When we moved to our recent home, the first thing I began to scope out in the living room was a play area for our daughter. You see, back in the city we didn’t have much space in our apartment. We barely had room for a two person high top “dining” table and a couch. Yep, it was that small.
I became creative storing our daughter’s toys in the living room and in her room. We learned to have only what we needed and enough to keep her entertained. However, I knew once the toddler years came, life was going to get a bit trickier with space and her need to run around more.
My husband will be the first to tell you I am continuously visualizing creative ways to make use of space…how to make it fun, practical and even organized. Once I’m done with a project, I move on to another. Yes, I drive him crazy from time to time…more than often he is recruited into my adventures.
Pituchi’s play space was the first project I wanted to tackle. I am home with her all day and I truly wanted an area that’s just for her where she can play, create and learn. Over time, it became a two part project as I quickly saw my idea evolve into something else…and really cool for a kid.
I have to be honest, when I visualize something in my head and try to explain it to my husband, it doesn’t usually work out the first few…no…MANY times. So I end up sketching my idea for him. It’s such an odd space and I realized he was having a hard time picturing it. Once I showed him what I wanted, we went right to work. He has complete faith in me but since I needed him to build certain things for me, this required a bit more communication. Remember ladies…DRAW what you need if they can’t seem to understand what you’re explaining!
Not exactly the best looking sketch out there but I think I made my point on how I wanted her space to look.
To give you a better idea, here’s the before picture. Pretty dull, right? It’s an odd space in the house. If I had it my way, I would paint this area, too, but my husband basically forbid me from going “paint crazy” in our new rented townhouse.
But that didn’t stop my plans! Oh no…I only became more innovative. Starting with those ugly outlets! That stupid cable is apparently what gives us cable in our bedroom…upstairs…I know, it makes no sense. I wanted to find a way to cover it but without unplugging it (I still don’t understand how our bedroom cable is plugged downstairs). So I had Danny build a shelf that allowed the cable to run through, but still cover the outlet. Voilá!
Pretty cool, right?
I think this particular detail alone, made her space that much more special. I didn’t have to worry about her messing with it. Out of sight, out of mind! It also gave me a perfect way to place her books!
This was another simple shelf Danny made with some scrap wood he had left over. I wanted a place for our daughter to have her Tinkerbell house but not be in the way of her other toys or activities. It sounds silly, but she got this for Christmas and absolutely loves playing with it. I think it gives the space a cute whimsical look.
Now this particular basket is actually a file organizer from Target. I figured I could just hang it and place her “small” toys inside. You know…the random ones that somehow end up underneath your couch, dining table, media console or in your coffee mug that was left on the end table.
Let’s be honest, these random toys have been the weapon of choice when trying to take out a parent or the cause of that parent rolling their ankle because this random toy was left on the floor. It’s like a silent war against you.
The basket was necessary.
My favorite is her table and chairs! They were bought from Ikea for just $25! Say what?! This is what they looked like before we placed a coat of coral and ivory spray paint.
I didn’t just want to spray paint her table and be done with it. I also didn’t care to make it into a chalkboard or have her paint on it…draw and color, yes…but paint I consider an outside mess.
I wanted it to be fun but also colorful and educational. And so began my hunt for a really cool and playful looking map of the United States. I happen to come across this one on Etsy and it happened to fit perfectly on top! Now to mod podge the idea…
I never used mod podge before but after watching tutorials, it seemed easy enough. I enlisted my husband anyway.
We took the top part of the table off and laid it on top of another card board box so it was kinda floating. This was so we didn’t make a mess on the dining table. He spread some on the surface and then brushed it so it was coated evenly.
Then, he gradually rolled the map onto the mod podge…
and used a rubber thing-a-ma-bob to make sure there were no air bubbles.
He continued to do this until the entire map covered the top area of the table making sure there were no bubbles. He added a layer of mod lodge horizontally over the map and then it let dry. He repeated the same process vertically. This sealed the map, giving it a protective coating so it wouldn’t mess up while she played. Just to be safe, I sprayed the entire map surface with this, too.
Here’s the finished product! It’s exactly how I envisioned it 🙂
The banner that’s hanging on her wall space was made with craft paper and stickers I already had on hand.
I wanted something that could hold her art work and Pinterest gave me this idea. I found the clips on Amazon and Danny drilled them into leftover wood he had on hand, onto the wall. By the way, everything on the wall, minus the metal basket, was painted with acrylic paint I already had on hand.
That’s her and Cinderella when we went to Disney World last year.
The purple mat was found on Amazon, too! I was so picky about what type of mat we would use for her space. I didn’t want something TOO colorful or distracting. This fit perfectly and a bargain!
We made use of every nook and cranny of this corner. It’s an odd space but I think it works beautifully!
I smile each time I look at this corner. It feels like a mini classroom in my own home. Ultimately, I wanted her space to feel special and be multifunctional. She can make music…color…read…play with her toys…even have her breakfast or lunch at her table.
She even enjoys it when she has friends over 🙂
It surpassed my expectations and what I had envisioned. I’m proud of what we did. Every morning she gravitates towards her space and I know I accomplished the one thing I truly wanted and that’s giving her the inspiration to CREATE.
Don’t be afraid to step outside the box, you’d be amazed at what you can do once you try.