What Comes Next? Redesigning Rooms for Empty-Nesters

July 31, 2018

For those that have raised children, you probably remember the feeling you had when they first moved out. It’s a combination of pride and sadness, with maybe a little anxiety added in. A lot of us start asking the same questions. Will they be able to make it on their own? Did I prepare them enough for this journey? And lastly, what are we going to do with all this extra space?  

Not all of these questions will be easy to answer, but we know just what to do about that last one! Some of us at Mathison Interiors are parents ourselves, so we sympathize in a special way with clients who are dealing with empty nesting syndrome for the first time. But we like to encourage them not to worry, because giving your home a fresh new look is one of the best ways to turn that frown upside down! 

new bedding, pillows, drapery, redesigned room for empty-nesters

Deciding What to do with Empty Space

Before we redesign an empty-nester’s newfound space, we have to get a sense of what they want to do with it. We help them make those decisions by planning out the function of the space, and then we use the client’s input to inform our own design choices. Does the client want to reclaim the space and transform it into something else? Or do they want to preserve the character and function of the space? 

Usually we find that the most common choice for empty nesters is turning their children’s old bedrooms into guest rooms. Some empty-nesters may fear the loneliness of living in a childless home, but having a new guest room will help you combat that loneliness by giving you more opportunities to host and entertain your friends! It’s important to give the space a new look and a fresh start while also making it welcoming, not only for guests, but also for your child. 

The first step is removing all the clutter and personal items from the room. Put those trophies up, take the posters down, and put all the mementos, souvenirs, and tchotchkes in a closet somewhere. Don’t throw anything away though! Those special memories and mementos should be preserved for your children to take with them to their new home. 

Angle shot of bedroom with new bedding, pillows, throws, and drapery, bed post

Adding New Personality to Unused Space

Once you have the room at an acceptably clean place, the real fun begins. This is your chance to change the color palette of the room to make it more gender-neutral and introduce attractive new elements to the room with accessories, decorations, bedding and draperies. Getting input and help from your child might be beneficial. This team collaboration will encourage both sides to feel a part of the creative journey of this room’s transformation. It will also allow your child to feel connected to this new space.  

We encourage our clients to keep their children involved in the process and engaged in the transition, so they always feel welcome and eager to return to visit.

Close up of new bedding, pillows, throws and wall art in a redesigned room for empty nesters

With the new bedding, pillows and throws, this room looks less like a recently vacated, older child’s bedroom and more like a cozy place for your guests from out of town to retire to when they come by for a visit. Neutral, airy colors like gray and teal are great for giving a relaxed feel to your guest rooms. Gentle earth tones work as well.  

New Colors for New Beginnings

Besides bedding, another easy way to introduce new colors to a space is through art. Remember when we began this process by taking down all those old posters and wall adornments? Now you can freshen up the bare walls with new art. Abstract pieces with neutral tones work best to create an inviting and comfortable atmosphere in the room.  

Accessories on top of dresser flower vase and orange drip art

If your kid’s dresser suffers from a weathered, old look, you can always repaint it! We like the darker color of this dresser. It stands out against the neutral walls and bedding, and the new  accessories we brought into the room really pop when placed on top of it! 

Accessories on top of dresser new design for an empty room after kids moved out

You can always play around with the table adornments, and we always bring in a couple different sets of these to test the look of each and choose the perfect ones. 

Second set of accessories on dresser in a redesigned room after children moved out

Other Areas that Might Need Updating

It’s not just bedrooms that need updating when the kids leave. You may find that you don’t need such a big dining table anymore, which will free up some more space in your kitchen or living areas. One of our clients realized they didn’t have much use for their garage anymore after their children moved out and took their cars with them. So we helped turn their garage into a nice, relaxing lounge area. 

Redesigned car port or garage after children moved out, billiards room or pool lounge

We brought in this large, elegant rug to help wrangle in all that extra space in the room. The rug worked well with the new furniture and the cowhide ottoman, adding subtle character to a space that didn’t have any before. The client envisioned this space as one where friends and family could relax together, so we brought in as much seating as we could. That also helped shrink down the large area in the room. The pool table, game table and sofa grouping allow for many people to be engaged in various activities, while still being in the same room. Can’t you just see the fun memories that will be created while enjoying this multi-purpose room? If you listen close enough you may hear a “Roll Tide” or a “War Eagle!”

remodeled home office for empty nesters

This client was less of a billiards type, so the home office idea was perfect. For the desk, we chose this dark and slightly stained piece, which didn’t clash with the hardwood floor. The overall effect, combined with the simple elegance of the neutral-colored rug and drapery, was rather stately, which pleased the client. Finally, the family portraits aligning the desk were the perfect way to replace the personal items of the client’s children while preserving the memory of what was there before. 

The sadness that sets in after your kids move out doesn’t have to last forever! At Mathison Interiors, we truly believe in the power of interior design to bring new energy into your homes. While we always cherish the old memories, we create in our homes, a fresh new look gives us the perfect opportunity to create special new memories. And as your children begin on their own journeys in life, there will be many new memories to be had. You can take our word on that! 

Need help creating that perfect space? Book a consultation! We are here for you!