When we first viewed this house, Tim and I had just had a conversation about how a playroom would be more useful than a formal dining room. A room specifically for the childrens’ toys just seemed like such a luxury, but I loved the idea of them having a dedicated fun space. I also loved the idea of having somewhere you could shut the toys away at the end of the day.
Our house had an extension built onto it before we moved here, and the dining room (as it was) was extended, as well as the kitchen, and a fourth bedroom added. This gave an extra downstairs room, almost in the middle of the house. It was used as a dining room by the previous owners, and the extension part was used as a second sitting room.
We decided to switch things around and put the playroom in the middle room. It’s not the lightest of rooms as it only has one small window, and the space between the playroom, dining area and kitchen is all open plan. It’s a brilliant space, and I love being able to make dinner and watch the children playing in a safe area.
One of the interiors challenges that comes with having children is how to store their toys. There are some brilliant – and creative – toy storage solutions out there, but to start with, we had a wicker chest. This fitted really well under the bay window in our old house, and, for a while, stored Ben’s toys.
Apart from the really bulky toys, this worked well until he was about 2. Then we needed a bit more storage. We bought another wicker chest. A bookcase which had belonged to Tim in his bachelor years was used as his playroom bookcase. This was filled to overflowing, and didn’t look right because it was so dark.
So when Wayfair got in touch and asked if I’d be interested in collaborating on a project, I was really keen to update the look of our playroom. I wanted to keep using a blue-grey colour scheme throughout the house, and to bring a bit more light into the room if I could.
After doing a bit of research, I quickly settled on the IKEA Kallax series. I love the flexibility of this furniture – you can use it horizontally or vertically, and it’s easy to personalise the look for the furniture with the storage cubes. It’s also very reasonably priced, which I think is an important factor. I don’t want to be buying very expensive furniture if there’s a fair chance it might be scratched or drawn on over the next few years.
I chose the white, grey, turquoise and yellow storage cubes. I’d have really liked navy, but they don’t do navy yet.
The cubes are perfect for toy storage, because you can group toys together. So if Ben wants to play with Octonauts, we can just grab the cube containing all the Octonauts toys. It also means that he can get involved in tidying up! I love that one cube fits the Lego head just perfectly.
I also replaced the rug in the playroom for this patterned one from Wayfair. It’s not a particularly soft rug, which is good for when the children are building a train track. We have a bean bag for snuggling up and reading.
The crowning feature, though, are the DIY gallery walls. These were inspired (copied) from Tim’s sister Suzie. We’ve cut two plain white roller blinds down to fit the space we had available. I hot-glued blue ribbon to them to give them a bit of a frame, and so they fitted in with the colour scheme of the room. We then hung them from the wall.
The boys have one gallery each – although Samuel hasn’t created anything for his yet, so Ben’s work fills them both. I put wall stickers above them of their names.
I love our gallery wall. It means that all their artwork is contained, and they have to be a bit selective about what they put up. Ben is already doing this, and wants to take down his Winter pictures, because, “It’s not winter now, Mummy.” Although, as we had snow last week, you could be mistaken!
It also means their artwork is celebrated. Even though putting it up there is about the same effort as blu-tacking it to the fridge, somehow this makes it a bit more formal.
I am so pleased with our playroom makeover. We still have a few things to do, like replacing the roller blind, and, I’d like to decorate. But painting will be a huge job as the whole of the open plan space will need doing in one go, so it will have to wait until Samuel is napping for longer!
You can read about my collaboration with Wayfair, and get more ideas for displaying children’s artwork here.