We are, for the most part, stuck inside these days, so in light of what’s happening in our world we are trying to make the most of it by creating spaces in our home that are beautiful and work for our family.
During this time at home with our family we’ve learned that all of us, even the kids, need some space and time to ourselves. When creating the playroom, I hadn’t really considered this or taken it into consideration. I’ve always loved open spaces, open concept living and rooms that function for us and our children, but I’ve noticed now that our boys are a bit older, that they enjoy having some time to themselves and this space (even though it’s directly off of the kitchen and I can see and hear them all the time) they feel like it is their space.
I want to start off by saying I was totally one of those people, about four years ago or so who said I would never do this. Well, here’s to never saying never, because not only did I do this (and by this, I mean turn our formal dining room into a playroom) I was so adamant that it should happen I started to move the furniture myself, before my husband was even on board. By the way … he’s totally on board now and we love the new space!
Let’s talk about toys for a second before I dive in … I don’t ever remember having a lot of toys on my parent’s main floor, but I do remember a basement playroom. I think the reason I remember it this way is because I was older when they moved our toys the basement, so I remember more of that part of my life.
Anyways, as our kids got older and the number of toys they’ve accumulated gets larger, despite the fact that I am a perpetual “purger” (donating the good toys they no longer play with or throwing out the broken ones) I felt like they needed a designated place; a space where the they can play and the toys can be put away. I used to love the idea of them playing in our main living area (and don’t get me wrong I still do sometimes) but the toys over flowing and having no place to go was getting a bit hard to manage on a daily basis. So, the playroom kind of evolved over the past year or so into a dedicated space for the kids. I think the spaces in our home will continue to change and evolve as our family grows, this just seems natural to me, (for example the playroom might become a dining room again or it might become a home workroom/office) but I also am very ok with change in my home, in fact I LOVE IT!
The Evolution of the Playroom
There have always been toys in our main living room, I’ve tried to carve out a space specifically for those toys in a corner of the room, but inevitably they end up all over the floor and the couches become forts and we no longer have anywhere to sit. So, last winter (I always find I am moving things around in the winter because we are stuck inside and desperate for a change of scenery) I switched our dining room and formal living room (which we were using as an office) into a reading room/ office where I thought we could all go when we wanted to work, colour, read or do puzzles. Well … let’s just say that with a four-year-old, a two-year-old and a 6-month-old that didn’t really work. Once-in-a-while the boys would want to come into the space for quite time, but the majority of the time the space wasn’t really being used as much as I thought it would be. Apparently mixing toys and office space doesn’t really work for our family.
During that same time last year, we decided that it was finally time to clean out the basement and actually make use of that space for more of the toys and potentially use it as a playroom. In all honesty I do think that our basement might become a great kid’s space at some point, but right now, they are a bit too young to go down there and play without us going with them … so that lasted about two weeks.
Fast-forward to this January …
We were in the middle of winter and I was still home on maternity leave, so I was always looking for ways to make our home work better for our growing family. I realized that the office/kids’ space didn’t work last year and decided to give up the office space to create a playroom and move our dining room to the front of the house which is one of the most beautiful rooms in the home anyways… so why not share that with guests when they finally come over again.
In the process, we purged a lot of old toys; donating many and throwing the broken ones away. One of the things that I’ve noticed over the years is that our kids actually only play with a few toys (they honestly don’t need a lot) but they do love having space … empty space or room to move around and play. So… less toys meant more play space!
The room we chose to make into the playroom is the old formal dining room, but we didn’t give up our dining room entirely, we just moved it to the front of the house. The reason I chose this space instead of the room at the front of the house was because it is located just off of the kitchen so I can see them when I’m in the kitchen and even from the living room. In addition to this, the room we are now using as a dining room is actually one of the most beautiful spaces in our home, so why not share it with our guests when we are eating.
The Playroom Décor, Toys and Overall Feel
I wanted to the playroom to feel bright, welcoming and cozy for the kids so there are a lot of whites tones, like the rest of our home, but I also added some soft wood tones to help make it feel warm. We used artwork that the kids made to decorate the space and we’ve designated a spot to display that artwork in the room.
Some of the pieces that have really added to the room are the playmat from Little Bot Baby . This is honestly one of my favourite things in the space. Not only is it cushy so it’s safe for the kids, but it’s beautiful, so easy to vacuum or wipe clean and it’s two sided so we can change it up if the kids want to play cars on one side . Having a great playmat is key in a playroom for so many reasons (safety, easy cleanup and saving your floors) and I am in love with this one!
We also incorporated a lot of simple wooden toys, some that were made by my husband’s grandfather and some that we received from a local company called Little Peg People . We have a mixture of toys, some wooded and some plastic, but the thing that I do notice is that the simple ones are the ones that keep the space calm and less stimulating for the kids, but also seem to spark their imaginations even more.
All, in all the choice to create a designated playroom for the kids has been a really great one and while we know it’s not permanent, it works so well for our family right now.
Do you have a dedicated play space for your kids? Would love to hear more about it.