Your environment is incredibly important. The look and feel of your space plays a much larger role then most realize. The colors, lighting, decorations, furniture, cleanliness, and much more, indirectly communicates so much to your students. If a first time student walks in, looks around, and thinks your place is lame; you are already fighting an upward battle.

Get inspired
Come up with three words that you want your room described as (warm, comfortable, artistic, fun, etc.). Go through each word and think about all the places where you have felt that. What do they all have in common? Maybe your word is “artistic.” For me, the things that I see in most artistic spaces is vintage furniture, repurposed items (mason jars turned into light fixtures), paintings on walls, neutral/warm colors, wood, and older light bulbs (no fluorescent allowed!).

Beg, borrow or steal some basic equipment
If you have the budget or resources, you want to invest in some kind of visual equipment. It doesn’t matter if it is a TV or a projector, as long as you can hook it up to a computer. This allows you to do fun things like movie nights as well as help your program. PowerPoint (or something similar) is incredibly important because teenagers are such visual people. Take the time to make slides for your sermon, games, and for the worship songs. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes!

Creativity beats cost
Creating a cool youth room doesn’t have to break the bank. Make a list of the things you need and go on the hunt for donations. Couches, tables, old video game systems, lamps, and even paint are all huge money savers! Next, try thrift shops, garage sales, eBay, and Craigslist. Whatever you can’t buy, try to make yourself. While not all of us are the creative types, the Internet is full of DIY projects. You rarely need to buy new things.

Make it Community-Oriented
Design with connection in mind. Create an environment that makes it easy for students to hang out before and after youth group. If you have the space, use couches and chairs to create a lounge area. Include activities that require multiple people (even a table with a few decks of cards is perfect!). Make your space a place for students to have great conversations, create fun memories, and make new friends!

Avoid the Cheese Factor
While having a theme is great, try not to go overboard with it. If your youth group is called, “The Lab,” it is totally okay to have some science elements to the room, but try not to get too theatrical. Going all in with a theme can be so cool for a few months, but it will quickly become tired. More general but interesting décor helps keep it stay a little more timeless.

If you don’t think you have a pulse on what is cheesy or not – find a students who will help you in this area. They’ll know for sure!

Embrace Your Space
Whether it is an attic or broom closet, no youth room is a lost cause. Don’t let your less than ideal location keep you from trying to make it great! There are plenty of design tricks that you can use to completely transform your room. For example, if you want to make your room look bigger than it is, put up an oversized mirror. The reflection helps the room feel 10x bigger. Make use of natural light and avoid clutter at all cost! Over furnishing and decorating is the fastest way to shrink your room!

Hold “Your” Place Loosely
Be ready to share your space with your church. Like anything we put a lot of time into, we are protective of it and don’t trust just anyone with it, but here is the reality: There is going to come a time when someone will steal your room. Embrace the idea of sharing it ahead of time. It will potentially save you from bitterness in the future. (Also know that if a lot of people want to use your room, you probably did a great job putting it together!)

JG & Colton{{cta(‘e1a2fd2c-5feb-424d-876a-6fbad365f7e9′,’justifycenter’)}}