How to Redesign a Home for Empty Nesters

Written by Karen Linder
Updated July 29, 2016
Now that you are empty nesters, you can redesign your home to reflect your style, wants and needs. (Photos by Karen Linder.)

All the kids are gone, and you are now left with rooms full of outdated, well-used furniture with worn spots, stains and sagging cushions.

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It’s time to redecorate those rooms to reflect your adult style and start a new chapter in your life.

However, it’s tough to know where to begin. You may feel paralyzed by indecision or fear of the cost and delay starting your redecorating. Instead, get inspired. 

Where do you start?

Take a serious look at the rooms in your house. Decide what areas are the most important to you that you want to change first. That is the room you start with.

Is your master bedroom in need of a makeover? Is the family room worse for wear? Has your kitchen never quite functioned as you want or need it to? 

Here are some simple questions that you should start with: 

  • What's your lifestyle?

  • Do you want your home to feel warm and inviting or relaxing and spa-like? How do you envision the room?

  • How do you want this room to function? As a gathering space? A quiet retreat? 

  • What do you like about the room and what changes do you want to make? How much do you want to incorporate from the existing space into the new design?

  • What is important for you to add to the room?

  • How much money do you want to spend?

These questions will help you narrow down your scope and vision for your space. This gives a definition to what you want and helps the process begin. 

Measure and plan your space

Get some graph paper and draw the layout of the room. Keep in mind the placement of doors and windows. 

Go online to get free room-planning software and transfer the measurements you made. These are created with how-to guides that help you determine furniture layout like a pro. 

Layout and design is important to knowing what you will be able to get, so this is a great tool to help make sure you are purchasing the correct pieces and sizes when you go shopping for new furniture. 

Select fabrics to determine color scheme

Once you select the fabrics you want in your new room, you can establish an overall color scheme.

Take your sample fabrics to the paint store and select a number of colors that work well with it. Make sure you look at paint swatches throughout the day and night, as the color will change with the natural light.

Select your favorites and buy samples to paint large swatches on your walls to confirm your choices. It’s okay to go back and look for more if you don’t find the right one the first time. 

Choose the right lighting

You want to make sure you have enough lighting in your room. Poor lighting is one of the biggest mistakes made in home decorating.

Think of lighting as a triangle with three points of light in your room. You can use floor lamps, table lamps and (if your room calls for it) a chandelier. Think of what a statement that would make! 

Add rugs to anchor spaces

Adding a rug will anchor your conversational spaces. You can choose something with colorful, floral or geometrical patterns, a Persian rug, an Oriental rug and so much more. Find the rug that fits your space best. 

A mix of modern and antique with a fresh coat of paint transforms a room. (Photo by Karen Linder)


Accessorize your new room with artwork on the walls, pillows that bring depth and color, a large plant, baskets for storage and ottomans that double as coffee tables. Be creative!

Take a look at Pier One, Home Goods and World Market for inspiration and unique, fun pieces. 

Kitchen and master bedroom remodels

Ready to remodel that kitchen or master bedroom?

This can be a bit trickier. Consider connecting with an interior designer who can work with you to put together a concept or layout. This can help you envision what you can do with your space.

A contractor is also a good connection. They will be able to help you figure out what your budget will be for the remodel. When you are looking at something that is going to require major remodeling, it is always good to call in the professionals. Surprises will always happen when remodeling, but with a good contractor and a good plan you can minimize the unknowns! 

As you embark on the next chapter of your life, remember that this is your life, your time and your space. Make it your own to reflect your lifestyle. 

As of July 29, 2016, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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