Empty Nest Decorating: Fill the void with design!
Written By Hooker Furniture
In a previous post, “Flexing Your Home Through The Seasons of Life”, I shared a prelude to some of the many changes we experience in our homes, as life presents seasons of transition such as the Empty Nest. Now that many of you have wistfully watched as your young adults have left the nest in order to make their move to college or a new career, you may be trying to decide how to transition their old sleeping quarters with twinges of guilt.
Of course, there are always the funny commercials featuring parents with long, sad faces as they wave goodbye to their young ones and then the happy dance ensues after the door closes!
While it may not seem that addressing your child’s room would truly fill the void, I think it could actually be a great way to redirect your energy into making a “welcome home” space for them, as well as to capture some function that could be missing in other parts of your home – an extra room for guests, a hobby area, a quiet reading or meditation escape, etc. Having worked with clients who are empty nesters, I can promise you they have not only enjoyed the process but they’ve appreciated the sense of renewal. Of course, an important consideration is that while the nest may have just been emptied, the wallet may have followed suit so I’m mindful of providing reasonable, creative solutions!
Let’s consider a couple of scenarios. In one, you may have sent off most of the furnishings in order to help your young adult set up their own housekeeping. Yay for you! Time to really refresh and renew! In the other, let’s assume you’ve got a bit of this and a bit of that to incorporate. I’ve got you covered on how to recycle and rework! Just follow along for inspiring ideas.
One of my favorite ways to capture added function, while expanding the horizon of a room, is with built-ins or wall units. It cleans up a lot of clutter while giving architecture and a focal point to what could be a box of a space. Of course, if not done well, it can close in a small area, too. That’s where the creative, visual touches make all of the difference. You may already have some of these pieces floating around the house and are considering moving them out because they feel too utilitarian. Either a painted finish or some other tweaking can bring them back to wow. Just think of all of the uses for these cabinets! You can add pull-out trays to the top of the base to create retractable nightstand surfaces. Lots of interior cabinet adaptations are available through your local hardware or cabinet shops, as well as online venues. You’re only limited by your imagination. (And of course, a talented interior designer can help!)
In my first design board, I kept the stained finish in place while adding some removable wall covering in the back panels. The cabinet hardware has also been updated to repeat the pattern motif of the paper. This allowed me to introduce a more curvilinear design to soften the straight edges. The paper brings a pop of pattern without having to place it in a window treatment. In fact, the window treatment could remain neutral with only accents of color to allow for an easy change-up, in the future. (I’m remembering how, not too long ago, some of my clients who had sent kids off to college are now grandparents! They’ve created a new batch of bedroom projects for little ones!) Flexibility and forward-thinking are key ingredients to good design.
Assuming you still have the basic bed in place, you could dress it up with customized, finishing details such as banding and buttons to pop more color accents. Even layering ready-for-bed items emphasize a lux look and feel, while providing for cohesive design connections. Adding an upholstered headboard between the structures gives a custom built-in look without breaking the bank.
(Design Tip: If you don’t have room for as many of the wall units I’ve featured, consider this upholstered storage bed from Hooker Furniture Company’s Chatham Collection. The inserts pop out for an easy change of fabric and the base allows for tucking in extras.)
They key point to remember is that it’s still a family affair. In the past, I’ve created “guest” room spaces for a client’s adult twin daughters and they were active participants in the selections’ process. It’s a great way to keep family members connected as well as to make wise investment choices that everyone will love!