Hi Guys! I’m so, so excited to share a recent Real Postbox Project with you! As many of you know, I’m a busy mama of 3 which means two things:
#1: I’m always looking for a place to put kids STUFF: toys, school supplies, craft projects, etc….in a limited space
#2: I’m all about efficiency. How many functions can I fit into one room?
If you are ever thinking the same thing, then today’s room makeover is going to give you oodles of ideas and inspiration! Plus this is just Part I: because I always create two mix-and-match versions for my clients, Part II is going to be an entirely different layout with brand new ideas.
Playroom Makeover (4 Rooms In 1)!
Recently a Mom in Missouri emailed me about turning her loft area into a space for her two kids. She has one boy and one girl so the space had to be gender neutral AND it had to work with the rest of the home since it was an open space. Unless you are a lucky duck with a designated closed-door playroom space, a LOT of us parents have the same problem. We want a space for our kids S-T-U-F-F but it needs to be organized and work into our grown-up spaces.
But you know us Moms have some special magic up our sleeves. Including this one.
So in this space I squeezed in FOUR different functions into one room:
Reading Nook/Hang Out Space
So if you are tight on space and/or budget, read on and get some ideas of how to create a multi-purpose playroom that is going to work for your family! When you are designing a space for boys and girls you have to be careful to create a space where BOTH will feel comfortable in. So I started off with lots of neutrals and added in a few pops of blue, yellow, and turquoise colors. You will be thrilled to know that this room is BUDGET FRIENDLY, yah baby! Tons of items come from Target (especially their beloved Pillowfort line), with items from Etsy, World Market, PB Teen, and Ikea throw in.
A fun way to decorate the walls of any Playroom or Kid’s Space is a Gallery Wall. Items #9-13 are all meant to be on the wall in a Gallery style, I even created a step-by-step layout so my clients know where to hang each object (not shown). Each items is fun and playful, and totally gender neutral.
Create the Perfect Kid’s Homework Station
You can get bogged down in trying to create a space for kids to do their homework, but I say keep it simple. Since my client has two children, I found budget friendly furniture so she could order two of each. Using identical furniture keeps your space looking clean-lined and sleek (then personalize each homework station with some custom touches).
These white desks and turquoise chairs come from Target (#3 and #4) . Because they aren’t huge, I wanted to give her plenty of space to keep those desks clear. So hang a simple Ikea shelf (#6) above-I added a custom initial framed artwork (an Instant Download from Etsy for just a few bucks each). A shelf also gives kids a very distinct place to put their treasures and make the space their own. A simple pencil cup (#1) with hold more items than you think.
Then take MAJOR advantage of wall space to stay uber organized. Each child gets a wall mount mailbox system (#8) to keep those desks clear of stacks of paper. You can put homework, art projects, or an inbox/outbox system in each bin. Under these wall-mounted mailboxes, I also added this adorable (and affordable) rolling cart from World Market. Stack this baby full of school or art supplies. I put it in between both desk so kids can grab what they need without every leaving their chair. I also love these teal dry-erase calendars from PB Teen to put over each desk (#2).
Create a Hang-out Space or Reading Nook
A good multi-use space should incorporate TONS of different activities, and if you play your cards right, choose items and furniture that can do double duty. This super comfy but inexpensive Ikea Ektorp chair (#21), swiss cross pillow (#2) and navy pouf (#19) can be a trifecta for a reading nook. OR use the pouf as a secondary seating area. You can also use any of the four craft table chairs (#18) to do double duty as extra seating if you have a group of people. She didn’t want a TV in her space, but you could add a TV/gaming system to this space as well.
Playroom-How the heck do you hide those toys AND look cute?
I love, love, love using low bookshelves (#24) in a kids space. Why? Because they are low, toys and bins are easily reachable (and no scaling the furniture by little ones). I like to fill up the bottom shelves with matching bins or baskets so those toys stay HIDDEN, and that way every toy has a home. PLUS you get the top shelf to add fun decor. A bonus with low shelves, are you usually have some blank wall space above them-this is the perfect spot for a Photo Gallery, framed photos, or any old type of wall art (#25) you wanna add. I was pretty smitten with this Target wood bins (they are durable but surprisingly light weight for kiddos). Check out the inspirational photo (#26) to give you an idea of how to style it.
A simple way to store all of those itty bitty objects (think legos, crayons, craft supplies) are in these inexpensive glass jars (#17) that are around $7 from Wal-Mart! Line up half a dozen of them on the top shelf and fill them up. At this price grab an extra if one breaks! (P.S. If you have toddlers and don’t want glass, try a plastic version).
Create a Craft Room with Triple Duty
I told you this room was like four rooms in one, and a Craft Room is one of the functions! I’ve mentioned this before but I’m not a huge fan of mini kid sized furniture. Kids quickly grow out of it and then you are stuck with furniture you can’t use. Instead I like to use kid-friendly (but full sized furniture). I love using these Target metal chairs (#18). They are lightweight so they are easy for kids to move around and if one falls no one is going to get hurt. I paired it up with this simple white craft table from Ikea (#16).
But I said this Craft Table does TRIPLE duty.
This table that sits four can work as a:
Craft Table or Puzzle Table
Homework Table (some kids or projects need extra space to spread out)
Snack Table (keep those crumbs to where they are easy to find and clean!)
The majority of the time my clients also struggle with WHERE to put everything and how to layout the room. That’s why I always include a floor plan (not shown) with them, chock full of notes and details about where to put each and every object. In this case since I suggested an art Gallery Wall I also included an elevation drawing of where to place the objects on their wall (not shown). So every detail is taken care of!
So here is what the room looked like before and after:
And here is a 3D rendering perspective of what her Playroom/Homework Station will look like when it’s complete! Every item from her Mood Boards is on her rendering so she can visualize EXACTLY what her room will look like before ordering a single object! (a little secret: this is my favorite drawing included in a Postbox!). This drawing really can help ANYONE truly picture what their new space is going to look like. Then you can have the confidence to order your items knowing exactly how to style the room yourself. Also (not shown), is step-by-step instructions, and even the reasoning behind certain choices (i.e. “this pattern helps to hide stains” or “you can take it off and wash it”)
When you are a parent, ALWAYS look for ways to make a space do double, trip, or even 4x duty! By converting this loft space into a Kid’s Only area, we fit a playroom, homework center, craft table, AND hang-out area/reading nook by choosing furniture to do double duty. And I promise, every item is budget friendly-which is KEY in kid’s spaces (I don’t want you to cry when your 7 year old scratches your table). I had a BLAST working on this project and I hope these two kiddos love their new space!
What to Think About When Designing a Playroom
I know I’m a designer so I love pretty things. But I’m also practical-form should always go before function. So for the playroom aspect of the room: what do you really need? I would say the number one place to spend your money is on some great organization. I love furniture with open cubbies that is low to the ground. Low furniture means your kids can actually access it, and open cubbies give you a lot of flexibility. I would fill up most of the cubbies with soft sided bins or baskets (if you choose a woven basket go with a heavy duty one that won’t easily be damaged). Honestly, I have tried over the years to create an uber-organized system that just leaves me miserable and spending hours sorting legos! So in our house I have a vague organizational system that works “well enough”. But if you are a type A who loves her label maker…go crazy! Make labels for your bins and keep those toys in tip top shape!
I do love to have all of my bins the same…I think it makes the space feel more calm. And if you are working your Playroom into your Family Room-you can go “grown-up” with the bins! I used Target woven baskets for my kids toys for years since it was right next to my sofa.
The easiest way to add some personality and character to a Playroom is through art. I’m a huge fan of Etsy to get fun, adorable prints that are super unique. I’m an even bigger fan of the Instant Downloads so I can print them off myself (and no waiting!). Creating a Gallery Wall is an easy way to show ever-changing artwork (or kid’s art creations). I’m also (kinda obsessed) with blowing up my artwork into huge 24″x36″ or larger prints. You can easily fill up an entire wall with just one print if the thought of choosing an entire wall of artwork sounds overwhelming.
And guess what…you can CHANGE OUT THE ARTWORK as their interests change! If little guy is into Legos today and Star Wars tomorrow? You don’t need to go crazy creating an entire Lego themed Playroom, just put up some Lego themed artwork and stay flexible Mama.
The other Playroom must-haves? I love adding a big area rug-a super easy way to add color and texture AND give the kiddos a safe place to play. And if you have carpet in your home, an area rug can be a miracle worker…move it to cover up the newest stain 😉 I am also a fan of some sort of table and chairs set. It can be used for SO many ways….a craft table now, a puzzle table later, and eventually a homework or project table. If you can, invest in one that is heavy duty enough to survive the years…it’s needs will keep changing.
And finally…go vertical. Most of us are tight on space somewhere, somehow. Use bins, cubbies, or hooks on the wall to keep things off of the ground. If it has a home, it is much more likely to end up there. For a long time my girls had a huge dress-up area in their Playroom. Hooks and a vertical cabinet kept things SO much more organized than when they were stuffed into a trunk.
What to Think About When Designing a Homework Station
Every kid learns differently. And every kid wants to do their homework in a different way. So if you have three kids, you don’t need a homework center that can fit all three at once (good luck with that one!) because most likely they won’t all be doing their homework in the same place at the same time. But I do suggest giving every kiddo their own bin or container with their school supplies. And give every child their own mailbox or cubby to store their homework or projects. Don’t even get me started on the joys of having a Command Center…just search for it in my blog and you can hear me blog all about it!
If one kid needs to lounge while doing their homework? Add a beanbag and throw blanket in the corner for them. If your one child (I’m putting in my bet it will be your first born!) needs a desk and some quiet, you can add a small desk easily to the corner of their bedroom. Give them some major wall shelf space to store their items and they will be as happy as a clam.
And anyone else have a “wanderer”? (I do!) The kid who always wants to be in the center of the action? Create a mini homework caddy for them…they can bring it with them wherever they want to study that day. Then when they are done, they throw everything back in the caddy and put it in it’s home.
If your room is doing double duty as a Playroom AND Homework Center, feel free to use that storage unit as double duty as well! In the Playroom I shared with you today, I found a low open shelf unit from Target and stocked it full of lightweight wood bins for toys. But on top we loaded up on the clear glass jars full of school and craft supplies. If you have older kids, you could also add a couple of shelves above it for supplies or display as well. Just a tip though: I probably wouldn’t mix school supplies and toys into the same type of bin though, that is just a mix-up disaster waiting to happen my friend!
And if you really, really don’t want all of that stuff out in the open? Do you have any closets near your Playroom? Dedicate a shelf to a nearby closet with just bins of craft and school supplies. Or go old-school and upcycle an armoire or tall cabinet with beloved DOORS on the front. Throw it all inside and close the doors…no one will know. In my own casa, my kids have a “craft closet” that we use daily. We re-purposed our linen closet near a bathroom for this very use, and installed six shelves inside. Inside is where we hide school supplies, crafts, board games, on-going craft projects, legos, play-dough. Well, the doors don’t always close let’s put it that way. It was SO well worth stealing some space for where we are in life. (And I just put towels and supplies in the bathroom vanity instead). And for us that solution was totally F-R-E-E.
Have no idea how to create a kid space that the grown-ups will love too? Check out my Postbox Projects to see other Playrooms I have designed for past clients (like this one below for a hang of pre-teens!). You don’t need a dedicated Playroom or Media Room to give your kids or teens a place where they can feel like home. With this project I used ideas that you can incorporate into any Family Room and have it work for all members of the fam. Grab ideas for yourself or just see how the whole Postbox Designs process works in real life.
Or check out more at this Rustic Playroom Makeover from Texas below (Parts I and II), you can find it HERE. This space was for two younger children (also a boy and a girl), so it had to work for both genders and be a space they wouldn’t outgrow quickly (sound familiar to any of you parents out there?!). This furniture will grow with them, is durable, and even budget-friendly. That is my kind of Playroom!
Or are you just still feeling overwhelmed with your own project?
That is exactly why I created Postbox Designs! I have been there myself with little free time, and my “To Do” list items competing for my attention. Where do you start? What items go with what? How can I do this all on a budget and still send these cutie pies to college someday?!
You can have your very own room custom designed without ever leaving your house. You have some simple homework, then I design your room top-to-bottom. Get your custom Postbox in the mail and then order everything in an hour without ever leaving your PJs. You can purchase your own custom design room right HERE! You will get two different mix-and-match versions with all of the drawings and samples you need to create your room. It really is that easy (and fun). Come back next week for Part II of this Playroom Makeover Reveal and see a whole new set of designs!