My soon-to-be stepdaughter and all-around awesome kiddo, Aubrey, celebrated her 8th birthday recently, and as my gift to her, I decided to create a fun playroom/craft space in our finished basement. Until now, the space had been used mostly as storage for her toy overflow and was completely utilitarian. My goal was to turn the sterile-looking space into a bright, cheerful room where she would be excited to play with her friends, do arts and crafts, and feel like she had a special hangout spot in the house that was truly “hers”.
Since one of the main uses of the space would be for arts and crafts, I made sure to fill the room with items that were easy to clean (or inexpensive to replace if needed). I avoided anything too precious, because let’s be honest, it’s likely that everything will wind up with paint or marker on it at some point. In real life, kids are messy…and that’s ok! My goal, though, was to give Aubrey a place to store each type of item (puzzles, crayons, books, etc.), so it would be easier for her to make a habit of keeping things tidy.
At the center of the room is a smooth-surfaced coffee table that, with the addition of a few fun floor pillows, serves as a perfect spot to draw, paint, and work on craft projects. A wooden planter box at the center of the table keeps all of Aubrey’s colored pencils, markers, and paint brushes within easy reach. Larger supplies, such as paints and drawing pads, are tucked away neatly in the bookshelf.
I tucked a small vintage nightstand and bulletin board into a corner of the room to turn this once-wasted space into a spot where Aubrey can display her favorite artwork. The inside of the nightstand holds larger games and Lego sets and really helps to turn this awkward corner into a functional space.
On the other side of the doorway, I hung a couple of maps to give the room a little bit of a classroom vibe (which Aubrey loves)!
On the far side of the room, I created a little seating area featuring two folding circle chairs centered around a colorful striped throw rug where Aubrey (or her grown-ups, for that matter!) can sit and read or watch TV. The chairs are comfortable but lightweight enough to be moved around as needed, making them a great option for this type of multi-purpose room.
For some colorful and inexpensive artwork, I created the above wall-hangings in what was one of my favorite and easiest DIY projects ever. The only supplies needed were: 1) embroidery hoops of varying sizes (these can be purchased at any craft or fabric store); 2) scissors; and 3) fabric. For an extra thrifty touch, instead of using traditional fabric purchased by the yard, I repurposed the fabric from a reusable shopping bag I picked up for around a dollar at the craft store. The entire project cost around $5.00 and took me less than 10 minutes (including hanging time!). I simply affixed the fabric inside the embroidery hoops, trimmed away the excess, and hung them on the wall. That’s it! As far as DIY projects go, this one was almost embarrassingly easy, but it adds such a great pop of color to the room and echoes the crafty motif.
For some equally simple and high impact wall decor, I hung this festive party garland above the TV. Throughout the entire room, I tried to keep the main wall and furniture colors relatively neutral and rely on accents like throw rugs, pillows, and wall decor to bring fun pops of neon pink, orange, and teal to the room. This way, as Aubrey’s tastes change (as they inevitably will), it will be easy to swap out pieces and give the space a fresh look without a lot of effort or expense.
Aubrey loves her new playroom. Here she is showing off our first masterpieces completed the night of her birthday. She has already had her friends from the neighborhood over to play in the new space and is enjoying putting little decorating touches on it to really make it her own. It makes me so happy to see her using and enjoying the space…even if that means we get a little paint on the floor now and then.
I’d love to hear your favorite ideas for decorating kid-friendly spaces and how you keep them looking tidy(ish). Share your tips in the comments – I look forward to hearing from you!