Tuesday, October 18, 2011

46 A Perfectly Fantastic Playroom Before & After

I always love to see what my readers have been up to, which is why I feature your awesomeness on a weekly basis in the Reader Space posts.  Today I have a special space to feature that is very near and dear to my heart.

This small world we live in brought a sweet gal that I graduated with, Crystal, back into my life 10 years later when we realized that we lived only minutes from another {upon moving away from our home town!}.  A whole 5 minutes apart!

Crystal runs a full time daycare and is one of the most amazing, sweetest and coolest daycare moms I have ever met.  So imagine my excitement when she asked me to pop over and offer up some ideas to help her whip her playroom into organized shape.  Um, YES PLEASE!

When I walked into the place she spends her joyful hours, I wanted to stay and play and craft and read.  I could imagine how a kid would LOVE to hang out with her all day!

But Crystal was ready for change.  The space was being taken over by toys and losing functionality and wasn't a place she could feel at ease with every day.  She was looking for something more updated.  Fresh.  Organized. 

Here is what she started with:







Don't you want to have a big play party with me?  It's a kid's paradise!

However, after speaking with her and taking notes about how she uses the space and spends her time, I had a good idea of the direction she was hoping to go, all while maintaining a low budget and reusing many of the items she already had.

I studied the pictures and put together a plan to take back the play space.  Here were my thoughts that I shared with Crystal:




After looking through the photos a couple of times, I think that a lot of the reason the room felt so busy, is because there were so many items that were visible along with so many primary colors.  To give the space a fresh, streamlined look, I recommended starting by completely emptying out the space {gasp I know}, and giving it a fresh coat of paint.  I liked the idea of doing a soft gray {like Behr's Twilight Gray} on all of the full walls and above the ledge and then a deep gray blue {like Behr's Bleached Denim} on the walls below the ledge.  I also adored the idea of doing an entire art wall full of chalkboard paint, which would allow her to eliminate the two art easels.  I also thought that the room would feel much more streamlined if all of the storage furniture was the same color, so I recommend painting any remaining pieces, including the desk and the file cabinet, in a shade of white that is similar to the existing white storage furniture.  For the window treatments, some espresso colored bamboo roman shades {like these} on all of the windows would dress and clean them up and offer privacy at the same time.

The next step would be to add additional storage pieces and place them into the space to create zones and more concealed storage.  I suggested that she add one more Trofast piece to match the existing one, and place them side by side in the art zone under the window, where one already existed.  Those could be used to house any learning toys, such as puzzles and games, which can also be played with at the art tables.

Because Crystal always believed in displaying the kiddo's masterpieces, I recommended a cable system for displaying the artwork right on the chalkboard wall or nearby, by using this from IKEA or using twine strung between two nails paired with clothespins!  Then, to hold the chalk she could install a rail with hooks and some buckets.  I also suggested that she should scour the dollar store or look for inexpensive 8x10 frames and have a photo printed of each kiddo's smile, to place on the art wall above the twine, so she could display their art below their photos.  Plus, kids love to see themselves and their friends!

Then, one Expedit shelving unit, placed horizontally, could stick out of the back wall, to create a divider and a "circle time"/reading nook.  It can also act as a bench, but the real purpose is to give her oodles of concealed storage.  The large ITSO fabric bins found at Target and Amazon, fit the Expedit openings perfectly and can store more toys than one would ever imagine.  And the bins are soft so they are sure to be safe for the kids and last a very long time.  For all of Crystal's daily lessons, I recommended popping a couple of these cork boards on the wall, which would categorize her pieces and create small groupings vs. having it all spread out.  I loved the idea of even painting the frames of the cork boards in a pretty lime green {Behr's Japanese Fern}, which would compliment the gray blues.  And because she mentioned she wanted to have her books in an area where the kids could easily grab and read, since she had such a large selection of books, I thought she could try to use white vinyl gutters to create book shelves, right on the lower wall opposite of the Expedit.  See an example and tutorial of this idea here.  I also thought the kids would appreciate some cute floor pillows for circle time/reading time.

In the back area of the room, I loved the idea of creating a place just for Crystal.  I suggested that she remove all of the large chairs, with the exception of one for reading and feeding, which I would angle in the back corner.  I would use an area rug to ground "her" space, and pop the desk in the center, with the file cabinet by its side.  I thought a fresh coat of white paint on the desk, chair and file cabinet would bring more unity.  She could even dress up the drawers of the file cabinet, like this photo here.

On the TV wall, where there is no ledge, I would place the now two blue bookcases {which would be painted white}.  I would use one bookcase for baby toys and the other for her office/paper storage.  She could use inexpensive file boxes found at Ikea or Walmart {similar to these} for planning out her lessons {a file for each day of the week}, along with inexpensive magazine files for each child's projects.  The other bookcase would be great for baby toys because I thought they could have their own little "play zone" behind her desk, away from some of the chaos that bigger kids can create, yet still in her view and reach.

When bringing the toys and items back into the space, it's essential to evaluate each item and only bring in the favorites or the items that truly are played with.  I challenged her to see if there was any room to pair down a bit.  I also suggested to limit how many of the items that were being stored out in the open and on the ledges, since that is where your eyes would instantly go when entering the room.

I thought that by defining zones it would break up the large open "busyness" in the space and give a cozier feeling. 

And guess what?  Crystal and her man got right to work on the plan, because she LOOOOVED it!   Wahoo!

She switched things up a bit as it came time to implement all of the suggestions.  She was a little nervous to commit to the gutter bookshelves, so we agreed that the Ikea spice racks could be a great solution for the books as she was planning on rotating them out each month based on their current themes.  She also was able to categorize and pair down enough not to need the entire Expedit shelf!  She made much of the transformation in her space using what she had, and adding in a few new pieces to make it all work together seamlessly.

Ready to see how it all turned out?  This is my favorite part!



















W O W right?!  Didn't they do an INCREDIBLE job?!  I have looked at the pictures about 103 times because I am so excited with the outcome.  And the best part is that Crystal and her little daycare buddies are also as equally ecstatic with their space!  Crystal shared her pictures with me and wrote:

"I was so excited when i got your ideas I just could not wait to get them done! You are so amazing and I am so happy with it!  We did exactly what you said to start off and that was to completely empty out EVERYTHING!  It was a lot of work but made the space so much easier to work with. Then we went with both the colors you said and painted the bottom with Behr's Twilight Gray on the top and Behr's Bleached Denim below the ledge. I loved the colors you picked and seeing as though I already had so much green the Behr's Japanese Fern could not have been a better fit!  I did not realize it at first but the colors ended up working better than I could have ever imagined!  We then painted an entire wall with the chalkboard paint. We did 8 coats but wanted to be sure it was very functional seeing as though I knew the kids would love it!  And it seems to work great and erases well.  The buckets on the rail idea from Ikea you had, worked perfect as now the chalk and erasers are right at the kid's level.

When I decided to go with the Trofast pieces in the middle, I was then able to use some green plastic shelves we had already along the wall where I had planned to display the wall art.  Because these are smaller I was able to make the area where I displayed the art a little larger, and also the little drawer system I added was able to house the smaller toys perfect! {phones, cars, puppets, action figures ect.} I then used the Trofast for larger things and the things I had large amounts of {babies and their accessories, puzzles, a music bin, and the older kid's random toys took up the other three}. While I wanted to keep the top of those clutter free it ended up being the perfect spot to house the ball bin and one other large toy. Then I bought three stackable bins {green ones, you had recommended one from Ikea} and I used these for larger things {all the blocks which i separated inside the bin with different bags for easy to grab access, one for computer and learning systems and the last one for the stuffed animals they like to have when they read.}.  They fit so much yet look so clean! I found that there would be no way i could eliminate the kitchen area so I added that and used a green storage bin I just place on table with all the kitchen accessories. and then the shelf idea for all the baby stuff works awesome!  They love it and already flock to it. Their things needed to be on display or they would never get to them.


So I would have to say all in all I really did not have to downsize much at all! Just get it organized in a better way. There of course is about a bin and a half that I tucked away in storage, but that really is exactly what i wanted so that when the kids start to bore with what they have I can refresh everything and keep their interest!  So it worked out perfect.

As far as the bookshelves the idea with the spice racks from Ikea worked out wonderfully! They were so easy! And a fresh coat of paint has them looking great! I put away a whole storage bin of books! Couldn't be happier about that seeing as though I hope to change out books monthly to new themes we are discussing and then just new books to keep everyone reading. They have spent most of their time so far on the reading mats {which I decided to go with 4 separate green rugs so they can grab their own and find a spot and plop down! Then bring them all together for one large rug during circle time! They love love love the idea of their own carpet}.  And the cork-boards for all learning materials works so well and looks great! I found great pillows at Ikea and they love grabbing one with their rug.

My office space rocks!! It is so organized, easy, and functional! I can find everything and so easily plan for the week. I found it all at Ikea. The green they offered is different but blends well, and what I cannot even believe is the rug I found for my space that you told me about was a mere $19.99! I was stoked!

So all in all it is almost finished and not only looking amazing but it is functional, functional, functional! It housed everything I need to keep the kids busy and learning from morning 'til night! I could not be happier!! You are so great and you made the space I spend all my days in ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and so enjoyable! Not only do I love it, but the kids and all my families adore it as well! So from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU!!!

Much love! Crystal




And there is nothing more surreal than seeing your vision come to life, and to hear those sweet happy words.  I am certain I want to go through this process again and again, it was beyond rewarding.

A special thank you to Crystal for letting me help her with her amazing space and allowing me to share the story and process here with you!  Don't you just adore all she did to give her daily space, a bit of a facelift?  Doesn't it feel so much more open and tidy?  What's your favorite part?

46 comments:

  1. Oh Jen, it's great to see you making over other people's spaces, I enjoyed this post so much. It's such a transformation, and Crystal must be thrilled with how it all turned out!

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  2. It looks amazing! Love that the "stations" are more defined now. I used to work in a daycare as well and its tough with young kids to keep everything in order. But this space is perfect! It will be easy for the kids to help clean up and find toys easily. Great job Jenn and Crystal!! :)

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  3. That's great. I think having a "playroom" for the kids is such a great idea. I know ours gets used so much!!

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  4. What a fabulous makeover! I love your blog because it gives me the inspiration I need to organize my messy space! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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  5. This is my favorite transformation I have ever seen on this website! I love the book shelves sticking out of the wall, the blue on the lower half of the wall, and the grass rug.

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  6. ahhhhh love the transformation! It looks 100x BIGGER now!!!! =) Your plan was perfecto and Crystal pretty much rocked the pants off of that room =) It looks like a neat classroom now!

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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  7. Looks awesome, so roomy :) Love the chalkboard wall, the kids must love that!

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  8. love it!! i just finished making over our playroom and so I know how much work it takes, and this makeover is adorable! i love the colors you picked out, and the green rugs all put together was a stroke of genius. :)

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  9. Can you tell me where you found the rug for her space that was $19.99??? I love it!

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  10. @Anonymous, here is a link to the rug: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10177885/

    Thank you!

    Jen

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  11. Love it!! I just spent the past hour on Pinterest looking at playroom ideas. Then i decided to check your blog "real quick" before i log off - and i was so pleasantly surprised to see this post. Great job!! i love the divider for the reading nook, and all the storage it provides!
    Thanks so much! keep up the inspiring work. :-_)

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  12. That's a GREAT chalkboard wall! I bet the kids love to draw on such a huge space!

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  13. I love seeing your transformations! Can't believe how nice this looks!

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  14. The playroom looks amazing, but please let Crystal know she may want to remove the low push pins. A child died three weeks ago choking on a push pin at our local day care (in Oceanside, CA). I saw the push pins on the low cork boards and just had to let you know for safety. I'm so sorry to be at all negative about the beautiful, fun, space, but I thought it was important to let you know.

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  15. I also run a full time daycare in my home. I am beginning to get bored with my playroom space and need inspiration. This post has really given me some things to think about. Thanks!
    ;0)

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  16. Is there a way to get the dimensions for this space....not the workout area, just the playroom/learning center space? It looks HUGE, but I would love to compare it to an area of my basement that I would love to turn into this! You never cease to amaze me, Jen!

    Jen Vance

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  17. @Michelle, Thanks for the heads up, I have another idea for her so she can keep her cork boards and not use tacks, I will let her know right away!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  18. I love the colors you chose, and you have some mad space setting skills! I love the defined areas with still lots of open spaces for the kiddos to play.

    For the cork board option, here's what I recently did in my kids room: http://heartandhaven.com/2011/06/29/diy-project-cork-board-art-display/
    (the small paper clips, although still a choking hazard for really little kids, is a safer option to the push pins)

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  19. Wow! Um, does Crystal want to babysit my kids for me? Haha. This room is gorgeous, good job!

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  20. I would buy a bunch of the labels to use on my different glass jars. I love the antique squares :)

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  21. That looks amazing! We're facing a tough challenge at home. Clearing out the massive clutter in our basement so that we can replace the yucky carpet for wood lament flooring and wood paneling for drywall to create my son's play room. I love the after photos!

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  22. That is FANTASTIC. Love how clean and clear it looks afterwards.

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  23. Hi Jen, I've been a preschool teacher for 17 years, I love that the space is fresh, cleaning, stimulating, without being TOO stimulating. Plenty of room to spread out with books and toys on the floor, it's incredible, you all did a fine job!Bravo!

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  24. I am oooh-ing and aah-ing over that playroom. As a former teacher, and now a mother of 3/daycare provider...I *LOVE* that room! Thinking you might find me sitting in there long after the kids had gone to bed for the night, just admiring the beautiful new face :)

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  25. I actually cannot believe that's the same space! I was scrolling back and forth to look at the before and afters over and over, it looks so much bigger now!

    When I was looking at the before pictures I was wondering how many kids could fit in there, but now it's so light and airy it looks like a really comfortable space for both kids and adults! Great planning Jen, and great work Crystal and your mr ;-)

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  26. What a great transformation! You could easily start a business doing this for people with the talent you have.

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  27. I also have an in home daycare and what you did was amazing! My area more closely resembles the before pictures! Will be using some of your ideas soon! I need a friend this organized to stop by!

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  28. Jen,
    Thanks so much for sharing your process from part-time blogger to full-time extraordinaire! I have never read blogs until I came across yours a month or two ago when researching on how to organize my unorganized home. Now, daily, I await your email letting us know another thought or two has crossed your ink blotter and into your computer! Your attitude is fun and I enjoy reading your thoughts about family and life in general. It's really great that you graciously share your ideas and I absolutely LOVE your free printables. I've done quite a bit research over the last month and no other blog compares. Thanks again and keep up the fun (and colorful) work! I love it!

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  29. it looks amazing!!! just a quick question...regarding the cork boards, how are you attaching the materials to the boards? i have push pins, but i hesitate to use them beacause i fear my little ones would just pull it out and then poke themselves (and others) with it. thanks!

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  30. @Anonymous - we thought of that as well after another reader mentioned it and decided you could either use large butterfly clips at the top or possibly even staples since those would be more challenging for a little one to pull out. We all have to make the safest choices for our kiddos... maybe google around for other ideas as well.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  31. Every time I come here, I see MORE and MORE and MORE inspiration. Every. single. time.
    WOW!
    WOW!
    Just...WOW! Amazing...
    it's getting colder here...plenty of time to tackle a 'project' - oh MY - the INSPIRATION! ACK!

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  32. I love this post so much that I pinned it on Pinterest on my Playrooms board. So many great ideas!!

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  33. Great pictures, I was looking for some inspiration for my house. Thanks for sharing.

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  34. You are really good. First time reading your blog today. Do have great ideas and I am so glad I found you.

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  35. You've got some mad skills! So inspirational!! I'm on my third weekend of "Operation Organization"... 2 van loads of donations and 5 bags of trash later, I'm feelin' good! Reading these stories (and seeing the fantatbulous pictures) is sooo inspirational. Thanks so much for sharing your gift with us!

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  36. I love coming on here for ideas, but I am so glad I came on here for safety tip re: push pins. I googled push pin deaths and was shocked at how much came up. Thank you to the reader that brought it to all our attention.

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    Replies
    1. Such a simple thing to over look, great that we now have it on our radar!

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  37. Hi Jenn,

    I wish you could be in The Bahamas to help me with my playroom. I am such a neat freak however it is hard to find things here. We have a company here that brings in stuff from Ikea so I will defnitely use IKEA. My room is not sooo big, it is about 11*15. I am hoping I can create something and I will send you before and after photos!

    Thanks,
    Alexandrea

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  38. Hi Jenn,

    I love your blogg. What program do you use when you are laying out room design and putting in shapes for furniture placement. I think it would be very helpful for me if I could do that.

    Thanks,
    Tina

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tina!

      I use Microsoft Excel to create room layouts.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  39. Any chance I could email you a picture of our playroom for ideas? I pour over blogs for ideas and I seriously get anxiety over this. I am such an admin person and the cutesy creative side is non-existant.

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  40. HI Jenn,

    I am just in love with your blog and love all your ideas for every room in the house. At this time I am trying to update our playroom. I am having a hard time with where to put the big toys that you can't store in boxes such as strollers, ride-a-long cars, baby crib, etc. What would be your suggestion on how to store them and still make the space look organized and not like those toys are just thrown in the corner?

    Thanks,
    Kaci

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kaci!

      Have you looked into the BESTA unit from IKEA yet? It's nice and deep and comes in different sizes and you can even add doors to conceal the larger items.

      Hope that helps!

      xo,
      Jen

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  41. OMG! How would you like to come and England and redo my HOUSE!

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  42. I was wondering if you could send an email to me at aliciaj245@gmail.com and help me with organizing my daycare room for the kiddos over computer

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alicia!

      I would love to get to a point where I am doing virtual consults, unfortunately, I just do not have the capacity at this time to offer that service. I sincerely apologize, as it is something I would truly love to do. Should my services ever change, I am sure I will announce that and provide links on my blog.

      Thank you so much!!
      Jen

      Delete

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