Over the summer we started to really put some thought into how we'd use the rooms in our house now that we've gained some extra space, but also added an unexpected space-taker to the mix.
When we first moved into the family room I sectioned off a 5' area behind the sectional couch as a play space for M. But I found that the toys migrated quickly and even though he was putting them away when he was finished, I was still staring at toys from every spot in the open kitchen/family/dining room.
So I decided to move toys up to his bedroom. Which meant M needed a new bedroom with more space. I let him choose which room he wanted and he chose the former guestroom, which happens to be the largest of the three non-master bedrooms upstairs. He made a few bold requests for his room and I went with it. He likes having his toys upstairs and it's working our fairly well. We didn't really play inside all that much this summer and he prefers to do "real" stuff when we're inside like vacuuming and washing dishes. Or harassing the dog.
But his big toys like kitchen and easel were still in the family room. And that wasn't working for me. So I decided the office sun room needed to become a dedicated playroom where all the toys could live and the door could be shut. Most importantly, however, the room felt like the perfect spot for a chair where I could sit and nurse the baby for a gazillion hours a day while M plays, draws, builds, etc. but I wouldn't feel compelled to clean up at the end of the day when I could be sleeping instead.
Making the office into a playroom meant our office, including all my sewing stuff needed to move elsewhere. Because M's former nursery was the smallest of the upstairs bedrooms and had a tiny closet, I decided that it would become the office and our old bedroom the new baby's nursery. When we moved M to the former upstairs guestroom, we had put the queen sized mattress in the former nursery. So one weekend while M and I were away, S moved (magically squeezed) the queen sized bed to the basement guest room, moved the full sized bed from the guestroom to storage until we give it to M next Spring, and moved all the office furniture and gear upstairs. Alone. And he managed to do it all without damaging any walls, ceilings, furniture, or floors. Magic.
So that's the long story of how we arrived at a dedicated playroom in the former office sun room. Now for the good stuff.
Open the closed door and come on in!
To the right of the door when you walk in, which is visible from the living room, we have one of the four flokati rugs we took from S's grandparents house when they moved earlier this year. They were a bear to wash, but are so cozy now. This one sections off the perfect spot to sit and nurse the baby. I painted an Ikea Poang chair that S picked up on the curb with Annie Sloane chalk paint and instead of making a new cushion, bought one since the cost of materials was more than the cost of a new one. The to-do list needed a few shortcuts. X that off.
Some of M's blocks live in the 3-sprouts racoon bin next to the chair and the rest are in the family room under the couch in a under-the-bed storage drawer.
We took the small dresser from the basement guestroom, which no longer fit with the bigger bed down there, and made it into a train table. It's not really big enough for the largest train creations, but it works.
As you enter to the left of the door we moved the triangle shelf from the living room, which was always a clutter collector, and made open storage for that week's current rotation of toys. We still have a three-bin rotation, but at any given time two of the bins are out: one in here and one in M's room. The third is packed away.
His little kitchen is nestled in the corner. All of his play food is out all of the time now. I'm big and tired and just couldn't keep up with play food rotation too.
His easel is in the opposite corner - this week it's on the white board side, but we switch it up to paper or chalk board fairly frequently.
Instead of using another rug on this side of the room, we put down a hand-me-down foam alphabet mat. M loves finding his "special" letters - M and X.
His little table and chairs that Grandpa made, which I also painted with chalk paint using small sample pot colors of M's choosing, fit perfectly under the windows across from his toy shelf.
And for the ultimate kid friendly decoration, we hung Ikea Dignitet curtain wires around the perimeter of the room so M's preschool artwork could become our window valances. He loves it!
M loves his playroom and it's proven to be well worth the effort to create the space. We have the middle school-aged twins who live across the street come to play with M a couple of times a week to give me (ahem, my giant aching belly) a break. The past few times they've come it has either been raining or M didn't want to go to the park. So they've locked themselves in the playroom and for two hours I hear nothing but shrieks of laughter while I'm in the other room cleaning. Plus, now when I'm making dinner, M is no longer underfoot with a dozen ankle breakers in the kitchen, he's in his playroom happily playing choochoos or trucks.
I never thought we'd have a playroom in this house, but I have to admit, it's just about the best thing ever!