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painting a teen age boys room


kfeusse
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I have a 16 year old son who wants to "grow his room up"....and I have looked on Pinterest and nothing is really striking him as a good idea.  He thinks he wants gray and red to be his colors....but beyond that we aren't sure.  We don't know if doing walls half one color and the other half the other (and if so, does the red go on top or bottom) or do we do full walls making one or two accents....(That is what his brother did)... OR is there another idea that we just don't know about.  My son isn't into sports or a certain team....so that is out.  Actually he is more into forging and science....but that doesn't lend itself well to room decor. 

If you have pictures to show me or ideas to share, I am all ears...and eyes. 😊 

thanks for your help! 

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Agreeing that red is a pain later.  But that didn’t stop me. Hahahaha.  We have a red dining room.  

Red can be tough to find the right shade.  Get lots of samples and paint some big areas to see how the light hits. Live with it for a bit, see what he likes.  The shade will change throughout the day.  I’d prefer one wall red over half and half, for aesthetic reasons.  Otherwise, I’d go grey on top. 

Sounds fun!

DS16 here has a very dark purple.  It appears almost black, sometimes blue.  Sounds horrible, but oh my goodness, it is stunning.  I dread repainting, but for now, it’s gorgeous.

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8 minutes ago, Spryte said:

Agreeing that red is a pain later.  But that didn’t stop me. Hahahaha.  We have a red dining room.  

Red can be tough to find the right shade.  Get lots of samples and paint some big areas to see how the light hits. Live with it for a bit, see what he likes.  The shade will change throughout the day.  I’d prefer one wall red over half and half, for aesthetic reasons.  Otherwise, I’d go grey on top. 

Sounds fun!

DS16 here has a very dark purple.  It appears almost black, sometimes blue.  Sounds horrible, but oh my goodness, it is stunning.  I dread repainting, but for now, it’s gorgeous.

would love to see pictures of your son's room

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Echoing that red is hard to paint over.  If you even think you will want to repaint his room in a light color when he is grown, don't paint red now.  Even  when primed and painted with several coats of the new color the walls will have a pinkish cast in certain light. 

Go with red accents - not only comforter and chair as suggested above, but curtains, rugs, picture/poster frames, shelves, bed frame ...  Anything but walls.

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I second Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter for walls, and then pick out a bedding or throw pillows with red accents he likes.  Even coordinating curtains.

IME a "grown up" teen boy room is neutral walls, something like a plaid bedding with a red stripe in it, and a red throw pillow for the bed and a red throw pillow for his chair.  It will look good forever and it will coordinate with anything else he brings in.

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Just now, Sherry in OH said:

Echoing that red is hard to paint over.  If you even think you will want to repaint his room in a light color when he is grown, don't paint red now.  Even  when primed and painted with several coats of the new color the walls will have a pinkish cast in certain light. 

Go with red accents - not only comforter and chair as suggested above, but curtains, rugs, picture/poster frames, shelves, bed frame ...  Anything but walls.

the more I think about this idea, the more I like it....I was worried about trying to match wall color with comforter and curtains....if I did this, I won't have to....  I knew you guys would come through....plus, I know he would love to find some cool pictures or silhouettes of forging things (anvils, hammers etc) to put on his wall...framed in a red frame maybe.....and it would look good on a gray wall...hmmm...now my mind is racing with ideas.  

If I go with this...help me with decor....any ideas??

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I have three boys - -ages 22,20, and 17. Each of them would think a grown up room was neutral, masculine (plaid or stripe vs flowers) and minimalist. I would absolutely do the gray walls and red accents. It would suit him until he moved out, would be appropriate for a guest room, and would be simple and fun to update with whatever you choose to do in the future. 

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For decor, just go to the website of places where you would purchase bedding and sort by color. That will help your son find things quickly and not spend a ton of time looking at things that don't work.

I went on Etsy and searched for metal anvil art and came up with tons of things that would work. Decor from there would be unique and you'd be supporting a small business or two. Win win!

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5 minutes ago, Dynamite5 said:

For decor, just go to the website of places where you would purchase bedding and sort by color. That will help your son find things quickly and not spend a ton of time looking at things that don't work.

I went on Etsy and searched for metal anvil art and came up with tons of things that would work. Decor from there would be unique and you'd be supporting a small business or two. Win win!

excellent idea....thanks.

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1 hour ago, kfeusse said:

would love to see pictures of your son's room

Eeek!  I’ll try to get him to straighten up a tad first. 🤣

I’d never have had the nerve to choose the color, the previous owners did it (for their 16 yr old) and we’ve kept it.  They had good eyes for paint.

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4 minutes ago, Spryte said:

Eeek!  I’ll try to get him to straighten up a tad first. 🤣

I’d never have had the nerve to choose the color, the previous owners did it (for their 16 yr old) and we’ve kept it.  They had good eyes for paint.

no worries....my kid's room are NOT spotless by any means.... :) 

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2 hours ago, kfeusse said:

I like that look...but we would have to get 3 colors....because the wall we are covering is a bright yellow and blue (my older son was in this room first and he is a big Michigan Wolverines fan....

So you’re going from Michigan to Ohio State? Ha ha ha. 

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For a couple of different gifts last year, we bought from this site. You can choose different sizes and background colors. Here is a sample your ds might like (there are others, as well). You could either choose burgandy, or gray or black with a red frame.  https://www.mypatentprints.com/product/hunting-knife-patent-1903-patent-print-wall-decor-knife-patent-hunting-decor-hunter-gift-folding-knife-cabin-decor/

ETA: Here's another: https://www.mypatentprints.com/product/anvil-patent-1877-patent-print-blacksmith-anvil-vise-patent-garage-decor-workshop-decor-vintage-tools-wall-decor/

Edited by Jaybee
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1 minute ago, Jaybee said:

For a couple of different gifts last year, we bought from this site. You can choose different sizes and background colors. Here is a sample your ds might like (there are others, as well). You could either choose burgandy, or gray or black with a red frame.  https://www.mypatentprints.com/product/hunting-knife-patent-1903-patent-print-wall-decor-knife-patent-hunting-decor-hunter-gift-folding-knife-cabin-decor/

those are really cool!  thanks 

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Unless I really like gray and red myself, or I thought son was going to be living at home for a LONG time, I would do things in a way that are as neutral as possible.  I would paint the walls a gray and use red as an accent.  Is there a piece of wooden furniture that could be painted a bright red?  A lighter gray on the walls, with a dark gray comforter and red accent pillows, red drapes, a red chair could look very sophisticated and grown up.  

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I agree with choosing gray for the walls and using red as the accent color in the decor. We did have a red stripe around the wall of one son's room in a different house, and it was a striking look (navy on bottom, deep red stripe  all around the middle of the wall, and tan on top). But it was a pain to paint it that way.

When we moved in this house, my boys wanted their room to be black!!! I said no and painted the room gray, and they have black comforters and accents. I recommend going to the paint store and getting a handful of as many gray paint chips as you can, because paint can really vary from house to house and room to room. We went to Sherwin Williams, and I chose a light gray that carried a lot of light and was not too blue, brown, or green in the undertones (there was a light reflecting indicator number on the back of each paint chip).

The color we chose was SW Zircon, and we've been really happy with it. We also used it for my daughter's room, so it's a color that is gender neutral, in case there is ever a time when you would like the room to be less masculine and more of a general guest room.

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If you've got furniture that can be painted, that's also something that you can change, painting them red as an accent, or white or black, depending on whether you want it to play up the accent color, or make it look look brighter or more masculie.  We've got bookcases and a couple of 'rustic' old end tables that get moved and repainted when we redo rooms.  

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4 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

I agree with choosing gray for the walls and using red as the accent color in the decor.

Agreed. Paint the grey but just bring in the red with decor. My dd wanted grey with purple when she hit that stage. We let her do the grey and put up purple drapes. When she moved out, it was easy to change the drapes to something that fit my decor. Grey is neutral, very pleasing.

I'm not red averse btw. I have a red bath with grey fixtures, because well I'm in Ohio. :biggrin: I used a red from Ralph Lauren (Lowes? I forget) but had it mixed by Sherwin Williams to get the type of paint I wanted (no vocs, etc.) The paint store can guide you on what layers to use to get the look you're wanting. They're correct that if you paint a dark color without the right under layers it won't get there.

And I agree that painting much red for a room you're likely to want to change in a few years is unwise. The grey will be very neutral. Looks great with pink, yellow, anything.

Just as a suggestion, even though he said red, you might take him to Target or wherever and pick out some draperies. He might see something he likes and let that drive it. 

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56 minutes ago, Jaybee said:

For a couple of different gifts last year, we bought from this site. You can choose different sizes and background colors. Here is a sample your ds might like (there are others, as well). You could either choose burgandy, or gray or black with a red frame.  https://www.mypatentprints.com/product/hunting-knife-patent-1903-patent-print-wall-decor-knife-patent-hunting-decor-hunter-gift-folding-knife-cabin-decor/

ETA: Here's another: https://www.mypatentprints.com/product/anvil-patent-1877-patent-print-blacksmith-anvil-vise-patent-garage-decor-workshop-decor-vintage-tools-wall-decor/

I don't have anything to say about teen boys' rooms - my kid did not really care much about the decor in the room, so it's all off-white walls and mismatched bedding.  I do agree with being careful with bold color that may be hard to paint over or just become tiresome over time. 

Really came to say that this site is so awesome! I have a kid into blacksmithing, ships, planes... lots of cool gift ideas here. Thank you!

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4 hours ago, Spryte said:

Agreeing that red is a pain later.  But that didn’t stop me. Hahahaha.  We have a red dining room.  

Red can be tough to find the right shade.  Get lots of samples and paint some big areas to see how the light hits. Live with it for a bit, see what he likes.  The shade will change throughout the day.  I’d prefer one wall red over half and half, for aesthetic reasons.  Otherwise, I’d go grey on top. 

Sounds fun!

DS16 here has a very dark purple.  It appears almost black, sometimes blue.  Sounds horrible, but oh my goodness, it is stunning.  I dread repainting, but for now, it’s gorgeous.

Ha! My two boys are about to paint their room dark purple. They just really wanted something very unexpected. 
 

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My boys room is gray.  I went with a lighter gray bc there isn't a lot of natural light in their room.  They have had super hero type stuff in there, but I'm redoing it thus year (I think) to get more grown up bedding, most likely red and black.  I agree with the more industrial look for accessories.   They gray is so neutral, he can add whatever accents he feels like, and change them out if he gets tired of the red.  Gray also looks great with orange or blue!

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Agreeing with Storygirl — I would make sure that the gray you choose is as neutral as possible. Most grays have undertones of green or purple, which you really can't tell from a chip. As much as I love Benjamin Moore's muddy greiges, I would not try to use that type of gray in a room with red accents. For example, depending on the light, Revere Pewter can have purpley-taupe undertones that would clash with red (and with many other shades of gray). I would just pick a nice, light, neutral gray, and then you won't have to worry about whether it will clash with red or with any other tones of gray in the bedding, curtains, etc.

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8 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

Agreeing with Storygirl — I would make sure that the gray you choose is as neutral as possible. Most grays have undertones of green or purple, which you really can't tell from a chip. As much as I love Benjamin Moore's muddy greiges, I would not try to use that type of gray in a room with red accents. For example, depending on the light, Revere Pewter can have purpley-taupe undertones that would clash with red (and with many other shades of gray). I would just pick a nice, light, neutral gray, and then you won't have to worry about whether it will clash with red or with any other tones of gray in the bedding, curtains, etc.

I have not done a lot of painting...how does one pick a "neutral gray".  What colors do I want to be mixed to make the gray?  My son said he wanted a gray that looks sort of "mechanical"....so is that possible?

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30 minutes ago, kfeusse said:

I have not done a lot of painting...how does one pick a "neutral gray".  What colors do I want to be mixed to make the gray?  My son said he wanted a gray that looks sort of "mechanical"....so is that possible?

"Mechanical" sounds like he wants a medium gray, rather than a very light one, so undertones will be even more noticeable. Do you have a preferred paint brand? You can google "best neutral gray [paint brand]" and you should get a bunch of hits. Since gray has been so popular for the last few years, there have been a million blog posts about finding the right gray.  I am normally a Ben Moore girl, but I think Behr is fine for a kid's bedroom (and in fact I painted my son's room a light gray in Behr Premium Plus Ultra). I'd google 'best Behr neutral gray" to get some ideas and then go grab some chips and narrow it down to 2 or 3, then get samples and paint them on card stock and move them around the room. You might also want to choose bedding, curtains, etc., before you choose the wall color, since reds can also have strong undertones — if your reds lean warm, you might want a warmer neutral gray, but if your reds are more towards the blue side, you may want a cooler neutral gray.

Edited by Corraleno
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2 hours ago, marbel said:

I don't have anything to say about teen boys' rooms - my kid did not really care much about the decor in the room, so it's all off-white walls and mismatched bedding.  I do agree with being careful with bold color that may be hard to paint over or just become tiresome over time. 

Really came to say that this site is so awesome! I have a kid into blacksmithing, ships, planes... lots of cool gift ideas here. Thank you!

We have some quirky family members (most of them? lol), and I found some great gifts here for last Christmas--for widely divergent interests. 

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39 minutes ago, kfeusse said:

I have not done a lot of painting...how does one pick a "neutral gray".  What colors do I want to be mixed to make the gray?  My son said he wanted a gray that looks sort of "mechanical"....so is that possible?

Grey will have undertones. If you hold the paint strips side by side you'll start to see them. I have whole paint fan decks from the paint store, and sometimes you can borrow them. You develop your eye by comparing them.

I think it's a good suggestion to look for the color combination cards that show palettes you like. They'll have picked colors that look nice together and you're more likely to find a grey that looks good for your purpose. Also some vendors are known for having less colors but being more fashionable. Benjamin Moore has color collections and also Pottery Barn used to release colors for each season. You can match any color you find at any paint store, easy peasy. So if you want a BM color made by Sherwin Williams, no problem.

Also consider getting a sample quart. Usually they'll mix them in your proposed color for $5. It's not full quality paint, just sample paint, but it's cheap. Paint that on *poster board* not your wall, haha. Might need a couple coats since it's grey. Then take your proposed colors on those boards and move them around the room, wall to wall, seeing them at different times of day, to see if you like the effect. 

Fwiw, the grey my dd used was pretty intense, cave like, and it had this kind of red undertone that she picked up with the deep purple drapes. That to me would be a grey that was NOT neutral, haha. It's pretty, but it's not neutral. Here are the PB current colors. You can have them made anywhere. https://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/pottery-barn-collection They always have a lot of grey for bedrooms, because it's so neutral.

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50 minutes ago, kfeusse said:

a gray that looks sort of "mechanical"

https://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/find-and-explore-colors/pottery-barn-collection/pbteen  Their teen page shows plenty of greys. SW 7060 Attitude Gray might suit him. Ok, I'm kinda loving that Stillwater. What a beautiful color!

Anyways, you could show him the page (if your monitor is callibrated) or get the sample deck from the store and have him choose just from the field on the page. Make your life easy. 

Edited by PeterPan
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When you say he wants "mechanical" grey, and is into science -- I think that lends itself more to decor than you think! (I had a friend do a science-themed nursery with all sorts of periodic table decor, photos of Einstein, rockets, etc.) With 'mechanical' I'm thinking all sorts of steampunk and Edison stuff would make wonderful accents. Gears, beakers, old fashioned blimps, filament light bulbs, exposed clockwork... it's a super fun theme if he wants to go with it -- even in a subtle way like 'just the lights and one accent' to hint at the theme.

But, yes, I agree with everyone: keep the walls neutral and the decor removable.

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1 hour ago, kfeusse said:

I have not done a lot of painting...how does one pick a "neutral gray".  What colors do I want to be mixed to make the gray?  My son said he wanted a gray that looks sort of "mechanical"....so is that possible?

Just choose Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.

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1 hour ago, kfeusse said:

What colors do I want to be mixed to make the gray?

I just dug out the can of Behr paint I used in DS's room to see what colorants were used, since I consider it a very neutral gray. It's too light for your situation, but the colorants will give you an idea of what you're looking for. The color is Sterling, and the "recipe" is mostly black with tiny amounts of brown iron oxide and yellow. The yellow and brown help neutralize the "blueness" of the black, to make it pretty neutral. There is no red in it, and not enough yellow to shift it towards green. (The reason most grays have green or purple undertones is that if you add yellow to black, the blue in the black will shift it towards olive-green and if you add red to black it goes towards purpley-taupe.)

 

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I totally don't get the suggestions for a greige like Revere Pewter instead of gray (especially with red accents). Here is a photo showing a fairly neutral gray (Behr's Dolphin FIn) next to Revere Pewter. RP is very greige/taupe, and not really a gray at all.

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 1.33.34 PM.png

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1 minute ago, kfeusse said:

wow...this is way more complicated than I ever thought....maybe I will just paint everything white....UGH!!!!  😀

There are about 1,000 shades of white.

Then there is beige. 1,000 additional shades, LOL.

We had a white that looked awesome in the garage but terrible in the rooms, it actually has a blue undertone. We got a warmer white for the bedrooms, except our son, who didn't care.

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Also, whether you do gray or white or off white, you want a color that looks good next to the existing trim or you'll have to redo trim, too. Make sure to hold your sample color up next to trim on all walls in various lighting.

The white in the rooms with the blue undertones clashed with our existing beige trim, LOL, again, son didn't care but daughter did, we did too for a common room, so we bought new white.  The gray we picked for another room had to be one that went well with beige trim, some grays clash with beige trim.

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4 minutes ago, ElizabethB said:

There are about 1,000 shades of white.

Then there is beige. 1,000 additional shades, LOL.

We had a white that looked awesome in the garage but terrible in the rooms, it actually has a blue undertone. We got a warmer white for the bedrooms, except our son, who didn't care.

NO....don't say that!!!!!!!!!!!  UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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17 minutes ago, kfeusse said:

wow...this is way more complicated than I ever thought....maybe I will just paint everything white....UGH!!!!  😀

Finding the perfect white is even harder than gray, lol.  I'd start with the bedding, curtains, and other accents. Once you find your red(s), you'll have a much easier time narrowing down the grays. There may even be some gray in some of the fabrics and accents you choose, and that will makes things much simpler. There are a zillion colors of paint, so it's actually easier to match the paint to the soft furnishings than the other way around.

Edited by Corraleno
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Ds13 has the garage conversion.  He has two spring/lime green walls and two charcoal grey.  He had the same in his old bedroom which was pale pink with floral borders originally.  Now I have that room and am going to paint over the bright green with a paler green and keep the grey.  The grey matches the blinds.  If I had painted all the walls grey the room would have seemed small but I could have used all the lime green things we have collected to make it work.  There is a lot of red stuff round so if he agrees I would go with a mid grey and offer him a budget to find ref stuff.  A chair/beanbag, bedding, mat (Ds has a fluffy lime green one which also comes in red).  Which reminds me what flooring do you have?

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have you thought about one of those floor to ceiling murals?  

We're doing a space theme in our home theater.  There are a lot of different themes on the murals.  Even the space has a bunch of different ones.  I'm doing a starfield.  Possible on two walls.   still thinking of a glow-in-the-dark constellation stencil on the ceiling.  (with improved paint. either glowinc., spacebeams, or united nuclear paint)

 

I would suggest focus the walls on one color, use the other as an accent for items, or as a feature/accent wall.  you don't want it to be too busy.

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5 hours ago, Katy said:

Just choose Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.

That's an interesting suggestion. https://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/color-overview/find-your-color/color/hc-172/revere-pewter?color=HC-172  If op wants to see it. One reviewer describes it as "greige", ie a cross of grey and beige. 

So it's not *grey* but it's a nice neutral color that he might not have thought of that he might like. Should still look fine with red accents, mercy. (I'm looking at it on a color calibrated monitor and it's definitely a nice color!)

Color also has it makes people feel. I think I'd go bananas with that color. But it's a very nice color for the right person. Very chic! 

I'm saying I wouldn't take someone at their word when they don't know color and they say what they want. I would show them a limited array (3-4) acceptable options, get samples, paint them on posterboard so they can see them bigger, and then just let them choose. There's not really a wrong answer that way. 

Edited by PeterPan
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5 hours ago, Corraleno said:

I totally don't get the suggestions for a greige like Revere Pewter instead of gray (especially with red accents). Here is a photo showing a fairly neutral gray (Behr's Dolphin FIn) next to Revere Pewter. RP is very greige/taupe, and not really a gray at all.

 

Because 1) truly neutral gray is already dated, greige isn't.  And 2) a true gray looks blue to most people in natural light (which is fine in a nursery but not a makeover to make a young man feel like an adult).  You have to add green to gray for the human eye to see it as neutral on a whole wall. This is why people recommend samples rather than a swatch.  Greige is more calming, pleasant, and neutral.  It may be a light taupe in the true spectrum, but on a wall it just looks like a calming pleasant color halfway between cement gray and true gray, maybe a bit more towards green in some light.  It looks wonderful with red.  And revere pewter is a fairly timeless neutral color that appears somewhat medium dark when paired with white or cream trim with red or cranberry accents.

I like Benjamin Moore White Opulence OC-69 best with it, but it is not very different from pure white.

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Well actual grey isn't *out* per se, because Pottery Barn Teen is doing tons of it, lol. But you know, if she shows him the PB teen colors and the RP, he can tell for himself. 

I think the RP would be especially nice in a basement or low light room, where you're trying to warm it up. We see a lot of grey and red here in Ohio, for obvious reasons (football colors). So RP would be bizarre here as a substitute for grey, lol. You'll see grey basements in home shows because people are doing the colors. Photographers do it. Bloggers do grey walls.

In fact, if he's thinking about vlogging, don't do RP. Those people actually want GREY. 

But no, RP is lovely. It's ok to suggest to someone the thing they didn't know they wanted, lol.

Why is this op's problem btw??? If the kid wants paint, it's HIS problem and his learning curve to figure this out, mercy. You get better at color by studying it. 

Edited by PeterPan
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