When we first looked at the two-bedroom flat on Queen Street that would later become our first home downtown (we are now in our second home, and if you are having trouble keeping up with us nomads I wouldn’t blame you in the least), we were hopeful that there would be an extra space somewhere in that 1000 square feet for the girls to play. We were dedicating an entire large bedroom as a playroom at the time, and weren’t keen on the idea of storing all of the toys in the bedroom, as we wanted the bedroom to be a place for reading and resting. So imagine our excitement when we opened the door to a teeny tiny room off of the living room that would make the perfect spot for the girls to play. When I say tiny, I am not exaggerating, but the tenants living there at the time had managed to squeeze a twin bed into there in an attempt to turn the two bedroom into a three bedroom, so we were confident we could make it work.
I still remember the first night we moved in, after setting up the girls’ beds and getting them to sleep, their new play area was the first room I unpacked. I wanted to have a retreat for them amid the cardboard boxes and chaos surrounding us, and for them to be excited about their new space. Oddly enough, I actually enjoy decorating smaller spaces more than large ones. They have their challenges for sure, but I would much rather select a few favorite items and make the space extra special and cozy than have a vast space that I am unsure how to fill. This room, I can tell you, was a piece of cake to fill!
After laying down a soft braided rug for play in the middle of the room, I began by placing the bulkiest pieces of furniture along the biggest walls, in a sort of galley arrangement. The pink shelf went to the left, and in the corner bedside it was the play kitchen.
I used the play market shelving mainly as a place to store play food, but some board books and toys were also placed in bins on the floor for easy access.
On top, I added a few decorative touches to give the room some vintage charm- a milk glass lamp, an antique vase with sweet little paper flowers, and some colorful old tins. On the wall above I hung a trio of cuckoo clocks.
On the opposite wall I placed (heaved is a better word I suppose) our large cube shelving, which housed the majority of our puzzles, blocks, games, and various other toys. I kept most of the toys sorted into bins and baskets to make for easy clean up and also minimize visual clutter in the tiny space.
I used the surface on top for a cheerful yellow ginger lamp, antique globe, and art supplies. Leaning against the wall is our art work display- a large frame that has been re-purposed by simply adding some wire and clothes pins.
To the right of the display shelf I used that narrow strip of wall for some picture ledges to display children’s books. This is still one of my favorite tricks for children’s spaces- not only are the books beautiful and artwork in themselves, but children are more likely to read them if they can see the eye-catching covers.
In the corners by the window, I squeezed in a cute little chair for grown ups to comfortably sit, as well as a table and chairs for the girls to get crafty at. Above the table I hung a couple of Ikea spice racks to store extra craft items.
Some pompom trimmed sheer curtains were hung to frame the window, with more artwork draped across, and the room was complete!
I realize “cozy nook” is an understatement, but I can tell you that when Penny and Lucy saw this room, they didn’t care for one second about the lost square footage. I loved that they could play right near the living and dining area (I mean really, it was near the kitchen and bedrooms too- have I mentioned how small this place was?) and we could go about our adult business while still keeping an eye on them. Most people probably looked at this bonus space and saw “walk in closet” or “office,” but as a playroom it suited our needs just fine. And if you think this was getting creative, just wait until you see what we did to make a play space for the girls in our current place! It definitely required some out of the box thinking, but I always say I love a (design) challenge.
Click on over to see the girls’ old playroom, and if you are curious for a tour of the rest of our Queen Street home, here is the living room, girls’ bedroom, and entryway. I’m planning on sharing a tour of our current home very soon, so stay tuned!
Photographs by Amanda Seifert Photography