It’s hard when your child leaves home. If they’ve gone to university there’s a chance they’ll be back regularly – to start with, at least. You’ll miss them terribly. You might find yourself sitting in their old bedroom occasionally, getting wistful over happy memories. But after a while, you’ll start eyeing those faded music posters on the walls and thinking about what else you can do with the space. So – how will you decorate your empty nest? We’ve got some suggestions (but you might want to consider warning your child first).
1A luxury guest room
When you’ve got a family, hosting visitors can be a slapdash affair if you’re short on space. A put-me-up bed here, an inflatable mattress there, and everyone bunking in together. If you’ve suddenly got a spare bedroom to play with, why not go all-out to make it really special?
First, choose your theme or colour scheme. Pick out good-quality furniture and sumptuous fabrics, with matching linen and towels. If possible, include some seating. Add lots of little touches that will make it a home from home for your guests. If the room is on the small side, hanging a mirror opposite the window will give the illusion of space.
2Games & media room
If the gaming fanatic in your life is constantly taking over the main family television to play their current addiction on the PS4 or Xbox, consider giving them a cave of their own. Decorate it in neutral colours and use black-out blinds to absorb light and reduce screen glare.
Invest in a large, wall-mounted television – ideally one that connects to the internet because, y’know, Netflix. There are some great specialist gaming recliner chairs available. Buy a couple, as some of those games are multi-player after all. Add a mini-refrigerator for drinks and snacks, and you’ve created the perfect gaming/media retreat.
3Arts & crafts or music studio
Whether it’s painting, pottery, felting or sewing, wouldn’t it be great to have a room dedicated to your crafting hobby? Somewhere to store all those materials and tools permanently instead of having to keep tidying them away from your main living space?
Or perhaps you play a musical instrument and need a dedicated practice space. Sound-proof the room with acoustic wall and floor coverings so you’re not disturbing anyone and enjoy the freedom to play whenever you like.
4Library & study
We love the idea of a home library – somewhere to curl up with a favourite novel away from the busyness of everyday life. Choose a colour scheme for the room and fit out at least two of the walls with shelving. Vary the heights and spacing to make it more interesting. Buy a couple of comfortable chairs and a side table or two.
Keep some space for a study area with a desk, storage/filing cabinet, and stationery cupboard. There’s something soothing about being surrounded by books – the ambience of the room will be conducive to work and study.
Give in to your inner Carrie Bradshaw – it’s time to go all Sex and the City with a fabulous walk-in closet. Have as many hanging rails as you like to separate your clothes according to style, type or colour. And don’t forget shoe storage – you’ve got space now to show off your footwear in style.
Add a dressing table where you can display your jewellery and makeup, ideally with a large mirror and great lighting. A separate full-length mirror so you can check your final look easily is a good idea, too.
6Home gym or yoga/Pilates studio
Most of us make regular promises to get in shape. Then life gets in the way. It’s hard to find time to travel to a fitness centre, or maybe there isn’t one in a convenient location for you. If that’s the case, you might want to consider a home gym or exercise area.
Cover a whole wall with mirrors so you can check your technique and posture, and keep the décor light and airy. Choose equipment you’re likely to use – a treadmill isn’t the best option if you hate running, for example.
If you prefer yoga or Pilates, tailor the room to meet your needs. You might want to consider a more restful colour scheme or subdued lighting, for example.