Ideas for ‘re-feathering’ your empty nest on the cheap

(ARA) – The kids are finally on their own and you’re ready to reclaim some spaces in your home that were previously dedicated to child’s play. Even though as empty-nesters you probably won’t spend so much on food, education and gas money, you’re still not ready to go into debt to redecorate the once-kid-centric rooms in your home.

Fortunately, it’s easy to find redecorating options that pack grown-up appeal without a grown-ups only price-tag. You can make over bedrooms and play rooms with a few budget-friendly tricks.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few helpful hints:

Your teen barred you from making decorator decisions about her room long ago. Now that she’s moved out, it’s time to tear down those rock band posters, empty the closet of clothes she’ll never wear again, and do something more sedate with those awful candy pink walls.

Whether you’re planning to sell your empty nest and downgrade to something smaller, or just want to enjoy all the rooms in your home again, redecorating a child’s room has many advantages.

Start by repainting walls in neutral, sophisticated tones. Then, spice things up – in a mature, adult way – with an accent wall. For those that are afraid committing to wallpaper, repositionable peel and stick wallpaper is a great option for creating a unique decorator feature in a room. Whether you’re looking for beach wall murals to evoke the relaxed feeling of your last tropical vacation, or a city skyline to create a sophisticated aura, you can find many options online at websites like

Clear all the excess toys out of the playroom, and put their X-box on eBay. (If they really wanted it, they’d have taken it with them.) Now you’re ready to put that space to adult use — as a home theater, craft room or office.

Bring in that big-screen, high-def TV you didn’t buy before because you couldn’t bear the thought of sticky fingerprints all over it. Buy that awesome surround-sound system you passed on for years because you feared how it would sound with your kids’ favorite cartoon blasting out of the speakers.

Finally, don’t overlook the bathroom. If you’ve held off on buying new towels, bath matt and a shower curtain until there were no more teenagers in the house to mess them up, it’s time to treat yourself. While you’re at it, replace the utilitarian shower head with a luxurious multi-head unit or a rainfall shower head. Install a towel warming rack now that the electrical outlets are free of curling – or straightening – irons. Choose a serene, comforting color and paint over the cartoon fish decals.

Seize the opportunity to re-feather your empty nest to your tastes. And don’t feel bad about doing it. Studies show that redecorating an adult child’s room so they know they “can’t go home again” actually helps them better make the transition to independence.