It’s official. Empty nest syndrome has hit me hard. I never thought the day would come, but the days of diaper duty, sippy cups, carpooling, soccer mom, helicopter parenting – all now roles of my past. While I find myself secretly spending time in my kids’ bedrooms, fighting back the wave of nostalgia, I realize the endless home improvement possibilities that are staring me in the face. So, I’m wiping away those tears and find myself Googling KonMari method and binge-watching Marie Kondo on Netflix’s Tidying Up. Top of my to-do list: declutter, renovate and redecorate my kids’ empty rooms into the home of my dreams.
No matter what your empty nester house plans are — downsizing by moving to a new home, renovating your existing home, or just a room makeover — now you have the extra time and cash to change-up your home in ways you’ve always dreamed about. Here are some of our tips on how you can get started:
Declutter - Get ruthless. You have to clear out the old room (or rooms) so you can truly see the potential of your extra space. Decide what you want to keep, put the kids’ memories in a storage box, and everything else needs to go.
Donate - It’s always a feel-good moment to give away or recycle old things, not to mention you can ring up a tax deduction for doing so. Many organizations will conveniently come to your house to pick items up as well.
Sell - A good old-fashioned tag sale can net you some extra cash for the new space. Or go online to sell your stuff.
Throw away - Haul anything that’s not worth saving to the dump or hire someone to come do it for you.
Clean - Once the room is empty, treat the walls and trim to a fresh coat of paint, clean or buy new carpeting and rugs, and wash those windows. And don’t underestimate how good lighting can transform a room.
Let your imagination run wild. That wish list you’ve been adding to over the years? Well, dust it off and start planning your makeover. There are so many ways you can repurpose a bedroom, garage, basement, or any other room that has outgrown its usefulness. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Do nothing - Baby steps are fine, too. You might not be fully ready to give up your child’s bedroom. But, some new linens, a cozy comforter, matching pillows, and pretty curtains couldn't hurt, right?
Guest room - Let’s face it, those same kids who left... they’ll be back. And probably with a significant other, or a grandkid or two. When friends and family aren’t visiting, you can always list it on Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway to make some new friends and extra income.
Hobby central - Whatever you love to do in your spare time — sewing, woodworking, stamp collecting, or crafting — spread out and create.
Yoga studio - More OM, less MOM! Create a Zen-y, simple, and elegant retreat in which to downward dog, meditate, or just ... be. Soothing music, incense, soft lighting optional.
Music studio - Finally, a place where you can bang the drums, tickle the ivories, or just sing your heart out with no worries about noise levels. (Maybe it’s time to get the band back together?)
Art gallery - Nothing like peace and quiet to inspire your talents. Between the closet and extra shelving, you can store paints, brushes, canvases, art books, and more. Be sure to hang your masterpieces on the walls or easels.
Reading Nook - Prefer to read online or on an incline in a comfy chair or window seat? Any book lover would love a private library with walls lined with all your favorite titles.
Home office - If you work at home full-time or just need a separate space for your computer, printer, and files, it helps to close the door to the rest of the house and get things done. Invest in a good chair, sturdy desk, and plenty of shelving and bookcases.
Movie theater - Who wouldn't love a private screening room with big cushy chairs and an even bigger screen to kick back and movie binge Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu? Add a popcorn machine and movie night is always at your house.
Gift wrapping room - Favorite gift giver? Then this is a total indulgence to showcase large spools of gift wrap with plenty of drawers and containers for bags, bows, ribbon, tape, scissors, cards, and embellishments. Add plenty of shelving for gifts, of course.
Man Cave/She Shed - Saving these two for last, because they’re always first on people’s wish list. Have at it, you deserve it!