Empty Nest Or Second Honeymoon? Redecorating Your Master Bedroom When the Kids Leave For College

I’m at the life stage where many of my friends (who married young!) are sending their kids off to college and feeling the myriad emotions of an empty nest. I admit that I haven’t gone through this life stage myself because I don’t have children, but as a writer, I’m an observer of life and my take on it is this: like anything in life, we have a choice. You can either choose to feel you’re now old and no longer useful, or you can choose to see this as a time of rejuvenation of former personal dreams and goals, and a time to rekindle that special romantic spark with your long-time mate. I can think of no better way to do that than to redecorate your master bedroom suite as a place of peaceful rejuvenation and restoration-creating a “second honeymoon” getaway if you will. If large college bills loom, you can do it on a dollarwise budget.

Here’s how:

1. Decide and Declutter. Clutter robs you of peace of mind and a good night’s sleep. Go through your clothes closets and get rid of anything that no longer suits your current taste or doesn’t fit. Leave space for new outfits.

2. Drab Dressers. Get rid of old dressers that are no longer your current taste for décor. Donate them or use them to store tools in your garage or camping supplies in your basement.

3. Art Smart. Take down any art and get rid of any decorative accessories you no longer absolutely love. Set aside things you’d still like to keep to integrate into the new décor.

4. Beautiful Bed. Is your mattress still in good shape? If not, replace it and make sure it’s sumptuously comfortable. Choose a headboard you love or forgo one altogether and hang a lovely large painting instead.

5. Window Wonder. Drab old curtains? Take them down, fill in the drapery rod holes in the walls, and wash those windows ’til they sparkle!

6. Floor Finesse. Carpet outdated and worn? Hardwood floors scuffed? Replace and refinish. Neither is that expensive to do.

7. Bedspread Beauty. Choose a bedding ensemble that absolutely makes you smile. Buy coordinating sheets, comforter or bedspread, pillow shams, and curtains all at once so they all match. Make sure your sheets are a high thread count.The bedding will set the tone for the style of your “second honeymoon” suite.

8. Comforting Color. Take your bedding to the paint store and choose one of the colors in it for your walls and a second one for your ceiling. They can match it exactly.

9. Painting Party. Have friends who are empty nesters come over for a pizza and painting party. You can help them later in return. Be sure to use healthier no VOC paint.

10. Fine Furniture. You don’t have to break the bank to buy nightstands and dressers that are reasonably priced but look expensive. Check furnishings catalogs, online, and shop sales. Choose a style that complements your bedding.

11. Lighting Love. Forget overhead lighting glare–you want the mood of your “second honeymoon” suite to be romantic so instead choose bedside table lamps in a style and color you love and be sure the bulbs cast a soft pink or yellow glow.

12. Amazing Art. Now it’s time to choose some art that makes you swoon. Discount stores often have beautiful art reproductions for a small price, or frame those pictures of your sweet family in all-matching frames and create a “happy wall” collage of family photos. Choose vases and other accessories in colors that complement your bedding.

13. Bathroom Bliss. If you can’t afford to replace the tub and sinks or don’t like their color, have them resurfaced or just replace the fixtures. Paint the walls or choose wallpaper that coordinates with the color of the tub and sinks. Fresh fluffy towels and lovely art and bath accessories that coordinate with your bedroom’s color scheme and style will enhance the “suite” look.

14. Movie Magic. Place your TV in a hidden cabinet or mount it on the wall so that when Friday night comes you can shut out the world by choosing a flick you’ll both enjoy as a way to restore yourselves from a busy work week. My hubby and I do this and it’s bliss. You might even consider stocking a mini-fridge with goodies.

15. Final Flair. Time to put it all together. Arrange your furnishings in a pleasant arrangement, make the bed up nicely, hang the curtains, place the art and accessories, and turn on the soft light of the bedside lamps. Put some fresh flowers in a vase, turn your favorite music on low, light a candle, and break out the sparkling cider!

As I was giving these “second honeymoon” redecorating tips to my about-to-be-empty-nester gal pal recently she joked, “Second honeymoon, hmmm…can you have a headache on those?” I laughed and said, “No way honey! … So get out that paintbrush, don your best negligee, and get movin’!”

Copyright 2009 Kathryn Bechen and Kathryn Bechen Ink. All rights reserved.

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