AKA the post in which I show you how we turned a formal living room into a playroom.
Our new house was built in the 1970s, so of course, we have a smaller, cozier family room AND a formal living room. When we first looked at the house, then bought it and moved in, we figured the living room would be kept quite empty for a while. Buying furniture for a room that we didn’t plan to spend much time in was pretty low on the list of priorities when it came to spending our money.
At first, the room was an “overflow” room. And when we were ripping down drywall and the family room was under construction, we had all of our family room furniture in the living room. It was a mess. But once we had things under control, we moved everything into its rightful place and the living room was left with… a toybox. So it became a makeshift playroom for Nora.
Over time, we began to embrace the idea of a first floor playroom. And finally, we decided that if we were going to make it a playroom, we should put the effort into “decorating” it as such. We started collecting pieces for the
formal living room playroom, and now, we are finally done.
It’s funny, because when you walk through our front door, this is actually the first room you see. I suppose it is a testament to the current state of our lives. Hi, we are parents to a young child. :)
The color on the walls is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt. We actually chose it (and painted it on the walls!) before we even really knew what we were going to do with the room. Looking back, that probably wasn’t the right approach, but I think it turned out to be the perfect color. I love it. It’s a lovely blue-gray color and really makes this room light and airy.
This is a DIY magnet board we made out of sheet metal for Nora (thanks to Pinterest for the inspiration).
Curtain rod and curtains are from JCPenney.
by Tot Tutors, purchased at Toys ‘R’ Us from Santa’s workshop. :) We have really been impressed with the little table so far. The pieces are nice and sturdy, the colors are great, and Nora loves it. Win-win-win.
Playmat by Tadpoles, purchased at Amazon.com. We bought three of them to make a mat of this size. This has been great for us, too. For a few months, we sat right on the hardwoods to play with Nora in the then-empty “playroom,” and it was really rough on the tailbone (especially one that I swear is permanently damaged by childbirth). This makes things a bit more comfy!
Cube shelf and fabric drawers from Target. This was one of our latest additions within the last several weeks, and it has really helped to complete the room. To have additional, smaller storage to supplement the toy box has been great. Books, smaller toys–they’re all easily accessible to Nora, but they now have a place.
Lamp and lampshade from Target. Art from Etsy. There are dozens of variations of the “playroom rules” floating around Pinterest and Etsy, so there are certainly options. And, subway art is fairly easy to DIY, too. However, this PDF file was only $10 and I figured it was more than worth it for the time I would’ve spent to try to design something I liked equally as much. I had it printed at Staples for like $2, and bought the frame at Michaels.
More toys organized, but easily accessible to Nora. We also decided to hang her cake smash collage (want a better look? check out this post) in here.
Ah, the alphabet wall. This thing was a labor of love, and totally deserves its own post–so be on the lookout for more details on this project within the next few days. In short, we had a huge wall to contend with, and debated going in a few different directions. But in the end, we fell in love with an alphabet wall I had pinned on Pinterest… the rest is history.
Toy box is by my dad. :)
I know this type of thing probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Like I said, this is one of the first things people see as they come into the front door of our house! A lot of people would prefer to have playrooms that can be hidden behind closed doors, and toys that can be tucked away. But for us, it was about creating something functional. Instead of furnishing and decorating a room that would be rarely used, we went with something that is utilized on a daily basis.
In this room, Nora can play with all of her toys just a few steps away from us while we’re making dinner. When we have company over (almost all of whom have children of their own), our kids can play together in the next room while we enjoy some adult conversation. We envision that this room will get a lot of use during our years with young kids. At some point, when they’re a little older, we’ll move the playing into the finished part of our basement, and this room will transform into something else. Until then, our little girl enjoys it every day. See?
Making sure to come full circle–here are the “before” pics. First, with the sellers things:
And then on the day we moved in:
And one more time, here’s our after:
Overall, this was a really fun room to work on. It took some time, but mostly because we just collected items little by little. Once we decided to truly “finish” it, everything came together very quickly. I wish the kitchen could be this easy!
AboutI'm Heather. I just turned 30. I'm happily married, and mommy to the most beautiful little girl in the world (what, you're saying I could be biased?). Determined DIYer and homeowner. Sarcastic. A perfectionist. A bleeding-heart liberal. Frugal. Loves a little dog way more than many humans. Loves food, hates exercise (it's an ongoing battle). A loyal football fan. I love to laugh. Value family and friends above all else. Vie to be a world traveler.
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