Friday, August 7, 2009

making the most of a multi-use space

My sister, Meggin, asked me for some help in making over the most-used room in her house; the kid’s playroom. This room sits at the far end of, and is very open to their kitchen.  Sunny and bright through cold Vermont winters and open and breezy with a slider to the backyard for the summertime, it’s a multi-use space to say the least. The playroom also serves as a guestroom (note the daybed) and a den for movie night. However, the kids rarely watch TV, so Meggin wanted to be sure that it wasn’t the focus of the room. The kids love to create, so an art space is a necessity, as is a place for dress-up and setting up the train tracks…

Here are my initial thoughts:

  1. Your rug is looking threadbare! I think a soft indoor-outdoor rug (8) would be the best option for this space- stain resistant means super easy clean up after craft time and it will stand up to the wear and tear of heavy traffic areas and Vermont mud season.
  2. The daybed is a necessity- for cuddling up with some books and for movie nights with the hubby (not to mention it's the guest bed!) but, it takes up a LOT of space and, with the current configuration, leaves corners as just a place to hide junk. Let’s push the day bed into the far right-hand corner. Because the slider opens from the left, we won’t be limiting access to the backyard. I would love to see a good solid curtain rod with floor-length curtains to cover the slider. These are a must have for the privacy of guests staying in that room anyway, and it will cozy things up a bit. When open, push them to the right side of the slider, covering just a bit more of the door than the bed sticks out into (this will disguise the fact that the daybed sticks out into the slider a bit). Just make sure the daybed is 4-5” from that far wall, so the curtains can fall nicely and be pulled open and closed easily. I’d love to see oatmeal colored linen with thick navy horizontal stripes… so get sewing! These curtains will add so much interest and richness to the space.
  3. The beanbag has got to go! I know it is cozy…but oh-so 80s and a total floor space hog! If you really just can’t part with it, recover it in an outdoor fabric and bring it outside in the spring and summer for the kids to dive-bomb into or for you to knit in while the kids explore. It can live happily in the garage when not in use.
  4. I am dying for some larger art in this room. For the most part, the current wall art is far too small and incohesive. You have beautiful photographs of your family thanks to Amanda at Orchard Cove... so get them up on the walls! Order some large size canvases of your favorite family/ kid pictures! 



I figured it would be easiest to describe this in “zones” as colored on my new floor layout


    • This would be a great spot for the craft area. I think a long, low table is necessary for creating. I love the stainless steel table tops that Ikea is now offering (VIKA HYTTAN 47x24in)… chic and SO easy to clean and scrub… it will NEVER stain, and looks better the more beat up it gets! Pair it with these fun, child height legs (IKEA's VIKA OLEBY legs in the 17" height) and you're good to go.
    • On the desk, I would have one basic set of small storage drawers for craft supplies, each labeled (with an images, rather than words) for crayons, paintbrushes, glue sticks, scissors, etc.
    • On the same wall, above the chair rail, tack up a selection of brightly colored job jackets (1) in different sizes and horizontal/vertical configurations. This is SUCH a fun way to display your children’s creations and new work can be switched in and out with easy for ever- changing art!
    • On the narrow wall to the left I would hang a magazine-type rack (2) for paper storage- construction paper, plain white paper, etc. and keep it loaded all the time for easy access
    • I would hang a flat-screen TV high up in this corner, in perfect view from a cozy spot on the daybed, yet out of the kid’s sight


    • This is a perfect spot to some of Ikea’s larger kid friendly storage drawers (3). I think it is critical for kids to be able to clean up their own spaces early on, and nothing enables them to do this more than knowing where things go… get your camera out and take some snapshots of their most-used toys that will go in these drawers (legos in one, trucks in another, dolls, etc.) affix one clear photo on the front of each drawer so Anya and Evan can not only access their favorites easily, but put them away as well… it works like a fun matching game!
    • Your space heater can easily fit to the right of this unit
    • Above the chair rail on this wall, get a few of those beautiful family photos (4) made up on large sized canvases!
    • Lose the small mirror on the small bit of wall to the left of the sliders


    • The daybed will now be all the way to the left of this space
    • Get sewing! Above the sliders you need a sturdy wooden curtain rod with a nice, hearty curtain to cover the slider
    • Against the side of the daybed that you see when you enter the room, let’s put a DISPLAY BOOKCASE here. I LOVE the easy access these offer to favorite books, and, with them so visible, books will be one of the first things the kids see and grab for. Perfect!


    • I am tucking the dress-up clothes behind this wall, which you cannot see from the kitchen, to keep everything looking tidy.
    • One of my all-time faves, the Eames Hang-All (5), would be just perfect here… loads of hooks for all their favorite dress-up clothes and interesting to look at when bare! This could be hung on the short bit of wall on the far right.
    • I ADORE this cloud shaped mirror (6) and think it would be just perfect in the dress-up corner. Remember to hang it BELOW the chair rail so the kids can see themselves!
    • Under the windows, I would just love to see one of these fun, strap baskets (7) for dress-up accessories like fire hats and magic wands that can’t be hung up.
I can't wait to see how you transform this space! Good Luck!
(Sorry, Al, looks like there won't be any boating for you this weekend... This is quite a To-Do List!)


Lucy said...

Love, love, love these ideas!!! Thank you so much for doing this! I will send you pictures as we make progress. THANKS!

Orchard Cove Photography said...

So fun to see all these ideas :) I'm still working on my curtains but the canvases arrived today and will hopefully be hung tomorrow so our re-decoration is ALMOST done!