Our Home: The Playroom, From Preschoolers to Teens
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In our previous 1970s home, we pulled the chandelier out of our unused dining room and turned the room into a playroom for our 4 little ones. It worked out so well! Right off the kitchen, our children played and colored and got into their toys close by, toddling into the kitchen to show us this or ask us that.
But when we built our forever home, we were building for our present family, and also our family’s future. Robbie, our oldest, is now almost 11- a playroom close by to Mommy and Daddy just doesn’t have the appeal it did when he was 5. I used to beam with pride over our centrally located playroom we created, but at this point a playroom right off our kitchen wouldn’t be ideal for our family. That served it’s purpose beautifully, but it is not the stage of our life we are in anymore with our kids getting older (and louder) and more independent.
We actually were dreaming up the opposite - a place with some distance to send our kids when they walk in the house with 3 neighborhood friends tagging behind them, boisterous and loud. We imagined a spacious room, big enough for sleepovers with cousins and friends, with built in storage so we could keep most of the kids’ toys out of the main living areas (plenty of Camille and a few of Leo’s toys are still kept in the main areas of our home). We also thought of the quickly approaching teenage years- would their future teenage selves find it appealing to invite friends to our house, instead of going elsewhere, if we were able to offer them a semi-private room of their own (and endless snacks)? (Does that ever work??)
My wish: Room for jumping and playing and toys for all ages, nothing too precious, a pulled together space that could grow with them… and all at a safe distance from the main living areas!
With this in mind, we designed our family’s playroom in our new build on the 3rd floor. This playroom is the answer to our family’s wishes, and I am so grateful to have this space with a bathroom, a walk-in game closet, and 2 actual attic rooms off to the side. Built-in window seats and a media cabinet add a little charm and function. A deep, comfortable sofa that is nice to look at but doesn’t require babysitting was checked off the list. (Although they routinely take the cushions off and fly down the stairs on them… so it probably could use a little babysitting). With a door that closes the stairway and room off, Camille can still nap in her bedroom, while the other kids play loudly up above. Sleepovers with friends take place in the playroom. Saturday morning cartoons and video games are all in the playroom. We have our Friday family nights here and snuggle up on the sofa for movies, or we play music and pick a game out of the game closet if Jose and I have extra energy. Which is… not as often. ;)
Camille, who is 3, won’t go up and play on her own of course- this is the short term sacrifice. But like most 3 year olds, she LOVES to follow her older brothers and sister up there at any time, who are 5, 7, and 10 now.
For lighting we installed recessed lights, a 3 light chandelier and 2 sconces for reading lights. A task lamp sits by the record player, but there are no floor lamps for kids to knock over. The wallpaper is removable, and you could probably do a better job than I did putting it up! Don’t be afraid of removable wallpaper! The bench hides blankets and pillows, while the media cabinet holds media storage on one side, and lego, nurf guns and other “big kid” toys on the other.
While we love the kids having access to their own TV in here- none of them have free reign to turn it on without permission. Our parenting style is more on the free range side- you won’t find too many strict rules from us and we encourage independence, but I am totally aware of how much screen time we allow the kids and it’s not as much as they would like. I plan to keep it that way. :)
Displaying books with their covers facing out has dramatically increased the amount my younger ones pick up books! Kids are visual and they need to see the covers, not the spine. Try it, you’ll be a convert! :)
Our Nugget has been transformative in this space. It truly encourages free play, from my youngest to my oldest, although they all play with it in different ways. Sometimes we let them all camp out in the playroom and two will sleep on the Nugget, with twin sheets that fit over the top. The covers come off for washing, too!
Paint Color on Walls: Sherwin Williams Ice Cube
Removable Wallpaper: Urban Walls Cannes in Indigo
Pendant Light (I purchased it through Ferguson, here is Similar) / Play Kitchen / Seagrass Bull is Target and old / cube storage unit / cube baskets / cube crates (similar) / record player / octopus / task lamp / Bear Canvas / Book Ledges / Giraffe / Good Vibes Banner / Large Woven Baskets / Please Sleep Pillow / Stuffed Bear / Sconces / Nugget (our color is Piglet and is retired, but their new pink Rosebud is similar!) Dream Big + Snake Print / Dots Print / Sofa (fabric is Taft, in the Steel) / Hand Made Dolls / Round Table / Chairs / MagnaTiles / Bookshelf - I sprayed the metal white (Similar) / rainbow pillow / Small Woven Baskets / Hess trucks
I hope sharing our playroom has left you feeling inspired in some way. Whatever stage of life you and your family are in, own that stage and don’t be afraid to take action to make your home work best for you!