How to Transform Your Empty Nest Into the Cozy Sanctuary You’ve Always Dreamed Of

Once your children grow up and move out of the house you’ve shared with them for the past 18 or more years, you may not know what to do with all the extra time and space you’re faced with. You may even develop empty nests syndrome (ENS), a type of grief that affects parents once their children leave home for the first time. In fact, some researchers say that approximately 25 percent of empty nesters will suffer from ENS.

Whether you find yourself suffering from ENS or you’re finally ready to convert all that extra bedroom space into the reading room you’ve always dreamed of, there are several DIY projects you can take on. While ENS can take a while to subside, these affordable, DIY projects will excite you and keep you busy as you adjust to these life changes. Here are a few suggestions from Upcycle.NYC.

Convert a Spare Bedroom Into a Sacred Space

Now that your kids have officially moved out, you can make use of any spare bedrooms in your home by converting them into a reading sanctuary, office, or home gym. When converting a spare bedroom into a reading room, for instance, the possibilities are endless. All you need to get started are some shelving units, a comfortable place to relax, and a small table for holding your favorite snacks and beverages, whether it be a hot cup of tea or a glass of wine.

Turn Your Master Bathroom Into a Spa

Even if you can’t afford to renovate your master bathroom, there are several simple things you can do to give your bathroom a spa-like feel — especially now that you won’t be sharing your master bath with your kids (and their messy friends). Here’s how:

  • Invest in the softest, fluffiest bath mats, rugs, and towels you can find.
  • Incorporate candles, air-purifying plants, and vases with fresh flowers into your decor.
  • Upgrade your mirrors, shower head, bathtub, and lighting.
  • Use colors like white, blue, or beige to create a calm, welcoming bathroom environment.
  • Use scented soaps, lotions, and essential oils to set the mood and relieve stress.

Freshen Up Your Old Furniture

After your kids move out, you can finally begin to repair any damaged, worn, or scratched wooden furniture — even if replacing your furniture is out of the question. To do so, Better Homes and Gardens recommends prepping the wood and applying primer before giving your furniture a fresh coat of paint in a color you love. 

Think About the Future

As you begin these DIY projects, take a moment to think about your future. Will you stay in the home you raised your children in, or will you downsize into something smaller? If you plan on downsizing, how soon would you like to sell your home?

If you plan on selling your home in the near future, check your home’s appraisal value — as this number could affect the types of updates you make to your home. If your home isn’t worth as much as you’d like, there are several additional DIY projects you can complete to boost its value. The experts at Investopedia recommend the following:

  • Painting your front door or installing a new one
  • Upgrading the landscaping in front of the home
  • Cleaning and painting your kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • Replacing old kitchen hardware with new knobs and handles
  • Upgrading or restoring the flooring

When making these updates to your empty nest, be mindful of how much money you’re spending, as your return on investment could be much lower than it’s worth. Inexpensive upgrades like painting your front door black could increase the value of your home by as much as $6,271, but not all updates will return as much.

As you adjust to life as an empty nester, there’s no better time to turn your home into the sanctuary you’d always dreamed of. However, you may want to focus your attention on affordable do-it-yourself projects that’ll boost the value of your home, especially if you plan on downsizing in the next couple of years.

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