A Playroom Update: DIY Art Gallery and Toy Storage


Playroom - Toy Storage Ideas and Gallery Wall for Children's Artwork Tutorial | Life by Naomi

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.

Playroom - Toy Storage Ideas and Gallery Wall for Children's Artwork Tutorial | Life by Naomi

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.

Playroom - Toy Storage Ideas and Gallery Wall for Children's Artwork Tutorial | Life by Naomi

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.

Playroom - Toy Storage Ideas and Gallery Wall for Children's Artwork Tutorial | Life by Naomi

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.

Playroom - Toy Storage Ideas and Gallery Wall for Children's Artwork Tutorial | Life by Naomi

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.

Playroom - Toy Storage Ideas and Gallery Wall for Children's Artwork Tutorial | Life by Naomi

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.

Playroom - Toy Storage Ideas and Gallery Wall for Children's Artwork Tutorial | Life by Naomi

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.

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  1. Reply

    This looks great Naomi. Your situation really reminds me of a friend’s house in Dublin. Like yours, hers has a dining room in the middle, next to the kitchen but she uses is as a playroom because the extension is brighter and more suited to being a dining room.

    1. Reply

      Interesting! I think when the children are older we might move things around but it suits us for now.

  2. Reply

    Ooh love the gallery wall that is a fab idea! Xx #bloggerclubuk

    1. Reply

      Thanks! I’m really pleased with it too.

  3. Reply

    It looks AMAZING!!! Especially the gallery idea — I absolutely love that! What a cool way of utilising a roller blind. Just fabulous! I wish we had a dedicated playroom; the twins have taken over the snug — which I don’t really mind at all — but occasionally it would be lovely to be able to shut the door on it all, rather than sit surrounded by a sea of toys! 😉 Thanks ever so much for sharing with #HomeEtc — Caro xx

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m really flattered that you like it as your interiors posts are always so lovely.

  4. Reply

    A central play room is a fab idea – it lets the children feel they are getting some independence and still allows some supervision. The room looks great too
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂

    1. Reply

      I definitely know what you mean about the independence – supervision problem! Thanks xx

  5. Reply

    The gallery wall is such a creative idea. I’m not so generous in giving up wall space for the boys’ art. I must learn to share 😉

    1. Reply

      Ha ha! I think of the playroom as being the childrens’ space – and having the gallery wall means it’s contained and doesn’t spread out to… er… “my” walls!

  6. Reply

    It looks a great space – and reassuring to be able to see what’s going on while not actually being involved. Love the gallery walls too #homeetc

    1. Reply

      It’s such a luxury having a playroom, but it’s brilliant with small children.

  7. Reply

    All amazing and it looks superb. Our playroom is in a constant state of mess these days despite ALL the storage going!!!!!!! Yours looks stunning. Thanks for linking up and sharing, love jess xx


    1. Reply

      I cannot imagine your home ever being a mess! Ours doesn’t always look like in the pictures… but it does get close at the end of the day!

  8. Reply

    Oh I’m definitely in favour of a play room over a dining room. It keeps all of the toys nicely in their own place and it means you don’t have to put them all away perfectly at the end of the day. Love the personalised art walls too. Looks fab 🙂

    1. Reply

      Thank you! I love having a playroom – can’t really imagine having a separate formal dining room now if you’ve got room to eat in the kitchen.

  9. Reply

    What a fantastic colourful space! I’m a big lover of the Ikea Kallax units. It’s always amazing how much you can fit in the boxes too. I’m loving the art gallery walls…really good idea (so pinching that!). I’ve been hunting for a patterned rug, so will take a look at Wayfair! Thanks for linking up #bloggershomes x

    1. Reply

      Thanks so much – lovely to have another linky to join.

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