Hey all, I am Corey from Sawdust 2 Stitches, and I have a serious problem. I cannot leave well enough alone. Have you ever started a seemingly simple afternoon project only to end up to your elbows in sawdust three days later? Well, I do often! My kids play space was no exception.
When moving into our home, there was a decent size closet under the stairs that presumably was intended as a storage closet. I absolutely intended to use it for storage! I planned for it to contain every single toy, book, action figure, car, and lego! Although it did solve the problem of where the toys would be stored, it still begged the question, “What about when they are in use?”
Thus, the playroom under the stairs. I knew full well that there was not nearly enough space for the kids to play and store their toys, but with some careful planning, anything is possible!
Luckily, in my adolescence my dad was a contractor and my mom was an artistic DIYer. In no time, I was wielding power tools and paintbrushes. In fact, my shop is my favorite room in the house! So instead of making do with the stair space, I decided to create more! I built a platform that would make it a split-level play area.
I had a general idea of the layout, but I was still a little foggy on the overall appearance. My sons happen to be infatuated with all things firefighting. So much so that when I asked my oldest son what he wanted for Christmas, he responded, “A fire alarm!” Yes, he wanted a fire alarm! “Are you sure you don’t want a drum, or an electric guitar?” I wondered. Coincidentally, a few weeks later I was at a garage sale and happened upon an old school alarm bell! How could I pass it up? I am so glad I snagged it because it became the inspiration for the entire playroom.
The “upstairs” has a fairly open play area, but it also had a small nook. It was the perfect space for lockers for the kids’ turnout gear and all of the necessary firefighting gear!
A fire station would not be complete without a pole! There is a pole and a ladder that serves as access to both upper and lower floors. The lower level contains most of the toys. I used our original storage bins and built a table top that would prevent the bins from toppling as well as provide a sturdy play surface.
My husband and I also discovered some additional dead space under the stairs that was not being utilized. So we utilized it! I created a door frame, put up drywall, and laid down carpet. This space was shaped a little awkward, but it was PERFECT for laying down and watching a movie! I mounted a television above the door frame, so the kids could lay back and easily see the television without fearing they would knock it over.
There was only one small area of dead space remaining. It wasn’t very big, but it was perfect size for a firetruck dashboard! As often as the kids pretended to respond to 911 calls, a “firetruck” seemed necessary. I do have more detailed plans showing how I made the fire truck dashboard.
Overall, I walked away from this project feeling like I successfully utilized and maximized every square inch of space. Once it was complete, I put it to the ultimate test … my kids. The verdict? They love it! They spend hours in there, the toys stay contained, and it is set up in a way that is easy for them to keep it clean! A win-win-win.
This entire project was so much fun, and having the great folks from Better Homes and Gardens come out and do a photo shoot was a total dream come true! I can’t say it enough, it was one of the funnest experiences ever! See the entire tour of the play area here!
When my husband and I decided to finish the basement playroom in time for Christmas morning, we discovered that we had completely different visions for the playroom. I wanted a wall of cubbies (a place for everything, and everything in its place!) and a cute art table, and he wanted monkey bars and a kid-sized climbing wall! The room ended up being a beautiful compromise–I got my cubbies and he got his climbing wall. You can find great inspiration all over the internet for cool DIY climbing walls.
via Oh So Savvy Mom (this site has great, detailed instructions on how to make your own climbing wall)
via Finch Found
My husband put ours together in a single afternoon in a little over two hours. Some of the materials (3/4″ plywood, a couple of 2×4′s, and the bolts that anchor it to the wall) came from the hardware store, and all of the climbing holds came from Atomik Climbing Holds and included all of the mounting hardware. These aren’t directions by any means, but the steps are pretty simple.
Mark and drill your holes on the plywood…
Pound in the t-nuts from the back…
Screw some 2×4′s into the studs with 6″ lag bolts…
Screw the plywood into the 2×4′s with 2 1/2″ lag bolts, and attach the climbing holds!
The kids started scrambling up and down the wall before my husband was even finished bolting on the holds. They really love it, and it adds a fun pop of color to one end of the playroom.
Finding the perfect rug for a space is hard work, folks. It has to be the right size, the right price, the right color, and the right texture, not to mention easy to track down and buy. We went with fairly neutral walls and flooring for our playroom, which meant that we could bring in lots of fun color using a bright area rug. Need a little inspiration? Check out the colorful rugs in these rooms…
Scouring the internet for a place to buy that darling rug you spotted on someone’s blog post can take lots of time. So I’ve done some of the hard work for you! Here are a few of my favorite colorful playroom rugs and the links to where you can buy them.
the affordable workhorse: Off-Set Chevron Multi Rug by Mohawk from Overstock.com, $135.99 for 5×8′
This is the rug we ended up buying for our playroom because it is colorful (the colors are much prettier in person than they look in the pictures), soft, cleans up easily, and is ridiculously inexpensive. We paid less than $190 for the 8×10′!
the classy floral: Threshold Floral Wool Area Rug from Target.com, $179.99 for 5×7′
Target has lots of pretty, colorful rugs in their stores. If you need something larger than 5×7′, you can find options online as well.
the pretty polka dots: Candy Dot Rug from Land of Nod, $399 for 5×8′
This one is a bit of a splurge, but it is beautiful, well-made, and a nice mix of colorful and understated.
the grown-up stripes: Momeni Delhi Red from BuyAreaRugs.com, $349 for 5×8′
I love this rug! It’s bright and colorful, but would look great in a grown-up space too.
the rainbow chevron: Momeni Delhi Multi Rug from Wayfair.com, $349.99 for 5×8′
In love with chevron? This is the colorful playroom rug for you! The rich, beautiful colors make it classy and fun at the same time.
the cool hopscotch: CB2 Hopscotch Rug, $199 for 4×6′
The only decidedly un-colorful rug on the list, it is just too cute to pass up! Slightly smaller than the other rugs on the list, but less expensive than most of them as well.
Hi! My name is Lo, creator of A Lo and Behold Life, a blog about all things that make my house a home. I’m constantly searching for thoughtful and creative ways to add charm, style and organization into my family’s life. My passion is to breathe a little innovation into ordinary items giving them life and inspiring others to do the same. I was honored to be chosen to have my favorite and most popular DIY car garage project featured in the Better Homes and Gardens January I Did it! section. As if that wasn’t fabulous enough, to have my sons included in the article showing off their beloved toy car collection was the proverbial cherry on top!
Since the 1950′s, children have been captivated by Matchbox® and Hot Wheels® cars. My boys are no different. Their infatuation with all things on four wheels started at a very young age, and I can hardly find a baby picture without one of them holding a toy car in his little hand.
My husband and I found ourselves using these cars as an inexpensive reward system, “If you are good for mommy in the grocery store you can pick out a new toy car at the check-out counter.” Before we knew it, the overwhelming toy car collection was growing up and over the broken & warped storage basket in the playroom and migrating to all parts of our home!
You’ve been there, right? In the last week how many times have you heard, “Mom, where’s my car?” How many minutes have been wasted trying to find that one favorite toy car that always goes missing? Can you count the number of times you’ve stepped on those toys cars that never seem to get put away?
I searched high and low for a functional and affordable storage solution for these cars, but everything out there was either really expensive or just not practical for a 2 year old, never mind two of them. Then I discovered that with a little ingenuity and creativity I could repurpose a shoe rack to create a wall unit that would organize their entire toy car collection and look really cool too!
What I didn’t expect was how enthusiastic my toddlers would become in keeping their toy cars organized. Not only was this rack a total space saver but now the boys were taking responsibility for cleaning up their cars, becoming independent in finding that favorite car on his own, and taking pride in their beloved toy car collection. It was a Matchbox miracle!
There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the Do-It-Yourself car garage project on A Lo and Behold Life. Clearly parents are in need of a practical organization solution to solve their household storage dilemmas. Knowing that not everyone out there has the time, resources, or interest to be a DIY’er I thought, “How can I get this car garage to the masses?” And so with a little encouragement from family and friends the Mom! Where’s my car? wall garage was put into production.
If you told me two years ago that this seemingly simple idea would be as popular as it is and could potentially be the little engine that could clear toy car clutter forever I would have laughed. But if my family and I can bring some peace, independence, and organization into your home then all our efforts to bring it to you will be worth it. Come along with us to put the brakes on toy car clutter at www.momwheresmycar.com
I’m super excited to be back on Style Spotters writing about our new Dream House! When we moved in the first weekend of November, there were still quite a few things that needed to be finished: the fridge and freezer were on backorder, as were the master bathroom medicine cabinets; there weren’t any window coverings; the paint needed to be touched up in every single room; and several light fixtures still needed to be installed. And let’s not forget the basement! My husband and I both look at the basement as something of a gift–we both grew up in places where basements are rare. So when we were designing our house, we wanted the basement to be made up of little luxuries, spaces that we wouldn’t normally have room for, but that we desperately wanted and would use a lot. A dedicated guest bedroom, a studio space for me, an extra bathroom, a playroom for the kids. Since these spaces were luxuries and not necessities, we opted to leave the basement unfinished for the time being. And then we realized pretty quickly, when all of the toys were left in unopened boxes in the dusty basement while our kids started going stir crazy upstairs, that we really needed that playroom finished, and quickly! We had some friends help us finish it in time to surprise the kids with a beautiful playroom on Christmas morning! You’ll have to wait just a bit longer for the big reveal, but here’s a gorgeous playroom inspiration board to tide you over…
- Our goal for the playroom was to create a bright, colorful space that was fun for all the kids, that wasn’t too girly or too boyish, and that the older kids would’t find too babyish in a few more years. And that could house all of the toys, of course. Photo from 6th Street Design School
- We spent a lot of time “researching” light fixtures for the playroom, which means I had fun looking at cute light fixtures on the internet for a few hours. We considered barn lights, vintage-inspired schoolhouse lights, and really colorful lights, but opted for some affordable industrial-style lights for a couple of reasons. #1) They had wall sconces and a matching semi-flushmount ceiling fixture, which were the two types of lights we needed, and I’m a sucker for things that match. #2) They have a wire cage covering the glass shade, so in case blocks or balls go flying, the lights are sort of protected. #3) Cute and affordable? Sign me up! We ordered the lights from Home Depot’s website.
- You could probably guess what wall color we went with even if I hadn’t included a paint swatch–I guess I like light blue! It is a great playroom wall color: light, bright, peppy, and peaceful. Our playroom is on the side of the basement with no windows, so we tried to find a color that wasn’t too dark because there won’t be any natural light to brighten it up. The color we chose is Water Squirt by Sherwin Williams, and it’s the perfect light, icy blue.
- One of my favorite things about our new house is all of the storage. I truly believe that if there’s a place for everything to be put away, the house will just naturally stay cleaner and neater. I’ve dreamed–and yes, this is very nerdy–of a playroom with a whole wall of cubbies. Not only does it look good, but it also keeps all of the toys, blocks, dolls, and puzzles neatly organized and off the floor. Photos from BHG and Young House Love
- What’s a playroom without some colorful accents? I love these rainbow lights from Bright Lab. They look great even when they’re not plugged in. I’ve also had my eye on this “Amazing” wall hanging from Children Inspire Design for a few years now. I love that it’s got bright colors on a black background–such a nice change from all of our other playroom prints that are on white.
- I can’t resist a good DIY project, and when I spotted this ABC wall art installation a few days ago, it knew I had to make it for the playroom. I’m not always good at finishing the DIY projects I start, so wish me luck! Photo from Project Nursery
- The mini climbing wall was my husband’s idea. We didn’t have a chance to put it together before the big Christmas morning reveal for our kids, but we have all of the materials and will hopefully get it up soon. Our kids love to climb, and I’m excited for them to have a place where they can climb to their little hearts’ content. Photo from Fun At Home With Kids
- Last but not least, the playroom rug! This was probably the thing I spent the most time researching. We wanted a big rug (8×10′) that was colorful, good quality, soft, affordable, and not babyish. That’s a surprisingly tough combo to find, but we managed. We love the rug we ended up with, this rainbow chevron rug from Mohawk, which we got for a steal from Overstock.com. Photo from Makely School for Girls
Stay tuned for more playroom details from the Dream House!
I’m currently in the process of working on a playroom for my 21 month old, and one of the essentials is a great play table. We built two awhile back, and I plan to update them with some oilcloth covers to be wiped clean after play dough marathons or snack time. Kid tables can get quite pricey, but for about $40 (plus the cost of paint or the oilcloth) you can make your own great little toddler table, and if you want to make use of the whole plywood sheet, you can make two for approximately $60! Below are the details – if you buy the 24″ x 48″ sheets of plywood at Lowe’s or Home Depot, they will cut it for you in store. I’d recommend sanding the edges well to remove any splinters or roughness, and if you don’t plan on using paper or oilcloth to cover it, you may want to add a little flat trim around the edges to keep it looking neat. Another great part of these tables is the low height is perfect for toddlers, but you can easily replace the legs with taller versions if needed, and plainer versions are available as well if you don’t like the turned look. I’ll post photos of Vivi’s tables with the covers when I get them done!