The day has finally come. The kids have flown the coop and the home improvements to-do list that has been growing right along with them is ready for your full attention. But where to start? What follows are some ideas for must-have home decor to reflect your style and interests with a special focus on empty nesters. At last, you have the freedom and the time to transform your house into the personalized space of your dreams.
Elevate Your Home with Artwork
One of the quickest ways to give a home a style makeover is with some new art. While you long ago may have framed your children’s masterpieces, some professional options would elevate the adult vibe in the space.
Going to galleries is a fun experience but there are also a lot of online galleries to peruse. House Beautiful offers some tips on buying art online and notes that the right selection can bring “fun, harmony, and style to your living space.”
The writers talked with the team at Affordable Art Fair in London which outlined some considerations. Where the art will hang should influence the choice. If the spot on the wall will be in direct sunlight, you probably don’t want a watercolor. If the art is intended for a room where a lot of guests will see it, like the living room, a statement piece may be more the ticket. Check out this sea-inspired showpiece by Dan Laurentiu Arcus.
Decorilla offers 10 ways to incorporate art into your home. One tip: if you can’t find a painting you like, try a tapestry or a patterned fabric stretched over a large frame. Another budget-friendly and unique idea is to frame pieces of wallpaper. You can buy a panel or even just frame smaller samples or cuttings.
Below is a custom dyed silk scarf by Brooklyn-based artist Rebeca Raney with vibrant colors and fun characters that we framed for a client who wanted to introduce more color into her home. It has such personality! We worked with Pictures Plus on the framing to complete the unique art.
Upholstery Upgrade, Stat
Now may also be a good time to get old sofas or chairs recovered in a fresh, new pattern or you may be ready for some new furnishings. Don’t forget though if you have a family, your children will probably eventually return to visit and they may bring even more people with them! At some point you might need options that are family-friendly again if grandchildren are part of the plans. We have clients who babysit their kids’ pets too so keeping easy maintenance and durability in mind for your common areas is probably always a good idea.
Architectural Digest remarks on the growing popularity of sustainable, not synthetic, fabrics. Comfort is a big draw too.
“We’re seeing cozy, voluminous textiles such as a wool bouclé or soft cotton corduroy—something to hug for hours,” Svenja Diekmann, head of design at Hem, told the magazine. “Textures and checks, in general, are adding another layer of haptic and visual perception to homes, bridging artisanal craft and characterful environments.”
Additional ways to freshen up a room are decorative pillows or even new window treatments. We nearly always design custom pillows for clients or do a combination of custom and specialty pillows. Of course, custom draperies are one of our specialties. This next room has a custom window valance, custom upholstered headboard and ready-made bed linens. The pink, black and white silk Ikat pillows are from one of my favorite shops, Wish Boutique. If you look closely, you might see that the framed art on the wall is actually a piece of wallpaper! See, we follow our own advice.
A Bedroom Oasis, Finally
Think about the areas you spend the most time in and how those rooms could be more comfortable and inviting. Your bedroom is one such space. Decoholic has some ideas for upgrades you probably would think of — painting the walls and splurging for some new curtains — and maybe some things you haven’t, like upgrading the baseboards or creating a gallery wall above your bed.
Soft, comfortable, quality bedding is a must. If you really want to go big, Saatva offers both high-end mattresses and luxury linens, including this Banded Percale Duvet Cover Set.
What about a bedroom chandelier?
“A great way to level up your bedroom is with a grand, statement chandelier, whether that’s an ornate, rococo-style, gilt piece or a contemporary sputnik globe,” Owen Pacey, Founder of Renaissance London, tells Homes & Gardens.
As an inspiration piece, see the Custom Marjorie Skouras Beau Turquoise Empire Chandelier. It’s a showstopper.
In my own home, I have the following chandelier in my dining room. I fell in love with it the moment I first saw it. I love its elegant feel. You could easily feature this in a master bedroom to deliver a sophisticated feel.
Speaking of Lighting
Mix up your lighting with table lamps, floor lamps, and some overhead lighting in key areas. A new floor lamp or a pretty table lamp can be just the ticket to upgrade your lighting and your style.
Southern Living gives a rundown of all the ways you can add light to your house without hiring an electrician. The LUXSWAY Wireless Picture Light is an affordable, lux-looking way to highlight photos or that newly acquired art. The Hudson Light Fixed Track in brushed brass (shown below) allows for the movement of the sockets for precise lighting. Southern Living shows it in a modern kitchen but this lighting option can also work in other rooms of the house.
Unlimited Screen Time for You
Maybe your children were the technology experts but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo all the modern conveniences for your entertainment. After all, there are a lot of shows to catch up on.
Check out the I-shaped design of the Serif QLED 4K UHD HDR Smart TV or the Apple TV 4K, which features Dolby Vision, sound enhancement, and new capabilities from Siri, including specific voice recognition for up to six family members.
Looking for the best in surround-sound speakers? The techies at The New York Times recommend the Polk Signature Elite Series as a favorite for its “combination of performance, design, user-friendliness, and affordability.”
Technology can improve your experience in other rooms of the house too. Architectural Digest recently featured the Kohler Moxie showerhead with a Bluetooth speaker, which can be attached magnetically but also removed to function as a portable speaker. Singing in the shower just got a lot more enjoyable.
Other Factors for Empty Nesters
Additional considerations for empty nesters might be the use of low-maintenance materials and multi-functional spaces. Maybe you are not ready to turn a child’s bedroom into a home office, exercise room or custom closet. Then again, maybe you are. Either way, if you are updating or reclaiming that room, be sure to make it work for your new lifestyle as well as your aesthetic.
As you have more free time, you can spend it outdoors as well as in. What about a patio or deck, or an outdoor kitchen? I encourage you to peruse our outdoor spaces portfolio for some possibilities. If you are not ready for a construction project, consider small upgrades like new outdoor furniture, new cushions or just new outdoor throw pillows and an all-weather rug? The orange, pink and red hues on this patio really pop against the wall of green.
It is also a great time to explore the cost savings of energy efficiency in your home. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that efficient appliances use 10 percent to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models. High-efficiency windows and insulation are other things to think about. With the money you save, you can make a dent in that vacation to-do list as well.
A refresh of your home can be as big or small as you want. Even an investment in a few key items can make a big difference. Balancing functionality and comfort will allow for a home you can enjoy more right now, but also in the years to come. Make your home a reflection of who you are, today. For help updating your home décor for maximum enjoyment as empty nesters, contact Pamela Hope Designs.