You might remember a couple of months ago when I shared photos of some rather inspiring playrooms and play areas here on the blog. I started researching them when I realized we were in serious need of a playroom for our older two kids; our house felt overwhelmed with toys and sometimes I just can’t deal with a 2 and a 4 year old running circles around our kitchen and living room, even if they are laughing and having fun. So creating a play area in the basement seemed like the most logical idea.
The problem is, our basement already houses a desk for my husband, a sewing area for myself, and a pull-out couch for guests. The only space that was left was an odd little room right outside the door to the basement bathroom. It’s sort of like a long hallway with a closet and serves no real purpose. When the idea popped into my head to transform this area into a playroom, my husband readily agreed and gave me the go-ahead I needed to make it happen. I chased after the idea fast and hard because I was so darn excited, and I think I had it mostly pulled together in a matter of days!
Quite frankly, it’s been our saving grace. My oldest, Mia, heads down here every day for one hour to do “quiet time” while her brothers both nap, and mommy gets some much-needed alone time [insert collective sigh here]. When the kids are driving us crazy because they have too much energy or if I am trying to cook dinner and they won’t get off my legs, I send them down here to run, play and do whatever they please (there isn’t too much that they can destroy, luckily).
Because I had such a small space to work with, I pulled ideas from some of my favorite playroom picks in this post and incorporated what I could. There is a strange lighting fixture that can’t be changed or moved, so I had to work around that, and if I was allowed to paint the walls, I would have in a heartbeat! But this is just a pre-cursor to the awesome playroom I plan on creating for the kids when we finally own a home. Although it’s not as elaborate as I would like, it definitely serves its purpose.
So here’s an in-depth tour of our teeny, tiny playroom…
[ t o y o r g a n i z a t i o n ]
I am all about organization. When a room is cluttered with toys, it drives me nuts. So my first order of business was to create some toy organization. I wanted something that would last and wouldn’t need to be replaced in a year, so we decided on this Three Bin Storage Cubby in white for $99. It had good reviews and mimics some much more expensive cubbies I had been eyeing from Land of Nod. We only bought one for now, but I like that if I ever want more, they have 2 or 3 cubby options that will attach to the top of our existing bin (so far the cubby is holding up great, in case you were interested in the quality).
For the rest of the organization needs, I headed to my favorite spot – HomeGoods. That’s where I picked up the tall wire basket for holding balls and all the cloth and metal baskets that sit atop the toy cubbies. The big grey basket holds all of Lincoln’s cars, while the smaller blue one holds Mia’s stuffed animals and dolls.
[ s p a c e t o c r e a t e ]
Both of my kids love to draw and color, but markers and crayons unsupervised with a 2 year old? No thanks. I’ve cleaned too many walls in the past to know that that is a bad idea. So instead, I put up a large chalkboard. I love that chalk can be washed off of anything! I planned on buying a piece of plywood and painting it with chalkboard paint, until I went to Home Depot and discovered that they sell ready-made chalkboards in the size I needed for something like $9! The extra few dollars I spent on it vs. a piece of plywood and paint was WELL worth it.
I also have a little metal green table [ purchased at Ikea many moons ago as it was going out of stock, so I got the table & 4 chairs for $30! ] sitting in front of a closet. The table moves around our house often, depending on our needs (it’s perfect for when we have little dinner guests), but when it’s in the playroom, it works perfectly as a little coloring station for my 4-year-old budding artist (who is allowed to use crayons and markers). Speaking of the closet – which I don’t really have pictures of because, hey, it’s a closet – that houses Mia’s giant Barbie house and any other toys we want to hide away. When we have houseguests, there is still enough room for them to hang some clothes in there.
[ d r e s s – u p c o r n e r ]
I really wanted to get Mia’s play clothes out of her bedroom and in one central location, because I was tired of stepping on plastic princess heels and magic wands every time I entered her room. So I created a little dress-up corner with a stand-up mirror that I found at HomeGoods, a hanging rack and her trunk to hold miscellaneous items. I used simple scrapbook stickers from Michael’s to add words on the wall, and the awning above the dress-up corner is made from an old chevron curtain I had and two tension curtain rods. Anytime Mia can stare at herself in the mirror and practice her poses, she’s happy.
Thus completes our tiny tour. By the way, most of these pictures are shot from the doorway, so this really is the size of the entire room.
I look forward to having a larger space for the kids to go one day, but for now, I think this is all we need!
*Disclosure: Affiliate links used. Read my full disclosure statement here