My middle son, Micah, turned 16 last week, and if you know anything about me, you know that I started planning his birthday party several months ago. Micah has been talking about converting a portion of the garage into his own space for the last year or so, but our garage was super unorganized and overflowing with junk. Getting a creative idea in my head became my motivation for doing some “pre-spring cleaning” and a Garage Arcade/Game Room sounded like the perfect 16th birthday gift for my boy.
My husband and I cleared about a 1/4 section of our garage and planned it so that the door leading to the outside was incorporated into this space, making it a separate entrance for friends to come and go. We already had an old tube TV, 4 crates from another project, a couch that we had pulled out of our RV, and a wooden toy box. My husband had the great idea to use some old tires as a TV stand for a bit of a “Mario Kart” look. I like to repurpose what we already have to save money, so we were off to a great start.
Micah likes more of a retro vibe and wanted the “Game Room” to have a bit of an 80’s feel. He is a huge fan of old school video games like TRON, so the very first thing we purchased was this incredibly cool neon TRON sign. I also grabbed the Pac Man ARCADE sign, the Galaga wall art, and the red metal magazine rack from Hobby Lobby. I love to use unexpected things, like the magazine rack as a holder for snacks. I found the neon clock at Walmart and my son picked out the Super Smash Bros poster for the door. I had 1/2 a can of black Chalkboard Paint that I used on the door to make it pop. We also painted the crates and the toy box black and hit up Walmart for an inexpensive black rug and a couple of stools and chairs for extra seating.
We wanted to make sure to have plenty of controllers available so the a bunch of kids could play at the same time, so we purchased a few extra wireless ones as well as four new Gamecube controllers that are also comparable with the Wii. To complete the space, we ordered a pipe and drape kit to hide all of the other “stuff” in our garage, which gave the game room a finished look. #CommissionsEarned
This past weekend, we held Micah’s 16th birthday party in the newly completed “Garage Arcade.” I wasn’t sure how comfortable the small space would be for 8 teenage boys, but I was reassured about 10 minutes in as I listened to their laughter and shouts. Four hours flew by with only a couple of breaks for pizza, gifts, and cupcakes. Micah was beaming at the end of the night and told me it was the best birthday he’s ever had, which of course made all of the hard work and effort we put into creating this space for him so worth it.
I have always wanted my home to be a safe place for my kids to have their friends over, and I think this is even more important in their teen years. I would much rather have my own kids at home than out who knows where, doing who knows what. Having this dedicated space just make it so much easier to say yes. I’m not always up for having my living room invaded by sweaty teenage boys, so now I can sit in my house and relax, while my kids host their friends in the game room. That feels like a win win to me!
For more about how to make the glow in the dark TRON cupcake toppers, check out my latest blogpost!