Empty Nest Syndrome? 9 DIY Projects to Shift Your Focus

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DIY empty nest projects

By Scott Gamm

Sending your kids off to college is a bittersweet moment: You're excited that they're about to embark on a great journey, but you're sad to see them leave the house. While they'll be home for the major holidays and during the summer, your household undoubtedly changes as you're now considered an "empty nester."

MainStreet asked the design pros to weigh in on 10 DIY projects for empty nesters.

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9 DIY Projects for Empty Nesters
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Empty Nest Syndrome? 9 DIY Projects to Shift Your Focus

It may not be enough to simply clean out the garage. Your garage may need a complete overhaul.

Robert Palmarozza, President of Mr. Handyman Tri-County offers these steps for getting your garage into shape:

1. Clean everything out of the garage and wash down the floor with a dish detergent and bleach. Rinse well.

2. If you wish to paint the floor, a one-part epoxy is available from most home centers and is fairly easy to use. Follow the directions on the can and allow plenty of drying time.

Read the rest of these instructions at TheStreet.com.

Photo: Flickr/Rubbermaid Products

There's no excuse not to work out if there's a gym inside your house. Turning a spare bedroom into a home gym is bound to get you to work out more and add value to your home if you're aiming to put your house on the market. Palmarozza shares these tips:

1. Purchase rubber floor tiles, which provide soundproofing and some water resistance. It may be a good idea to install an extra piece of the rubber tile under any heavy pieces of equipment.

2. Consider installing mirrors on one side of the room so you can see if you are following proper exercise technique.

Read the rest of these instructions at TheStreet.com.

Photo: Flickr/marriedwithluggage

Whether you're adding a ceiling fan in your new home gym or in another bedroom, a ceiling fan is a cost effective way to cool down a room without having to run the air conditioning.

For this DIY project, you'll need a screwdriver, wire cutters, a ladder and, in some cases, an extra set of hands to help. Sean Murphy, DIY specialist for Build.com provides these steps for installing a ceiling fan:

1. Before you do anything with your new ceiling fan, cut the power to the room.

2. Disconnect the wires of the old fixture and keep them separated.

3. Once the wires are disconnected, remove the old fixture.

Read the rest of these instructions at TheStreet.com.

Photo: Flickr/cdessums

Adding banquette seating (built in seats, similar to window seats) to your kitchen table area is a relatively inexpensive renovation that's bound to transform the kitchen.

Philadelphia-based interior designer Ani Semerjian of Semerjian Interiors shares tips on how to build banquette seating around the windows of your kitchen.

1. Build the base

You can go to Ikea, Lowe's or Home Depot to purchase the cabinets. Some of these stores will work with you for your exact dimensions so bring your measurements to pick the right cabinet widths. A 15-inch cabinet height is recommended.

In order for the doors to open, you need to raise the cabinets off the ground. Otherwise they will scrape the floors. You can do this by laying 2x4 planks of wood across the span of where you want the cabinets to lay (similar to a train track).

Read the rest of these instructions at TheStreet.com.

Photo: Flickr/army.arch

While chandeliers add a striking look to your living room or foyer, they don't come cheap.

To save money, Murphy offers these tips to installing a chandelier:

1. Before you do anything with your new chandelier, cut the power to the room.

2. Disconnect the wires of the old light fixture, and be sure to keep them separated.

3. Remove the old light from the ceiling.

Read the rest of these instructions at TheStreet.com.

Photo: Flickr/ComunicaTI

If you're noticing high electric bills, you might need to take a look at your home's insulation, which helps to keep the home warm in the winter months.

Sally Morse, director of Creative Services for Hunter Douglas, offers the following tips to ensure your home is well-insulated:

1. Significant savings can be made simply by blocking air leaks.

If you can rattle doors and window frames or see daylight around them, that's a sign they leak air. Additionally, check electrical outlets, switch plates, baseboards, fireplace dampers and air conditioners. Look for gaps around pipes, faucets and mail slots. Apply caulking and weather stripping where needed.

Read the rest of these instructions at TheStreet.com.

Photo: Flickr/mjtmail

Repainting an entire room is a big DIY project. However, repainting the doors or trim is a less stressful task and is bound to update the look of the room.

Joe Kowalski, training manager at Glidden reveals these tips for painting doors and trim:

1. For doors and trim, use two coats of a latex semi-gloss or high-gloss enamel.

Read the rest of these instructions at TheStreet.com.

Photo: Flickr/kteague

Do you have bookshelves where your kids would keep textbooks? Chances are it's time to upgrade the shelves to add a more sophisticated look. Here's what Semerjian advises:

1. Repaint the bookcase to a neutral color -- a mix of beige and gray is recommended.

Read the rest of these instructions at TheStreet.com.

Photo: Flickr/nannetteturner

Finally, instead of purchasing some new artwork for your home, consider creating a memory wall to bring back some of the memories of when your children were younger.

Joanne Cleaver, who writes the "Money Mondays " blog for Bobvila.com, shares these steps for the perfect memory wall.

1. Common items on a memory wall include: photos, graduation tassels, childhood drawings, cards and report cards.

Read the rest of these instructions at TheStreet.com.

Photo: Flickr/Miss Havisham's Tea Party

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