12 Creative Ways To Upgrade Your Empty Nest

Although it can be sad when one of your children leaves the nest, it’s also an opportunity. Suddenly you have an entire room in your house that’s up for use – but what are you going to do with it? The possibilities may seem overwhelming, so we’ve assembled the best ways for you to make the most of that space.

1. Turn it into a guest bedroom.

This is probably one of the first ideas you had, and it is very practical. A guest bedroom is perfect for visiting friends or relatives who probably will be less than thrilled to crash on your couch. It’s even practical for when your child who left the nest for college or their own place comes back to visit. But, you can have your cake and eat it too. While most of the suggestions below will give the empty bedroom a new purpose, you can add a trundle bed that comes out from under a couch, window seat, or even the wall (disguised as a set of drawers).

2. Create a “man cave.”

We’ve all heard of the revered “Mancave.” Well, this is your chance to make one. You can add things like a private bar that can fit in the closet (ideally room for an ice maker and small fridge), your videogames, bean bags, an entertainment area for sports games and Vince Vaughn movies, and a man-sized couch. Maybe you’ll want a putting green in the corner. You can decorate with sports team paraphernalia on the walls, and maybe throw in a chess set and some leather-bound books for posterity.

3. Transform it into a “woman cave.”

For the woman who needs her space, there is the Womancave. You can throw up a hammock. for reading your favorite books, use the room’s closet space as an extension of your own closet, make an entertainment area to watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, and put your yoga mat in one corner and wine racks in the other. Put your stamp on the room by decorating with a portrait of Susan B. Anthony, and a flower box for the window.

4. Change it into a display room.

Whatever you collect, it isn’t meant to be gathering dust in your basement. Take out your collectibles and put them proudly on display. You can finally devote an entire room to your comic books, Pez dispensers., antique dolls, or movies. You can even decorate the room around your theme – a baseball themed room with your baseball card collection as the centerpiece!

5. Build yourself an arts/crafts room.

Finally! A whole room devoted to your craft means plenty of organizational space you haven’t had before. You can put up your shelves of stamps, your drawers of beads, your piles of photos and colored paper for scrapbooking. Painters can add an easel, with maybe a sink and skylight for more natural lighting while you work. Photographers can change the light bulbs to red and buy heavy drapes for the windows. It doesn’t have to be state-of-the-art to be the perfect place for you to get away from your other responsibilities and focus on what you enjoy.

6. Turn it into a home office.

No matter what your occupation, a home office will come in handy. It’s a great place to keep your computer desk, and you’ll easily keep track of bills, taxes, and keep calendars for your busy schedule. You can add a bulletin board to the wall so you can keep track of your “To-Do” list, and a home office is another room that smoothly makes the transition to guest bedroom when needed.

7.Remodel it into a dance studio.

All you’ll really need for this is to clear out the bedroom’s furniture. You may have to redo the floors., as carpet isn’t exactly conducive to dancing. Then, put floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a bar up on one wall and you’re set to dance uninhibited.

8. Make it into a home gym.

Like the home dance studio, this requires some space and not much else. You don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of new equipment. You can fill the room up with what you have – dumb bells, a medicine ball, an exercise mat, or even a treadmill. Put some mirrors on the walls so you can check your progress and maybe a mini fridge to stock with water bottles and healthy snacks, and you’re all set.

9. Turn it into a playroom.

Maybe you need a playroom more than your kids ever did! Take advantage of this new space by buying the kind of space-eating game you haven’t been able to fit into the house until now. A billiards table! A pinball machine! A foosball table, even a Pacman machine! You could go crazy and add vending machines.

10. Start your own personal library.

Ah, the old-fashioned version of an adult playroom. A library is pretty easy to create from a bedroom. All you really need are bookshelves: as many or few as you need, whatever size fits the room. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases would be a great excuse to get a rolling ladder! Toss in some comfy arm chairs, maybe a desk and a fireplace if you want to make it really cozy. A library is a good thinking place, full of quiet and calm.

11. Transform it into a TV/movie room.

This is an easy conversion. A TV room doesn’t need much more than comfortable chairs, blackout shades for the windows, and a big screen TV or a projector and screen. This will keep everyone comfortable, even if you’re going to have a 10-hour Lord of the Rings marathon. If there’s room you can even add a mini fridge full of movie snacks!

12. Create a music room.

A music room is the perfect place to keep amps, display your favorite guitar, and keep the piano that doesn’t quite fit in the living room. You can decorate the walls with framed vinyl covers and you’ll finally have a place for your Aerosmith cardboard cutout!

Whatever changes you make to the room, remember: when it’s time to sell your house, the room needs to be able to be converted back into a bedroom to get full market potential. You can get more for a 4-bedroom house than a 3-bedroom, so your potential buyers will need to be able to imagine the space as a sleeping space again!

KellyRose McAleer
KellyRose McAleer
KellyRose McAleer is a graduate of the University of Iowa and a writer for RemodelingCentral. Also, it’s KellyRose. It's not Kelly; It's not Rose. You can find her here

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