Room Makeover and Reflections on Empty Nesting

Last summer, our nest officially emptied when our youngest son got married and moved out of our home. He wasn’t terribly amused that I required him to remove his belongings from his room when he left. I was not going to be one of those mothers who would someday put my grandchildren to bed for sleepovers in their father’s untouched childhood room. If you’re one of those mothers, please pardon my frankness. No insult is intended toward whatever choice you make.

This loft bed stood in this corner for more than a decade. The paneling-covered walls AND ceiling was tolerable decor for a young man, but it wasn’t my favorite at all. Call me a terrible mother, but I also wasn’t going to leave the bed up as a shrine to yesteryear, so I figured I may as well give the entire room a new look.


The image above looks nothing like the room did when it was occupied by my son. This may have been the first time in the eleven-and-a-half years we lived in this home that I saw the carpet. I was heartless enough to sell his loft bed on the Facebook marketplace so that I could convert the room to a guest room.

I temporarily set up the guest bed with paneling as is until I could find time to give it a makeover. It was rustic and quaint, if you like thinking positively. It was dated, like 1970 stayed too long, if you’re more hip.


I gave it a few months and then when my husband took a 2-week trip overseas, I tackled the paint project. This is because he would rather live with paneling as is, than spend 3 days painting it. It is also because when I am painting, I prefer to eat meals of popcorn, M&Ms, string cheese and anything I can grab on the move. Please don’t judge.

I took the project one more step. I decided to claim the room as a master bedroom, instead of making it a guest room. The window overlooks the pond and the fruit trees in the back yard, whereas the former master bedroom overlooks the county highway out front, and has a not-so-lovely view of the insanely bright lights of the nearby gas station. Think baseball stadium lights on all night long.

I love a good transformation. I love painting rooms, too. I know it’s crazy. But there’s something about patiently cutting in the edges with a little brush while listening to a dozen podcasts that makes me feel I have accomplished something. I chose a light gray. I couldn’t say which color it is because it’s a blend of morning mist, heather greige, cool clay and 7 other cleverly named colors. I purchased a huge box of quarts of high-end paint on Facebook marketplace for less than $1 per quart. A woman had ordered more than 30 quarts of paint as samples, all in different shades of gray to try to decide on the perfect one. A small amount had been used from each container to try a streak on her wall. Ironically, my perfect one was a combination of 10 of her samples. I didn’t debate over it that long, I just picked a bunch and poured them into a large bucket to mix them and then applied to the wall.

But enough of that. You’re waiting for the transformation.

IMG_1038That is the corner where the loft bed once lived. Gone are the traces of tape from posters on the ceiling and nails from the license plate collection that used to line the perimeter of the room.

IMG_1037It is an insult to every GI Joe, baseball bat and dirty sock that ever had residence here, but the room is no longer a boy zone.


I couldn’t decide what to hang over the bed, until I found this on end-of-summer clearance at a local garden center. But I couldn’t show you a picture of it over the bed, because by then the bed wasn’t made so nice, and the nightstand is full of clutter. I’m not ready to be that real.

IMG_1039I still need to do a few things, such as hem the curtains. But for now, the pins holding it up off the electric baseboard heater can be our little secret.

What I’ve discovered is that there was nothing wrong about having a plan to hijack the room as soon as the plane carrying my son and his bride on their honeymoon lifted from the tarmac. For me, it was a cathartic symbol that he has a new life and a new home.  And he and his new wife still come home – to our home – on occasion. They get to sleep across the hall, in the room that used to be the master bedroom.

It’s a symbol of life repurposed. I’m still a mom, but I have fulfilled the purpose or raising and launching my sons. Hallelujah!

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