When we moved into our house last year, toys and books were placed in the new playroom space and the entire room kind of became an afterthought. We had just welcomed a new baby five days before our move (not ideal) and for a while I just didn’t have the time or energy to devote to making the space more inviting. But, the room was so plain (no décor on the walls yet), became disorganized, and my preschooler wasn't using it to play independently because I hadn’t set it up for success.
It was time for a makeover! Cue the Clueless makeover montage scene. Ahh, nostalgia.
In my playroom re-do, I had a few goals in mind for layout and design to make the most out of our playspace:
Goal #1 – Independent Play
My biggest priority in the playroom is that my kids would be able to play without me. I know that sounds a little selfish, but we know how busy moms are and how necessary it is to have time when you know your kids are safely occupied in order to get stuff done.
I researched a bit on creating inviting play spaces that inspire independent play. One common tip I read is that less is more. Too many toys in the room becomes overwhelming (kind of like when you’re at the nail salon and can’t choose from the 1,000 colors available) and kids are less likely to pick something and play for an extended period.
So, I pared down our existing toys and organized them purposefully into zones. We’ve got a play kitchen with a table nearby for activities, easy-access dress up storage (that also got a makeover *insert link*), and cube storage with separated bins for toys.
The final area I created to foster independence is a reading corner. I’ve had this hanging tent since my daughter was born and it has held up so well. It’s in the corner hanging above a floor cushion so they can sit down comfortably to read. Kids are also much more drawn to books that are facing outwards where you can see the cover so I bought this open-facing bookshelf for our books. It doesn’t hold a ton of books (which makes for easier clean up when they all get taken out) so I have some backstock that I will rotate through once a month or so. We also have a basket on the floor to hold library books.
(Psst…here’s a secret about that floor cushion. “Reading cushions” online are upwards of $100 – that’s just crazy! This one is a dog bed that I picked up for $10 at Walmart. No one would ever know the difference!)
Goal #2 – Organization
It was so important to me that the new playroom was organized as much as possible. I needed my preschooler to be able to help clean up and making sure everything has a distinct home is vital for that.
Cube storage is so versatile for holding toys because you can categorize items in their respective cubes. I found this fun shelf at Target and love that I can put some of the cuter items on display. These wooden bins were recommended to me because they’re so durable and stand up to kids using them as seats, shields, towers, etc. Plus, they add a warm wood tone to the all white shelf that I love!
I separated the boxes into categories – baby dolls, baby doll accessories, dinosaurs (a favorite around here), and the final three I intend to use for a toy rotation. Currently one is a birthday party theme with a play cake and party animals, another is cars & trains, and the third is plastic (noisy) toys. I did hang onto a few toys that I will later rotate through these boxes every few months so the kids feel like they’re getting something new and interesting without purchasing new toys.
For small toys like figurines and animals, I hung a coat rack on an open wall with these adorable baskets. They’re organized by type as well and are perfect for all the little pieces. Plus, my daughter fully understands the system and has been doing great with picking up on her own.
Goal #3 – Cute!
My last goal for the room was to express a fun and funky style! I love the look of neutral playrooms on Pinterest with the black & white decor and wooden toys. However, it’s just not the cheerful look I was going for. I decided we needed some color!
I started by painting the walls (read about how I DIYed this adorable scallop design here *insert link*) a fun and inviting color. It’s not too bright but makes the room feel cozy.
I then (a bit obsessively) picked wall décor that was fun, eclectic, and kid-friendly. My kids love looking at themselves so portraits were important.
Another cute & practical area I recommend having in your playroom is a spot for adults. I picked up this fun and surprisingly comfortable accent chair, side table, and lamp so that I have a spot to sit that isn’t on the floor where I can drink my coffee while the kids play. It’s also great for Dad (although he spends more time playing on the floor because dads get to have more fun) and visiting grandparents.
There you have it! We’ve got a calm, inviting playroom that we all love!
Is this your sign to makeover your kids’ play space? What do you want to include?