Great ideas for ‘re-feathering’ your empty nest

(ARA) – You’re proud that he made it through four years of college. You couldn’t be more thrilled that she landed her dream job, even if it’s in a city 1,000 miles from home.

But if you’re an empty-nester feeling pangs of loss as adult children move out, look for the silver lining — you can finally reclaim those areas of your house previously dedicated to the kids.

2012, 40 percent of all American households will be headed by someone 55 and older, according to the National Association of Home Builders. If you’re among them, it’s time to think about how you will redecorate and repurpose spaces in your home, including bedrooms and playrooms, which have been kid-controlled for so long.

Reclaiming your home after the kids move out can lead to improved homeowner satisfaction and enjoyment, improve your home value, and even — some studies show — increase marital satisfaction. Not sure where to start? Here are a few helpful hints:

You may not have been permitted to enter your child’s room throughout her teen years, but now that she’s off on her own it’s time to get in there, rip down those rock band posters, toss out the closet-worth of clothes that she outgrew years ago, and turn her room back into a functioning part of the household again.

You can either turn the room into the guest bedroom of your dreams, complete with linens and drapes out of a home fashion magazine, or you can tailor the space to your own needs as a home office or crafting room. Simply turning the space into a more adult environment can enhance home value, real estate experts agree. Home selling shows regularly feature selling specialists advising homeowners to replace kids’ clutter with a more grown-up look that will be more appealing to potential buyers.

The quickest way to help a kid’s room grow up — after you remove the bunk beds and lava lamp — is to repaint walls in neutral, sophisticated tones; replace worn, stained carpet; and replace kid-friendly curtains in primary colors with drapes in more subtle patterns and hues.

Play areas
If your family rec room has long served as a staging area for kids’ slumber parties or acted as a repository for excess toys, it’s time to turn the space into something the grown-ups will enjoy. Clear out kid-specific items like the foosball table and the racks of Sponge Bob DVDs, and bring in that big-screen, high-def plasma TV you didn’t buy before because you couldn’t bear the thought of sticky fingerprints all over it.

Add that wet bar that you always wanted but were afraid would prove too much of a temptation for your teens. Install a surround-sound system and turn the space into a home theater.

Freshen the decor with adult colors or further personalize the space with an easy-to-hang wallpaper mural. Imagine replacing that wall of chalkboard paint with a mural of the New York City skyline, or a restful image of a lush, green forest. You’ll find a variety of grown-up-friendly images at You can even have your own favorite photo — from that second honeymoon you finally got to take or your glory days on the high school football team — turned into a customized wall mural.

Seize the opportunity to re-feather your empty nest to your tastes. And don’t feel bad about doing it. Studies show that redecorating an adult child’s room so they know they “can’t go home again” actually helps them better make the transition to independence.

Courtesy of ARAcontent