The "new" rec rooms can keep kids home AND save you money


In the, "old days" if you were a teenager, particularly in a small town, the cool thing to do was to drive around. What was once relatively inexpensive recreation no longer is so although "riding in cars with boys" will always have its allure, there is likely to be less of it.

For parents who prefer it when their kids stay home, rec rooms can be a good option. "The rec room, once a wood-paneled corner of the basement with a dumpy couch and a TV with rabbit ears is enjoying a revival in more upscale form"

It's possible that the faltering economy will help reverse two decades of the frantic activity that middle and upper class Americans have recently referred to as "childhood." As budgets tighten, over-scheduled children and teenagers may actually be spending some time at home. Down time, creative time.

Kimberly Stevens' September 14th article, above, describes the upscale edition of the "low and loungy" rec room trend. This is the "movie theater" version outfitted from CB2 and Pottery Barn's PBTeen line, which includes items like a lounge chair with a jack for an iPod or videogame system (the $399 iChair).

If you have more money than brains, you may want to go for broke refurbishing the rec room. Alternatively, help the kids figure it out themselves. This is a creative project of the highest magnitude involving everything from activity options and furnishings to house rules. It can be done on a budget (with recycled furnishings) and doesn't require a 100-inch screen or a $399 chair.