Empty nesting is a transition, not an event. When children start heading off to college, the leave is often temporary at first. Kids come back from college for holidays and the summer so it’s not practical to renovate their rooms immediately. Parents often also have emotional attachment to the trappings of their children and are loath to erase those special memories. However, just as the transition to an empty nest is gradual, so can your renovation be.
When you’re ready to move forward with the empty nesting stage, the first decision will be whether you want to repurpose your unused rooms or downsize your home altogether. You have to estimate how often your children will return to visit, take into account your own health and mobility compared to your home’s ease of accessibility, and calculate your finances to see what options you can best afford.
If you decide to age in place, you’ll want to figure out new uses for the rooms that formerly functioned as your children’s rooms. You’ll want a guest room or two, but even the guest rooms might be used for other things between visitors’ stays. Danielle Galland, an interior designer who also writes for The New York Times designed a guest room with a built-in desk along one wall. Above the desk she installed shelving and a monitor that doubles as both a computer screen and television.
Some NYT readers wondered how the space might be made guest-friendly and returning child-friendly. You’ll likely rework the design to make it feel more neutral, but keep a flavor of the child’s tastes in the room by incorporating pictures of them hung on the walls or their favorite color used as a motif.
Extra bedrooms that aren’t turned into guest rooms are often re-purposed into hobby rooms. Women interested in sewing may turn the room into a crafts room where their sewing machine can always be set up and they don’t have to pick up their craft tools. Men might turn an extra room into a lounge or an office.
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