6 ways to take advantage of your empty nest

Empty nest? It’s time to re-feather it!

Once your children are old enough to fly the coop, so to speak, you’ve got some extra space (and time!) to devote to your hobbies and interests.

The first step? Re-converting your kids’ bedrooms into a new type of space.

Ben Soreff, professional organizer with House to Home Organizing, tells us that turning kids’ rooms into home gyms is the most common use for the space. But, he says, turning your child’s room into a guest room is probably the most practical solution since the bed is already there.

But, alert! Soreff says a lot of people don’t follow through with their goals.

“I would say the thing I notice most is that most people don’t finish what they start, and the kid’s room becomes like a second attic — a place for items to pile up when you can’t make a decision,” he says.

It doesn’t have to go down this way, though!

Instead, come up with a plan for the space that’s practical and reflects your lifestyle. Is your home a magnet for out-of-town guests? Do you want to make yoga and meditating a part of your morning ritual? Or, do you need a creative retreat to do artwork or read?

Then, make a budget. How much do you want to spend converting the space? Is it worth doing a remodel project, knocking down a wall to combine two rooms so you can have a spacious gym? And, how much would that save you in gym memberships in the future?

Next, decide on your storage solution. Whether it’s favorite childhood toys and blankets or high school prom dresses and trophies, you can box those items up and have Closetbox come and pick them up to safely store. When you and your family need those treasured items again, you can have Closetbox return them to you. (Hey, your future grandchildren might appreciate that rocking horse just as much as your child did. And, um, your adult child might want to go to adult Prom party and rock that rad, 90’s-tastic dress again).

Ready to re-feather that empty nest? Here’s six ways you can reconvert the space to give you some inspiration.

1. A reading room

Whether you’re an avid bookworm or just joined a book club, a reading room can be a cozy retreat. A reading room works especially great in small spaces, and a simple shelving system will finally give your books a space of their own. Just add a comfy sitting arrangement.

Inspiration: Futurist Architecture has culled together 100-plus reading room ideas. One we’re coveting involves a hammock.

2. A guest bedroom

FaceTime is great. But we all need some real face time with friends and relatives. Playing host to out-of-town guests is the perfect opportunity to play tourist in your own city. Maybe it’s time to catch up with that friend from college or invite your favorite aunt to come stay for a long weekend?

Inspiration: Stonegable, a lovely home and garden blog run by an empty nester, provides 10 great tips for creating a comfy guest room. A luggage rack is a small touch that goes a long way!

3. A yoga and meditation space

The health benefits of yoga are wide-ranging, from increased muscle strength to lowering blood pressure and alleviating insomnia. It also don’t require a ton of equipment. Just roll out your mat and tune into a class on an app or via a DVD.

Inspiration: For some visual inspiration, check out this collection of photos on Pinterest of DIY yoga sanctuaries.

4. A home gym

Having a home gym makes working out easier. And what better way to start your day than with some exercise-induced endorphins putting you in a great mood? If you’re on a budget, you don’t worry about investing in a ton of equipment. Body-strength exercises like planks are great for muscle-toning and only require a mat. You can continue making investments in your home gym over the years.

Inspiration: Shape magazine gives ideas on how to create the perfect home gym in this article.

5. An art room 

Whether you’re passion is painting or you just opened up an Etsy shop to sell your handmade jewelry, having a space dedicated to your craft will help you tap into your creativity. Of course a major part of this renovation is being sure you’ve got the proper organizational set-up so you can store all of your supplies. (Because, really, scissors are notorious for disappearing).

Inspiration: Pinterest has curated a collection more than 450 craft room photos along with tutorials proving it’s possible to do this room makeover for under $600.

6. A play room

If you’ve got grandkids, they’re probably wondering “where are the toys?!” when they come over. They’ll love having a dedicated playroom at your house. And, you’ll love having their toys confined to one room.

Inspiration: HGTV has corralled 45 ideas for converting small spaces into playrooms.