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How empty-nesters can transform their homes


Last updated 2/11/2018 at Noon

An empty bedroom can be turned into a cozy sitting room. Courtesy photo

TEMECULA – After bringing home a bubbly baby boy or girl, it can be hard for parents to imagine that a day will come when their children are off to college and onto their own apartment or house. After spending decades nurturing and caring for children, parents are left with a suddenly quiet house and probably much more time to spare. If saying goodbye to the children also means extra house, the options are to downsize or to make that extra space more useful.

Homeowners who choose to stay put can renovate vacant rooms into spaces that meet their newfound needs.

Make a hobby haven. For those who have always meant to set up a crafting room, home-brewing station or an artist’s studio, now is an ideal time to do it. Figure out which supplies will be needed and begin reworking that former bedroom into a new sanctuary for leisure interests.

Create a guest suite. Never had a spare bedroom to entertain guests? A child’s former bedroom can fit the bill. It may not be that difficult to transform such spaces into relaxing and inviting rooms for overnight guests. Be sure there is at least a queen-sized bed and a dresser or chest of drawers to stash belongings. Select paint colors and linens in neutral tones so the room will be inviting to guests.

Redo the living room. When there’s an entire soccer team coming over to hang out, that large sectional sofa or modular seating may be ideal. Now that the children are out of the house, and their friends are no longer coming over for movie night, living rooms can be made more intimate with small-scale seating. A small sofa and two comfortable chairs may be a more fitting option.

Design an at-home gym. Save money on gym membership fees by building a mini studio right at home. Choose one of the larger bedrooms and fill it with some fitness equipment, such as an elliptical trainer, a bench press bench and some free weights. Store rolled-up mats in the closet for yoga or Pilates sessions.

Expand the bathroom. If space has always been at a premium in the bathroom, borrow area from an empty bedroom and turn it into a spa. Install a soaking tub separate from the shower and fill the room with other amenities, such as a warming lamp or even a small sauna.

Create a home office. Working from home a few days a week may be more plausible when nearing retirement, as it will ensure a smoother transition from heading to the office each day to spending more time at home. Turn a bedroom or den into an office space with a new desk and bookshelves.

An empty nest can be a bittersweet experience, but parents can make such situations work for them by transforming their homes to better reflect their current needs.


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