fratantonilifestyles

POLL: When The Kids Move Out - Change OR Leave Their Rooms Alone?

Fratantoni Lifestyles
6 years ago
last modified: 4 years ago

For many parents, the day their children move out is a very proud moment... A moment when they can feel accomplished that their child is making the next BIG step in growing as a person. However, often times they are left with a choice!
Do you change their bedroom into a room you have always dreamed about?
OR
Do you keep their room just how they left it?
We need the Houzz Community to voice their opinions on this topic! I am sure a lot of people are curious to see the reasoning's behind choosing either choice!

CHANGE IT!!!
LEAVE IT ALONE!! THEY MIGHT COME BACK!

Comments (129)

  • PRO
    FORNEY + architecture, LLC
    6 years ago
    We are faced with this issue right now. Our son will be graduating from college, and will continue to live in North Carolina (we are in St. Louis, MO). Over the years, his room has gone from my vision of "timeless boy" to his vision of teenager, then to his vision of college hipster. I think its time to ditch the "rock band clutter" into boxes that he can go through when he gets a chance, and redecorate his room into one that is still "his", but more adult friendly. From now on, he will be "visiting", and hopefully will someday bring his girlfriend/fiancé/wife with him, so we plan to create a nice room that doesn't feel like a leftover remnant of the past, but one that is prepared for the wonderful man he has become. We will still include some things that still make the room "his" and not too much "guest room" feeling.
    Fratantoni Lifestyles thanked FORNEY + architecture, LLC
    Best Answer
  • speckledcat
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    We moved into our current home when our kids were in and starting college, so the transition was fairly easy because they didn't "grow up" in the rooms they now slept in. After they "launched" into adult life, I redecorated their rooms but kept them purposed as bedrooms. I created a modern, adult vibe in those guest bedrooms by avoiding the use of dated décor that's "left over" from other rooms. Now, when they visit, they love the pampered feeling of nice linens, pretty lamps, etc.

    A few years after our daughter launched, she was forced to bring her young children and move back in with us to escape from an abusive husband. I think having a "grownup" room that had no remnants of her childhood helped her maintain a feeling of dignity and independence for the months she stayed with us. Btw, she's completely recovered from that scary period of her life, and she says that when her kids grow up she will always have a place for her them to land if they need help. Based on my family's experience, I would say that parents' homes should always offer a safe refuge.

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  • redecoratingtropicalcalm
    4 years ago
    I think that there is this thought that an adult child will feel sad, excluded, or no longer wanted if his/her space is changed. I never felt that way as a once child who moved on. I knew that I was always welcomed but by not having time stop in my room and my parents helping to assist with the change it allowed me to move on with the next step in life. It made the transition feel natural, kinda scary but I knew it was time. I think ...or let's say wonder, because I'm just curious if there is any research on the subject about this right of passage from high school to adulthood.

    Is there a factor in the growth of adult kids by either being encouraged by firm but loving parents or slowed by soft hearted and loving parents who can't let go. What impact does this have if any on that transition.

    I'm curious because as times have changed it seems our parents and grandparents moved on sooner than today's adult children. College is still the same amount of years as in the past. I've known so many who's kids are well into their late 20's who have yet to move on. Then after time parents can't get them to leave.

    Again may be a small percentage I'm just very curious. I guess it could seem mean but momma birds push their babies out of the nest for their own growth not because they don't love them.
  • mom3333
    4 years ago

    My kids moved out when they were 24-28 AND WITH NO COLLEGE DEBT!!!!!!!!! 2 of them did not need college money and gave their share to our daughter (Ohio had a great Tuition Trust program when they were born.)

    They were given the choice and decided to stay to save money, it was clear they inherited some of our money smarts genes.

    The house is set up so they basically had their own 'wing.' They had to follow a certain few house rules, which didn't seem to be too hard for them, and they were treated like adults. The only thing we provided was a roof. They used our refrigerator and washer and dryer, and gave us $300 a month and I think when they left they did not feel like they were 'kicked out,' knowing they would have been if having them there was more trouble than it was worth.

    I remember discussing one of the boys my son when to high school with. His parents made all their kids move out the minute they were out of high school and 18. That was of course their choice, but was definitely NOT the way I wanted our family to be structured.

    All 3 have jobs that pay over $75,000 so we considered our job as parents and their education, a success. See, it was our job to get them educated enough to hold a job that they could support themselves. If they want to be rich, they are on their own!

  • Dana Taylor
    4 years ago

    We had younger siblings clamoring for their own room. We kept the room for a year but encouraged our college sophomores to find work and an apartment near school so they would be settled in when school started the next year. That summer a younger sibling got to decorate the room and the older one would have guest space when they visited. As the younger ones left we continued the system and the resulting "free" space became my sewing room, a returning siblings room, a guest room. Basically whatever we needed at the time.

  • elisanastassopulos
    4 years ago

    Change, of course change. But when the time comes, I wouldn't completely transform it- things like knocking down walls or making the bedroom into a bathroom. You never know what happens in life and I like the idea- something that will never happen I hope- that my children should always have a 'nest' where to fall back to, in case of need: death, divorce, unemployment etc. a place where to start again from. I know some people who ended up living in their car. I like having the selfish thought that 'mum and dad, till they live, are here'. That old bedroom is still there, even if it is working as an office right now.

  • pocopson
    4 years ago

    When the kids move out, they're (presumably) responsible adults whose lifestyles are no longer those reflected in the kid-decor of their former rooms. They can and should be treated as adults when they come back for visits. In the case of my kids' rooms, that meant totally redoing their rooms into tastefully decorated adult guest rooms with new queen-size beds, good quality linens, empty closets and chests-of-drawers, and everything else I would want for myself in a guest room.

  • Kathi Steele
    4 years ago

    We waited until they were done with college, had jobs and moved out. Then we renovated. One is now the office. The other is the grandbabies room. Still waiting for the last one to move, then it will be my exercise room!!!

  • alwaysdesigning
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    They might come back temporarily, or for visits, but make the room multi functional. After college our son was allowed to live with us for six months rent free to find a job and a place to live, and after that we charged rent comparable to what he would be paying so he felt comfortable he could afford what he imagined (we didn't need the rent money, but was secretly saved and gave back to him when he found his own place six months later, as down payment, furniture purchases, etc.).

    Don't make it so comfortable they want to live with you forever, if they need temporary living space. They need their own place and become a responsible, money saving adult. Help them with that so they become competent money handlers.

    A sleeper sofa or Murphy bed for visits, but then usable space when guests leave. I have one bedroom as a fully functional and dedicated guest bedroom, and the other bedroom is a multi-tasking space, with my sewing things that can be stored away for guest visits, with a sleeper sofa and tv mounted on the wall.

  • Nicole Mehelich
    4 years ago
    I think it depends a lot on how much how you have. we have a 3 bed, 2 bathroom house that's only 1500 square feet. When my kids move out, I am definitely taking over their closets. I will probably set up both rooms to still function as a guest room in some way, but they will definitely not be sacred spaces kept just how my 19-yr-olds left it. Whenever my husband and I groan over our lack of closet space, we say, "12 more years...".
  • debrakadabra
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Change it, but have a really comfortable Murphy bed available on one wall when they come and visit or for extended stays. I have never seen a comfy sofa bed.

    My husband and I turned this very tiny bedroom in the city, into a bedroom at night and office/studio during the day time with a Murphy bed. Two completely different rooms in one.

  • Kim Sheldon_Rothe
    4 years ago

    I am entering this phase now. My oldest daughter is 23 and just moved to the east coast to start a new job. While she was away at college, we left her room as is since we knew she would be home for summers/holidays. After she graduated college, she spent a year living in Paris, France, and then moved back home while she figured out what her plans for the future were going to be. A job on the east coast fell into her lap (a college friend was leaving the job, suggested my daughter apply for it, which she did. Within one week she applied, flew east for the interview, flew home and was offered the job and accepted the job!) So now that she has moved 80% of her things out east, we are left with a shell of a bedroom. We have a 19 year old daughter who is in college in NYC, and come June our son will graduate high school and head off to college in the fall. My dilemma is that I am tired of cold midwest winters and want to move somewhere warm when my son heads off to college. So in our new home, do we downsize from 4 bedrooms to 3 bedrooms so that each of the younger college kids still have a room? Or do we just keep one bedroom for our son and make the third bedroom into a den/guest room for when the girls come home for visits? I'm not quite ready to have an empty nest, but I'm almost 100% sure that the east coast has taken hold in both my daughters' hearts and they will not be moving back to cold "boring" Wisconsin, or where ever we decide to call home after this. The struggles are real hahaha

  • Ann Smitt
    4 years ago

    Go through your adult/late teen child's belongings with them before they leave home. Let them decide what to keep and what to let go of. Find a charity that you both agree on to donate their outgrown furniture and other items that could be of use in a home or apartment. Discuss where big items should be stored. Do you have room to be the keeper of all your child's things or do you need a storage unit? Decide together who should pay for a unit. If the parents can't part with trophies, school mementos etc. let the parents make a box for those things so they can store them or display them in the home. Trophies can be made into bottle stoppers and book ends. Enjoy this transition into adulthood with your child. Spoken from experience as the mother of 4-children ages 37, 36, 32 and 31 and all living on their own since age 18.


  • Angela D
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I vote leave it, but not because they might come back. Hopefully we'll avoid that basement-dweller situation. Instead, leave it as a guest room for when they and their future family come visit. Turn it into a den or whatever, but leave a bed or something so it can easily accommodate guests.

  • Melody Drinkwater Wagner
    4 years ago

    We've had 6 children, twins the first pregnancy. We still have 3 boys living at home. (We had the last 3 boys late in life). We live in a 5 bedroom house. I did take one of those rooms and turned it into a computer/craft/sewing room. Blue gray and oak.

  • Paula Draper
    4 years ago

    I couldn't vote because for us, it was both. We left as is when the kids moved out for college and after. Thank God we did because both were back a couple of times. We live near Apple's main campus in CA which pushes housing prices sky-high. For them, living in our area would be cost prohibitive while they were getting their feet under them. Once both were married/in long-term relationships, we redid the rooms.

  • altadavey
    4 years ago
    To celebrate the fact that you actually raised someone to adulthood, who are "on their own", visit emptynesteruniversity.com !
  • Sueann
    4 years ago
    Change it. It shows your children you have confidence in them making their way in the world.
  • ravensmom13
    4 years ago

    Our situation is basically the opposite...........in 2008, hubby and I purchased a 3 bedroom ranch with 2 garages and an inlaw suite beneath....our daughter was married with her own home, and son owned his own 5 room mobile home out of state....of the 3 bedrooms, we have a Master, hubby has his computer / music room, and I have my computer / sewing room......and we used the inlaw suite as a guest area, since it has fireplaced living room, separate bedroom, 3/4 bath and tiny kitchenette......was perfect for when friends came to visit as they had their privacy..............fast forward to 2013......hubby was diagnosed with Stage 3B Colon Cancer......surgery and 2 "rounds" of Chemo later, he is holding his own although the cancer has gone to his liver............our son volunteered to move in with US, in the "inlaw suite", to be able to help us out since there's lots hubby cannot do anymore, we live in Maine, and the Winters are sometimes horrid !! Our garages now hold extra furniture and Rubbermaid tubs of my son's possessions...which he is slowly sorting thru and culling out.....he has made the inlaw suite "his own", and his Dad and I couldn't be happier having him here with us!!! He works full time and has made many friends, whom he has over now and then...it's nice to have the house be "lively" once again....we've BEEN "empty nesters" and we PERSONALLY missed the "noise and laughter" of young people in the house...it feels ALIVE once more!! We have no idea what the future will bring....but for now, we are enjoying the present and making memories for all of us!! Real Estate is valuable...don't keep a "child's room" as a shrine....your whole goal in life should have been to prepare your child to be able to grow and go out in the world as an adult on his/ her own....so to change a room over to use for what YOU want is perfect...especially if you incorporate SOME means to have guests stay over ( sofabed, etc. ).....one never knows what the future will bring...it can change in the blink of an eye....I know.

  • bmcilvain
    4 years ago
    Not having but one child that left home early to a live at school of science and math, we had to keep his bedroom the same because the kids were sent home for the summer months.This was the last two years of high school. When college came he was in another state and lived off campus taking his bedroom with him. This is when we bought a guest bedroom set to replace his. It was at some point because of a bad cold and snoring that my husband and I discovered we get much better and needed sleep when sleeping apart. It took some getting use to, but it has been that way since, so my son's room became my husband's. When my son returns with family it is still their room and my husband sleeps on a futon in our office. With the addition of 2 grandchildren, the next move will be for them to take over my room and grandma moves to the office. A reasonable sacrifice in the way of life.
    I will say, my son felt a tad displaced when he knew that his Dad had taken over his room, but he understood and knew he was always welcomed back home.
  • wendyme1
    4 years ago
    We have a very small house, less than 1409 sq. ft., so all of the areas, except the bathrooms, are designed to be flexible. An example is...Since my only child is out now, socializing is more important to me than t.v., so the t.v. in the living room is going into her old room & is being replaced with a bar & tea table.
  • suze55
    4 years ago

    My brother jokingly said he moved and purposefully lost a bedroom after each of his children left. While our daughter was a senior away at college we needed to move and in that transition we downsized and she lost 'her' room. It was something we discussed with her beforehand and she was fine with it. Our son was still at home, but moved out and across the country a year later. The 2nd bedroom is now a designated guest room with a comfy queen bed, luxury linens, an empty dresser and closet, vanity, TV, mini-frig and coffee bar. After they were settled into their own apartments we made them take their 'stuff' too. My daughter lives close by now, but my son and other guests enjoy our well appointed guest room when they visit. Change it, A home should evolve to suit your current needs, not be a time capsule.

  • suze55
    4 years ago

    to Kim Sheldon Rothe - Downsize to 3 bedrooms. Your son will be home fairly frequently during college breaks and will need a designated room for a few years. For your daughters, a combination office/den/guest room is a perfect solution. If everyone should be home at once, air beds work well. After we downsized my away at college daughter's 'bedroom' was an air mattress in the dining room.

  • ladydianem
    4 years ago

    Both my children graduated college in May and moved to another state. However, I love it when they come back and I want them both to feel this is still their home. Both of their rooms do have an updated "adult" feel with decisions for decor made by them. It's still their space, but are welcoming for guests as well.

  • Christiane Wingert
    4 years ago

    It depends on how big your house is and whether you need a guest bedroom. I changed my children's bedrooms into a Realty office and a guest bedroom, which could accommodate either girl or boy if they visited. However, my grand children's bedroom is still the same with hand crafted doll houses, books and crafts, just the way they grew up with - they are now 13 and 15 and don't play with the doll houses any more, but having it stay the same gives them the feeling to be able to "come home again".



  • eward13
    4 years ago
    Both our son and daughter have graduated college and are now adults with their own homes. Our son's bedroom was changed somewhat after he graduated and now he and he wife have a familiar room when they come home. Our daughter has finally given the OK for her high school stuff to be removed!! I can't say much as my room at my home remained the same until I was well into my 50's and my parents were no longer living!!
  • cmcm807423
    4 years ago

    Our 3 children had to "boomerang" back home after college when the recession hit at the same time. I had planned for changing a couple of rooms to an art studio/sewing/library/whatever but that flew out the window! On the other hand, I was so grateful we had the space and their rooms were still there for them during the 2 or 3 years they really needed them. We also wound up with a son-in-law and grandchild (plus more pets) so it went from a really empty nest to a bursting house! Now that they're all gone, we are downsizing since the maintenance is getting difficult. I'm planning for a guest bedroom for the grandchild and a combination den/pullout bed for the parents or uncles. If I've learned anything in the last few years it's that you need to be flexible.

  • Sherri S.
    4 years ago

    We're in the process of changing our kids rooms (one gone for 7 yrs and other 5 months). One room will be a guest/grandkids bedroom and the other has been changed to an office.

  • damaton
    4 years ago

    When my daughter left, I made her room mine, sort of. It remained a bedroom, a guest room that was cozy and equipped with everything to make a guest welcome. I left just enough of my daughter there to make her feel more than welcome when she comes to visit. It is now ready for her and her life long companion.

  • Elizabeth Connor
    4 years ago
    I think the more embarrassing and "nerdy" the room, the more you should leave it "as is" for the comedic effect when they come home to visit with a future spouse. I mean, that's how it is in all the sitcoms, right?

    Seriously though, I think the decision to change has a lot to do with how much of their stuff is left in the room. Going off to college is different from moving into your own place, the latter usually means taking the furniture whereas the former does not. I'd say if the furniture is gone, that's a pretty good indication it's time to make a change. The most important thing is to discuss it with your kids so if you do make a change it's not a shock and it's not misunderstood! I want my kids to always know that they are loved and welcome.
  • tencms
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    We changed our daughter's room into a guest room this past fall. Okay, actually, I talked about it and had a blast collecting furnishings from around the house, auctions, and thrift stores for several months then spent a hectic couple of weekends actually doing it.

    It's nothing like any other room in our house and it makes me happy. The before picture was taken long after she had moved out and just shows the awesome sponge painting that was part of the underwater theme she outgrew in early high school. Over the bed hang the paint-by-numbers done by my mother in her youth. The mirror was $10 at an auction, and the dresser was refinished by my dad (now deceased) for us when we were young and poor. The medals on the door handle are our daughter's. The room is a combination of new-to-us and sentimental keepsakes. I'm still looking for the perfect bedside table, but I wouldn't be embarrassed to host guests now.

    Incidentally, she was our first guest when she came home for Christmas.

  • Kathi Steele
    4 years ago

    tencms, How absolutely lovely! I bet everytime you walk into that room, it evokes so many feelings!! That is how a room should make you feel!!

  • kaylynnr
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I guess I'm in the middle. I changed it - but just updated it to an adult guest bedroom that suits their particular taste at THIS adult time in their lives. Then, when they do come back, and they do, they're still in their rooms but it's suited to their current time in their lives. Now there's a desk for their laptops and phones rather than dresser and chest of drawers (less drawers needed now). A storage unit for a TV also contains extra pillows, blankets, etc. for current needs. Instead of full-sized beds, we bought new queen sized beds. We have luggage stands and their own guest bathrobes and slippers for both them and their spouse. However, I maintained their wall of accomplishments (diplomas, awards, etc.) along with photos of them growing up and also current photos of them/their immediate families - wedding, etc. They are still in "their" rooms when they visit, but their current needs are now being met.

  • PRO
    VERMONT WOODS STUDIOS
    4 years ago

    We say change it. If you're worried about "renesting" we would recommend turning it into a more neutral guest space...somewhere your children can feel good about coming back to when they visit or if they need to move back for a while but also somewhere you wouldn't mind your in-laws staying in. If you already have a guest room and feel confident they won't be coming back anytime soon, we say give yourself the spare room you've always been wanting and do with it what you may!

  • minperkins
    4 years ago

    I don't expect to make any changes while they're still in college. They'll also be welcome to move back (for a while) after college if they need to. But once they have their first "real" apartment, all bets are off. We have plenty of living spaces, but we desperately need a guest room with a bed that doesn't have to be converted back into a sofa every morning.

  • PRO
    Unique Design Solutions, LLC
    4 years ago

    I would want to keep it until they found their own home to purchase or rent.

  • artsyphartsy_home_maker
    4 years ago

    I say 'change it' but make sure you have a pull out sofa bed available to your kids in case they have a life emergency in their 20's & need to come back temporarily to regroup & get on their feet again. Its an expensive & rough world out there so it's good to be there & provide roots for your children until they fully sprout wings and find their own way {I wish my parents had done that for me, I was fully on my own at far too young...}. Although don't make them too comfortable if they need to stay a while, or they will never leave! I would never keep their rooms in tact for them though, the whole point of 'raising' children is so they can rise up and lead their own lives. I suggest to take Photos of their rooms before you dismantle & change them. Create a photo scrapbook of your kids & also of their rooms so you will always have those memories. My belief is always be nice to your kids --they may be the ones taking care of you some day lol!

  • Terri Henderson
    4 years ago

    When my son moved out at age 20, he bought a house. Due to that, the move out seemed to be likely permanent, so we redecorated his room to make it for his sister, and her old room became my husband's office and also a room where we watch TV, as there is no place in our living room that will accommodate the new, flat screen TVs.

    Before

    After

    Daughter is in her first year of college, and I will leave her room alone until she buys a house or seems stable enough that she won't be coming back. Besides, we just did a lot of work on it and I don't feel like undoing it yet. LOL... It will become a guest bedroom.

  • PRO
    Closet Factory
    4 years ago

    You put your kids first all these years. Isn't it about time you put you first? I say, transform that space into a dressing room! Or, create a home office/craft room to inspire your creativity. And if you're worried about accommodating guests, you can always install a wall bed to instantly transform the space again!

    Even if you're just curious about how much it would cost to create your dream space - whatever that may be - we offer FREE in-home design consultations. Because it never hurts to ask questions. : )

    Custom Closets · More Info

  • sheilaskb
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I would leave the room mostly as it is because no child wants to feel "pushed out" or "dumped" too soon. However, I would add some framed family photos to the walls and perhaps bring in materials for a hobby I shared with that particular child. Then, I would use the room to work on this hobby as a link to memories of my child's earlier years. Whenever the child would visit, he/she could work on the hobby with me and enjoy the room again.

  • samybee101
    4 years ago

    Coming from someone who just recently moved out, I would have to say BOTH!!!!!!!! Leaving it the exact same is sort of creepy.."like, hello mom and dad, I'm not 10 anymore. Stop pretending I still am!" But at the same time, if they changed it, I would feel sort of empty, and I know they would too. Which is why they left it as a spare bedroom for when me and my second half come to visit and sometimes get wasted (haha jk, but also that reason). Anyways, what they did was they left it mostly the same and changed only a few things such as furniture, (didn't need a huge dresser anymore), different bedding, and the shelves now consist of their belongings that didn't have a good home before. Win-win for everyone!!!

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    3 years ago

    Boy, I'd love to change them! Sentimental husband refuses, though. Finally took down son's posters (son has been gone for over 10 years!), when our son saw them and asked why on earth were they still up on the walls.

  • Kathi Steele
    3 years ago

    linnea, what are you doing with that room??

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    3 years ago

    Our son's room, my husband is using it as an office. But everything is the same except for the posters coming down from the walls, and some books cleared off the bookcase.

  • Ann Smitt
    3 years ago

    linnea56 - Ask your son to volunteer to repaint the 'office' for his dad. Maybe if your son boxes up all his old stuff and donates it to charity, dad will let the room evolve into a home office. Have your son frame pictures of his old room and gift them to dad to hang on the newly painted walls. Good luck.

  • Daniel Heller
    3 years ago

    Leave it alone, and NOT because they might come back!

  • adevvvw
    3 years ago

    When my sister went to college my dad left her room exactly the way she left it and when she comes to visit which isn't often, she stays there. It seems like a wasted space, but my dad really has no other use for it, I think he might change it when she graduates from college. My mom moved when my sister went to college, and we set up her room as a room for her, and when we needed it a guest or dog room, she came back over the summer and stayed there.

  • Debbie Thomas
    3 years ago

    My daughter just got married beginning of July. She has not even taken all of her clothes, as of yet. She & her husband are looking for a bigger home. And I still of totes of her wedding things. Just as long as I have some extra closet space, I am happy.

  • ornurse797
    last year

    One has become a guest room and the other is a storage room

  • betd
    last year

    We live in a small raised ranch with no basement or attic storage space. We took on bedroom and use it as a catch all for storage and such. We purge it every 6 to 12 months, what is not used is donated or trashed. We took another room and made it into a dressing and makeup room but it can be converted back to a bedroom if needed and the third room is my craft room. Whenever I have time, that is the room I am found in. It is my space and I love it.