This month I finally accomplished a project that I've been working on for a while now! I converted our formal dining room into a play room for the children with an office/sewing area for myself. I drew inspiration from Play at Home Mom, as usual, to create a bright, open, and inviting play area for the kids where materials were displayed in inviting and accessible ways. You can see the incredible play rooms of AK here and RL here. I also found some great ideas on Pinterest and came up with a few of my own too.
is a before picture of our dining room... beautiful but not the best
use for the space since it was only used a few times a year. Our house
is on the small side, and with 3 kids we need to make the most out of
all the space we have!
here is our new playroom! I was able to incorporate pretty much
everything that I wanted. There is a space for our light table, magnetic
dry erase board/felt board, a way to display the kid's artwork, a table
for art projects and play, an area for dress up/dramatic play, an art
supply area, a toy storage area, and space for my twinkie jacks boutique sewing projects along with an office area.
area of our playroom houses a large magnetic white erase board for
drawing and playing with magnets (animals, letters, numbers, etc). I
have it resting on top of 2 itso
storage bins from Target (I LOVE how you can customize these bins with
different sized shelves and storage buckets to suit your needs) and
mounted to the wall with super strong 3M velcro strips...
I'm pretty much obsessed with those things and use them for
hanging/mounting lots of items. Next to the bin I have a strip that I
cut off a plastic shoe organizer to hold an eraser and washable dry erase crayons and markers. I also have a magnetic felt board
that we can put right on top of our dry erase board for felt story
play. I love that I can get two uses out of this board and when we're
not using it for felt play, I can just roll it up and put it away. In
the itso cubes, I have our various magnets, felt stories and a few of
our light table supplies (wedgits and soon-to-be magna-tiles that our son is getting for his birthday).
Right next to our dry erase board/felt board, is our light table. The table was a DIY project where I converted our old train table into a light table; you can read about how I did it here.
The sides of the light table hold our various train tracks and we store
our trains in a bin underneath it. Right behind the light table I
mounted a mirror to the wall so it could reflect the light and various
objects that the kids play with on the light table. They can also check
out their dress-up play in it. Lily LOVES looking at her reflection
right now and gets a huge kick out of this mirror! I also stuck some
circular mirror decals on the wall around it to catch some more of the
light and reflections.
to the train table is a large cabinet that holds my printer and some of
my craft/art supplies, as well as some of the kid's overflow craft
supplies. We actually already had this cabinet (2 of them in fact) and
it was out in the garage and worked out perfectly for this room.
between the cabinet and light table, I hung some peg board up to hang
some of the light table and craft supplies. It's at the perfect
accessible height for my oldest, but just out of reach of my 15 month
old twins which, right now, is a good thing! I used plastic paint cans
that I purchased from Michaels (another great PAHM
idea) to hold the supplies. In this area I have translucent colored
gems, googly eyes, shells, cotton balls, craft sticks, pom poms, pipe
cleaners, feathers, translucent shot glasses in a variety of colors and
shapes purchased from the Dollar Store (great on the light table) and
brightly colored straws.
On this wall I made a space for the kid's artwork to be displayed. I hung two dignitet curtain wires
from IKEA and used mini wooden clothes pins to hang the artwork. I love
how it came out and Jackson has been so proud to see his work displayed
prominently like this.
I purchased the table and chairs set (Sansad table and Kritter chairs)
from IKEA for the kids to play and do art projects at. I love the
Sansad table! It's long rectangular shape makes it larger than most
kid's standard square tables, which was a must for me with 3 kids
working at it! And it also has legs that adjust to 3 heights so it can
grow with the children. So far it's working out wonderfully and I love
seeing them all play at it. Underneath the table is a splat mat to keep
the carpet safe from messy art projects. I made it myself using an
adorable owl print in a laminated cotton.
wanted Jackson to have something living to take care of, so I created a
"natural area" by one of the windows. I have an African Violet that he
waters with his little watering can, and some rocks and twigs here (can
be used in art projects or play). I may move our shells over here as
the table I put this very cool terrarium that I found that Jackson also
takes care of. I love it! I just need to find the perfect little
plastic gnome or something to put inside it.
the other window sill I have the children's crayons set up. They are
set up in old, repurposed baby food jars that can be easily picked up
and put on the table. I also have some "baby crayons" here but my girls
seem to prefer the real ones!
Over by this window I have some hooks (more 3M!) for dress-up and dramatic play items. We have Jackson's super hero cape and mask
here, along with his fire fighter costume from last Halloween, some
animal masks (a tiger mask from the zoo and 3 super cute woodland
creature masks made by my friend Stephanie),
a baseball helmet, Jackson's light saber and pirate sword, and a baby
doll and doll items (bottle, cup, bib, etc). I plan to add some dress-up
costumes/princess gowns for the girls as they get older. Jackson is
getting a real doctor's kit for his birthday and that will also go in
Right next to that is the toy storage and art supply storage area. The toy storage is created simply from turning a Closetmaid 8 cubby system on its side to make it easy for the kids to get their items out (and put them away!). I purchased a few storage bins
for it also. This doesn't house all of our kids' toys (they still have
some in the living room - the play kitchen and work bench) and some toys
in their rooms. But, I wanted a place for some of their
educational/imaginative toys. So, it holds things like puzzles, little
plastic animals and trucks (great to use in sensory bins), Mr. Potato
Head, blocks, some toddler toys, etc. On top of the shelf I have the
Play Doh tools and a little container that holds stamps and post-cards
to use for mailing activities.
Above the toy storage, is the art supply storage. I used the Bygel rail system from IKEA and love it!! I hung 2 Bygel rails and used a bunch of the plastic storage cups that go with this system to hold our various art supplies. I also used S-hooks to hang our scissors and some hanging wire baskets
to hold some of the larger supplies (paint, glue, Play Doh, glitter).
This system was very inexpensive and is so functional! Jackson can
easily take one of the cups off the rail and bring it to the table to
use it and then put it away himself when he's done. Everything is
organized and it makes clean up easy. In the plastic cups you'll find:
window crayons, paint brushes, water color paints, finger paints,
washable markers, colored pencils, homemade heart shaped crayons, stamp
pads and stamps. As with the light table supply/craft supply peg board
area, Jackson can reach the Bygel rails but they're still out of the
Above this area I have some more artwork and some photos displayed, and a little white board with my to do list.
but not least, is my little area! Before the make over I had been
working on my sewing projects on the dining room table and also had my
desk in the dining room to work on my computer. We rearranged and moved
the furniture to other locations, and I got a new desk
(Micke from IKEA) that was long enough to function as a work area for
both my sewing and my computer. I love the huge drawers (one side houses
sewing supplies and the other office supplies) and the work surface is
great and plenty big! I got a matching little set of drawers
to extend the surface a bit and it also has a filing cabinet to hold my
patterns and documents for my business - perfect! The only thing that I
couldn't fit into this room/area was (all of) my fabric and yarn. But I
have those stored elsewhere since I really don't need to take up space
holding all of that when I only need to actually USE very little at a
time. So there is room in the white cabinet to hold supplies for my
CURRENT project(s) and I just swap it out when needed!
there you have it! Our new room of play, creation, art, learning and
fun! The kids LOVE this space and so do I. I cant' believe how different
the room looks after this transformation. It's lighter and brighter,
and I love how organized it is! I know you must be thinking, surely with
3 kids (2 of which are 15 months old) it must never stay this clean
with everything being so open for them to get into. But really, it's
very easy to clean up! There is a place for everything so it's very easy
to put everything back in its place. This organization has made a huge
difference! And my almost 4 year old is pretty good about helping to
clean it all up. He likes knowing where everything goes and it makes a
big difference in his willingness to help!
Here are a few pics of the kids enjoying the playroom!
Jackson creating a 4th of July craft.
Sophia and Lily playing with Dr. Seuss characters at the felt board.
Jackson building with wedgits at the light table.
next (current work in progress) project is making over Jackson's
grown-out-of baby/toddler room into a big boy room. We're doing a Star
Wars theme. It's almost done! I have one more (somewhat big) DIY project
to complete, a pillow to sew and some artwork to hang and it'll be
finished. I hope to have it done by his 4th birthday party coming up in 2