Six Design Ideas for Your Empty Nest

One of the things I love about my job is being able to help clients transition their spaces during major life changes – a “grown-up” living room in their first home, a nursery for a new baby, or a theater room they can finally afford (and enjoy) after all those years of hard work.

One of the transitions that seems to sneak up on my clients is when children head off to college. The dilemma I hear is – “what do I do with my child’s old bedroom?” Some folks are ready to make the change in September, but others take a bit longer to decide to make a change. Here are six ideas for what to do with that now-empty room in your empty nest.

Luxury closet/dressing room – have you always wanted a larger closet? A place where you can dress for an occasion in style? A luxury closet can hold all of your clothes, shoes, bags, jewelry, belts and accessories you need to get dressed for work or date night. A mirror and great lighting are a must and a closet system will organize everything beautifully.

Home Gym –  if you would like to begin working out more or bring the gym into your home, a spare bedroom can be a great place for a home gym. Consider what you need for your favorite workouts (TV? Free weights? Jump rope? Bike or treadmill? Mat for yoga?) and plan out a gym that can accommodate most or all of those. Add mirrors to the wall to open up the space (and check your form!) and a fan to keep you cool.

 {A small home gym is a perfect fit for an empty bedroom. From  Digsdigs.com }

{A small home gym is a perfect fit for an empty bedroom. From Digsdigs.com}

Guest room – this may be the most obvious of choices for your newly-empty room, but a guest room is a great and easy transition for a spare bedroom. A new coat of paint, fresh linens, a bedside table and lamps and you are on your way to a great space for loved ones.

Craft/Sewing room – A hobby deserves its own room if space allows and now that you have an extra room on your hands, your empty nest may be ready for a craft/sewing/hobby room. As with most spaces, make a list of what you need to store in the room as well as the furnishing you’ll need and then plan and shop accordingly so everything has a great space from the start. This is a room to showcase your favorite colors and style. It’s for YOU!

 {A room for your favorite hobby is a great way to use a newly-empty room. From  Californiaclosets.com }

{A room for your favorite hobby is a great way to use a newly-empty room. From Californiaclosets.com}

Home office – whether you work from home or need a place to store your files or paperwork from a volunteer or board position, a functional home office with its own dedicated space can do wonders for your mind and home! Consider how you like to work — files out where you can see them or a place for everything? Find a comfortable chair and sprinkle your favorite accessories or mementos around so your office feels like you. A professional organizer can help you set this room up right from the start!

Reading room – who doesn’t need a room for calmness? This room could stand on its own or double with one of the above rooms (guest room or office if there’s room for comfortable seating and proper lighting). Call it a zen room, a meditation room or a reading room — a space where you can go and relax as needed. Surround yourself with comfortable seating, soothing colors, inspirational quotes, special keepsakes and pictures that make you smile.

 {Natural light, bookshelves and a comfortable chair create a wonderful reading room. From  Spiritvines.com }

{Natural light, bookshelves and a comfortable chair create a wonderful reading room. From Spiritvines.com}

When you are trying to decide what to do with your child’s old bedroom, just remember – it’s your time now! Consider indulging in a space that allow you to live more productively and happily in your newly child-free environment. You can also use the room to Skype with your child, write a note or prepare a care package!

April Pardoe