"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Playroom Details

Ok, I wanted my mom to take better pictures, but she said mine are fine… my question is “are they Pinterest worthy?”  I think not, but this appears to be the best we can do for now!

I had so much fun doing this playroom. That’s the way decorating is supposed to be, not the twisted-knot-in-your-gut emotions that decorating usually brings out in me! Definitively starting with the throw pillows helped. I have wanted a playroom ever since Isla was about 5 months old and I looked around at her swing, her exersaucer and her jumperoo in my living room and thought… “Forget Isla, MOM needs a playroom!” I’m so excited to have one and so thankful that Nick let me have it. I know the girls will love it!

We visited Nick’s mom and dad for her birthday and then went to the IKEA in Round Rock that same weekend. Nick and I went alone and had so much fun picking everything out. I completely owe this playroom to three giants in engineering! IKEA, HONDA and my husband for his amazing skills at organizing… we fit an 8 cube Kallax unit, a 4 cube straight Kallax, two 4 cubed square kallax units, a LOVESEAT, a Lack coffee table, rugs and other accessories, me, Nick, Isla, Gemma, and Frodo plus all of our luggage INTO THE ODYSSEY! Nothing was left behind, not even seats that were pulled out to make the required room.  Check it out…

photo 1 (15)

I just want to highlight a few things, in case others might glean something from my ideas. I found all of the blogs out there so helpful. We all do things a little bit differently, and I love learning from other moms and talking to them, and then just taking what works best for us. Swapping ideas and sharing stories with other moms is one of my favorite things!

Some things I wanted in my playroom:

  • Most of the toys to be accessible so that Isla and Gemma could get them out themselves.
  • The toys to be easily organized in a manner that allowed the girls (or at least Isla for now) to put their toys away easily with only some instruction. BTW – this is ALREADY working! Whoo hoo!
  • The toys to be out of sight when picked up for the most part… It’s a playroom so of course toys will be out, but I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed with toys!

Some general strategies:

  • Labeled bins so everything will be in its proper place! Again, already helping EVERYONE pick up!
  • Three main areas: our engineering station, our kitchen/home station, and our reading station. These are three things that are VERY important to our family… I love seeing what different families prioritize! We are all different, all wonderful in our own way (cheesy but true).

The sofa

We ended up buying an EKTORP loveseat instead of the HAGALUND one that I had originally planned on. It does not fold into a bed, but since we will be using it 99% for TV watching we figured we should buy for OUR comfort. Once we arrived on the actual show room floor, I let Nick pick out which IKEA sofa we bought, since getting rid of his beloved sectional was so traumatic for him. He picked this one, and I was so excited to see that they had it in GRAY too! I have been wanting to do something with gray for a while now, but I haven’t had the opportunity. I saw Nick pick up a dark brown slip cover and look at it regretfully Smile, but I already feel like I am drowning in beige and sandy brown in my house on most days, and there was no way I was buying more of that color scheme if I could help it! Its really cute and comfortable and between that and the throw pillows I had bought, it helped me set the tone of the room.


Our Activity Table and Engineering Station

Our TV station is also our “engineering station”. I want to get a custom sign that says “GIRL POWERED Engineering Station” for above the chalk board, but that will be for sometime in the future. Most of the items in the TV stand cubes are engineering/building/math related. Its so important to me to build their math skills early!


I really wanted an activity table with a slight lip for the girls train set and puzzles and other activities where you don’t want things to slide off onto the floor, but all of the activity tables were $200+… so what’s a girl to do? We did our own little IKEA hack and Nick added a board around the edge (wood glue and screws) to a large LACK table. I bought a special primer and green paint (green for grass – I could also see the girls setting up their doll houses on it, plus the train) and voila! It looks SO good. I was worried that it would look cheaply done like several of the other IKEA hacks I had seen, but Nick sanded and wood glued holes and it just looks great! We also added a layer of polyurethane on top of it to make sure it withstands all of the toys on it.


Magentic Chalkboard and Art Items

If you ever want to do a magnetic chalkboard, message me first! This turned out to be so much more expensive, messier and difficult than I ever would have thought, but it works so… there’s that. We painted it on hardboard and Nick framed it. I asked for these four adorable knobs from the Land of Nod from my mom for my birthday, and we had issues with the hardware for one so its not up, but the buckets are for chalk, letters, numbers and when we get the last yellow one up, magnetic toys.


We also store crayons, markers and coloring pencils up here. Its very nice for them to be easily accessible instead of in the craft closet, and if I add rolling paper (doubtful)to the chalkboard it will be handy there too. We bought the rod and buckets at IKEA.


TV Viewing Station

I love these little LACK shelves that hold our Playstation 3 (and DVD player) and U-verse items, and helps keep the cords from going crazy although there is still room for improvement. I keep a few things that I don’t want the kids to  easily access above like the Playstation accessories and board games and other toys with a lot of pieces. I am going to challenge myself to get one item down from there a day so that they are not out of site out of mind.


Reading Station

Our finished bookcase is SO CUTE! We just cut out cardboard to fit behind the shelves, added a little bit of batting, and duct taped cute fabric around it! The shelves keep it in place. Of course we painted the bookcase gray too. I would eventually like to get the girls a little reading tent to go where the piano is. I have one picked out and we made sure to leave room when we secured the bookcase to the wall. One of our bins has musical toys and already the girls love it when I pull it out and put it by the piano or put on music and they “play” along!


Home Station

My biggest splurge was the table and chairs. First I ordered the chairs on clearance, but they were too big for the table we already had so I bought the new table on sale, and sold the old set on Craigslist. I don’t regret this one bit, especially since the old table and chairs were very rickety even with Nick constantly working on them. They are perfect for the room and for Isla’s age. The little girls will grow into it. Plus an adult can sit fairly comfortably on them and not worry about breaking them because they are so sturdy.


This is Isla’s pantry (and Gemma’s when she gets bigger)! Isla already has her pots and pans up there, along with her dishes and I am sure a few fake food items are not far behind. These are just IKEA spice racks that I painted with my leftover green paint from the activity table. We may have to take them down or move them when we set up our pink retro kitchen, but we have 6 months until then so we will enjoy them for now. At some point I would like for Nick to make a 2x16” shelf with a small lip to put above the entire kitchen set where we can put some of the bigger baby toys, including ones that roll, but I’m not in a rush at all. I am thinking we will do that when we set up the new kitchen.


I did buy two cube inserts that were made just for Kallax for bigger quantity toys! They hold SO much. Right now they have kitchen toys and doll toys in them. We have a lot of baby dolls around here, and we are sure to get more with three girls Smile. Isla is not that into them and never has been, but Gemma loves “bay-bees” and cuddles and kisses them and bounces them on her knee. At some point, I will probably move around the kitchen items and use that big bin for “pretend play” items like their Doctor kit, dress up clothes and other make believe items.


Toddler Station

This is our toddle station for Gemma. She is currently Isla’s little shadow though so she has pretty much ignored this and is just Isla’s best customer when they play “Chef Isla.” Smile


It was really fun just getting everything done in a few weeks instead of waiting until I had the budget like I normally do with the rest of the house. All of the furniture we sold on Craigslist pretty much covered the change. I LOVE the way things came together, and I love that I did it in a style that is very different from my usual style and in colors that are so different from my usual colors (green and gray). The color scheme evolved so naturally and perfectly! First the pillows, then I knew I wanted a green activity table, and then the green play chairs were the only fun chairs I could get, and then the gray came with the couch! And then of course we were able to add more fun colors in the bins and the rugs and other bright toys. That room is so sand colored that its been nice to get some real color inside it and not have it be so neutral. I do love bright colors Smile.

That’s pretty much it for now!  Now, onto making real messes and real memories in here!

PS and UPDATE: I made the Alphabet banner… I’m so proud of it. I realize its only tracing letters and cutting them and stringing them on twine or whatever, but still miles above my level of craftiness and comfort level. Also, here are pictures of the entire room again.



  1. So cute! I love your banner! I also am in love with your "engineering" station! I might have to borrow that idea and implement it here with my two builders/engineers. When I read about your engineering station I immediately thought about the GoldieBlox kits…Peyton (and John) has one and LOVES it! Even Graham will try to work through the problem and do it. Other things we love are the Magna Tiles and these Smart Max Magnetic Sticks that they use to build things. Enjoy your playroom!!!

  2. Thank you for the compliment on the banner :). I have almost bought the GoldieBlox kit several times, but I hesitated because it looked like a one time use toy, is that true? Its so good to hear that you recommend it! The Smart Max sticks are on my Christmas list for Isla :). I will check out the Magna Tiles.

  3. What a gorgeous playroom, any child would be lucky to have that!


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