I was torn in deciding what to do with this space. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. So deep down I wanted to make it so anyone who I opened the front door for would look in and see how pretty our family room was decorated. Except that our family room is actually in the back of the house and it would be a complete waste to make two family rooms. We’d never use this one. What we really needed was a space for the kids. Yes, they have their bedrooms, but I don’t want them to spend all day playing upstairs when we’re downstairs! And I’m also not a big fan of toys everywhere, so I wanted a space to keep the kid-stuff contained. So my dreams of a front door glimpse into a perfect house may come true someday, but for now we’ll welcome you with a play room and some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
I wanted Mitchell have a place to play all on his own where he isn’t constantly hearing the word, “no” because there isn’t anything for him to get into trouble. We read a lot of stories and spent a lot of hours in here together, but he can also play independently for several hours, which makes my life so much easier. So Steve used our long baby gate to fit the space and block off the play room. This gate is super flexible, and has another extension that can be added if we ever wanted to use it in a wider space. [It’s also very sturdy – he stands on it when he needs something and it doesn’t even budge!]
We upgraded to a sectional for the family room and our old couches were handed down to the kids room. I’m pretty sure I won’t hear Mitchell complaining [like his Daddy does] about how Mommy’s big butt made the middle of the couch sink in, and you won’t hear Mommy complaining [too much] about juice spilling on the cushions because they’re impossible to stain. They’ve been great couches, but after four years of looking at them, they were starting to look like big brown blobs. So I found some bold throw pillows that match the rug to spruce them up a bit. Mitchell loves standing on them to look into the front yard and wave to Daddy when he gets home from work!
My mother-in-law brought us this rug during her last visit for the play room. I love that it’s cute and fun for a playroom, without being too childish. It also had browns in it to match the couches, so it was perfect. I used the blue and reds in it to base my color scheme off of.
My mother-in-law also gave Mitchell his very own chair, which turned out to be a HIT. First, he used it to learn how to pull himself up to a standing position, and now that boy will sit in that thing and read books, watch TV, play with this toys. For hours! About once the week I catch him napping in it!
Our TV console is actually a sideways IKEA shelf, and used just as toy storage. We store 95% of the toys in this room, and it’s so refreshing to still have the rest of the house not look like we have two kids under the age of two.
We’ve had this TV in our bedroom for four years, and I can count on one hand the number of times we have used it. So it was relocated to the play room, where I know it will be worn out with Disney Junior and Sesame Street. I really wanted it mounted on the wall, away from little hands able to pull it off the shelf.
Then we have our little reading corner. I love these IKEA spice racks! When Mitchell was younger, they were so great for him to practice standing on and being able to pull out all his board books. I spruced up them up with some white paint. So worth the $4 per shelf and $1 bottle of paint I used to make them!
It’s amazing how baby-proofing a house completely changes the way you think about home decorating. We have outlet covers, a doorknob cover, and a video baby monitor in here as well. When I am upstairs I can keep an eye on him while he plays [and also scan both kids’ bedrooms – they’re the best]! See his little camera there on the wall?
There are still a few things I may do to this space, but I’m not quite decided. I’d like to make the entry way feel a little more separate from the playroom, like its own space. I also may add something on the big blank wall, but until I figure out what I want it will remain blank.
I guess it’s fitting that the first room you walk into says, “Welcome to the chaos, party of two adults, two fun-sized humans, and two big dogs.” I’m loving the playroom though, despite its immediate location, and Mitchell sure is too!