5 Kitchen Remodel Ideas for Empty Nesters

Written by Michele Dawson
Updated September 11, 2015
electrician checking lights during a kitchen remodel
Are you searching for kitchen remdel ideas? (Photo Courtesy of Angie's List)

With the kids grown up and out of the house, homeowners can think about a kitchen remodel. Read about some tips to meet the needs of a home without kids.

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Because parents sometimes defer kitchen updates to pay for their kids’ college, a kitchen remodel is popular for empty nesters.

But if that's paid for, or close to it, and you've been thinking about making your kitchen work better for you, this might be the right time.

Of course, a kitchen remodel can be as extensive or simple as you'd like.

In 2015, the average major kitchen remodel is expected to cost close to $57,000, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2015 Cost vs. Value Report. A minor remodel will ring up around $19,200.

RELATED: How do I prioritize my remodeling projects?

Some of the most popular kitchen remodels that empty nesters pursue include:

1. A Bigger Entertaining Area

If you socialize a lot and have always felt cramped in your kitchen, you can tear down some walls to create more space.

If your house is decades old, the kitchen is probably a room of its own instead of part of an open floor plan. Putting in a large island lets guests congregate and makes a great please to serve food and drinks.

2. Adding Space for a Hobby or Office

If you want to dedicate an area for a home office or hobby, consider carving out part of your kitchen. Adding a large island, as suggested for entertaining, can do double-duty as an area for craft hobbies or to work on your laptop. Storage, either hidden or stylishly open, can be built in under the island.

RELATED: 5 renovations that can affect your homeowners insurance.

3. A Major Overhaul

Bringing your kitchen up to date is a popular choice. Some recent kitchen trends may be particularly appealing to empty nesters: transitional style's flexibility (think eclectic), easy maintenance, accessible or universal design (related to aging in place), adding docking or charging stations in the kitchen and touch-activated or no-touch faucets.

RELATED: Transitional Kitchen Elements Explained.

4. A New Eating Spot

If a large table in the eating area feels too lonely at mealtime, a cozier eating area is an option.

Booth-style seating in a corner of the kitchen, looking out a window, is a popular remodel feature. Adding padded bench seating makes it an inviting area for a long cup of coffee and good book. This also can be a great spot to spend chunks of time on your laptop or tablet.

5. Going Green

If you've not been able to make your home more energy-efficient, the kitchen is a great place to start.

Appliances: Choose ones with the Energy Star label. This means they use less energy and water. For example, an Energy Star dishwasher uses up to one-third less water than a standard model.

Cabinets: Opt for wood made of natural and sustainably harvested materials. Then pick formaldehyde-free adhesives and finishes. Formaldehyde is chemical that contributes to indoor air pollution and smog.

Countertops: Replace yours with one made from recycled glass, stone or other material. You can even get a countertop made of recovered newspaper and soy flour; it resembles granite.

Regardless of how you choose to improve your empty nest, a good first step is contacting a home remodeler. He or she can give you an array of options and ideas and help guide you through the process.

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