Babies have a lot of stuff – a lot more than I ever realized before I had my daughter. But you know who has even more? TODDLERS. Stuffed animals, knick knacks, books, puzzles, giant toys…Holy crap, this stuff multiplies every time I look at it. And my kid remembers EVERYTHING. Goodness knows if I throw anything away she will ask for it an hour later. So what is the solution?? I declared the house a “toy free zone”! Just kidding…. Hubs and I made a kick-ass playroom!
It began to become apparent to us when our daughter was about 9 months old that colorful little toys would soon be taking over our home. It was her first Christmas and she received beautiful, thoughtful, fun gifts from a LOT of friends and family. We tried to put some here and some there, kind of “spread the love” around the house so wherever she was there would be a toy. Well that lasted about an hour before I was going crazy looking at it all. Sooo I floated the idea “Hey, why don’t we turn the 2nd living room into a playroom since its rarely used?!”. Luckily he didn’t disagree that it was a good idea, and we began the transformation.
We sold/stored the furniture and started with a total blank slate. I made a list of must haves. Some seemed a little far fetched for a 9 month old, but it’s not like she was going to be playing in there by herself. If I was going to spend a large chunk of time in there with her, I didn’t want to go crazy, and I sought out to create a fun, learning environment.
My must haves:
- Baby/Kid friendly flooring (no carpet)
- Gates – to keep kids in and dogs out. The playroom is the one “Dog Free” room in the house.
- Art work – I hate painting and our walls are a very boring neutral tan color
- Storage – for books/toys/stuffed animals
- SPACE – I didn’t want to fill up the whole room and be left with no where to play
First the floor. Our whole house has beautiful hardwood floors. Unfortunately hardwood and kids don’t really mix. We decided to go with large grey interlocking gym flooring mats from Home Depot. It’s no secret that babies fall down, they drop things and they make messes. So we wanted something with a little cushion and would be easy to clean. We went with grey vs color because everything else in the room is super colorful. It’s really nice to have a solid color floor. Luckily for us, hubs found the mats on sale. Aadie was given a couple smaller puzzle mats for christmas which give color and help to section off the room.
Next toy storage. I began Pinteresting to find playroom ideas and came across amazing wall systems from Pottery Barn. There is no way on earth I could come to terms with spending $1,000+ for cubby storage, so I created my own wall system! I bought two of these 9 cubby shelves and this storage bench. Viola! My own version of a wall system for about a 1/10 of the cost (make sure to anchor it to the wall — little climbers can scale that thing lickadee-split!!). I grabbed a few fabric storage bins that regularly go on sale at Target. I also found some large and bright plastic storage buckets to hold stuffed animals and blankets.
The gates we used are Regalo Extra Widespan Walk Through gates in white to fit our large door openings. We found them on amazon and decided to get the “open box” in order to save a little bit of money. They have been awesome so far. Although our 2 year old now knows how to open them when they are not fully latched, they tend to be adult-proof to all of our visitors! 😛
Art! I LOVE painting. Admittedly I am not a pro painter, but I especially love doing “Paint Night” paintings. I had quite the collection of them stored in my basement so I hung them on one big wall and created a little gallery. We love to talk about them, play “I spy” and find matching colors (everything is a learning moment). I also love hanging up artwork that Aadie makes. She loves to see it and is very proud to hang it up. I have decided to keep our art supplies in another area in the house, where they can be monitored while in use for now. 😉
Last and one of my favorite things in the whole room is our mural. Yes, MURAL. One of my friends is a fabulous artist who we hired to paint this amazing mural on the wall. Thanks a million Jess!! The mural is so colorful, whimsical and fun. It adds SO much to the room. We love talking about it, creating stories about the princess who lives in the castle, and the book that the little girl is reading. It has endless opportunities for us to unleash our creativity.
Check out Jess in action in the time-lapse video I made of the mural being painted!
There you have it! A super fun, useable play room that didn’t break the bank! It contains all of the kids stuff into one room and is a place that I definitely don’t mind spending time in. There’s definitely nothing boring about it! We try to save the last 5 minutes of play time of the night for clean up, because I think its important that she take some ownership of her things and help to put them away. But on days that it doesn’t happen it’s not a huge deal because we can just leave the mess and relax in the living room which is still a grown up place.
What are your favorite must haves for your kids’ playroom?