When a young adult leaves the comforts of home to set out on his or her own, homeowners are left with a bedroom that just calls out to be made over. However, the experience of a child leaving the nest can be bittersweet, and some parents struggle with the decision to renovate or leave the room intact. Converting a room can be an emotional process, but there are several different ways to put a newly vacated room to good use.
What to do with a room may hinge on who still lives in the house. Another child, for instance, may be interested in “upgrading” to the room if it is larger or has amenities that the previous bedroom does not offer, like a better view or a bigger closet. Some have plans for a craft space or a library. Perhaps the room would be perfect for a “man cave” or a quiet sitting area.
Keep in mind that the room may hold sentimental value for the child, so converting the space is not something that should happen abruptly or without prior notice given to the former occupant. Communication is key before the room can be permanently changed into a new room. To get started, follow these guidelines.
1 Start slowly. Broach the subject with the former occupant of the room to gauge his or her reaction to the idea. If your child is supportive, then the process may move along more quickly. If not, you may need to wait a little longer before starting the renovation.
2 Go through the room’s contents together. Your child may feel his or her private sanctum was violated if you simply box up belongings and ready them to be taken away. Instead, go through the room together and allow your son or daughter to pack away items of sentimental value. Other items can be donated. Consider which pieces of furniture might be kept and repurposed.
3 Keep some items of value. Remember, you don’t want your child to feel like his or her identity has been erased from the house. Find a way to incorporate something from the bedroom into the new design to pay homage to the person who lived and grew up in the room. Keep a square of removed wallpaper and frame it. Put some well-read childhood books on a shelf. Have a place of honor for the first soccer trophy. This way when your child returns home there will still be a piece of the room’s former identity.
4 Work through your new design plan. Before removing furniture and any items, draw up a detailed renovation plan and establish a budget. If the room will become a guest room, the basics may already be there and you simply need to introduce new linens and a new paint color to transform the space. Consider keeping the room functional as a sleeping space in some way — whether moving in a sleeper sofa or making a regular bed into a daybed — so when your son or daughter comes to visit, he or she will have a comfortable space.
5 Make it sophisticated. Adult spaces differ from children’s spaces in their sophistication. Starting fresh with more streamlined furniture and bolder colors in the room will give it a grownup look.
Converting a child’s former bedroom into a new and exciting living space for adults takes some planning and sensitivity. A collaborative effort between parent and child can make the process can go much more smoothly.
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