Smart Solutions: Look to younger generation for inspiration

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News


If you’re looking for ideas when it comes to decorating, entertaining or organizing, you can look to the younger generations.

Today’s teens can inspire older generations with the way they express themselves, such as decorating with corkboards like these that let them personalize their space.

As I recently discovered, my daughter and her friends provide endless inspiration when it comes to creative endeavors associated with the home. For instance, despite the fact that she seems to have inherited my right-brain tendencies, such as making a mess before a major clean-up, my daughter has developed organization skills somewhere along the way.

Her clothes are neatly arranged by category and sometimes color, while certain items are neatly rolled inside her drawers. She also does her own laundry, which remains one of my only domestic skills to date.

Helping friends get their bedrooms and closets in order is one of her favorite pastimes. She also likes to share her packing tips for travel.

When she asked for a shoe rack to replace a basket in her room, we found the perfect style and size at Target. My daughter even assembled it herself, which is a skill that definitely did not come from me.

She also seems to have a knack for decorating and personalizing her space in the process with photos and other memorabilia. Polaroids secured by clips hang from a piece of string tacked to the wall, while what she calls “little random things” like movie tickets and a nametag from my late stepfather’s 100th birthday celebration adorn her corkboard.

We recently had a piece of glass made to put on her desk where she displays photos underneath that feature her favorite memories.

Repurposed pieces include an empty bottle to hold hair scrunchies (that teens wear on their arms these days like bracelets). She’s also learning how to go thrift shopping from her budget-savvy friends.

When my daughter and a few of her friends were set to have a picnic in the park and the weather didn’t go their way, the girls came to our house where they sat outside on blankets before the rain came.

While we provided some snacks and filled a bucket with beverages on ice, what the girls brought could have been featured in a photo shoot. The one who planned the picnic was the first to arrive, holding beautiful white bowls that had scalloped edges. One was filled with clementines and the other held the cutest little sandwiches on Hawaiian dinner rolls that were individually wrapped in paper towels and tied with twine.

Another brought mac and cheese and one brought the fries they all like from Tubby’s. The last girl brought dessert kabobs inspired by Pinterest that she made with strawberries, marshmallows and brownies, with chocolate drizzled on top.

They often get ideas from other online sources, such as YouTube and Instagram.

Parents and grandparents can spark their interest too. Whether it’s your home décor, family meals or any other creative outlet, being exposed to artistic visuals at an early age can only benefit the younger generations. If you give these kids some inspiration, they just might inspire you right back.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at