The departure of children from the home may be bittersweet, but it is also an opportunity for empty nesters to reclaim their space. Updating the home after the kids move out with savvy improvements can help facilitate aging in place and boost resale value for those planning to downsize in the future.
If your children have left the nest, consider these home projects:
1. Find Your “Me” Space
Turn junior’s room into a space that works for you, like a home office, exercise room, music studio, craft room, workshop or home theater. Keep in mind your long-term plans. If you’ll be selling the home at some point, consider a room that will have broader appeal, like a home office.
If you plan to age in place, remember to incorporate features in your “me” space that will facilitate your use of the room even if you experience mobility issues down the road. For example, you may want to take the opportunity to widen doorways, replace doorknobs with door handles, replace loose carpet or slippery tiles with slip-resistant flooring, and improve ventilation.
2. Embrace Natural Lighting
Vision changes as you age, so the artificial lighting that worked for you when you were in your 30s or 40s may not be adequate when you enter your 50s and 60s. Lighting is an important upgrade if you plan to remain in your home into your golden years. Look for improvements that will help aging eyes see better, like increased natural lighting and task lighting in work areas.
3. Create a Bathroom Retreat
Bathrooms sell homes, and if you’ve lived with an outdated master bathroom – or none at all – now’s the time to renovate. In addition to all the luxurious features you’ve been dreaming of, like a rainfall shower head and heated floor, keep in mind the practical improvements that will make the room safe and usable as you grow older.
Look for slip-resistant flooring, improve natural and task lighting and replace faucet knobs with easy-to-maneuver levers. Install grab bars around tubs and toilets, as well as in the shower. Bath product designers are now making grab bars that offer the look of design elements coupled with the security of sturdy support.