a central hub that's dedicated to the space. Then, use it to connect everything from LED lighting to the smart TV for streaming. This allows your tween or teen to customize their space fully. An important thing to consider is the internet coverage in your home. If you create a basement hangout spot and the Wi-Fi modem is in an office on the second floor, the range might not cut it. PC World recommends adding a Wi-Fi extender to extend coverage to difficult-to-reach areas of the home.

Opt for teen-friendly flooring

When choosing the flooring for a tween or teen space, you are likely focused on durability and ease of cleaning. This can make it tempting to sacrifice style. However, with the multitude of flooring choices out there, you can have the best of both worlds. Rubber is an awesome option when it comes to basement flooring. The factors that make it the go-to choice for home and commercial gyms also make it a great option for hangout spaces as well. As Flooring Inc. points out, rubber flooring is super durable, moisture-resistant, and absorbs shock.

MyMove touts cork flooring for its anti-microbial properties that are awesome for gathering spaces. Cork is also simple to maintain, is fire resistant, and can even reduce allergen levels. The material is also super durable and can even deter insects.

If you are looking for a fun way to add color and ground your hangout space, an area rug can be an ideal choice. If you are afraid of the upkeep, check out the many washable options hitting the market, such as the machine-washable brand Ruggable. New York Magazine recommends paying close attention to both the material and weave tightness, as well as reading the care instructions when selecting a washable rug.

Consider the interests of your tween or teen

Building Technology & Ideas suggests using personal decor elements that make your space more meaningful. Not only will this make your Gen Z hangout more customized to your kids, but it will also make it a place they truly love. Think about — or even ask them — what activities and interests they want to be included in their new space.

If you have an artistic kiddo, you can use their space as a gallery of sorts. Have the pieces they are most proud of framed for display. Add a magnetic board or wired display clips for easy rotation. And don't forget to add an art desk to the space, so they have a dedicated spot to keep creating.

Is your Gen Zer super into sports? Install shelves and hooks on the walls for holding the medals and trophies they've collected over the years. Their hangout is a great place to add a foosball table for mini-sized soccer with friends. If they love basketball, an arcade shooting game or wall hoop can be an awesome addition to staying active indoors.

Maybe your kid is musically-inclined. A turntable set-up can be a fun addition as they master their own tunes. Or, set up a compact keyboard or create a home for their drum set, so they have a perfect place for practice sessions. Hang framed concert tickets or old-school vinyl records to add to the musical theme.

Choosing teen-friendly furniture items

One of the biggest challenges in designing a teen-friendly space is selecting furniture. You'll need something stylish that looks great. You also want to find items that are long-lasting and easy to clean. Finding a functional blend of these features can be what makes your kid's hangout space awesome.

Look for a couch to center your seating arrangement around. This search starts by evaluating the size of your space and the number of seats you're looking for. As Decor Hint suggests, modular options are perfect. They can be explicitly configured for the area, and sections can be added as your seating needs grow. Teens and tweens love lounging around and putting their feet up, so look for furniture perfect for these laid-back needs. Giant bean bag chairs and floor pillows are great ways to add seating. Poufs and ottomans can be stylish ways to add texture and places to prop feet.

Super functional furniture is an ideal choice for your Gen Z hangout. Look for benches or couches with storage inside. Tables with built-in USB chargers and integrated Bluetooth speakers add to the tech-friendly vibe. Another must-have feature is cleanability. According to Clean Care, your upholstery should be vacuumed weekly and cleaned every six months. This will likely need to be even more frequent in a bust hangout space. Look for furniture materials that are easy to clean and can be treated with a stain preventer for better resiliency.

Use teen-friendly decor to stylize the space

Once your space is painted and furnished, you can use art and accent pieces to give it style and character. However, finding artistic decor that appeals to tweens and teens can be tricky. Be open-minded about where you shop and think outside the box when choosing decor items. According to TLC Interiors, each space in your home needs a focal point. In a teen hangout, relatable art can make an eye-catching statement piece. Add a graffiti mural or oversized sports print to the wall. You can also use a graphic wallpaper or oversized wall light. These all add instant style and set the tone for the space.

Give your teen the ability to create their own unique display. Use a magnetic or bulletin board so they can post everything from photos to notes from friends. Painting a wall with chalk or dry erase paint is another fun way to create an easily customizable space. When looking for ways to add style to places like shelves, think beyond the typical potted plant and picture frame ideas. Look for fun signs or a lighted letterboard. Unconventional items look stylish as well. A stack of wooden games and puzzles or a bowl of fidget toys and Rubix cubes can look great while providing endless entertainment.

Make the space super functional

Think of ways to make your Gen Z kid's space as functional as possible. At their age, they need to have an independent place to usher them into adulthood. It also teaches them the responsibility it takes to maintain this space. Add a mini-fridge to your hangout and stock it with drinks and light snacks. Look for a beverage fridge with display windows or a colorful one with a retro twist. Then, task your Gen Zer to maintain the supply of refreshments. Give them a budget and allow them to choose the contents and manage keeping it stocked.

These drinks and snacks are going to cause trash to pile up. Make sure to get an adequately-sized trash can — and maybe a recycling bin — to put in the space. Encourage your tween or teen to set a phone reminder to empty it regularly. Teach them how to keep it fresh, like deodorizing it regularly and using baking soda in the bottom to prevent odor (via Glad).

In order to keep their hangout clean, supply your child with a dedicated cleaning stash. Use a cabinet or closet and fill it with disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and multipurpose sprays. Remind them that cleaning before and after friends come over is one of the best ways to show that they appreciate their new space.

Keep safety in mind

Your teen or tweens' hangout will see hours of activity. It might even end up being their new sleepover spot. This means you need to make sure it's safe and secure. Consider adding an egress window if you are creating your hangout in a basement. As HomeAdvisor points out, an egress window increases your chance of escaping a fire and can add value to your home. It can also bring a great deal of natural light into an otherwise dim space.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the home. Having one nearby is especially vital in a teen hangout where headphones and earbuds can be the norm. Make sure you check the batteries regularly and replace the unit per the manufacturers instructions.

Be sure the windows and exterior access doors lock securely and check them nightly. It's also a good idea to add window sensors if you have an alarm system. Routinely check these mechanisms to ensure they are in good working order.

Include spaces for other activities

Sure, your Gen Z kid's hangout is likely centered on technology. However, adding spaces for alternative activities allows teens to unplug and recharge. Plus, it gives them a great place to do their hobbies and explore other interests. Your teen's hangout space can double as a quiet retreat for homework. Set up a desk or workstation and homework supplies. Bins and shelves can help keep papers and books organized.

Psychologist Beatrice Tauber Prior tells Scholastic that board games boost the learning and decision-making skills of older kids and teens. Stock their space with fun and engaging games they can enjoy with friends and other family members. Let them create a list and pass it on to friends and family for great gift ideas. Also, as FamilyEducation points out, reading helps teens grow in multiple ways. They expand their knowledge of the world and develop their vocabularies. Stock a shelf in their hangout with materials that Gen Z readers enjoy. Graphic novels, pop culture magazines, and books turned into movies can all appeal to this age group.

Add storage solutions that work

Keeping their new hangout space neat and tidy can be a tall order for a teen. Providing specific storage spaces is the best way to ensure things get put away. A few smart storage solutions will make clean-up stress-free. Built-in storage shelves can be the perfect solution for things like gaming consoles and smart devices. Adding doors allows them to be hidden away when not in use. Opt for adjustable shelves that you can customize as needs change.

Small items can be stashed in containers when not in use. Organizenvy suggests using labeled baskets, decorative trunks, or fabric bins for items like video game equipment and accessories. This system keeps them organized and prevents them from cluttering up the space. A storage ottoman can be a useful addition as well. Use it to stash blankets, books, and remote controls. Plus, it provides extra seating or a place for loungers to prop their feet.

Stock up for sleepovers

Tweens and teens love springing a surprise sleepover on unsuspecting parents. If you are ready and willing to host friends overnight in your hangout space, prep it to make setup and clean-up a breeze. If you think this is a likelihood in your future, consider investing in a pull-out couch or futon. This makes setting up extra beds quick and easy. Plus, it still provides comfortable seating.

You can also use a closet or large cabinet to stock up on air mattresses. Consumer Reports recommends buying ones that come with storage bags and fold up compactly. Look for options with included pumps to make inflation quick and easy. You also want to stock up on dedicated linens for these air mattresses. Color-coded sheet sets are perfect for keeping them organized. Add a supply of various weighted blankets to meet guests' different comfort preferences. It's also a good idea to have washable pillows on hand that is reserved for sleepovers.

Consider extending to outdoor spaces

Make sure you consider your outdoor hangout spaces as well. Your tween or teen might love their new room, but if the weather is nice, you'll want to have plenty of options for them to take their hangout outdoors. Stock up on yard games that Gen Zers love. According to USA Today, Spikeball, Kan Jam, and Ladder Golf are all popular options. Oversized versions of games like Giant Jenga and Connect Four can transfer right from their indoor hangout to the backyard.

Look for indoor/outdoor items that work for dual purposes. A rechargeable Bluetooth speaker can be used in their hangout space and be moved outside without interrupting their tunes. TechRadar also points out that a portable projector is a great purchase, since it allows them to watch movies inside and out. Plus, flexible seating can be used to accommodate teen guests both indoors and out. Look for weather-proof folding chairs that can be stored in your kid's hangout. They can be used inside for extra seating and taken outside too.