April 03, 2008,
K.W. asks from Mukwonago, WI on March 22, 2008
How to Make a Play Area in Family Room?
My DH and I just bought our first home, a beautiful condo. It's a split-level, with two bedrooms, kitchen, and living room upstairs and a large family room downstairs. Since we're moving from a tiny apartment, I'm excited about having "adult" space. However, we don't have a designated play room. I want my DD to have some space for her painting easil and other toys where I'm not freaking out about the carpet or what not. We're thinking about using a part of the large downstairs living room...block off a section somehow or designate a piece as her area. Has anyone done that? Or should I use a different part of the house as that is the lower level? (I don't want it to feel like she's banished to the corner of the basement.) How can I make a kid-friendly space without losing all of my adult space? Does anyone have any creative storage ideas?
K.L. answers from Milwaukee on March 23, 2008
rubber maid has dresser looking storage that can stack. this would be a great way to make some walls for her space and be private for the mess she'll be making. also an idea for walls could be one of those folding room dividers(screens). another idea is to have a pole lamp in her space that wayis doesn't take up space but gives her light. maybe having it on it's own switch too. boy i could have fun with this whole idea. have fun!!!!
S.S. answers from Minneapolis on March 25, 2008
One thing that we did before we had a separate playroom is use furniture to divide the space. So instead of putting the couch against one wall and the TV across from it, we put the couch in the middle of the room at an angle, facing the TV. This created a natural divider, and the back of the couch served as another "wall" to put stuff against (like the big ride ons, play tables, etc.) We bought some bins that sit on wood shelves that match the wood in the room. IKEA also has some stylish storage options that won't break the bank. As for how to protect the floor, I've seen those big sqare "puzzle" tiles (usually made of some sort of foam, in kid-friendly colors or with ABCs on them) that snap together and form a sort of area "rug." It serves to create a soft but rugged floor space, and protects the carpet beneath. (I've also seen people use this to make their hardwood floors safer for babies and new crawlers.) Congrats on the new home!
S.H. answers from Minneapolis on March 25, 2008
I have a small house so creative storage is my middle name. I bought a great "ottomen/coffee table" from Ashley furniture for in the living room, not only is it covered with "leather" so no hard corners for my active 18 m son, but it has two bins in it, and the "lids" can either be padded or flipped and it is a tray (which works great for playing with block, they don't slid off). I also have book shelfs that I have made the bottom shelves my sons area to store things in baskets that slide onto the shelf, make sure with any younger children in the house to anchor shelves to the wall with an L bracket. You can still have the adult feel and include your child in the space.
I'm sure you will find a great way to incorporate adult with kid friendly were you feel it works best for you and your daughter.
S.S. answers from Milwaukee on March 24, 2008
I think it's best to keep your child's play things where you two will be. There are so many great storage options for adult spaces these days that keep toys under wraps. Try some of the storage ottomans, or again-the-wall options such as these. This way the whole family can be together doing their separate things...and you can safely keep an eye on your daughter!
N.S. answers from Minneapolis on April 03, 2008
All I can say is IKEA and Pottery barn and Pottery barn kids. All three websites have great family room ideas for small spaces.
We recently remodled our family room, and made it versatile so kids can play but it could be readily plumped up and tidied for entertaining.
My big coup in redecorating was putting in a tile floor and relying on persian rugs to soften the space. We've had incidents with crayons, paint, markers, and pencil scribbles, but I didn't care. All I needed was mop and problem gone. I love my IKEA couch with built in storage..and it folds out into a guest bed. Our room does it all. The prices at IKEA are great too. PB is pricey, but you can get great ideas and find similars at Target and elsewhere if you're cutting corners.