Empty nesters refuse to re-purpose grown-up children's bedrooms

Parents whose children have left home often keep their bedroom untouched indefinitely.
Parents whose children have left home often keep their bedroom untouched indefinitely.
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Older homeowners leave their grown up children’s rooms exactly as they were after they leave home - while almost two thirds saying they would never downsize and get rid of their offspring’s bedroom entirely.

A report found that of those over 55s whose children had flown the nest, 30 per cent said they will never reclaim their children’s bedrooms, even though they have moved out.

However, one in 50 admit they reclaim and redecorate their kids’s room the day after they move out.

Simon Stanney, equity release service director at SunLife, which commissioned the report, said: “We know that keeping the home in the family is really important to people, and this research backs that up.

“It is common for parents to want their grownup kids to be able to come back to the family home, and nearly a third feel so strongly that they even keep their child’s old bedroom for them even though they’ve moved out.”

He added: “Our research shows that almost a third never redecorate, but those that do are most likely to redecorate the room as a guest room, most likely one specifically dedicated to their grandchildren. This further highlights the importance of the family home.

“The research also supports the fact that, despite over 55s being a ‘property rich, cash poor’ generation - who could free up a lot of cash by downsizing - 62 per cent say they would never downsize.”

According to a separate SunLife report, on average, people over 55 have seen their homes increase in value by around £135,000.

Of those who do redecorate their children’s rooms, almost half wait at least a year, with one in 14 waiting at least six years before doing anything new with their children’s old bedrooms.

More than a third of those who have redecorated saying they have used their kids’ old room as a guest room after they have left. Meanwhile, other uses include a study, or a place for the householder to practice a hobby or work on arts and crafts.

Dedicated pet rooms were also cited as a use for a newly-vacated bedroom, while other respondents said they used their children’s bedrooms as a virtual reality space, preserves/chutney storage or a “cushion room”. One person polled said they had turned theirs into a shrine to Elvis Presley.

Overall, one in 10 use their children’s old room for visiting grandchildren. Meanwhile, of those over 55s with grandchildren, 61 per cent say they are most likely to dedicate their spare room to the next generation rather than a hobby or spare room.