Now that fall is here, so are the last years in your child’s higher education. As the semesters tick off the calendar, it’s not long before he or she is off on his or her own and you’re left with an extra room. Empty nesters experience all kinds of emotions and some look at this new chapter in life as one that’s full of promise. If you don’t want his or her room to remain a shrine, filled with all kinds of personal memorabilia, you can repurpose the space to make it fully functional.
Empty-Nester Room Repurposing Ideas
Before you start purging possessions, it’s a good idea to go through everything with your child. This way, you’ll be able to sort smartly, having things to keep, things to sell and give away, and other things that your child will take along. This is also a great time to do a little spring cleaning, going through your garage and attic, sorting even more stuff to sell and give away, and other things to throw out.
Some families prefer to leave bedrooms alone when their children move out after high school; they want their children to have a familiar place to come home to. But for the parents who want to find a new use for that space, experts have some suggestions. If you plan to stay in your home, says Judith Sisler Johnston of Sisler Johnston Interior Design in Jacksonville, FL, you’d be wise to invest in a renovation that might include built-ins, lighting, and new furniture. —Bob Vila
Another thing you should do is to take some time to consider what’s most useful for your new lifestyle. If your child is going to be visiting, along with other family and friends, it’s probably a good idea to keep it as a bedroom, but one that’s more of a guest room. This will save you money, time, and effort. What’s more, think long-term, because if you’re going to downsize and move into a smaller residence, you’ll have to convert the room back to a bedroom to be able to sell the home. Real estate experts caution against converting a bedroom into something else, because buyers are usually turned-off by converted spaces. However, if you’re going to stay in the home and want to add more function but are unsure what will be a good fit, here are some empty-nester room repurposing ideas:
- Update the room and rent it out. One great way to get the most out of the space is to update it with a fresh coat of paint, dressing-up or buying new furniture, and renting it out. This is a good idea for generating passive income. If you’re interested in helping someone out, consider sponsoring an exchange student.
- Convert the room into a home office. For those who need a dedicated work space, but don’t have the room in the rest of their homes, a home office is an ideal conversion. A desk, some shelving, a futon or couch, and it’s ready-to-go.
- Remake the space into a media room. Another great conversion is to make the space into a media room. Hang a large flat screen television, add some comfortable seating, and install light-blocking blinds.
- Change the room into a hobby area. If you have a hobby that you love, but don’t have space elsewhere, then a hobby room is the perfect solution. You can customize it to suit your hobby and have a dedicated space to delight in.