You have spent the last two decades picking up questionable smelling football socks, or watching re-runs of ‘My Little Pony.’ You have had to endure channel hopping, music bopping and eye-wateringly expensive food shops. You have become a laundry whizz on a daily basis and can recite ‘The Lion King’ word for word. So it is little surprise that when the kids grow up and fly the nest, parents are left experiencing what is affectionately known as ‘Empty Nest Syndrome.’
Your home is now eerily quiet, your floors remain clean after washing and the only picking up you have to do is after yourself – or for you many long-suffering wives, your husband. So how can you keep yourself from wallowing in the emptiness that is your offspring’s old bedroom? One word – Redecorate.
Suddenly finding yourself with heaps of room can be a bit daunting, but all it takes is a tiny bit of soul searching and perhaps a lick of paint and you can reclaim your space.
Step 1: Pack It Up
Do not feel guilty about erasing your children’s memory – think of it as a relocation for their belongings. Whether it is the entire house you are focusing on or just their bedroom, packing up and relocating your children’s childhood memories can be surprisingly therapeutic for all involved. Think of this step as the gateway to getting your own space back.
Consider each item carefully; does it hold sentimental memories? Either package it up neatly for your child to take to their own home, or put it safely in your own attic or basement. Is the item clean and in good working order but is no longer needed? Bag it up for a charity donation or try to sell it. Has the item passed its sell by date? Throw it away – and be ruthless. Once the room is cleared, the magic can happen.
Step 2: Clean
Clean like you have never cleaned before. An empty room allows us to get right down into the dark, forgotten corners of the floors and ceilings. If you have lampshades, remove these and give them a good scrub. Wipe the windows, clean the carpets or floors and remove any dark marks or smudges on the walls.
Step 3: Consider What You Need / Want
This step primarily applies to the empty room you suddenly find yourself with. It is all too easy to allow the room to become an unorganised storage space for anything you can’t find a place for; avoid this by considering now what you want the room to become. Work from home a lot? Convert it into a home office. Want to cancel that gym membership? Make a home gym or yoga room. Looking for somewhere to watch a movie? Repurpose it into a cinema room. Love books but don’t have anywhere comfortable to read? Convert it into a library or reading room. For a few simple and cheap room conversion tips, check out step 5.
Step 4: Paint / Repaper
So you know what you want the room to become, but right now all you are seeing is the remains of a bright wallpaper that your creative child decided to adorn the walls with. Strip the walls bare and either repaper with something that matches your room’s new purpose or paint them in a suitable hue.
Step 5: Conversion Tips
Are you unsure of how to achieve that cinema room, or home gym? We have a few guidelines to point you in the right direction which require minimal disturbances.
- Cinema Room
The key here is darkness. Invest in some black-out blinds if the room is naturally well lit and consider having a dimmer switch put in if there isn’t one already. Put a TV or screen projector in to showcase those movies to the best light and, if your child has no use for their childhood bed, repurpose this into a comfortable day bed by either placing it side on against the rear wall or creating a simple back board. Fill it with oversized cushions and voila. For additional seating consider filling the room with inexpensive bean bags.
- Games Room
Rather than just dumping the pool table in the room so you have somewhere to play, turn the room into somewhere you can while away a few hours with friends. Design a small bar and keep it stocked with a few essential drinks (consider a small mini fridge too), put a TV in to show all the sports games, invest in a radio, CD player or docking station so you always have some atmospheric tunes to hand and get in some comfortable seating.
- Craft Room
Does your child no longer require their study desk? Fill the drawers with your craft bits and bobs and use the flat space as somewhere neat to work. Put in a few additional drawers to keep everything organised and keep the room looking light and airy with curtains or linear blinds. Quite the opposite to a cinema room, you need this room to be filled with light.
- Reading Room / Library
Give your books the respect they deserve by gifting them their very own room. Line the walls with decorative bookshelves and sit a dainty reading light next to the most comfortable armchair you can find. Let this room be your little bit of solitude.
- Music Room
Once the craziness that comes with having children at home eases off as they move on to their own homes, relive your youth and dedicate a room to listening to, and making, music. Something as simple as a day bed (see the bed conversion tip above) and a trusty music player can be all it takes to make this room work.
- Dressing Room
If the spare room is near to your master bedroom, take full advantage and free up space by relocating your wardrobes / dressing area to their very own, dedicated room. It may be possible to knock a doorway through to the master bedroom but failing that, put in some clever lighting, hang some poles for your clothes and erect some shelves for shoes and bags. Ensure that a dressing table and mirror is set up and, if you have the room, pop in a chaise longue so you can relax whilst getting ready.
- Home Gym
One of the slightly more expensive options, but by investing in some home fitness equipment like a weights station, treadmill and exercise bike, you can cut down on gym fees and exercise when you like. Hang a few full-length mirrors on the walls and put a TV up to complete it.
- Yoga Room
Unlike the above, this is possibly one of the cheapest room conversions available. Consider have a dimmer switch installed, lay out a few candles in safe places, roll out a yoga mat and have a music player to hand.
- Home Office
This is one of the most popular options for converting a spare room. Re-use your child’s study desk as an office desk, install a computer and replace a chest of drawers for a filing cabinet. Hang a few shelves for those all important files or books and maybe an arm chair, for when it gets too much. If a trip to the kitchen seems too far away, consider keeping a coffee machine to hand!
So what is your next step? We have experience in redeveloping rooms to individual needs so if you are having difficulty in imaging your dream room and need a helping hand, give us a call. We will work up several proposals for your consideration and work with you every step of the way to achieving the room you desire.
The information in this Coffee Break article is intended for guidance only. The authors cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage which may result from the use of this article.