The 12 Most Common Renovations for Empty Nesters
The kids are finally out of the house, so now is a terrific time to renovate your home without your rambunctious teens and young adults taking center stage.
When there are children at home, the house goes through a lot of wear and tear, making it hard to justify certain fixes or upgrades. From chipped paint to scuffed floors, dents to stains, parents tolerate a lot of imperfections when their children live under their roof.
Once those kids go off to college or move out, renovating an empty nest becomes a practical option for those ready for an upgrade, but not ready to downsize. Approximately 3 out of 4 empty nesters renovate their homes after their children move out, and here are twelve projects they’re most likely to tackle.
1. Upgrade the furniture.
Now that your kids are no longer around to spill, put their feet on the furniture, or roughhouse, a world of new design options opens up. The furniture pieces you have when the kids are around need to put up with a lot. For this reason, many family homes tend to have darker couches made of washable fabrics to hide imperfections and spill-proof tables and chairs to make clean-up easy, rather than more upscale options.
Parents who have avoided buying premium furniture can now invest in the pieces and materials they’re drawn to, as opposed to what looks “good enough” and tolerates years of misuse. From high-end kitchen barstools to solid wood tables to pristine living room seating, empty nesters look forward to revamping their decor.
2. Design a dream office.
Many empty nesters still have years of working ahead of them, and remote working is on the rise. According to Forbes, 25% of all professional jobs in North America are fully remote, with that number expected to increase next year.
After the little birds fly the nest, they leave behind space that can be transformed into a roomy office. Add an ergonomic desk, comfy chair, and the tools necessary for your job—not to mention a convenient snack fridge—and you have a nice work space that will serve you to retirement.
3. Add a home gym.
Bedrooms are not the only rooms that kids occupy. Once they’re out of the house, the basement or rumpus room becomes fair game for renovation. These rooms become excellent areas to set up a home gym. Having a dedicated workout space may prompt you to get in your morning run on the treadmill, lift weights, or join an online yoga class.
Start by removing all the unnecessary clutter from the room, then add the gym equipment you need, from free weights to cardio machines to a television on the wall so you can follow along with virtual workouts.
RELATED: The Best Home Gym Equipment of 2022
4. Upgrade the kitchen.
The kitchen always serves as a gathering space, but with teens and young adults around, your counters are just as often sat upon as used for food prep. Whether you have dents in the fridge, burn marks on the counter, or a cupboard door that’s on its last legs from being slammed shut too many times, this is the ideal time to give your kitchen some love as one of your first projects.
Reface the cabinets, change the light fixtures, install the undermount sink you like, or do a complete overhaul, including new countertops and tile backsplash.
5. Add an entertainment or home theater room.
Empty nesters have worked hard for many years raising their kids, and they deserve a space to chill out for movie night or watch the game. Several of these folks prioritize adding or enhancing their home theater, giving it a dedicated space away from other noise in the home, say, in the basement.
This renovation could be a small change, like swapping out the television for a better one or getting a new surround sound system. For more ambitious homeowners, purchasing plush theater seating or even adding a popcorn bar in the corner of the room creates the right atmosphere for movie marathons. Hard-core film buffs may also opt to add acoustic foam paneling to their walls, so they can enjoy a true home theater experience.
6. Freshen up the living room decor.
In a home that’s raised children, a living room can have a lot of memories. After all, it’s one of the rooms where families spend the most time together. Parents who want their money to stretch a bit further may put off updating a room that gets so much love because of all the shenanigans that occur there.
However once the kids are on to their next chapter, parents can finally feel free to reinvent this space around a new theme or color scheme with new art, plants, window coverings, rugs, and even updated electronics.
7. Create a cozy guest room
Now that you’re an empty nester, you have a spare bedroom. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and turn the space into something entirely different; a lot of empty nesters opt to keep it as a guest room that their kids can use when they come home to visit.
This common renovation usually sees a refresh to the walls, new bedding, perhaps a different bedroom set, updated bedside tables and lamps, and some thoughtful additions for guests, like extra robes and slippers in the closet.
8. Repaint interior walls.
After the kids are gone, empty nesters feel like it’s finally safe to paint their walls. Not only does having kids around make it more complicated to paint, but over the years those kids have left their mark in the way of chipped paint and smudges throughout the house.
Empty nesters have likely lived with the same color on their walls for a long time, and they’re looking forward to the makeover a new paint color brings. A fresh application of paint is a straightforward DIY that can make a home look entirely different and symbolize a new phase of life.
9. Replace flooring.
Over time, kids can do a number on the floors from dropping heavy items, making messy spills, or using the wrong cleaning agent. This doesn’t apply to just specialty flooring; it goes for all types, including hardwood, carpet, tile, and vinyl.
Once a home becomes an adult-only domain, empty nesters may be inclined to finally replace their flooring that’s outdated or just worn out from age. Homeowners can finally invest in modern flooring that will be taken care of properly and add to the home’s value.
10. Invest in new appliances.
Even if they’re not redoing the entire kitchen or laundry room, empty nesters are happy to upgrade their appliances to more modern versions. Over the years, they’ve likely accumulated a hodgepodge of appliances, holding onto the items that still work while the kids are at home.
Now that there is less worry about somebody misusing the appliances, empty nesters may feel more confident in upgrading their washer and dryer, dishwasher, fridge and stove. They may also want to add or replace their garbage disposal, espresso machine, stand mixers, and other smaller kitchen appliances in colors and designs that give their homes a more cohesive feel.
11. Redo the existing bathrooms.
It’s likely been a while since the bathrooms in the home had a makeover. Though some empty nesters may have upgraded their master bathroom at some point, the other bathrooms in the home may have become a bit outdated.
Once the kids are out of the house and there isn’t anyone using the guest bathrooms, it’s the perfect time for a renovation. Small changes, like new light fixtures or towel bars, make a difference, but some homeowners gut the entire room, adding new tile, tub, dual showerheads, vanity, and mirrors. It’s easier to redo multiple bathrooms at once, as you can buy supplies like tile in bulk to ensure all the bathrooms match throughout your home.
12. Implement a hobby room.
If the home already has a guest room, empty nesters may opt to turn a child’s former bedroom into a room for themselves. For crafters who have plenty of bobs and bits, a dedicated hobby room frees up storage space elsewhere. The same goes for book enthusiasts, music lovers, photographers, collectors, and other hobbyists.
Having a space to unpack your hobby helps ensure you actually participate in the hobby. In a newly child-free home, empty nesters now have more time to do other things they enjoy. Add the shelves, lights, or desk space you need to truly make the most of your extra free time.