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Design Tips to Re-Define your Interior Space when Emptynesting!


Article by Francoise Murat

So the kids have left and your home is … well… spacious! There are bedrooms, new spaces to re-configure and you can reward yourself by extending, updating, renovating or just moving! 

Whether children have left for good or you expect them to do a boomerang on you, you can still redefine the architectural interior design and decorative elements of your new home.

Here are some home improvement tips and ideas for you to implement if you downsize or if you stay put – either way look at it as a new beginning.

If you downsize….

Make sure you do not downsize too much and have very little space for those new hobbies or the things you have always wanted to do once parenthood takes a back seat. Downsizing is about modular space and multi-function usage.

–          A spare room is always a good thing. After all those kids might want to come and stay for a weekend so a sofa-bed can always accommodate them for a few days

–          If you cannot bear to get rid of the children’s bits and bobs, why not put it in storage? That way your space truly becomes your own and you can now see the wood for the trees so to speak

–          Use the under stairs space as a small office or study. Integrate shelving that can store the paperwork in decorative folders and ensure that the chair can be tucked under the bench or desk so you have enough space to walk by

–          Your kitchen might be smaller since you don’t have the kids piling in to get fed! Go for open plan – kitchen and dining area together make for a spacious looking room. Choose a kitchen that will integrate with your existing furniture.  

–          Your bathroom should be a haven of tranquillity and a clutter-free zone now the kids have left. A spa-like environment with good storage is crucial so you can hide all the everyday things that are not visually beautiful like toilet rolls, cleaning products, etc…

–          Ensure decorative elements like a coffee table can store your books or DVDs and the remotes – an uncluttered space feels tranquil and relaxing

If you extend, restore or renovate….

Extending can be disruptive but it can also mean a re-configuration of the space. Making bedrooms bigger so that they become a cinema room is popular. Or inversely putting up a wall in the open plan areas to make a craft/sewing/study area downstairs means you are now using the space for you and your needs.

You may have left maintenance and restoration of various elements to the side whilst looking after the children. This is the perfect time to restore broken showers, lay new carpets and update that bathroom.

–          Spare bedrooms can be re-used as studies; somewhere you can call your own and retire to away from everyday life. Read a book, peruse the newspapers and enjoy your space

When the kids come back….

–          If the kids come back once in a while, it might be worthwhile to ensure you have re-designed their bedroom to be multi-functional. Can your new office/study/craft room allow for a single bed? If so, use throws and scatter cushions to make it look like a sofa. The trick is to optimise the space you have to suit your new lifestyle and those old hobbies that you put aside whilst raising a family.

–          If the garage was the repository of toys/canoes/bikes et al for years, why not clear it out and make a gym out of it? Or perhaps the man of the house might want to re-claim his patch to renovate that classic car he always dreamt of?

–          Future proof the house – if this is the house you will stay in forever? Ensure it makes sense 10 years down the line. Walk-in showers might be a better idea than a shower in a bath if you don’t have much room for a separate bath. Climbing over the ridge in later life might be more difficult.

–          If this is still going to be your forever house, then why not indulge yourself in more individual decoration? You like the Moroccan look- then go for it, it’s your house and you only have to please yourself not a buyer.

Perfect Time to Redecorate and Redefine…..

–          This is the perfect time to re-decorate your home. Revise the colour scheme for example and enjoy re-designing the “look”. Do one room at a time so that it gives you time to reflect on the function of the room or area and thereby decorate accordingly.

–          You may want to make that huge family kitchen a tad smaller and re-claim a larger entertaining space.  Since you may no longer be cooking for an army, smaller appliances will give you more room and perhaps will allow you to spend the money on more expensive fitting and fixtures.

–          Remember that if you are renovating and might sell in a few years, the kitchen, the bathroom and the garden are areas that potential buyers prize above all. So spend wisely on good fixtures and fittings, good worktops, neutral but well made sanitary ware and ensure the garden is not too maintenance heavy with proper paths and an area that you can entertain in.

–          Lastly why not indulge in a new dressing room! If you have more than one spare room and it is next to your master bedroom, knock a door through or open up the space and make a fabulous walk-in dressing area. Enough space for all those Louboutin’s and D&G clothes that you will be able to buy!

Enjoy your NEW home!

Many thanks to Francoise for her excellent design tips! Francoise can be contacted at FrancoiseMurat.com

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Comments

  1. Jane C Woods

    June 10, 2011

    Lovely article Thank you, Francoise! My two children have long left home and I took over one of their bedrooms as my office. It was huge fun just pleasing myself!
    I firmly believe most working spaces are too ‘male’ ie not a lot of colour and an overall sense of ‘sensibleness’. Of course I have a desk and a pc and a lockable filing cabinet, but then a sofa covered in cream fake fur, (tactile and I wouldn’t put it anywhere else in the house altho it’s not as tasteless as it sounds!), a limited edition Beryl Cook on the wall along with a mad Rococco heart shaped mirror, and the most beautiful locally designed silk curtains! Recently I also acquired a huge stepper exercis emachine which does spoil the look a bit (to say the least) but is good for ‘thinking on’ and faces my lovely curtains!
    Jane

  2. Francoise Murat

    June 10, 2011

    Hi Jane – thanks so much for commenting. It is ALL about pleasing oneself, absolutely! Yes colour is important in interior design and especially if you are re-configuring a space, it’s amazing what gorgeous tactile wallpaper in a soothing colour can do – it pleases the senses on all levels!On the other scale splashes of colour that are bright and uplifting like orange and lime green really do make you smile- very good in an office space to keep you positive and keep you going!
    LOVE the fake fur sofa!!! You have to tweet a pic!

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