It’s no secret that your house barely belongs to you when you have kids. From having to childproof every corner through to dedicating seemingly endless amounts of space to toys, play areas, and so on, you’re lucky if you get a look in. It’s therefore hardly surprising that an empty nest can be a shock to the system. After all, at this stage, you’ve forgotten what your home style even looks like. Not to mention how to settle in a house that’s so eerily silent!
For both of these reasons and more, many parents find that turning an empty nest into a place that’s great for entertaining can be a step back towards a home that you can love for you again. As well as filling this space with a new and exciting kind of laughter, focusing on entertainment potential, in particular, can be a huge help in finding (or rediscovering) your style. And we’re going to talk about just a few of the ways that you can make the most of those benefits.
# 1 – Reassess the space you have
Whether you grew your home alongside your family or have simply forgotten what it looked like when the kid’s stuff didn’t clutter your hallways, the chances are that you’ll feel a lot like you’re rattling around once they’ve gone and taken it all with them. Extra rooms are perhaps the most obvious example of this, but even in spaces where the function of a room isn’t going to change (living room, kitchen, etc.), it can be astounding how much space is cleared by simply getting rid of those extra pairs of shoes!
This can be great news for a spacious and welcoming entertainment area, but you’re going to want to reassess your space and how you use it to make that happen. For example, moving your office to one of those free upstairs bedrooms and knocking through that office wall into the dining room could create a significantly larger space in which to welcome guests. Turning that finally empty under stairs cupboard into a cloakroom could also ensure the warmest welcome. And, all it takes is a little creative vision and the ability to recognize all of the potentials that your empty nest has to offer.
# 2 – Open it up
This is also the ideal time to consider renovation ideas like open plan living which, while not unfriendly for families, you may have avoided for your sanity. After all, as great as it could be to see the whole family at any given time, you needed your privacy, and so did they. Now, though, knocking through your downstairs to create an open plan entertainment space could be a fantastic way to fill your home all over again.
Islands and breakfast bars can work great to still provide some kind of break in a space like this, but the ability to interact with and see guests while you cook can be invaluable. Equally, the sheer luxury of space that this would provide means that you can get guests on the dancefloor, or playing a game or two of Twister (some things never change), to keep everyone laughing and always coming back for more.
# 3 – Repurpose your outdoors
Lawns and greenery are great for kids who love to learn in nature, and the chances are that you incorporated everything from paddling pools through to swings and football goals outside at some stage over the years. Now, though, you’re going to want to entirely repurpose that space, especially if you intend to entertain here. Forget picnics with the kids, creating a great entertainment space outside largely rests on your ability to replace kiddie additions with some fantastic garden furniture, including sofas with built-in storage and a tempting garden table set among others.
To avoid wobbly legs and a generally uncomfortable experience, it’s also worth replacing at least some of that lawn with decking or paving slabs, as well as investing in either paver sealing or decking treatments to ensure that even spilt wine doesn’t tarnish the finish. Pair these additions with outdoor fairy lights and a fire pit or two, and your guests won’t be able to get enough of your garden transformation. If you’re feeling really brave, you could even take these benefits to the next level by installing that pool you always avoided. Then, you can bet your guests, and perhaps even your otherwise absent children, won’t be able to resist at least a few visits each year.
# 4 – Undo your childproofing
Speaking of investing in things that weren’t safe when you had kids around, creating the best entertainment space within your empty nest is also somewhat dependent on your ability to undo all of that childproofing you spent so many years fixated on. This is especially relevant in the garden, where fire and water are now not only fair game, but actively beneficial. Inside the house, too, investing in entertainment systems and tech that you never would’ve considered with the kids at home (all those wires would’ve been a nightmare!) can take a space from average to outstanding from an entertainment perspective.
Surround sound speakers, projection screens for movie nights, and even just fun additions like electric wine openers are all great examples of making this benefit pay. Even better, as well as not needing to worry about wires or sharp implements anymore, all of that extra space also means that you have the room in which to store all of these entertainment additions so that they don’t drive you mad between uses!
A final word
Adjusting to the silence of an empty nest can be undeniably difficult, especially if you’ve had a large family. However, entertaining can be a great way to settle into that more peaceful reality without having to sit in silence every night. Make the most of this opportunity by thinking about these ways and more to turn your empty nest into an entertainment hub that all your friends are envious of!