My friend Shelly, works closely with the youth group at her church, and came to me with a unique request. She (along with many other adults in the church), want to re-do the youth group space, which by the way, is awesomely in another building of it’s own ..like..a cool clubhouse type thing. Youth only. No trespassing. But kind of. Anyway, she wanted me to help give some design direction. One of the services I offer now, is a “suggestion board”. It’s kind of like an E-design, but without the complex amount of details. With an E-Design, I work within your budget, to find exact products and sources, and include room layouts, and detailed shopping guides. With a Suggestion Board, I provide design direction in the form of a mood board. Like the one I made for the youth group at Shelly’s church. It’s then up to you, to find products within the style I provided, at your own pace.
Below are the before photos of the youth space, and by the way, I don’t have “After” Photos, just the finished Suggestion Board. They are still in the works of completing the space.
Now an intermission of before photos, so we can talk about what’s going on. Junk. That’s what’s going on. Am I shopping in the thrift store right now? No, I’m not, this is actually the space that youth gather. It’s a very common thing, and totally understandable. Furniture items have been handed down to the youth room, to provide seating, and other items as well. So it’s a mix match of things, that have been passed down. Which no big deal, except some of those items have been there, since Shelly herself was a youth at that church. Oh no. The other issue here, is that the goal is to have a youth group that enjoys being together, gathering, and even bringing friends along. That cannot happen in a space like that, because the space is clearly not welcoming of that sort of thing. It’s dark, has many windows, a lot of random items like I said, and no real sense of purpose.
Oh, hi, son’s. We brought our kids along for the ride when taking photos, they seemed to like it.
Shelly wanted to work within a small budget, and although I didn’t budget plan for her, I did source images of items that I know can be a DIY project, OR found inexpensively. The space should be welcoming, comfortable (not too comfortable though lol), and serve as a cool hangout for youth, to gather, pray, have bible study, game nights, discussions, and bring in friends. A trendy coffee shop-esque kind of thing going on.
The walls will stay a dark gray, but visual interest will be added with very thick, cream colored horizontal stripes. Stripes will carry the eye around the room, giving a unified feel, and also brighten up the space.
I love the amount of windows they have, because I love natural light. All those windows need curtains, which will take up a large chunk of the budget they set for themselves. Totally worth it. Curtains are home-y, they are comforting, and they give the room a completed and cared for look. I had two suggestions for the curtains. One, buy inexpensive white curtains, and do a simple trendy pattern stencil, to give them some character. or, Two, go ahead, and find a large quantity of curtains with a pattern already existing, but source ebay or craigslist, and look first for quantity, and then for a neutral light color, with a cool pattern.
Get rid of the carpet, and accept that a little hard work will be needed to finish what flooring is left underneath. Most likely concrete. Concrete is dark, and cold. can’t get rid of the cold, but definitely use concrete paint, to paint white. The space will be so bright afterwards.
To deal with the cold floor, rugs are needed. Simple rugs, with trendy line work and pops of color, like the one shown in the Suggestion Board. Geometric shapes are very in right now, and super appealing to youth, just look at what they are wearing these days, and you will see. A large rug should be placed in the common area, where youth sit, but other rugs could be placed throughout.
Get rid of the furniture that’s currently in the space. Hand me downs are okay, but only once handed down, not like ten generations handed down. That’s just gross. A sturdy neutral couch, could be dressed up with fun pillows. Also, folding chairs could be used, spray painted a bright color, and upholstered with padding and colored fabric, to provide comfort.
Bright, colorful, and crazy.
1. A gathering area is most important, in a circular like seating arrangement. That way everyone is equal, and from that point, everyone feels safe to talk. To anchor this “circular area”, a round coffee table would be best. Spray painted possibly a bright white, or even a turquoise color. Possibilities are endless.
2. A coffee station. Youth drink coffee, and they love it, because they are so cool, and it’s new to them. A drink station is a must. Maybe a short old dresser is used, and spray painted. Fun knobs, duh. Atop, could be a bright colored coffee pot, some mugs (only cool ones though, with like..a silhouette of a cat, or a thumbs up sign,..you know..). Directly above the coffee station, would need to be a large bulletin board. Read new memo’s while getting coffee, it’s a thing. A bulletin board is so very important in a youth space, because there are so many events and messages needed for youth to attend and remember. Concert this Friday. Lazer Tag & Pizza night next month. Bible study at Shelly’s next Thursday. Also, with a bulletin board, youth feel part of something. For example, that really cool kid, who is making T-Shirts on the side, yeah, a place for him to advertise.
3. A craft and book area. Much literature is needed for a youth group, beyond a bible. A bookshelf area will house books, and craft supplies for years to come. Let’s say, that vacation bible school is approaching, and the youth are asked to make a costume for a skit. No problem, right? They can just hop over to the bookshelf craft area, get the craft bin out, and go to town. My advice for this “craft area”, is to keep it highly organized. Labels, clean up procedure, etc. Youth need structure, and at the end of the day, this may be there space to be in, but it’s not their space to do with it what they want. If no rules and procedures are in place, the room will become a mess. Not only procedures needed with the youth, but with other adults in the church. Make it clear, that the space , is not to store things temporarily, or to dump unwanted items. It’s a space for the youth.
* A Suggestion Board provides the client with design direction, in the form of a mood board. Furniture, color scheme, accessories, window treatments, floors, and all aspects needed, will be provided, but not sourced.
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“Suggestion Board | Youth Group Space” is published in the “design & decor” category of Dahl House Blog.