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What to do with your kid’s room as they head off to college

If you’re sending your kid off to college, you’re probably feeling a million emotions, oscillating between sadness, anxiety, pride, and elation. While their absence will leave a hole in your heart, it will also leave a once-occupied room pretty empty. Some may want to keep their room as is, especially if their kid is close enough to visit for a weekend every now and again. But, if you’re short on space or have been waiting to procure yourself a home office of your own rather than a shared dining room table, now may be your chance.

Turning this bedroom into a new space doesn’t mean your college student never coming back — it just means their bedroom may now be a multiuse space. It’s justifiable to remodel the room into something you’ll use every day, especially if your child isn’t planning to return home often or is going to school far away. There are tons of inventive ways to take advantage of this unused space, so feel free to get creative. To get you started, take a look at some of our ideas below.

woman in home office
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A home office

For many people, temporarily working from home during the pandemic has now turned into a long-term situation. While sharing space in the kitchen or working from the couch seemed fun in the short term, it isn’t conducive to productivity in the long run. If you’re planning to regularly engage in remote work, you need your own dedicated office space. Here, you can keep all of your materials in one spot that you don’t have to clear away when the family comes home for dinner.


Take advantage of the extra space without cutting down on living areas by replacing the bed with a comfy sofa bed. If your child or any guest comes to visit, you can easily convert the lounge space into a functional bedroom. Once the bed is set, replace bulky dressers with tall bookshelves to house your family’s collection of novels, movies, and old textbooks. Add in a few candles, an ottoman, and a faux fur throw and you’ve got yourself the perfect book nook in your own home.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Home gym

To break a sweat without leaving the house, consider your kid’s room as the destination for your new home gym. You can certainly empty the room and fill it with your favorite cardio machines, free weights, and yoga mats, but you can also invest in compact gym equipment that only needs a few square feet. This way, you can keep the sleeper sofa in there so your kid can still stay in their own room when they come home. Just be sure to warn them that they may wake up to you sweating on the treadmill in the morning.

remodelling guest bedroom
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A guest room

Unless your kid plans to move back in after college (and that is entirely possible), why not turn the room into a premiere guest room? While it can still house your child when they find their way home on the occasional weekend or holiday, adding a few updates can turn it into a more mature space for all types of visitors. All you need is a new coat of paint, some wall decor, luxury sheets, and a high-quality duvet. Before you know it, your teenager’s den can become an oasis to entertain overnight guests.

A grown-up version of their bedroom

If you can’t bear to part with their childhood bedroom, we don’t blame you. It’s not easy, especially if you’ve been in the same home for many years. Keep the charm but elevate the room with a quick facelift. Remove outdated or damaged posters, tapestries, string lights, and album covers and replace them with pictures of them growing up over the years. Give the space a new, updated coat of paint, then swap out the futon for a classic wingback chair and ottoman. Last, frame their sports and academic achievements and hang them on the wall to create a space that celebrates their personality while reflecting their growth.

Whatever you decide, it’s not easy making a big change, especially to such a sentimental space. However, you can transform the space into one that matches their evolving maturity without removing the familiar comforts of home. With a small investment, you can turn this room into a multiuse space, ensuring that all that unused square footage doesn’t go to waste. Take some time browsing Instagram or Pinterest for ideas to get your creative juices flowing, then get to work making a space you’ll enjoy spending time in.

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Julie Scagell
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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