When I was younger the term ‘empty nesting’ and what it would mean to our lives did not really compute. Our children were young, and that stage of our lives seemed such a long way off. But as we know, life does not standstill for anyone and that day when our first child left home for university, (2 ½ hours away) came around very quickly. Then our second left home two years later, fortunately same city and university. I was suddenly back to where I started. It took a bit of adjustment.
Our daughter gave me an ultimatum, “Mum don’t redecorate my room for 2 years, it’s still mine.”
So, I didn’t! After all, I wanted my children to come home once in a while.

But there does come a time, I feel, when you do need to take charge and reclaim your home. Your children are young adults making their own way in life, and after a few years, only come home a couple of times a year.

What do you do with two empty bedrooms on a modest budget? For me it was easy, the smaller room a guest bedroom and the other a multi-purpose room.

I listed what I required…

Guest Bedroom – simple, restful, and uncluttered

  • White walls (paint over Resene Energy Yellow)
  • White full gloss built in furniture (drawers were existing)
  • Queen bed (bed was existing with blue iron bed ends
  • New window treatments
  • New bedding
  • Replace carpet (the lounge and bedrooms were due to be re carpeted)
  • Bedside cabinet (existing- white wash)
  • 1 ½ wardrobe (it had sliding doors which I am not a great fan of)


The guest bedroom was simple fix. The room was stripped, and prized possessions of childhood memories boxed up. Memory boxes were put in the attic. This was the second clearing out, the first when my daughter left home had been thorough. Though when you have creative children there is a lot of art and supplies. The room was stripped bare, holes filled where pictures had been hung, then sealed and the bright yellow painted out with low sheen white. I love Resene Lumbersider and most of my house is finished in that paint system. We have aluminum windows with rimu reveals, with rimu and matai throughout the house. The pine built in furniture was painted in full gloss enamel.

The ceilings I left, they are Pinex and in good condition, but I also have glow in the dark stars on all my bedroom ceilings and I was not going to remove them to paint the ceiling.

The slat bed and bed ends remained but I replaced the mattress with a foam mattress. The beauty of this is that there was a lot of storage under the bed for boxes of fabric.

The windows had a privacy blind already which remained, and I replaced the existing Roman blind with a tulip floral pattern. The bedding was white so there needed to be a bit of colour somewhere. The loop pile carpet from the 70’s was replaced with a pure wool cut pile, colour aubergine. Wardrobe doors were replaced with soft off-white linen sheers.

Multi-purpose room – bedroom, craft and sewing room

  • Single day bed (a later requirement)
  • Cutting/craft table
  • Purpose built sewing table for overlocker and sewing machine
  • Storage boxes for fabric
  • Storage for rolls of fabric
  • Bookcase
  • Storage boxes for haberdashery
  • Painted walls
  • Window treatments
  • Replace carpet
  • Double wardrobe with sliding doors

My multi-purpose room has evolved. Same process as before, but I had a lot more ‘treasures’ to box. I think boys are, a little different about what they leave behind. The room had painted over wallpaper in Energy Yellow the same as my daughter’s room. I love painted textured walls.

Thousands of pin holes were filled, sealed and thousands more that I had missed in the original patching. It seemed endless! The room was then repainted in Energy Yellow. I find this a very, creative colour to work in. I had fitted sun filter blinds to help stop fading of fabrics and topped with a floral Roman Blind. Initially I had a couple of old oak tables, one for cutting and the other for my machines. As time went by, the room needed more structure. I had fitted, a custom kitset bench, which spanned the width of the room for my machines and traded my oak table for a Formica extension table which is more practical for crafts.

Resene Energy Yellow teamed with richly printed cotton daybed.A daybed was needed later, as my little family was now growing. This is an old-style wirewove bed with oak bed ends. I re-covered an old mattress that I had cut into three and concertinaed, for my son years ago. This fitted perfectly and in a nice rich colour works well as a day bed. My granddaughter sleeps in it when she comes to stay.

The aubergine carpet is not very practical for a craft room, but at least you can see anything that is dropped on it, including coloured head pins. All the boxes ticked and both rooms work well!






By Terry Lobb
Creative Director
Terry Lobb Colour and Design Ltd