I've hesitated posting the completed children's Playroom for a few reasons, one being the mess factor. I think a sign of a successful Playroom is that it is used and loved… which this one is. Unfortunately this means mess as well. So how much to show in the photos was the quandary. I decided to show it as it is, but reasonably tidy - this means it is not how it would present if it were photographed for a magazine. In that case, they'd remove all extraneous toys, clean off the blackboard wall and put up some more picturesque chalk drawings done by an adult, place scatter cushions around and generally make it magazine worthy.




The design of the Playroom was something I had plenty of opportunity to think over. For the year that we rented a house in Melbourne prior to moving into this house we had a room that we called the Playroom. It was the first room off the hall as you walked into the house, more of a study. Essentially it functioned as a toy storage room in the end - the children did not like being separated from us by playing in there - so they would drag toys down to the living area, and at the end of the day, we'd drag them all back there. 

This said to me that a successful playroom is one that is adjacent to where you are. I'm in the Kitchen and living area a lot during the day, so having it next to the kitchen was ideal. One the children are older (teenagers) I thought that I'd probably want to be able to keep a bit of an eye on them and their friends, so this also works for the future. The second point that I noticed with friends playrooms (and our first attempt at one) was that an internal room (as in, without a door to the outside) felt enclosed and did not get used as much by the kids. So access to the garden directly from the room was something that I wanted to incorporate. I'm also realistic about the amount of toys that kids have… with three children all with different ages and interests, there's a lot to incorporate, so storage was also important, but I wanted it to be flexible for their future, so no built- in storage.

The room has a dual aspect, which gives light throughout the day and provides either a view of the front garden and glimpses of the street, or of the back garden which is accessed off the veranda and a wide flight of steps down to the lawn. Once this room was finished, Mr AV suggested that perhaps this could be his study… while I also started to think about the possibilities as a Design Studio of my own… but the kids have won out, and it's most definitely theirs. 




They helped with the selection of the wallpaper. I'm not a fan of Design by Committee (always a compromise), but to give them some sense of ownership it was important to consider their views. In discussion they decided they'd like to have a "Where the Wild Things Are" feel to the room (one of their favourite books), so I found two wallpapers for them as options, and they chose the Cole and Sons' "Woods and Pears" which has beautiful gold foil pears dangling from the bare birch branches. This also covers the sliding door that goes into the laundry, so that it becomes a secret door. One wall was painted in metallic blackboard paint so that they could draw and graffiti to their hearts content, and also stick up their artwork with magnets. 



The flooring is the linoleum that is used throughout the extension. The furniture is mostly new for the space, excepting the sofa. The sofa is our 14 year old Jardan sofa which I bought slipcovers for around 6 years ago when it started to look tatty. It's still got a lot of life left in it, and just fits in neatly to the space. I didn't bother to put scatter cushions on it as they'd just end up on the floor permanently. 



The storage pieces are from IKEA, and are the Stuva range, which you can customise to suit. I did a fairly exhaustive search, but found that either things were really expensive and flimsily made, or just expensive, or just made in sizes that didn't work with the spaces I had. I have a bit of a love/hate thing with IKEA - while it is well priced, a lot of it is not well made and is pretty much future landfill, which does not sit well with me. These pieces are fairly sturdy though, and I'm hopeful that they have enough flexibility to last until the children have finished using this space and move out of home.... I chose three of the wardrobes which are 128cm high and fitted them out with shelves only. These pieces were good because they had some depth to them, but weren't the same depth as a kitchen cupboard. I could fit a lot of toys into them as a consequence but they didn't 'block' in that part of the room. The central unit has a small tv in it. I was not so inclined to give them a tv on display at all times - I find that they tend to want it on if they can see it. In a cupboard they don't get that visual prompt. This works fine, and we already had the small tv, so it was good to use it, although I can see a day in their future (teenaged) years where they demand a bigger screen. 



On top of the wardrobes I store the larger items of toys that don't fit in the cupboards. There's also a lamp from Freedom Furniture that works well in the space with its black shade and natural timber base. The coffee table is actually two more of the Stuva benches back to back with large drawers on rollers under them. They contain puzzles on one side, and games on the other. The benches are very sturdy. The other Stuva piece is the Art cupboard in their art and craft area. It has two deep drawers for all the craft sets they get given for birthdays by friends (to be brought out on rainy weekends), along with a caddy for each child's pencils/ textas etc. There's also all their paints, glitter, stamps, origami papers, stencils etc etc. This area is used the most by my daughter, who absolutely loves Art at the moment and spends a lot of time snipping small bits of glittery paper up and creating things. 



The table is from Pottery Barn Kids, and is the Carolina Craft Table. It's really sturdy and solid - I've been really pleased with it. I purchased small replica Eames chairs as they were much cheaper than the Pottery Barn Kids ones, and they match our Eames chairs in our dining area. I bought 6 of them so that they could sit here with their friends as well.


The little kitchen is from IKEA as well, and was a gift a few years ago. The youngest two love playing in the play kitchen, but all three will often set up a cafe now, where the patrons have to sit at the Art table, and the menu is written on the blackboard wall. 

The main light is a pendant light, and has a little bit of natural timber at the top of the fitting, which works well to introduce a nature element to the room. There's also one set of LED down lights directly over the craft table.




All in all, this room works really well. The kids love the space, and when they have friends over I can keep an eye on what is going on without having to be in there with them. There's a large sliding door from the kitchen into the playroom, so if the room is a horrible mess at the end of the day I can just slide it shut and ignore whatever project is being created in there. It's nice to let them create something that is an ongoing project without them having to pack it up at the end of the day too. 

So, the details

Flooring: Forbo Marmoleum from the Dutch Design range "Piet Hein Eek" M0512
Wallpaper: Cole and Sons "Woods and Pears"
Storage Furniture: Stuva range from IKEA
Table: Carolina Craft Table from Pottery Barn Kids
Chairs: Replica Eames Kids chairs
Sofa: Jardan (discontinued design) with slipcovers from the Slipcover Shop
Pendant Light: Coco Flip


26 comments:

  1. Great playroom and so well thought out! Love the blackboard paint and think adults could put to good use as well!

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    1. sorry N, see comment under HIH's… something went wrong!

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  2. Love everything about this space. Especially fond of the children's artwork on the chalk wall. And the furniture. My husband has vowed to never let another IKEA piece in this house, but I've found their storage pieces fit the bill- have especially benefited from the cube storage sets. Agree regarding closed off play rooms being under-utilised. We have one and the boys insist on being wherever I am. At least its useful for the sporty type toys.

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    1. I think their storage works well generally… but too many things break or get the wobbles after a few years and I've had no success with things like glasses (chip in the dishwasher). Interesting you have the same play room experience - it was something I noticed and then asked friends if their kids would play in their closed in playrooms and found that mostly they didn't, it was toy storage only. xx

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  3. Well, I put a lame "please clean up" on the blackboard and it was completely ignored, so not sure it can be put to good use at this stage!! But they have a lot of fun with it x

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  4. The Carolina Craft table is the nicest thing I've seen from Pottery Barn Kids. Are you worried about the "Eames" chairs breaking ?

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    1. It's very sturdy - I was pleasantly surprised by the table's quality. Am a little worried about the Eames chairs… but they're the plastic seats rather than fibreglass, so hopefully will be ok… the Pottery Barn ones were $99 per chair, and as I think my children will outgrow them in around 4 years, I wasn't keen to invest in them. x

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  5. I love the contrast of the black wall and the light from outside. Great choice. It looks so children friendly, so true and real. I love interior design magazines, but they make me feel a little bad for not having those perfect, super tidy, organized rooms, which prevents me from posting pics of my house.
    But yours would just looks great in every magazine. Have a great day!
    laura

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    1. Thanks Laura - I love the black wall too, it really makes the space feel larger. Agree with you on the magazine thing with the lack of toys… I was looking at a playroom the other day that had not a single toy in it. They kept talking about the wonderful rug (it was a nice rug, but I couldn't see how any of the room was realistically going to interest a child). x

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  6. want to move in NOW!!! luff it all xx

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    1. You and me both!! I keep threatening that if they don't keep it tidy I'm going to take over! x

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  7. The playroom looks wonderful. Another great design Heidi. Does the magnetic paint actually work? I'd read really mixed reviews online with some saying that you had to put loads of coats to make it work, get industrial strength magnetic, etc. We are on the cusp of finally exchanging on our new house (fingers crossed), so I have been planning out the playroom there too actually, so this post is very timely. I think I will convert a 'breakfast' room off the kitchen into the playroom and it can become homework/piano room later on. x

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    1. Oh how exciting Charlotte!! It's such a tortuous process to buy a home in the UK… fingers crossed it all goes smoothly for you with the exchange. I meant to write about the magnetic paint - no it didn't work out well. The painters put on 3 coats, which was recommended on the tin, but a super strength magnet is the only type that will stick to it, and it can't hold a piece of paper up. Frustratingly the painter said cheerfully that next time they'd do at least 5 coats when they did it for other people's houses (I was apparently the first guinea pig for this). So the kids stick magnets to it, but I can't actually do the artwork as I'd planned. xx

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  8. This playroom is magical. I'm with FF - would love to move in! So spacious, practical and full of light. The blackboard wall is a great feature and must be lots of fun, the mini Eames are so cute too! They must adore it all!

    Lovely to see the back garden taking shape through the window - and the grass must be a joy after putting up with mud for so long! Pammie xx

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    1. Thanks Pammie, the kids love it and spend all their time in there - it means that our main living area is now free of toys all the time, so if people drop in we have a tidy looking house (miracle after living in small houses up until now). The garden is taking SO LONG. I'm happy we have grass, but the pool is still to be approved (3.5 months and counting) and we need to use the soil from the hole to top up the garden beds. So until then, there are no more plants/ no finishing off. Frustrating!! xx

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  9. So great! I like a lived in space as you know and soon enough all the toys will be gone, so enjoy it while it lasts!

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    1. As they get older the toys are getting smaller too, so it's meant less storage… that's why I didn't want to invest in built in cupboards that would be empty in the future. It's definitely a lived in space Wendy!! xx

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  10. I love this room Heidi & I think you have done pretty well with the tidy up, I have a floor full of Lego pieces in our playroom, despite a dedicated Lego storage unit!!! Oh & btw, despite having a playroom (which is upstairs near their bedrooms) they still bring down their toys and play in the kitchen & living space. I figure that as they get older and really need that space away from mum & dad the playroom will become a retreat & be used more frequently.

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    1. Thanks Engracia! The Lego is in my oldest's room - we still have too many friends with little kids coming over to leave it in the playroom. So his room looks like the Lego bomb exploded in it at all times!! Interesting your observation about the kids still wanting to be near you with their playroom upstairs. I'm sure when they're older you'll never see them though!! xx

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  11. I love everything about this room, and all the thinking and subsequent decisions are spot on. I'd love to play in that room!
    Linda C.

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    1. Thanks Linda! It's a lovely room to be in with the tree wallpaper and views of the garden. I quite like sitting in there (although that is rare, I'm generally just the one tidying it up!!) x

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  12. Your playroom is what I would imagine kids dreams are made of. Just need a swing or a slippery dip!! LOL. Thanks for the view of the garden too! Can't wait to see more progress on that.
    I love the wallpaper coupled with the black board wall. So genius. They really have no excuse to draw on any other surface. You have hit it out of the ball park with this room.Taking on board what you are saying about the location on the playroom too.
    SOOO cute about the cafe play!

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    1. I can't wait to see more progress on the garden Laura! It's taking so long. I just am ready for it all to be finished now. It's been a long 4 years…
      My thoughts on the blackboard wall exactly. Kids like to personalise their spaces, and they'll either stick up posters or stickers or draw on things if you don't give them somewhere they can freely do that.
      Location of the playroom is Key!! I was looking at Rebecca Judd's playroom on her blog the other day and it made me laugh. She has one immobile baby, and her playroom (which has no toys in it yet) is upstairs!! It will never get used is my prediction. x

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  13. Dear Heidi,
    Oh my goodness what an amazing space you have created for your children. It feels so warm, relaxed and fun and I can see you put a lot of thought into creating this easy feeling kid friendly space.
    Particularly adore the wallpaper it is magical.
    Blackboard such a treat to have such a large "'canvas' to be creative with. All up fantastic effort Heidi! This room will certainly 'grow' and evolve as your kids do!
    Kate Bx

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that you think it will grow with them Kate - your kids are a bit older than mine, so having that perspective is good to hear! I figure as they get older the toys will disappear and the sofa might get bigger (and the tv screen too)… xx

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  14. Oh my gosh Heidi! This room is fabulous - you've done such a great job with the furniture (adorable!) views, blackboard, storage! Do the covers on the white sofa wash well. i gave up long ago on cloth cover sofas except for one which has this industrial material that is used in hospital. My friend always jokes that its so synthetic I can use windex on it. As we all realise the playroom (in our house its also the TV room) is the most important room in the house to get right. My only complaint about ours is that I should have made it much bigger or two joined rooms as I would love to add a pool table to the tennis table.
    It also means i never venture into watch Tv as its just ghastly what lies beneath our sofa...we actually had mice for months and we didn't realise it as they stayed in that room and had some good pickings...

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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