Ah, this playroom makeover has been a long time coming! I’ve been so excited to show you because it was really simple to do and it’s rental friendly, meaning you don’t need to paint walls and all those good things, yay!
Our playroom is more of a play area I guess; our lounge, dining and kitchen are pretty open plan, and the play area is an extension of the dining room. This works so well for us because it means that Aria can play to her hearts content and we can still keep an eye on her and chat with her. It’s great for her because the fridge is close by, I often catch her taking a stroll and grabbing a few strawberries or some yogurt, haha!
When we were thinking about the playroom makeover, there were a few things that we knew for sure:
1. We needed storage solutions that minimised clutter but still looked good.
2. The items that we got for the playroom needed to be great quality and also be multipurpose if possible… which was a great life choice now that we unexpectedly sold our house and will be moving in two months!
3. We wanted the area to represent Aria and be fun, but also not look too kiddified as it’s such an open plan part of the house.
So, for reference, here is the before picture:
And here’s the after:
There wasn’t anything fundamentally wrong with our play area, but I wanted to “pretty it up”, and like I mentioned earlier, create more storage. So, if you’re looking for some play room inspo, or aren’t too sure where to start, here are my tips for creating a fun but functional play room… plus some discount codes!
Don’t hoard, purge regularly: this is something that I am religious about. We are very lucky to receive items every now and again from brands so we sort through the toys once a month. We decide what to keep, what can be put into a box for when Maia is older (things that Aria has outgrown but still in good condition) and what to donate. We also don’t buy toys for the girls unless its their birthday or Christmas or a very special occasion. That’s just what works for us in terms of when they get something new, but trust me on the purging, it will change your life and free up so much room in your play room.
Create storage solutions that work, but also look fab: so our plan was to build a storage bench, something like this to the left of the room, underneath the window. We would store 80% of the toys in there, in boxes… and then we sold our house so we didn’t end up building it. But if you have the space, this is a GREAT way to have functional storage as it’s always nice to have additional seating. The storage boxes we use are from Westpack and have lasted us almost two years and counting. Typically this is where our Lego, Barbies, My Little Ponies, wooden blocks and racetrack pieces live.
Baskets are also an amazing storage solution, they look great and you can literally throw anything into them; we use ours for dress up clothes (including handbags), soft toys and dolls. We also have a wooden crate that I repainted where all the dolly blankets as well as puzzles are. I am on the hunt for the A4 plastic boxes that I saw on Mix Takes Pics’s Instagram to store them in, it is just so much neater, but they will still be stored in the wooden crate.
Our newest, and most beautiful piece of storage is the dollhouse bookshelf from Declan and Leah. I absolutely love this piece because it can be used in so many different ways; as an actual dollhouse, as a bookshelf, standing or hung up. We’ve used ours for some storage as well as a bit of decor. On the bottom shelf we keep a tub that has accessories for Play-Doh (rollers, cookie cutters, etc) as well as some games like our Smelly Wellies and a dinosaur sewing kit. On the middle shelf is Aria’s stash of Play-Doh and her personalised puzzle from In My Name. The top shelf is for a bit of decor and a pot of pencil crayons. I’m not sure if we will have a play area in our new home and so I am thinking of using this as a side table for Aria in her new room… although I’m worried she will use it as a ladder, she thinks she’s Spiderman at times!
Have a safe/calm space: this is something that I picked up from my sister who is an OT for school kiddies; she has a little tent in her practice, in amongst the soft play and toys where her kids can go into if they’re feeling overwhelmed or need to calm down. I really liked this concept and so with the help of this grey canopy tent and lovely pink play mat from Ma Petite I created a little corner for Aria to have quiet play like reading or building her blocks. It also adds a wonderful element of height to the room which is great as we have very high ceilings and so it’s always nice to draw the eye up. I’m thinking of re-purposing the grey canopy tent in the new house, over Aria’s bed to give it a bit of a princess feel, what do you think? The play mat is wonderful – it is completely machine washable and doesn’t bunch up afterwards which is just brilliant as it’s inevitable that it will end up in the washing machine once a week with two kids and two dogs in our home.
Create an area for focused play/work: Aria isn’t doing homework or anything vaguely like that yet but I have found it really helpful to have a spot in her play area where we can sit down like they do at school and really focus on a task; sometimes it’s drawing, sometimes it’s Play-Doh, every day is different. We initially had a plastic table and chair set but I wanted to move them outside for outdoor play and so when Declan and Leah gifted us with one of their table and chair sets, I was over the moon! I’ve always wanted one of these very Insta-mom-fab white table and chair sets but have always been a bit weary of how toddler proof they are. Well to my suprise it’s pretty much indestructible. They are treated so that mess (including crayons, I’ve tested the theory) can be wiped of with a little bit of elbow grease and they are also really sturdy and quite heavy which is great as Aria can’t carry them around everywhere, they stay in their place!
A free play space is important: I don’t know many kids that don’t enjoy free play – Aria thrives off of it and her imagination just goes wild! We bought a grey Kidko foam play mat quite a while ago (we also have a pink one in Aria’s room) and I cannot rave about it enough! They are really hard-wearing, they look great (not super kiddified) and it’s a great space for Aria to have her free play. It’s also a great tool to teach pattern and repetition as you can make up different variations with all of the pieces.
Add pops of colour: to add an element of fun and playfulness, Ma Petite gifted us with some of her gorgeous wall stickers. We chose multicoloured mountains and they look so great on the wall! The best thing is that because they don’t damage the wall, they are perfect to put up if you are renting and don’t want to paint.
I also created a bit of a gallery wall using some photo frames I thrifted with Aria’s art from school as well as a framed Nifty 250 print with photos of Aria. I also picked up the cute teal print from Checkers. I made the woven rainbows myself but you can also purchase them from Ma Petite or Mix Takes Pics. I love how they add a little bit of depth and interest to the wall.
One last item worth mentioning that I get asked about ALL the time is Aria’s little kitchen. We bought this Little Dutch kitchen from Kids Living for Aria’s birthday this year and it was money so well spent! We searched high and low and looked at so many different brands and models but this one was by far the best. It looks gorgeous and comes with so many lovely little accessories like the sweetest oven glove. I also love how you can change the time on the clock (a great teaching tool) and you can also turn all the oven knobs. If you’re thinking of getting a kitchen for your child, I cannot rave about this one enough.
And that’s how we did up our play area! To help you if you’re doing up an area for your kiddies, I have two discount codes:
Ma Petite: 15% off all stock (except Lorena Canal rugs) until 23 July with LoveSarah
Declan and Leah: 15% off all stock with Lovesarah
If you do purchase something, please do tag me on a post on either Facebook or Instagram, I’d love to see!
Aria’s bedroom makeover here
Maia’s gender neutral bedroom here