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Small Home Designs For Empty Nesters and Retirees

Updated on August 7, 2017
Small House Design
Small House Design

Newly liberated empty nesters may feel that now that the last of their children has left, all the happy and sad days, the family dramas, loving tenderness, fun and excitements, and the frustrations of rearing a family are now gone past, and in some ways this may bring on a bit of sadness.

But in many other ways, this is a great opportunity to explore and newly discover aspects of life they've always wanted to enjoy, but never had the opportunity, finances or the time to. This is a good time for long forgotten hobbies, travelling and more than likely finding smaller more compact homes, or new dream homes.

For so many years the big family home has been the base for them and their children, a home filled with loving fun and constant activities. But now they have all gone to start their own new lives, and the children's bedrooms, bathrooms, their playrooms, work rooms and the two or more family living areas have suddenly become redundant and useless. The bigger house, that was full of noise and constant chatter now stands quiet and empty.

Small Home Designs For Early Nesters

For newly liberated empty nesters, this is the ideal opportunity to recoup some of the extra investment that was incurred by buying or building that big family home. It is time to start looking out for small home designs based on new requirements and a newly found freedom.

They want small home designs with fewer bedrooms, but with more open spaces for entertaining, leisure and relaxing. They want luxury touches, even if the house itself is smaller than they are accustomed to, and quiet privacy is a priority especially in high density areas.

They may also travel more frequently, if good health permits, so low maintenance living is important to them. And the option for low maintenance living is finding, purchasing or building small home designs that's cosy(er) and easy to maintain.

Selling Off the Big House for a Smaller Home Design

In many developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, with the disposable income created by selling the large family house, it is easily and possible for empty nesters to provide for their future.

Not just financially which is very important, but also by providing themselves a compact small home design, pleasant in elevation and practical in floor plan, with beautiful open plan rooms for entertaining, spacious kitchens and master suite.

There is need for good storage, workshops, easy maintenance, all with the quality that one deserves after many years of looking after others needs.

Critical Design Challenges Of One Storey Buildings

One of the most critical design challenges for the empty nesters market is the elimination of stairs. With the onset of years it's more practical to think of living in a well designed bungalow. This doesn't mean that a single storey house is not a good idea.  If a storey house is what they reside in, the first floor bedroom with en-suite facilities is super for providing bedroom space for their children and grandchildren when they visit. It's also a great idea to convert such rooms to guest rooms.

The master bedroom, the dressing room and an en-suite bathroom can be a distinct plus situated on the ground floor, perhaps as an added wing, with access to a private patio garden area or a relaxing sun porch.  If properly designed these can offer tranquil moments within itself or open up to become part of the garden without the possibility of being overlooked or invaded by your guests or younger visitors.

Open Concept Small Home Plans Are More Popular

In recent studies, most of the empty nester respondents favoured an open plan concept rather than the traditional house closed design concepts. They showed preferences for a combined living and dining area with a somewhat vaulted ceiling if possible. Some felt it was a plus visually in small home plans to separate or divide the living room and the dining room with features such as a fireplace or columns. They didn't favour both areas to be closed in with solid walls.

Quoting a participant " we live very informally at this point in our lives. We had 40 people over the other day and because the house was an open plan design, we could handle it easily."

They also preferred high ceilings, but not too high with a maximum of about 12ft(3.6 m).

However, to others, traditionalism should prevail in the design and arrangement of rooms with separate living and dining rooms.

One common factor amongst all the empty nester respondents though was, whether open home plans or traditional home plans, most of them did want the split bedroom plan with the master suite separated from the other secondary bedrooms.

Opting For Smaller House Designs

Trading the big family house for a smaller more efficient home should not be taken or seen as trading down. It should rather be considered as 'moving across'. Small house plans offer increased practicality and affords its users quality of space. This new dream home will provide a basis for many years of fine living, well earned from the past.

There isn't any need for this to seem like the end of "life as you knew it". Rather, it can be a very exciting new beginning. So, with the last child ready to leave, now is the opportunity for empty nesters to start thinking towards a trade' up' of the bigger house and search for small house designs (if they are buying), or small home plans (if they are building) for their dream "retirement" homes of the very near future.

© 2011 viryabo


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    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 5 years ago

      Thanks Bracaza

    • bracaza profile image

      Benedict Racaza 5 years ago from Phils

      simple but cute

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 6 years ago

      Thanks masses Denise.

      Actually i'm an interior designer and work in the building industry, doing interior design works, renovations and restorations. I do some custom design furniture as well.

      I think i might catch up (hopefully by tomorrow), fingers and toes crossed :lol:

      Thank you for visiting and for your nice comments.


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I love your hubs about homes and home designs. Is this your profession?

      Don't worry about the catchup, you'll do it. :)