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Practical playroom makeover

Posted on April 15 2015

Practical playroom makeover
I have seen so many ‘playroom’ pictures online that look like a magazine spread, let’s face it, they probably are. The rooms look amazing but you kind of get the feeling that the minute a child is allowed to actually ‘play’ in the space (rather than pose nicely for a photo) then the room would look altogether different.
The reality is that most playrooms live in a constant state of disarray, which is usually fine for the most part ‘cos kids will be kids, right? Our playroom, however, is part of an open-plan shared space. It has no doors and only 3 walls and is fully visible from the kitchen/living/dining area so I want it to look somewhat presentable at the very least. Magazine spreads, however, don’t stay presentable for long and this playroom needs to withstand 3 kids aged from 2 to 6, and still look good. So I thought I would share our latest playroom revamp.

Playrooms are organic things. As your children grow, so does the amount of toys that they have and the type of toys they play with. Our boys are growing fast though and so is our family, what better excuse to revamp the playroom!

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they decorate a play space is start with a neutral and subdued color scheme and it doesn’t last with the clash of colourful toys. This might work for some, but it wouldn’t work for us. Kids toys and books, for the most part are brightly, often garishly colored. Even if you have made a pact with yourself to only buy wooden, natural toys, chances are they will be given the tacky ones as gifts and they will probably be their favorites. For our kids to be able to access their toys, they need to be on display and in easy reach so why not embrace the colourful? Plus kids are supposed to love color right?

We have certainly embraced color and have a bit of a red/blue/green theme going. Color themes don’t need to be followed religiously but work well to tie parts of a room together and keep it cohesive and visually appealing. To be honest, I think we have overdone our color theme a little bit a lot, but it is a bit late now. If I was to do it again I think I would tone the ‘matchy’ down a bit.

We cheekily customized the background colors of these DOG PRINTS from WallFry that we have available in the shop (and can be customized). We also used some toys from my childhood and other whimsical items as statement pieces to decorate.

Gorgeous sun pillow from Kmart.

Storage for kids needs to be easy to access, easy to organise and easy to clean-up. I wanted to maximise the storage this time so we almost filled one wall with Ikea shelving. I was devastated to find out that Ikea had recently stopped selling their ever popular EXPEDIT range. Never fear, they really had only modified it slightly (to save on costs I would imagine) and rebranded it to KALLAX which is so similar that you can hardly tell the difference. The black shelves along the floor are old Expedit shelves that we had and the beech shelving is all Kallax, you can hardly tell the difference, crisis over! One of the best things about this shelving is that it comes in a range of sizes so you can mix and make it work for pretty much any space. The centre shelving is the 5X5 Kallax and two side shelves are the 2X2 Kallax.

The range of baskets to fit the shelves at Ikea is pretty good, but their basics didn’t really work with what I already had and some of them are pretty pricey. Luckily these shelving units are so popular that you can buy baskets/boxes etc to fit these square pigeon holes from heaps of places. The original colored ‘baskets’ I bought from Officeworks in Australia a few years ago now and they no longer sell them. The white ones along the top I bought from IKEA when we purchased the shelves, but their color range was pretty limited so I didn’t get too many. I finally found the colored ones at Bunnings in Australia and they had a huge range of colors to choose from for only $5 each (which is cheap in Australia).

  • Loose toys can be hidden away in baskets and kids can easily access them.
  • You can get a range of styles/types/colors of baskets so you can keep it looking tidy and coordinated.
  • Kids can sort and categorise their toys and it makes packing up easier.
  • Oh Ikea, how you have revolutionised simple, affordable storage solutions for children.
I also highly recommend keeping an open ‘toy box’ of some sort for lazy clean ups. Kids can be lazy (ok so can I) so sorting and pulling out baskets from shelves isn’t always going to happen. Having a ‘chuck and run’ basket or box to sort through later works wonders for quick clean ups.

We got this gorgeous felt and cloth fox toy basket for $10 from Kmart. I hadn’t used cloth baskets before and wasn’t sure of the practicality of them but they are great and look so much better than plastic tubs (and the cost is about the same).

My favorite part of this room is the feature wall with the WallFry Inspirational typography prints. These prints go well with both the playroom and the rest of the house. We get heaps of comments from visitors. They are so inspiring for a play area. Yes, the little ones can’t read them yet but the big ones can. They also remind us parents what a playroom is for and while it is important to me that my house looks good, it is more important that the kids are able to be kids and that their playroom be functional for its intended purpose.

Dog prints and Inspirational Typography prints are all available in the WallFry shop. You can also choose your background colors to coordinate with YOUR color scheme.
Also it is worth mentioning that we are lucky enough to have a craft area set up where the kids can make and draw etc in my office, so we haven’t had to allow for that in this space.
You might also notice the centre lampshade. This was a DIY project using a paper lampshade and patty pans. So easy and super effective.


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