As you sit in the simmer of your life and work on things for the next version of you, one of the areas you may want to begin to consider is how you want your home to look in the empty nest years. You may start dreaming about this early and make changes over time – or all at once if that is how you roll.
Is your home set up to accommodate those dreams of yours? If not, why not begin making some changes now?
My guest, today, April Force Pardoe, is your Designer Bestie. April has fantastic suggestions in this episode where she also shares impactful tips and tricks with us. She is a ball of energy, and I can’t wait for you to hear this episode.
Take a listen, or read the transcript, below.
Tweet to @emptynestcoach
Think of creating one cozy space … where you can create a space, to sit and relax and maybe be surrounded by a couple of things you love. ~ April Force Pardoe
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What You Will Learn in this Episode:
- To Consider Changes to Your Master Bedroom Space
- The Importance of Lighting
- The Importance of One Cozy Space
- Common Decorating Mistakes
- Why April is Happy For You
- To Dream About Your Home
- If April Likes Waffles or Pancakes
Episode Questions for You To Consider
Is your home your retreat?
Have you thought about your home in the empty nest (years)?
Where to find April
- This episode – and every episode – is brought to you by my Free Program: The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future
- My program, The Empty Nest: First Steps Toward Success, is now available!
- Share your life wins with me via my contact form, email (christine at youremptynestcoach.com ) or audio message
- Join the Green Popsicle Sticks on FB!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 33: How to Prepare Your Home for the Empty Nest. … Today, we are talking about preparing your home for the empty nest, and my guest is April Force Pardoe.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 33: How to Prepare Your Home for the Empty Nest. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
Hello, my future empty nest friend. What are you sitting on, right now? Sorry, I wanted to ask you a question that you weren’t expecting. A quick reminder that all of my episodes are brought to you by my free seven-day program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.” To be clear, we are talking about your future, not mine. Hop on over to my website, youremptynestcoach.com and sign up today. Look for the link that says “Uncover Your Future.”
I have a guest today, and in preparation for this episode, I came up with two follow-up episodes. How exciting! Today, we are talking about preparing your home for the empty nest, and my guest is April Force Pardoe.
April Force Pardoe first became interested in design back in her childhood bedroom, which led her to starting her own interior design studio in Maryland. Along the way, she earned a Master of Arts in Publication Design, and worked in both graphic design and event planning positions. These diverse opportunities have trained her eye in design skills from paper to space, and led her to open her studio in 2008. April uses her seven signature steps to help you design an empty nest that makes it easy to nurture yourself, enhance your connections with loved ones, and provide you peace of mind for the days and years ahead.
While many of April’s clients have shared how much they love working with her, her favorite moment was when a client told April that working with her was like having a knowledgeable, trustworthy, and fun friend, who designed her home like a best friend would. That’s why April Force Pardoe is your designer bestie, because she’s here to hold your hand through the sometimes complicated, sometimes tricky, design decisions and help you regret-proof your empty nest years.
Christine: Welcome to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, April!
April: Hello. Thanks for having me.
Christine: I am thrilled to have you here today. My friends, how much fun is it that April reached out to me to be on the show. It is funny. Some of us won’t want to change anything in the house, because we want everything to stay the way it has always been. While other mothers can’t wait for their child to move out, so they can use it as a room for a hobby they look forward to doing. Two extremes, aren’t they? While, yes, thinking about your child’s personal space is one thing, what about the areas that you can start looking at now, start dreaming about and preparing for, for the future? Let’s start with the master bedroom. Whether you are parenting with a partner, or parenting solo, don’t we all want this to be a retreat for us?
For many of us, this space is completely overlooked. From old mattresses and sheets, to no colors on the walls, the small things that can make a large impact are right there in front of us. April, what are somethings you recommend we begin thinking about for our master bedroom space?
April: Well, I think, as you just said, this space is so important because it is often forgotten. It is not a public space, so most people don’t put time and energy into it. If you did decorate it or set it up when you first were married, or moved into the home, it’s now been 18, 20 years and maybe you haven’t done anything but buy new sheets. This space can go a long way toward enhancing your relationship and your own self-care. If there’s nothing on the walls, and you have an old mattress, it’s just not a space that you want to go to, and that feels like a retreat. The things I suggest, a couple things are purely decorative, but a lot of them are relationship building activities, too, which is what I like about this space.
The first one I say is to create like a dream list. Either on your own, or with your partner, and figure out what would you love to have in your bedroom. What would you love it look like, if you could have anything? Do you wish you had a space to read? Do you wish you had more comfortable pillows? Do you wish you had better lighting? Even looking at pictures of bedrooms that are in House or Pinterest, and kind of dream. Put it all out there and dream together, what could it be? That’s just a fun exercise to open your mind. Into a practical step would be looking at, like you said, that mattress and bedding. Overlooked, easily in a rut, sometimes. Physically, obviously, your mattress is going to help you sleep much better. Your bedding is just something you should be changing frequently, just for cleanliness. I like to say use a mattress shopping trip as a date. Why not go on a date together, grab lunch, get a glass of wine, go try out some mattresses, and really make an improvement in your room, in your health, in your sleep. Make it a place that you want to go spend time, and read a book, and do other romantic things. Make it enjoyable. Sheets, too, get the best that you can. Get two pairs so you just have efficiency of use. That’s sort of a practical side.
The lighting is something people don’t think about. Right? Most bedrooms have a light in the center of the room, and you put a lamp, maybe, on either side of your bed. Maybe. It’s probably too small. Lighting is so important, so I often tell clients to think about, if they’re doing this on their own, kind of go through your morning routine, or your evening, where do you wish you had more light? Really think about light, in an intentional way. When you’re putting your jewelry on, and you’re opening something at your dresser, can you see? Or are you standing in front of the only light in your room, and you can’t find anything, and you’re always moving your jewelry box over, so maybe a beautiful lamp on your dresser. Think about strategically, where do I need more light? Bedside lamps are often way to puny, if they’re even there, and so, if you like to read in bed, this is a must have. You need a great lamp that’s going to literally shine light on your book, or sconces and a lamp. Lighting is under served, and you can add maybe sconces around the room to get that overall illumination. Maybe update that center light, so it’s a little more attractive, too. Lighting is 100 percent important in every space. Dimmers, so we can set a mood.
Christine: I love dimmers.
April: You have to think about what you’re doing, how it can be better lit. If you’ve never thought about your lighting, you maybe in a for a really nice surprise in that you might need two or three new lamps, and you’ve got it down. That’s another thing, and then, the mood and the feeling through the colors in the room. If you haven’t painted that room in 15, 20 years, even if you love the color, it probably needs a refresh. Thinking through the feeling you want in the room, is what I think about, when I think about color palettes. What’s the feeling? Is it calm and serene? Is it romantic and energized? Use color to enhance that. The tip I have, is once you select your bedding, and if you’re doing new duvets or comforters, pull a color from that for your wall color. Pick that wall color second, or wallpaper, whatever you’re going to do. These things, they seem like material objects or simple colors, but completely can change the mood of a room, and the feeling of a room, and the desire to go into a room and spend time in a room. It’s amazing how, just the right colors can soothe you and give you that environment that feels good, and that you and your partner want to retreat to at night and enjoy. Because this is a room, even though it’s a private room, even if the kids are gone, and when they’re gone, you can just say let’s spend two hours in the bedroom, tonight. We’re going to read. We’re going to hang out. We might get romantic. You make it our space. We don’t have to hang out in the living room all the time, right? But if your bedroom is old and outdated, you’re probably not going to want to do that. The goal is to do that.
Another thing I like that can be a great couple activity, is thinking about the art on the walls in your bedroom. Whether there is something that is so old that you don’t even notice anymore, or maybe you have no art? Think about, and not to force it, because if it’s not your thing, it’s not going to work. But if you’re interested in art and you both like art, find local artists. Go to local galleries. Start following someone. Make an adventure of it, to go and find new art, and seen new art. Go to parties. Not that you have to spend tons of money, but find something that you love and that interests you, and put that on your walls, so it also makes you feel good, and is something you both like and cherish. That will liven up a space immediately. The art on the walls is a big, big deal. Those are a couple things I love, because you can do them as a couple, and you’re also enhancing a space together, so that’s another date activity.
Finally, I would say think about how you can splurge, maybe a little bit, in that space. Think about any hotels you’ve been in that you loved, or even things you’ve seen on movies or TV shows. Can you add a coffee station? Can you add space for a masseuse to come in once a month to do couples massage? Can you upgrade that bedding to something even more luxurious? What different splurges can you put in there? Because you deserve it. It’s your space. Make it special, and so whatever that is to you. I had a client recently who we had a custom jewelry armoire made for all of her treasures, that’s a splurge. What kind of things can you do to treat yourself, in the bedroom, that is going to enhance that space and enhance the relationship. I want everyone to have a bedroom that makes them want to retreat there, and enjoy time.
Christine: I love the splurge of a coffee station. I’m all in!
April: Yeah. Or whatever it is for you, right? A beverage center? You know? Yeah. There are ways to bring something special into that space, instead of making it just the place where you sleep.
Christine: Yes. All great. It’s so hysterical because I’m looking at your background, and my background, and I just moved into this room that has been empty, so I don’t even have my nice bookcases behind. There’s a stark difference.
April: That’s okay. You’re just starting out. It’s okay.
Christine: We have the before and after within the video. Right?
April: Yeah. That’s true.
Christine: It’s great. Your’s is so calming and nice. If you’re watching this video, people, sorry. April, if I’m right, you have an entire blog post about this, is that correct?
April: I do.
Christine: Great. I will link that in my show notes for my listeners.
April: Okay. Great. Because there’s a downloadable, too, like a free worksheet that people can grab to work through some of these steps and think through them.
Christine: Wonderful. Anybody who has listened to my podcasts more than once knows I love dreaming, so this is good. Good stuff.
April: Yeah. Fun.
Christine: All right. As someone, April, who helps empty nesters with their interior design, is there one go-to space that you feel will make the largest impact with the least amount of effort just to get us started?
April: Okay. When I think of the home in general, I think of creating one cozy space for, I often say just for you, but it could be for you and your partner, too, since we were just talking about the bedroom. Where you can create a space, to sit and relax and maybe be surrounded by a couple of things you love. I talk about this a lot, creating that corner with a comfortable chair, maybe an ottoman, a side table, a lamp, a pillow, a throw, a vase of flowers. These might be things you already have, but you rearrange them so you create this cozy space. It could be in your bedroom. It could be in your family room. It could be on your screened-in porch, if you have nice weather where you are now. Creating a space that’s just for you, that is the same idea as the retreat of the master bedroom. It’s like a mini-retreat for you, where you’re going to go to read, drink tea, drink coffee, have a glass of wine, have a conversation with a friend, listen to a podcast, dream about your bedroom. If it’s something that you want to have to be enhancing your relationship, maybe it’s a pair of chairs off the kitchen, or somewhere, maybe when you’re reimagining your home a little bit, if you’re thinking empty nest years. Maybe you’re reimagining spaces and creating that somewhere. That is something that someone can do in a weekend. It’s just a matter of looking at your rooms differently, and saying I don’t have favorite place where I love to just go sit, and do the things I need to do to nurture myself and to take care of myself.
In the bedroom, I would say new sheets, like 100 percent. People are like just living with too many old sheets, so go out and splurge on some really nice new sheets. That’s really simple and luxurious to get into a nice fresh bed. In the home, just thinking about do I have a space where I like to go and sit and get comfortable and relax. I have a space in my home like that, and I have a girlfriend that will call me and say, “are you in your chair, with your coffee, right now?” Like, “yes, I am.” Because you know that’s where I usually am, if I have a break, right? Find a space that makes you feel good.
Christine: That’s awesome. I have a space, but I don’t use it enough. I’m really bad about it. I have a hammock in what would be most people’s dining room.
April: Great. Okay.
Christine: Because we don’t host parties, and I was like, let’s put a hammock there. When I sit there, I love it, but I need to sit there more.
April: Yeah. Think about the things that would make you want to sit there more. That’s what I was saying. If you’re not, like, what is not there, or what is it about it that, and try to bring those things into the space, so that you will be more inclined to use that.
Christine: You’re right. I need a bookshelf. You just solved it for me. Thank you.
April: You’re welcome.
Christine: Awesome. Here’s another question, and this is fun, I think, and hopefully. I’ve probably made all of them. Hey, look at my wall. Can you share, maybe, some fun common decorating mistakes for my listeners?
April: Yes. I can. These are things that I see all too often, but they’re easily fixed. That’s the key that I love about these. They’re all about placement scale, in 90 percent of the time, that’s the problem I’m seeing. People hang their art too high. I often give a guideline of art in general, in most spaces, the center of your art should be 60 inches from the floor. You can imagine, if you have a 40 inch tall piece, then the center of that is 20 inches, measure 60 up from the floor and put 20 inches of the art right there. Because that could sit at most people’s eye level.
Christine: Got you.
April: That’s where we want our art. We want it at eye-level. That’s a general guideline, but most people hang art way too high. They take the distance between whatever the piece is and the ceiling and they put it in the center of that space, instead of working from the ground up.
Christine: Got you.
April: We need to work from the ground up. That’s one thing you can do. Conversely, people often hang their draperies and curtains too low. They hang them right at the tiptop of the window trim, instead of going almost all the way to the ceiling, and raising that eye up a little bit and elongating the space. It’s kind of an opposite problem. The draperies are too short and their hung too low, and so that scale needs to be going up, and the opposite of the art. The other scale issue is often area rugs, too small. They’re sometimes placed floating in the middle of, like there might be a coffee table on it, and then all the other furniture is 12 inches away from the rug. It should really have all the furniture front legs, or more on a rug, in a living space, or go to encompass almost the whole room if you can, with like a 12 inch border or something. Rugs are too small, art’s too high, and curtains are too low. Those are kind of the three things that visually enhance a space when you change those.
Christine: That’s awesome. Yes, guilty of the curtains, for sure.
April: You don’t know what you don’t know. Those are, like you said, kind of fun. It’s not to criticize someone, or put them down. It’s certainly not the end of the world, but those are things you can do and you may realize how much of a difference it makes.
Christine: Absolutely. Great. That’s awesome. The artwork, it’s funny. I have noticed that. I work on a campus where we have an art museum, so they’ll bring art and place it, so I have noticed art more often than I used to. We don’t have art in my house.
April: You can’t hang it too high, if you don’t have art. That’s right. That’s one way to look at the problem.
Christine: Okay. Here’s advice. If you could get all future empty nesters in one gianormous room, and give them one piece of advice, what would it be?
April: It would be that I think your home has so much of an impact on how you feel about yourself and how you feel about your life. I think especially, in transitions, such as an empty nest transition, your home can do so much to support you. I think that it’s not viewed that way. I think sometimes decorating is viewed as purely aesthetic, but I firmly believe that from the way our rooms are arranged to the way the color and the fabrics we use enhance your mood, they enhance your life. If you’re looking to build connections during those empty nest years with new friends and entertaining, your home can completely be set up to support that, and changed and tweaked so that you feel really comfortable to go ahead and have those people over and have those connections. We talked about the bedroom. Enhancing that can firmly enhance your marriage. It’s not like a miracle, but it will make a big difference. The environment that you live in definitely impacts your mood, and so I would say, if you can, if you have a couple years ahead, stop and think, and look at your home and go okay, maybe right now we can’t do these things, but in four or five years, we’re going to be ready to decide are we staying, are we going? Either way, let’s enhance the home to serve our needs. Do we want coffee together every morning? Do we want to have dinner parties. What do we want to do? Do we want the kids to come home? Are we going to create a patio so that they enjoy coming home. Really use your home as a tool, so start looking at it in that way, and if you are going to be selling it, even in 10 years, I always say make the improvements now, so you can enjoy them. You kind of go through that list and think, okay, if I am going to sell in 10 years, look at the big things, the flooring, the shutters, the front door, any of the architectural elements, the painting. What things can we improve now, and then, if we do it in five to 10 years, they’re not going to be so old that we can sell and still enjoy it. Think of your home as just such an asset into how you feel about your life. It’s that shift in a mindset, can make it maybe be something that you put on a priority list. There is always ways to find advice on how to do those things. You have to understand that it can make a big difference.
Christine: As you were talking, too, I was thinking a lot of my audience, in particular, their children are still in high school, and still going through college, so they’re still in the transition. The one thing I’ve noticed is they want to jump into our dreams, which might be five, 10 years in advance. Some of the things that you can do now, while your child is transitioning, are these things, which is really nice, and they benefit future you. You can still use your GPS. You can still use your future you. Where are they going to be? All this dreaming, and let’s get the house ready. Let’s get your mind ready and all these other things ready to just be able to fly, ourselves, when we’re on the other side.
April: Yes. Absolutely. Let it be a tool and an asset, and enhance everything, whether your staying or going. Yeah, you’re right, then it’s done and you’re just off to enjoy the things you need to enjoy. Your home is not a burden, and it supports you. There’s just so much you can do in your home that can turn things around and support you. It’s a great tool.
Christine: It is. It really is. So many times, it’s been on my heart lately, where everyone I’m talking to seems to be like, but I want to do things now. I want a new career. I want a new job. I think this podcast will have been out where I talk about simmering. We’re kind of in the simmer right now. Where things bubble up and they bubble down, and we’re just in the simmer, so we can take care of these things. If you’re having trouble sitting in the simmer, this is something you can do. Good stuff, April. Thank you!
April: I like thinking of it as the simmer, too. I like that.
Christine: You’ve got to bring out the flavor. You need time, right?
April: You do.
Christine: Okay. Is there anything else you would like to share with my amazing future empty nest friend?
April: I’m so happy for them, too, by the way. They’re on their way. I do. I wanted to share that I offer a video service to help take clients through my seven steps of design. I just bring that up, so that if people hear all this advice and want more information, I can work with people around the world, via video, to go through some design problems and solve challenges. You can link to that, if you want, on your notes. It’s a great service to help get people started and help them, maybe dream, or figure out what they need.
Christine: Awesome. I will definitely link to it in my notes. Yeah, she could look at my wall and be like, no.
April: Yeah. Exactly. We go through all the steps and it’s a great service, and it can get you started and get your rooms kind of pulled together a little bit.
Christine: Wonderful. That’s great. Okay. Before you go, I have four questions that I ask every guest of mine. First, waffles or pancakes?
Christine: Excellent. Any reason? You just like them?
April: They’re just better than — I don’t know, I had waffles at lunch yesterday. I had a choice, and I was like, I definitely want waffles. The nooks, the butter sits in the little holes, I just love it.
Christine: Awesome. What is one item you can’t live without and why?
April: Okay. This is a tough question.
Christine: It is, right?
April: Yes. It’s almost impossible, but it is going to be my sunglasses.
Christine: Really? I like it.
April: Yes. I have two really great pairs of sunglasses that I love. Really nice, because I wear them almost every single day. All the time, winter, spring, summer, fall. My eyes are really sensitive, and then, they’re an accessory, too. It’s a combination of need. I literally have them on before I walk out the door, so that no sun is to layer on my eyeballs. They hide a lot of sins, too, sometimes. Definitely, I would say sunglasses.
Christine: Awesome. I like that answer. That’s good. Your all-time favorite movie, and any particular reason?
April: That’s also a really tough question. I did get to think about this one, thankfully. “Notting Hill.” Which I realized, after I was thinking about it, it is now, it’s 20th anniversary this year. Which I wouldn’t have known. I love that movie. It’s just sweet, it’s funny, the accents, the love story, the family story. It has everything rolled into one. It just makes me feel good.
Christine: Awesome. Love it. All right. Finally, you have an hour of alone time, no one will bother you, what is your go-to thing to do?
April: I will probably have a good book, and a glass of wine, and probably my favorite chair. Sometimes Netflix, but probably a good book, if I can get peace and quiet. A good book and a glass of wine. Yup.
Christine: Awesome. This has been so much fun, April. I’m just so glad you reached out to me, and I’m so glad you’re here.
April: Yes. It has been a lot of fun. I love your podcast so much. I’m so happy to just contribute a little bit.
Christine: Thank you. Thanks again, for being here, and thanks for all you do to help empty nesters on their transition. Go team! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the mothers in my audience.
April: You are more than welcome. Thank you so much for having me.
Christine: Please don’t hesitate to fly on over to our Facebook group. Our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/commnity for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there.
If you are ready to begin the journey to find future you, and use her as your GPS, definitely sign up for my free program, “The Empty Nest: A Guide to Uncovering My Future.” Episode number 13 covers the high-level concepts of that program, if you would like to check it out. To dive deep into the concepts, definitely take my free program, as I provide videos and worksheets to assist you on your journey.
The questions I have for you in this episode are: number one, is your home your retreat? And, two, have you thought about your home in the empty nest? As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll find the show notes for this and every episode on my website. My next episode’s title is “Your Child’s Room on College Breaks.” We’re going to stay with the home theme for a couple of weeks, here.
Don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. It is free and you’ll be notified when I post a new episode, every Friday. If my show has helped you in any way, please share it with one other person you think it will help, too. You’ll be giving them a free gift. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks so much for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
You are preparing for the empty nest ahead as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college.