The Best Home Features in 2024 Your Kids Will Thank You For

Moms have one thing in common: they all yearn for a moment of peace. Okay, a solid 20 minutes would be amazing. Mothers often share their stories of strife about rearing teenagers—it can feel like a thankless job, because the work involved isn’t always rewarding.

With multiple kids in the house including tweens and teens, finding time and space for yourself is a challenge. Science reveals that soon-to-be adults have similar needs, and the reasons why might surprise you.

Achieving privacy happens through strategic design 

How many times have you heard in a day, “I just want to be alone?” As much as human beings are naturally social creatures, solitude is an emotional health necessity. If your home doesn’t have a dedicated space for everyone to have some privacy, each family member can feel put upon, trapped, and out of sorts. If the environment doesn’t change, teenagers can grow angry, anxious, and uncomfortable.

The need for privacy isn’t a sign of distress but, more likely, a call for independence. No matter how much your child loves you, keeping them under your thumb hampers their development. No worries though, healthy boundaries start in your teenager’s bedroom.


Build a room within a room 

Homes that incorporate interior design features that include private spaces for kids of all ages—and maybe particularly teenagers—give them the alone time they need, and provide space for them to enjoy having friends over.

Ask a teenager what kind of bedroom they want—their version is legit though in your mind it’s too much. Find a reasonable compromise that works for everyone, and is affordable. While a move to a new home provides floor plans with flex spaces that will no doubt appease impatient teens itching for freedom, finances or timing may get in the way.

Try to shift your perspective and look at your kid’s four walls in a new way. With their input, a little research or looking at magazines, some imagination and a few dollars, the room they really want is probably right in front of you.

Separate their bedroom into two distinct spaces: an area for sleeping and one for lounging. Look for decorative screens, partial barn doors, or add a pony wall, roughly four to five feet high, for an illusion of separation that works with an open concept.

If your daughter is 14 going on 40, her closet is probably filled to the brim. Those hanging rods and shelves could be put to better use. It’s a bold move, but by gutting the area and removing the closet doors, a lounge nook appears. You’ve already got a closet-now-nook ceiling or wall light, and with a few simple changes, the nook becomes a personal space. Reposition the wardrobe closet in an armoire or for a modern look, industrial metal corner racks will do the trick.

Bright minds need brighter focus 

People are products of their environment. Though we may surround ourselves with a diverse group of people who live in different places and have different interests, technology brings us together. There are many benefits, but the tools we use to access information can also be distracting, which can impact our kids’ ability to focus, making study time dicey.

Kids of most ages have an aversion to homework—there are so many other things they’d rather do. Dedicating a space for study can help motivate them to go deep and stay there.

Much like the workaround suggested earlier for a lounging area in the bedroom, the same can be done for a study space. Make the kids part of the conversation. Ask them what would make the study space more comfortable and inviting. A hydraulic chair? A memory-foam seat cushion? An adjustable-height desk? You know your teens. Let them remind you who they are and listen to the suggestions they make.

Simple tweaks like switching to daylight or cool white lightbulbs (5000K-6500K range) can help your kids stay alert. Situating the space away from doorways, hallways and windows will keep the focus on schoolwork, rather than noises and movement going on in other parts of the house.


Gadgets to get teens going 

Add excitement to the study space with a favorite pop of color on the wall, a stylish personalized sign prominently displayed, and new tools and supplies. Surprise them with a trendy mousepad or a lava lamp (just because). Before your high schoolers start cracking the books, suggest they have an insulated bottle of water on hand to keep them hydrated and boost brain activity.

For social butterflies that need extra reinforcement to stay on task and in focus, noise-canceling headphones block out the ongoing distractions of a busy household.

Plug in technology and ignite their world 

Visual cues can mimic the classroom setting at home. Research has shown that more middle and high school classrooms include smart technologies, with 63 percent of kindergarten through 12th grade teachers including it in the learning process.

Students enroll in many courses, some requiring collaboration with their friends. Technology in the study space can make it easier for teams to work together. Similar to what business professionals use, a digital whiteboard adds interactive entertainment to learning. The size of a large TV, a whiteboard is a touchscreen controlled by a computer or laptop ideal for timetables, formulas, and theories, making it easier to memorize information.

Make a play for the game room 

Want to slay momhood from your kid’s perspective? Fit a game room into your house or make it a plan for a new home. Along with being a great escape for the kids, it’s the household headquarters quick fix to get over a bad day or reconnect with siblings and friends. Video gaming is a nontherapy therapy, with no couch required.

Determine the size and types of use 

Just mention a game room and your tweens will tell you all about what has to be included. But before you get wound up in the details, get a lay of the land, literally. The size of the room will affect the gaming setup, the furniture and how you, well… lay it out. If the kids set their hearts on a large entertainment unit complete with game consoles and room-shaking speakers, that might be a someday goal. And think about how things might evolve over time, because with kids, today’s great idea could be tomorrow’s yawner.

Build your game room over time. Start slowly, with a computer desk, a couple of gaming chairs, LED lights angled just right, some bean bag chairs at the corners and a few decorative DIY storage chests to hold video and board games, cables, accessories, and Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation or other gaming system of choice.

Finding light in the dark 

Once you know what kind of entertainment the game room will be used for, lighting the area to maximize the experience needs to be on point. For videos, LED strips are best, or overhead lighting, whether the gamers are playing combat, sports, or fantasy storybooks. Because sessions can run for hours on end, the right lighting will enhance the gaming experience without causing eye strain.


Getting tactical about equipment 

A vacant game room is your first maneuver before the first power button is turned on. Envision the end result, but make sure it matches your budget and review the choices. The furnishings can be readymade units available at Ikea or, if you’re talented, build one from scratch.

Part of the allure of a game room is in the design and the way the screens are the star attractions. Display them in all their glory—whatever you do, hide the cables, wires, and remotes. More than being trip hazards, younger kids have a way of losing them in the same abyss cell phones fall into. Why go there if you don’t have to? Cabinets with screens or doors are a game room’s best friend, keeping equipment in place and dust-free.

Amplify the ambience through sound 

To say the game room is noisy is an understatement. Without soundproofing, gamers alternately scream in anger and celebration, in 10-second increments, with zero volume control. You want the essence of “real” without disrupting the entire household, as well as your neighbors. Soundproofing will help amplify the experience while keeping the peace.

Small adjustments can make a big difference. Soundproofing minimizes interruptions, no matter what time of day or night the kids are playing. Add rubber lining to doors and windows to seal gaps, and wall paneling to keep the sound from reverberating. Gaming can be a solitary amusement with virtual competitors from across the globe, or a handful of friends from the neighborhood. In any case, participation involves hyper focus, key to winning the first round and every round after that. Games are relentless, so you’ll want to have plenty of energy drinks, energy bars, and other favorite snacks on hand.

Double the fun with a home theater 

Gaming isn’t the only recreational activity that involves a screen. A home movie theater provides hours of entertainment and can tell timeless tales in technicolor, and black and white.

If the room you’ve chosen for a game is big enough to morph into a movie viewing room, that could be an idea to pursue. But if your love for the cinema takes priority over a dinner night out, here are some casual, quirky and commendable ways to celebrate your favorite flicks.

Going for the real deal? Coat the walls with deep charcoal paint for that blackout screening effect. If you prefer a more elegant look that’s as appealing in daylight as it is at night, go for neutral tones like creams, tans, and off whites. For some added whimsy, lay down patterned carpet or a throw rug.

Your seating can make a statement too. A few ruby-red leather recliners with cupholders and tray tables set the stage for a double feature, but there are implications. If you’re hosting a night of Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Christopher Nolan, or Martin Scorsese, tell the guests the evening is BYOBS (bring your own beverage and snack).

Not into drama (and who is?), keep the focus on the feature film, and the furnishings low key and one touch. Add an automation system to start and stop movies with your fingertip and close window blinds electronically to seal the room. Who needs to spend $50 on a movie with the works (popcorn, etc.), when you can do it all at home, more comfortably, exactly to your tastes, and a heckuva lot less expensively.


Make it old school 

For those who have a nostalgic longing for the past and fantasize about being able to experience watching silver-screen film classics in a turn-of-the-20th-century movie theater, you can bring those sensations to life with the right furnishings—seating, props, artwork (vintage movie posters, anyone?), and snacks. Older movie goers can take a walk down memory lane, and newbies get an appreciation for how it was done “back in the day.”

If you’ve got a fetish for foreign, melt over mystery, or swoon over Hollywood romance, your home theater audience may never know it unless you say it’s so. Add shelving to showcase your favorite genres and stack those DVDs and CDs (covers only) for a visual list of viewing options. Preselect a movie the week before showtime and send your family and friends a text with wardrobe suggestions to make it more festive. Include an IMDb link to brush up on the film’s details and build anticipation before the reel begins, and serve period-specific cocktails and other beverages.

Let the home theater walls do the talking. Every good movie screen looks better surrounded by media wall art. What’s really cool is that a lot of those classic posters and all that movie merchandise is now considered valuable, collectible art (think Star Wars and Star Trek to name a few).

Most people, when asked, connect a movie theater visit with the aroma of freshly popped, buttered popcorn. Is your mouth watering? You and your family can relive that by having a popcorn popping station in the home theater room—and don’t forget the napkins.

For teenagers who have no clue what a stand-alone movie theater is like, there’s no need to enlighten them if they aren’t interested. Instead, meet them where they are and take their snack requests ahead of time, and have them bring it. They are capable.

Bring the indoors out 

Parents can be puzzled by their teenagers. Reflecting on their own childhoods, afternoons and weekends were spent outside with friends and siblings playing ball, skateboarding down sidewalks, or hanging out at the park. But things are different now. Moms are more comfortable with kids close by, within eyesight and earshot, for security’s sake. But if there’s equally good action and entertainment inside the house, there are more options, and life is more fun for everyone.

Create friend zones 

Teenagers normally hang out in groups. The bonds created among them can be very deep, creating family-like relationships that last a lifetime. Your backyard should be able to accommodate gatherings of 10 to 15 people without making them feel crammed in like they’re at a rave.

Rooms without walls 

Pavers, colored concrete, or composite decking can indicate a seating area, and a side yard with grass and hammocks is there for quiet relaxation. A square of grass calls for a casual frisbee toss, while decorative rocks and large tiles patterned like a walkway can lead to a fire pit.

Add televisions and speakers at the corners of covered patios, weather-resistant storage chests for plastic glassware, and an ice chest, with a fully stocked refrigerator standing by.

The open-air environment is sure to make people feel free, laugh a lot, and just generally encourage good times. What teenager wouldn’t that appeal to?

Personalized amenities make your home chill-worthy 

When your teenager says they prefer alone time to social gatherings, honor that just as you would want the same for yourself. Having the ability to recharge and reflect in peace, quiet, and calm, away from others, is often the best medicine. Middle- and high-schoolers are prewired to handle activity and overstimulation since they were toddlers. When they want to unplug, it’s a healthy sign and a call for mental balance.

Giving your children options for how and where they unwind, innovate, and socialize, benefits the entire household. A new home gives you the opportunity to personalize your space the way you want, and make the modifications you need to support a growing family. Imagine having a place of your own within the family home, ready-equipped with modern features, conveniences and amenities that bring family together, as well as perfectly inspired private spaces to tune in and veg out.

Why wait to upgrade your life with a quality new build home that complements your good taste from corner to corner? If the thought of the time and hassle involved in building a new home from the foundation up tugs on your patience and a start-to-finish completion date can’t come fast enough, a home from Woodside’s designer-curated Move-In Ready Collection offers the same modern, flexible design and personalization options (and the same warranties as our new-build homes)—in a shorter amount of time. Either way, the benefits of a new Woodside home extend well beyond what goes on at your new address—they live in the neighborhoods and wonderful people you’re about to meet.

To get started, come tour a Woodside Homes community. Schedule an onsite visit or virtual appointment with one of our sales consultants.

Melanie Stern

Written by Melanie Stern - May 14, 2024

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