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What to Do with Empty Nest Bedrooms When the Kids Move Out?

Updated on November 16, 2016
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John uses research skills (Ph D) & 30 years as CEO, manager to develop reviews for time management, productivity, staff relations, business

There are three types of fledglings that Empty Nest parents have to think about:

  1. Come Back Often (kids at college who return on vacation) and
  2. Come Back Rarely
  3. Move one then comeback due to financial or personal hardship

Many parents hang on to memories and the kids bedrooms are the museums. But its time to move on and parents need to see things from the kids perspective.

Perhaps the kids will come home more often if parents renovated their bedrooms as adult guest rooms rather than mausoleum to their childhood (grow up mum and dad). Retaining some simple mementoes is fine, but revamping and renovating bedrooms should be on the agenda.

These rooms can have multi purposes and maybe a lot more attractive for young adults and their partners.

Empty nest bedrooms may be very unappealing for young adults
Empty nest bedrooms may be very unappealing for young adults | Source
Empty nest bedrooms serve no useful purpose and kids and young adults may not want to stay in them
Empty nest bedrooms serve no useful purpose and kids and young adults may not want to stay in them | Source
Modern designs offer multipurpose uses for renovated kid's bedrooms
Modern designs offer multipurpose uses for renovated kid's bedrooms | Source

Children Leave Home Older Now and Many Live with Parents until 25-35 years of age

In the UK there is a strong trend for offspring to leave home later, many by choice and most because they say they cannot afford to move out because of high rental and property prices. Many move out for a while but come back home after a financial or personal crisis. Other return after completing college education courses. In the UK about 25% of men aged 25-29 years live with their parents, double the 13% rate for women of the same age. For 30 year olds the relative numbers are 10% for men and 5% for women. What this means is that parents have to cope with young adults that share their homes. This provides increase incentive to renovate the children's bedrooms as they get older.

What to Do with All the Kid's Stuff After They Move Out?

Let's face it, the kids would not tidy up their things when they were at home so why would they suddenly like to contemplate a clean-up when they come home. Often they will say "Don't throw my stuff out", only to please their parents. When they actually have to stay in their old room, surrounded by stuff which says "You are a Kid" - they hate it. Some don't like to throw stuff out, but they don't want to live in its midst either. So into storage it goes with key mementoes on display by mutual agreement. Some kids are much tidier away from home!

Some simple suggestions about what to do with Empty Nest Bedrooms

  • Downsize, live your own life, and renovate for 'Kid Free at Last'. Maybe you only need one guest bedroom or a study that can be quickly converted for both roles.
  • Change the memorial into a funky modern self-contained space (even an apartment) for a young semi-independent adult who may want to bring guests home.
  • Long-term keepers and mementoes can go into storage, apart from some special items, videos, etc.
  • De-cluttering is a must. Select artworks, photos, awards and other memorabilia can be put into frames, even those electronic ones. Reorganising is a recognition that the kids have grown up - keeping everything as it was is clinging to the past and is too nostalgic. Other guests who use the room will feel less awkward if the space is re-jigged and is no longer the kid's private space.
  • Think about turning one of the kids’ rooms into a fitness room, 'his and hers' offices, entertainment room or some other special purpose space for the parents with beds etc - multipurpose spaces
  • Renovating the kids bedrooms for a new role can be a lot of fun and an opportunity to improve the value of your house when you decide to downsize and move into a smaller space for your retirement.
  • Get the kids involved in the redesign as a modern multipurpose room.
  • It may be time to rethink the entire layout of the house! Or perhaps parents should consider moving into a small apartment!

Did you redesigned or renovated children's bedrooms after they left home

See results

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson


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  • diogenes profile image

    diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

    Just moved to say: what you do in effing Britain is pay an onerous tax - the "Bedroom Tax" - to this bloody Tory government who are bleeding the poor again