Empty Nest Re-Do

How to Convert Your Teen’s Bedroom


Your child is off to college, leaving you with mixed emotions and your nest empty. But look on the bright side: you finally have the extra space for that guest bedroom, home office or yoga studio you’ve always wanted. Here’s how you can convert your teenager’s bedroom into an adult-friendly space without completely disenfranchising your child.


Trundle Bed

While packing up your offspring’s belongings into boxes is probably too soon, it doesn’t mean you can’t strategically reorganize his or her stuff to create more room for you.

A good place to start is decluttering the nightstand and dresser. Corral keepsakes and personal effects left behind in pretty trays or baskets tucked into a dresser drawer, so it’s all still easy to access. And what about that collection of prized memorabilia or stacks of books? Dedicate a couple of wall shelves, floor-to-ceiling cubbies or a tall bookcase to neatly curate a display that keeps intact your child’s personality and charm.

Naturally, the closet is prime storage space for your workout gear, crafts, office supplies or guest linens. Pack clothes and shoes in long, flat storage boxes that can be stored under a bed or on the top shelf of the closet, and toss in a sachet of lavender to keep everything smelling fresh.



When redecorating your teenager’s bedroom, it’s a good idea to strike a balance between achieving a more mature décor and keeping a youthful vibe. You want to create a space that’s appealing to adults yet offers a friendly, familiar place for your child to come home to. Keep it fresh with a neutral palette, energetic pops of color and graphic patterns. Think white walls and solid bedding brought to life by a bold, geometric rug, Ikat throw pillows and brightly colored lamps.

Replace those rock band posters with a gallery wall of framed family photos. Or, hang a grid of burlap-wrapped message boards, assigning each one a different theme: photos, inspiration board, calendar and reminders.



Depending on how you plan to use the room, you may need to rearrange the furniture or even invest in a few dual-purpose pieces. You can create more space with a daybed or a sofa sleeper that folds out into a bed for overnight visitors. And if you have myriad hobbies, ditch the old corner desk for a table that’s large enough to serve as a gift-wrap station, sewing center and desk in one.

Or, perhaps you’d like to keep the bed, but wouldn’t mind a small workspace. In this case, choose a slim desk that can also serve as a night stand. If you intend to mainly use the room as a guestroom, consider adding a bench or pair of stools for additional seating and a place for holding luggage (even your child home from college will appreciate this). Lastly, a bedside tray with a pitcher and glasses for water is always a lovely touch.

What are your ideas for an empty nest re-do? Tell us in the comments below.


How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply

    Linda Rosenfeld

    January 23, 2015

    I would like to use this space as a craft room/den/bedroom so when my son comes home, he feels he still has a room. I have a private place to escape too as well. That way we are both satisfied. I am still stuck, however, whether to use sofa bed, a daybed or his twin bed turned sideways, like a daybed. That way, he gets to keep his comfortable mattress.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      January 23, 2015

      Hi Linda,
      We would love to help you sort out your craft room/den. Simply complete this form, and we’ll reach out to you! And be sure to upload photos and include as much detail (measurements, colors, etc.) as you can so we can offer you a thorough plan and solution!
      We look forward to hearing from you!
      The How to Decorate Team

  2. Reply

    Heather Massoth

    September 4, 2013

    Actual music room with instrumanets, and a version of a modern music mixing room your returning teen/young adult would enjoy. not to mention visiting grandchildren “game room” re-purpose. Back to the beach theme of a room with just phot albulms and “memories” /doubled as guest. with pictures of vacations on wall. roomto retreat to for reflection. Meditation room and yoga room, closet as a meditation room with hanging tapestry and blck bench and buddha figure. full room set with yoga mats low benches and blanket rack and book shelf of meditation/religion books.

  3. Reply

    Heather Massoth

    September 4, 2013

    I suggest symphony or music room. What inspired was re-compose re-decorate, re-orchestrate