You may remember that our play room wasn’t always our play room. (I shared how it has evolved here!) When we first moved into our house, we actually used this room as our living room. Since it has such amazing light with all the windows, it was the perfect place to hang out and watch television. But we had nothing in the front of our house. I remember a neighbor girl who would take our dog for walks in the afternoon, asked if we had just moved in because we had no furniture in the front of our house. After getting over the embarrassment of a middle-schooler thinking we were nuts, I decided it was time to start getting ideas for what I wanted to do with the space.
As I was coming up with a plan for how to decorate, we had our son. Then we quickly realized we needed a play room, instead of a formal living room. So we turned our current living room in a play room because we had nothing in that space. After a few weeks of my son and myself playing on the wood floor of the living room all day, we thought we could get a rug and benches and decorate the space to look more like a play room. Well, my genius husband suggested we just switch what was the play room and living room. This way, the living room would be in the front of the house and the play room would be in the carpeted room in the back of the house.
Our play room has continuously been evolving into what it is today. The only thing that has stayed the same in the space is the wall color. Right before we moved into our home, we had all the walls painted. Now, three-and-a-half years later, the only colors that are the same are the hallway color and the play room color! We have painted and changed every other color in the house, because we love projects! For this room, we wanted a color that would be bright, cheery, and would add a pop of color to our main floor. I wanted a nice blue/gray color so Van Deusen Blule from Benjamin Moore was the perfect option for that!
When we decided to turn this room into a play room, we were using the television stand to hold the toys. Then we needed more space to store the toys, so we added a bookshelf. The bookshelf was actually a hand-me-down from my husband’s grandfather. We decided to pain the bookshelf to make it look a little more modern. Then we secured the bookshelf to the wall using an L-bracket. This was because our little man loved to climb things.
After our son’s first birthday, we decided we needed more storage space, so we purchased IKEA Kallax bookshelves. We turned them onto their sides to create an L-shaped bench. The bench would go under the windows we have in the room. We would use the bookshelves under the benches to store the toys in colorful bins. I had every intention of making a bench cushion for the benches right after we put them together. But almost three years later, I finally got around to making them.
Using decorative storage cubes, we placed them under the bench. I took pictures of what should go in each bin. Then, I mounted the pictures onto card stock. Using my Scotch brand laminator, I laminated each picture. I took a single hole-punch and punched a hole in the middle of each laminated picture. Then, I attached the picture to the bin using a binder ring clip. Now my kids can see what toys go in which bins, making clean-up time much more manageable!
I decided to add a fun wall decal to the large wall in the room. I found these adorable racing wall decals from The Land of Nod. They were the perfect colors to go with the space, and they fit the wall so nicely. I had to use two sets of the decals to make this track, but it has lasted us almost three years, with no intention of coming down any time soon!
With the room coming together, I realized that the bookshelf just wasn’t working in the space any more. I always feel that if you are just using a space to dump things, then it is not working for you, so you need to change it. I put the bookshelf down in the basement as it can be better used there. But, this opened up a lot of space for us. The kids got a teepee for Hanukkah last year, and it was in the basement all summer. I decided to bring the teepee upstairs, add some pillows and a bin for books. Now the kids have a fun, cozy reading area.
The toy kitchen was a birthday present for my son. It stayed in the play room for a while, then, last winter, found a home in our kitchen. The kids loved playing in the toy kitchen while I would make dinner. Over the summer, the kids didn’t play with the toy kitchen as much in our actual kitchen, so it got moved back into the play room. This time, to a different location in the play room. I put the toy kitchen in eyesight of our kitchen. Now the kids cook while I am making dinner, but they can see me. And their play toys are easy for them to get to.
Right before my daughter was born, my son got a train table. We first put the train table in his bedroom, but it quickly got moved into the play room. This train table has ended up turning into a play table. The kids love putting cars, trucks, and Fisher Price Little People on the table, along with using it for trains and Legos. Since it was so big, I decided to keep it in the corner of the room and pull it out as needed. Again, this didn’t last long as both kids love playing around the table. I ended up putting the table in the middle of the room to use for everything from trains to coloring to Little People.
I also store some of the bigger toys under the play table. We call this “the parking lot”. A lot of our bigger cars, trucks, some train parts, and a bucket of blocks are all housed under the play table. The kids know where they go and where they can find them, which allows them more independence when playing in the play room.
I have to say that the play room is probably one of my most favorite rooms in the house. I love the inviting atmosphere, the bright colors, and the fact that everything has a home, so both the kids and myself can find things and clean up easily. We spend so much time playing and reading in this space that I really want to make sure it feels cozy!