How Should Empty Nesters Deal With a Newly Emptied Room?

Did your son or daughter recently move away to college, leaving you and your spouse as emotional empty nesters? The experience is bittersweet for many because it means that their child will no longer be around every day, but they do get an extra room to do as they please.

What Not to Do With Your Child’s Room

Well, if the thought of the newly emptied room has peaked your imagination, you should slow down a bit.

It is understandable that many families, especially large ones, may have an immediate need for the extra space — for a younger child, for instance. But if that’s not the case, and you have no pressing need for the room, experts recommend not touching it for at least one year after your child moves out.

Teenager’s share a special bond with their rooms, especially if they’ve used it since childhood. It holds all their special childhood memories and transforms into a sanctum sanctorum for their personal thoughts and emotions.

Psychologists say that even though a child may behave as though they don’t really care about the room, now that they don’t spend every night in it, the room remains a sort of security blanket to which they can return during their breaks. And, if your child goes to a nearby school, this could mean a few weekends a month.

Hence, hold off of any plans you have to change the spare room until you understand your child’s schedule. If you are still inclined to switch it up, after your child has been away for a year or so, talk to your son or daughter and understand his or her view on changing their special space.

6 Tips to Makeover an Empty Nest

Once you and your child are ready, consider these ideas for a room makeover:

1. Don’t change it

While you could make small updates by decluttering the room or giving it a new wall color and upgraded furniture, it might make sense to leave the room as is for your child to come back to whenever they need it. The small and simple upgrades can give the room a slightly grown-up look, perfect for a college kid.

2. Create an office/library

If you or your spouse have always wanted a private office space or a library, this is your chance to get it done. Add a desk, a comfortable chair, bookshelves and cozy lighting for reading to create the perfect space for your needs.

3. Design a guest bedroom

If your guests have been forced to sleep on the pullout couch in the family room until now, it is time to design a beautiful and well-equipped guest bedroom with all the amenities.

4. Make it a hobby room

Have you always wanted a cozy nook for knitting or well-stocked crafting room inspired by Martha Stewart? Create your dream hobby room with all the accessories, the right seating and ample lighting required for creating masterpieces.

5. Get fit in a fitness room

If you are into exercise and fitness, transform the room into the ultimate workout space with all the cardio and strength training equipment that you need. If you prefer gentler workouts, you could create a tranquil space for meditation and yoga too.

6. Turn it into a man cave

Your son may love this idea the most because even if it means that he’ll have to sleep on a couch, his old room would now sport a television, the perfect sound system, a pool or foosball table and loads of fun stuff.

Regardless of what you decide to do with your empty nest, remember that it is a room that your child holds special; so don’t forget to consult with him or her before transforming it completely.


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Mattson, R. (2013, September 16). What To Do With Your Child’s Room When They Move Out. Retrieved from

FLAM, L. A. (2018, August 28). Kid leaving for college? Hands off their bedroom, for now. Retrieved from,-for-now