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The Globe and Mail

Your son's room will make the grade with varsity-inspired decor

Preppy, polished and practically timeless, the collegiate look works brilliantly in a teenage boy’s room, but its elements can be adapted to endow any room with reams of old-school charm

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GIVE STORAGE AREAS THE TROPHY-CASE TREATMENT: This bed is flanked by a pair of black-painted freestanding bookshelves that keep personal items close at hand. Connected by an upper shelf and a piece of V-groove panelling, the customized surround gives the teen’s collections visual heft and an air of importance (and creates the perfect nook for a headboard). Sources: Bookcases used for headboard and bench, Crate & Barrel ( V-groove panelling (on headboard and ceiling) and chair rail, Brenlo Ltd. ( Headboard light fixture, Sescolite ( Custom blinds, Blinds To Go (

Stacey Brandford/The Globe and Mail

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OPT FOR TIME-HONOURED ITEMS like the classic and indestructible American “tanker desk,” which has proved its staying power in schools, offices and governmental institutions from the mid 1940s to the seventies. While your teen might not care much about the pedigree of this steel collectible, popular for its industrial origins and simple modern styling, it will likely be approved for its undeniable cool factor. A vintage banker’s chair is another 1940s classic that provides durability, ergonomic comfort and an old-school feel. Sources: Desk chair, Arcadia Antiques ( Leather armchair and desk, Queen West Antique Centre ( Bulletin board, Elgin Picture & Frame (

Stacey Brandford/The Globe and Mail

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STRIKE A COLLEGIATE NOTE WITH STRIPES: A band of bold colour painted just below a chair rail conjures the timeless feel of a letterman’s sweater and lends a room crispness. (Use painter’s tape above and below the area you are painting to get a straight line.) The stripe also serves to delineate the two-toned wall treatment, in which navy wallpaper lends a club-like atmosphere while the white area below keeps the room bright during daytime. Sources: Wallpaper (Ralph Lauren Northern Hemisphere Novelty LWP 62192W), Kravet ( Chest of drawers, Green’s Antiques (416-925-1556). Tivoli radio, Bay Bloor Radio (

Stacey Brandford/The Globe and Mail

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TRICK OUT ACCENTS IN TARTAN: Dating to the 1700s, the classic Black Watch combination of blue, green and black is my favourite, but you’ll find hundreds of patterns to suit both your colour scheme and your young man’s preferences. Instead of searching for ready-made tartan pieces, go straight to a garment-trade fabric store to find a real deal. At less than $30 a yard, this woven wool offers quality and value in equal amounts and can be used for pillows, curtains, seat coverings and more. Sources: Duvet cover, and sheets, West Elm ( Tartan fabric, Leo’s Textiles ( Felt and iron-on stars for DIY cushions, Designer Fabrics (

Stacey Brandford/The Globe and Mail

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