Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Playroom in Progress

Last summer, we moved a few miles down the road to a house more spacious and in a better location than our old one.  We were thrilled by the large, shady yard and the generous interior square footage.  But every home purchase necessitates compromises, and among ours was this: the new house lacked a playroom.  Remember how I desperately dreamed of a playroom while in my previous home? I had to find a way to create the space that my daughters needed to dream and play, and that I needed to maintain my sanity.

So we started with this "before," an upstairs spare bedroom, as decorated by the original owners:

The original blue paint, crazy wallpaper border, and dark wood belied the spaciousness of the room --- about 18 x 13, with an additional 7 x 6 walk-in closet.  I knew it would be a lot of work, but with ample northern light and tons of built-in storage, the space had promise of transforming into a light, bright, happy, and practical playroom for my three little girls.  We tackled the project in four steps.

First: Paint.  After seeking pinspiration I decided on a turquoise, pink, and white color scheme.

Every inch of dark wood was painted Benjamin Moore's Atrium White, the milky color of the millwork in the rest of the house.

For the walls, I chose Benjamin Moore's Jamaican Aqua, which seemed to be just the right shade of turquoise -- almost a Tiffany blue.

Second: Update.  We removed the old ceiling fan and installed the airy Ikea Maskros pendant lamp, a bargain at less than $40, and replaced the old Roman shades with inexpensive white blackout shades from Lowe's and no-sew cornice boxes from Jo-Ann's.  The fabric on the window treatments is Premier Prints' Twirly Candy Pink.  

Third: Accessorize.

The ubiquitous IKEA Expedit serves as toy storage and seating. We ordered the custom bench cushion from Cushion Source and chose hot pink sunbrella fabric, to facilitate cleaning and mitigate fading.  Cushion Source offers fabulous customer service, by the way.

Target canvas storage bins work for now and are labeled with contents for easy clean-up; I am still looking for pink bins that fit the space more efficiently, though.  

The bare wall above the storage bench is still searching for the right piece of art. I am hoping to focus on that this summer.

Inspired and directed by the fabulous Sada at Casa de Lewis, my mother made the fun ruffled monogram pillows which spell out PLAY.  Each pillow measures 16 x 16 inches, and the colors mirror the art work on the opposite wall.

My parents also designed and handmade this beautiful dollhouse for the girls last year.  The facade is a replica of their lakehouse, which is perhaps my daughters' favorite place on earth.  The dollhouse was a labor of love and gets lots of play.  It's bolted to a table on casters, so even the little ones can move it around the room as necessary.

Above the dollhouse hangs this set of 11x14 prints from YassisPlace.  "You Are My Sunshine" is the lullaby I sing to the girls every night, and the first song each knew by heart, so I thought it was the perfect sentiment for their playroom:

Another etsy find: a bright pink "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" print from fieldtrip, which I hung in the reading corner, over a comfy owl beanbag we bought from Pottery Barn Kids years ago.  The girls often sit in that corner, read, and daydream as they watch the deer traverse our backyard.

In the center of the room, we re-used a tea table from my oldest's nursery and recovered the chairs in the same fabric as we used on the window boxes.  I'm still looking for a cute rug to anchor the space.  Suggestions are welcome!

The built-in desk and dresser provide plentiful storage for art supplies, puzzles, and board games.  I splurged and dressed them up with aqua circus calliope knobs from Posh Tots.  

The old forest green laminate desktop had to go, but where?  Turns out that replacing that small a piece of laminate is tricky, as most vendors won't take on that small of a job.  Painting the laminate seemed burdensome and risky --- the three-week cure time was a major deterrent.  So instead I opted for a cheap and quick fix.  I covered the laminate top with this whimsical "Princess Playground" gift wrap from The Container Store that I already had on hand, and hired a discount glass supplier to cut a top to fit.  Total cost: $35.  And, we can change the look anytime we choose!

These keepsake boxes from Aaron Brothers hold up to fifty pieces of artwork and allow the kids to rotate their art displays as often as they choose:

Above, books from some of our favorite authors are on display, along with stuffed animals to soften the space:

On an adjoining wall, this canvas print from Shutterfly:

Across the room, the Ella Bella Fairy Pendulum Wall Clock from Allen Designs is both practical and whimsical:

Fourth: Organize the Closet.  With 42 square feet, the closet is an integral part of the playspace.  The girls call it their clubhouse, as it includes their play kitchen, dress-up wardrobe, their fleet of ride-on toys, and all of their bulky toys and bins of manipulatives.  The shelving in the closet helps keep everything visible, organized, and accessible.  You'll note that the wood is still the original dark stain; I initially chose not to have it painted out of economy, but I regret that decision now.  In the next round of remodeling, we'll have our painters tackle the closet as well.  For now, though, it works, and the girls are very happy playing for hours in the closet! 

The not-quite-final result:

A big improvement from the "before" I think, and thus far, a peaceful and happy playspace for my kiddos.  It has made a world of difference in our family dynamic!

(Sharing this week with Remodelaholic, Involving Color, Metamorphosis Monday, Savvy Southern Style, Thrifty Decor ChickSeven Thirty Three, Transformation Thursday, Six Sisters' Stuff, Tatertots and Jello, I Heart Naptime, DIYbyDesign, Lil Luna, French Country CottageThe Charm of Home, Common Ground, Ladybird Lane, House of Hepworths, Serenity Now, Five Days...5 Ways, Nifty Thrifty Things, Suburbs Mama, Under the Table and DreamingHomemaker on a Dime, Making the World Cuter, A Stroll Thru Life, Southern Lovely, A Humble Creation, The Real Thing, The Girl Creative, Reasons to Skip the Housework, Fidlers Under One Roof, and My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia)

I Heart Nap Time

Featured At Serenity Now


My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

By Stephanie Lynn


  1. That looks absolutely amazing. I love the new color on the wall and all of the organization. What a fun place for your kiddos. Thanks for sharing at DIYbyDesign.

  2. Oh my gosh, your playroom is adorable! So many creative elements and love the colors! Looks like such a fun place to play!

  3. What a cheerful spot! And I am obsessed with that fairy clock!

  4. This is so great! Any kid should be proud to have such a fun and inspiring spot to play!

  5. I LOVE it!! What a fabulous bright cheery play space! Great job!!
    Krista @thehappyhousie

  6. The room looks so much more inviting with all that wood painted. I am floored by how big the closet is. It's the perfect little bedroom turned playroom. I am sure your girls will have loads of fun in their playroom.

    Stopping by form Serenity Now.

  7. This is absolutely amazing. I love all the adorable prints and the PLAY pillow. This room is perfect-- such a cheery room! Awesome job.

  8. I love it! So beautiful and so fun!

  9. I absolutely love this play room! The color is a breath of fresh air! Th doll house is amazing. If you get a chance, please share this on my linky party:

  10. Wow and wow! Everything about this playroom is so beautifully executed. Any child would LOVE this space. I know I do! Great job...I wish we had an extra room in our house for this purpose.

  11. So beautiful. Your girls must be in love with the space. Really fantastic job! Thanks for joining us at the Let's Get Social Sunday linky party. Have a wonderful week. Diane @MamalDiane

  12. Wow! Are you sure that's the same room!? Can you please come to my house and make our play room look like that too?? I'll even clean it first. :)

    Debbie @

  13. WOW this is gorgeous! Featuring later today.

  14. What a fabulous space!!! You did an amazing job transforming it and those built-ins are awesome. I saw your feature over at Kristin's party and just had to come by and see the rest. :-) Well done!

  15. Adorable!!! Love the color of the room and that pendant light is so cute!!!

  16. What an awesome space. I will be featuring it tonight at my Swing into Spring party that opens at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up an I've Been Featured button. Thanks.

  17. This is just the cutest room ever, what an awesome playroom. I would love to play there. Thanks so much for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  18. Beautiful! That's one of my favorite light fixtures ever and I think it's just perfect in there. Also, those before pictures almost made me laugh. Do you think the previous owners used the room for fiestas or what?

  19. What a GREAT Playroom!

    I just found you from the Southern Lovely link party and I cannot wait to look at other areas of your blog!

    Thank you for sharing


  20. having the dollhouse on a table is so awesome! and the coasters is a great idea! it looks so great

  21. So sweet! What a fabulous playroom!

  22. It looks amazing! I can't believe it isn't finished. My girls would jump for joy with a playroom like that. Thanks for sharing, hope to see you at True Aim!

  23. Wow you have done so much to that room, its so pretty. My favourite parts are the framed artworks and the ikea light shade. You are definately in the running for the Mummy of the year award!

  24. WOW! You are an amazing decorator! I would love to have my (baby on the way) kids rooms look as awesome as this! If you're up to it, I'd love you to come post some of your talents on my linking party today over at "Fidlin' Fridays"

    Thanks for sharing!

  25. You deserve a huge round of applause! Beautiful transformation! You created such a gorgeous space for your girls.

  26. wow, the transformation is stunning! What a fabulous playroom! I've been contemplating redoing ours and you have certainly inspired me to start! Thanks for sharing at my A New Creation link party.

  27. Would you be willing to share how your mum made the cushions? I'm not much of a quilter or seamstrees but could prob follow directions- would love to make some like that. thanks