Designing a New Life and Home for the Empty Nester Phase of Life- According to LiLu
By Lisa Peck, ASID
Becoming an empty nester is a new phase of life for many of us in our middle years. Remember going off to college and feeling the exhilaration knowing the possibilities for reinventing yourself, exploring new horizons and the great opportunity to expand your interests and enthusiasm. If you are entering your empty-nester years, I encourage you to tap into that feeling you had as a teenager and really start imagining the possibilities that truly do exist for you. Imagine designing a new life and home perfectly suited to your vision of this new phase in life.
Yes! You can design a new way of life and reinvent your home and world. Imagine the possibilities.
Pursuing a New Passion at Home
What to do with all the time that was devoted to those kids…this is something everyone considers. Often there is a hobby or interest that you have been wishing you had the time for and now you do! Maybe you have always wanted to do ceramics, weave baskets, play guitar, read endlessly, and learn a new instrument? The list of options is endless. During your empty nest phase of life you can do what you want with all of the time you once devoted to being a soccer, hockey or orchestra Mom so what will you do?
The first step is discovering what you truly will have fun doing and this may take a bit of experimenting. Do you love playing piano? Does sewing leave you wondering how time passed so quickly? Play around a little, try a few things. Pretend you are a freshman in college again and you can try a little of this and that in order to find yourself. Once you have identified what you want to do and you have the time you will need to design it into your life.
Why do you need to design it into your life? If something is difficult to do, you will be less likely to do it. I love to sew! But for years, in order to sew, I needed to retrieve my machine from a closet, my tools from a drawer and set up the dining room table to work. Now two hours in…I’ve not really sewn. Reimagine it! Now I have lovely sewing room where all my tools are stored in drawers nearby and all I need to do is remove the cover on my machine and sew. How much more likely am I to sew?
[caption id="attachment_21409" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Images clockwise from upper left: Shelter Architecture, all other images via google images, designer credit unknown[/caption]
Where to find the space? There is likely space in your home that was once occupied by your kids and doesn’t need to be dedicated to them full time anymore. Now you get to use that space and design it to support the new you. For inspiration here are a few photos.
I have a friend who turned her child’s empty room into a meditation space after he left for college. Easy to convert back into a spot for him to sleep but now decorated with rugs and wall hangings that felt just right to support her meditation practice. I know I now meditate in the living room, which is a dicey proposition at best.
Whatever you want to pursue, design your space to support your design for your life.
[caption id="attachment_21411" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Images clockwise from upper left: Image via google images, designer credit unknown, LiLu Interiors[/caption]
Reinventing Your Style
For years you’ve may have defined yourself as someone’s parent and had a home that reflected that status. Maybe your new footloose and fancy-free lifestyle requires a new style at home. Thinking about reinventing yourself can be part of entering a new phase of life.
Maybe the early American dining table you were given by your parents wasn’t ever really your style but it worked and you had other things, called kids, to focus on. Now you can define your own style
To get started think about what a new home could look like in your new style look around at friends homes, magazine, pinterest, houzz, designer websites and hotels or restaurants that you visit and think about what you like. If you love something, include it in the inspiration for a new space that express who you want to be in this new phase of life!
A couple we worked with traded in traditional for modern and left the past behind and started over with an all-new style. It helped free them up to imagine all new ways of seeing and living their lives.
Which style below closely aligns with your empty-nester style?
[caption id="attachment_21410" align="aligncenter" width="720"] All images designer credit: LiLu Interiors[/caption]
One of the options many people pursue once they become empty nesters is to downsize. Less of a home comes with many perks that can open up great possibilities for living differently.
With less house to keep up it can free up time and financial resources and allow you to travel or pursue those passions we spoke about earlier.
Some of the clients we have worked with over the years have used the empty-nest phase of life to move to a condo so they can turn the key and leave at the drop of a hat and pursue the world-traveler lifestyle. Does that appeal to you?
Take a look at a few condo projects we have done over time. Can you picture yourself here?
[caption id="attachment_21412" align="aligncenter" width="720"] All images Designer credit LiLu Interiors[/caption]
Others have taken the opportunity to create a second home where their adult children and at some point the grandchildren in a home designed to encourage multiple generations to enjoy time together in a location with amenities too good to pass up for a different vacation destination. How does that sound to you?
If the possibilities are intriguing but the idea of knowing how to design a new space too much contact LiLu Interiors and we will be glad to help!