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6 Tips for Decorating the Empty Nest

It's a good time to make your home fit your current needs

By Teresa Gish

If you're an empty nester, look around your living room, your bathroom and even your laundry room. In fact, take a minute to peek inside every room in your house. Chances are the rooms have one thing in common, and it’s that they tell the story of your children in some way. For example, the bathroom may have a cartoon shower curtain and the living room couch, formerly a piece of high-quality furniture, may be scuffed and stained from many of your kids' adventures.

Empty Nesters
Credit: Adobe Stock

From new furniture to transforming rooms, there are several options for decorating and remodeling your home  now that the children are gone. However, it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out where to start. Take a moment, look at the spaces you have available, and think about projects you may have put off for years. No doubt you will find inspiration and ideas to transform and revitalize your living space.

Here are six ideas to help you get started:

1. Invest in Finer Furniture

Children, no matter their age, have the tendency to damage furniture. Think juice spills, dirty shoes and horseplay, to name a few examples. Now you can buy furniture that won’t be ruined within a week of you bringing it home. In fact, consider custom furniture. It is a good way to ensure that your pieces will last a long time and remain attractive. You can impress guests — and even your children the next time they visit.

One perhaps ironic suggestion is to start with your bedroom. It’s possibly ironic because your bedroom might be one of the rooms your children didn’t spend much time in. Still, it’s unlikely you’ve decorated it exactly the way you’d want, and you spend a lot of time in there. Think about how the space where you sleep, dress and read could better meet your needs.

2. Install New Flooring or Carpeting

Even if your flooring is in decent shape, it may be worth updating. After all, putting down a different type of flooring can go a long way toward breathing new life into your home, and you no longer need to worry about getting certain types of child-friendly flooring or carpeting. Remember that marble, natural stone flooring or mosaic tile you always dreamed about installing? Now's the time to do it.

3. Redo the Children’s Bedrooms

Another idea is to make over the children’s bedrooms, and you have several options here. For example, you can convert them into guest rooms, or keep some as guest rooms while switching others to something especially functional such as a gym, home office or sewing room. Or if you love spending hours curled up reading a book, you could design a library in one of the bedrooms.

At the very least, the rooms probably need to be repainted, and you can add your own decorative touches to the spaces.

4. Update or Increase Your Entertaining Space


Whether you prefer to invite large or small groups to your home, you now have the chance to rethink how you entertain. For instance, you could revamp a basement game room to include restored antique pool tables or turn it into a wine cellar. To add more entertaining space, consider adding barstools to your kitchen island or more guest seating for your deck or patio.

5. Remodel to Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

It could be that you plan to sell your home soon or think you likely will a few years down the road. So, maybe you’d rather skip touches such as expensive flooring when you won’t get to enjoy the flooring for long.

In that case, if repairs are needed, such as patching the roof or installing a new furnace, this is a great chance to get them done. A buyer may agree to purchase your house without these changes, but you’ll probably make more money if you take care of these repairs on your own.

As for remodeling, if resale value is your priority, focus on kitchens and bathrooms before other rooms. Keep in mind that trends can change quickly, so it may be best to go with classic and timeless looks that will hold up well five, 10 or 20 years from now. For a bathroom, that could mean putting in bright white shades. You can use towels, shower curtains, decorations and plants to add vibrant color to a creamy white space.

6. Freshen Up the Outside

If you have a yard, it can hold many exciting possibilities. Some ideas to spruce up your yard include:

  • Adding a garden, or several
  • Selling a play set or treehouse
  • Installing a pond
  • Building a deck or screened porch
  • Purchasing deck or patio furniture
  • Starting your yard anew with bare dirt
  • Putting in a fountain
  • Decorating with string lights and other elegant touches
  • Laying down paved walkways

You could even build an outdoor kitchen complete with grills, sinks and more. Of course, there are fire safety issues to be conscious of, but this can be a great way to spice up your entertaining options.

Teresa Gish is the sales manager for Gish’s Furniture, a provider of custom, handcrafted wood furniture made by Amish and Mennonite craftsmen out of Lancaster, PA. Read More
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