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ideas for setting up the ultimate play room

12 Fail-Proof Steps to Playroom Perfection

Remember when I teamed up with Jen of the infamous I Heart Organizing for that fabulous FLOR giveaway? And how she used her rug to complete her equally fabulous playroom?  Well… I begged, pleaded and cajoled until finally she agreed to come back and spill all her organizational secrets with us today as part of Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life.  Enjoy!

Our playroom is one of our favorite rooms in the house, because it is by far the most used and loved room. It has been set up and designed for all members of the family to enjoy, and it is the one room where we were able to go bold with color and pattern.

The kids primarily use the room to play, but it is also used for reading, watching movies, playing some Wii, doing puzzles, drawing and crafting, cuddling and playing games. That is a lot of activities for one room to manage. Here are some of the key components I was sure to consider when creating a successful multi-functional play space.

  1. A place to play! What I love most about our playroom, is that we were able to give ourselves loads of floor space for block building and train track designing. The play table is easy enough for the two younger boys to move, and they are left with a large area to do what they do best!
  1. Labels galore! The playroom gets messy, and fast! And I am OK with that; it is what the room is intended for after all. But I do expect my kids to be responsible for helping {or completely owning} pickup time. Since my youngest is still learning to read, picture labels on all of the baskets ensure he is able to quickly match up toys to their proper homes.

When picture labels aren’t an option, think about other ways your child can relate the toy to the bin. For our Legos, we used colored paper for the words, which again, makes it easy for quick identification.

  1. A place to be creative! I believe that a playroom should inspire and it is also where kids feel the most inspired and creative. So, I encourage them to also use it as a place to grab some crayons and markers, a notepad and craft. {If your kiddos are younger I encourage the crafts to be stored up higher or behind locking doors.}

The play table in the playroom is actually an old coffee table that was given new life with some spray painted legs and a top that was coated in chalkboard paint. The kids use the table to create chalk roads for their cars and cities for their Lego builds. They also use the table for writing and playing games.

  1. Display it! Not only do I try and encourage the kids to be creative in their play space, but I also love to display creative art created by them, photos of positive life moments and inspiring quotes that have special meaning to our family.

  1. A place to read. Although we do allow the kids to watch a little TV or play a quickie game on the Wii, we really encourage reading in our home first and foremost. We have spots to read in our living room and in each of the kid’s bedrooms, but I also wanted to ensure that they had a cozy nook to curl up with a good book within their happy playroom as well.

  1. A cozy place to sit! Instead of investing in one single couch for the playroom, I wanted to invest in seating that made more sense for the space. The benches are just two IKEA Expedit shelves with cushion toppers, however they are slim enough for lots of little bottoms {playdate anyone?}, while also allowing for the room to function for playing {since they are huge space savers!}. We also invested in a few small chairs and floor poofs, which are mobile and cozy. This allows the kids to pull up seating wherever they are playing or reading or crafting. They love being on the floor, so the floor cushions are really great options for us and the space.

  1. Versatile storage.Toys come in so many shapes and sizes. We use the baskets within the benches for majority of the toys {potato heads, matchbox cars, Duplo blocks and train tracks}, but for the larger toys and games, the painted Craigslist find of an entertainment center, really packed a lot of storage punch!
  1. A few more simple tips:
    • Good flooring is something that should always be considered for a playroom. We went through a few different options before discovering the perfect solution. Some rugs were too rough, some were too thin and not easy to clean, we finally settled on FLOR carpet tiles since they are not only soft, but a single tile can be removed to clean or be replaced, without purchasing an entirely new rug. It is just important to consider something soft, durable, stain resistant and low pile so that it doesn’t eat the Legos and other itty bitty toy pieces.
    • Puzzles work great stored in Ziploc bags. They are a huge space saver over all of the stacks of cardboard boxes.

  • Indoor/Outdoor fabrics are fabulous! I used them for the DIY bins I created and for the bench cushions. They are designed to repel fluids and stains making them the perfect durable option for playroom upholstery projects.
  • Limit the number of toys in the space. It may look like we have an endless supply of toys, and I will admit, our kids are fortunate. However, we have donated and purged many toys that have been gifted to the kids, to keep things as simple as possible. Most of the toys they do have belong to larger sets or can easily be categorized within an existing set. Letting friends and family members know the types of toys the kids already have and love, allow them to grow those specific collections vs. creating endless new ones. This ensures that we don’t have to continue to invest in expanding our current storage and doesn’t allow the boys to become overwhelmed with too many options.
  • Have fun! Play with colors and patterns that you might not normally use, playrooms are the one space in the home that you can get away with just about anything. Although I created the space for our youngsters, I find myself wanting to spend just as much time in it as they do, since it just creates a warm and joyful feeling.

What other key components make up a successful play space in your home?

This post is part of MPMK’s “Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life”. You can read all about it here, check out all of our projects here, and join thousands of POYEL facebook group members here.


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sangeetha October 9, 2012 at 7:45 am

These are such terrific ideas! And your playroom looks wonderful! I would love to see a break up of all the things you have and where you purchased them.


Danya Banya October 9, 2012 at 8:02 am

Have just fallen in love… with a playroom! So impressed!


Kim October 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Great room, my IKEA shopping list is super long :)


Kim October 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Same as the first comment, I would love to know where you purchased your containers to go in the IKEA shelves b/c I dont remember seeing those there and also where you found the cushions for on top? We have two of the 4X2 for our playroom now and love them but wish I had gotten 4X1. We rotate toys also and I find that the 4X2 tend to allow to much out at one time.


mpmk October 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Hi Ladies,

Jen does a great job of laying out where she scouts all of her stuff on her blog. Go to the link below for specific info. on the baskets. Otherwise just enter “playroom” into her search bar.




Hannah @ Making Boys Men October 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

I’d seen posts about this playroom before at I heart organising, I’d always just thought it looked nice, but this has really opened my eyes as to just how practical it is and how it all fits together. We should be moving home soon so this has given me some real inspiration. Thanks!


Heart and Haven October 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I’m currently working on a new playroom for my kiddos – lots of inspiration from iheartorganizing! Based on your 12 step checklist, looks like my plan is good to go! :-) The only other thing I’ve added (since my kids are younger – ages 5, 4, and 6 months), is to incorporate some “educational” elements that are also decorative, ie. vinyl alphabet letters, etc.


Daysinwtkids January 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Hi, thanks for sharing your playroom. I’m ready to label ours tomorrow!! I was wondering where you got the small wooden bookcases from that are on the wall next to the tv? These would be perfect for our small nursery.


jen January 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Where did you get that birch tree mural? I absolutely LOVE it.


Carla Parker January 31, 2013 at 8:00 am

Can you tell me where you got your birchtree trees? I am wondering if you painted the wall blue then placed the trees on top. I love the look. We have a huge playroom which is wonderful but seems like just a huge empty space. Any ideas for a big playroom?


Full Report March 27, 2013 at 12:24 am

Great blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get feed-back from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!


Rachelle May 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I am planning n doing this as well, but I was just curious what the dimensions of your playroom are. Thanks for sharing this beautiful, practical space!


Erika@ Interior Design New York July 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm

The benches with cabinets or drawers are one of the easiest ways to clean up toys off the floor in a hurry. Cubed seats which are also storage boxes are great, toy designers are increasingly adding functionality to toys so that they can be easily stored or collapsed. If there are going to be more than 2-3 kids it’s helpful to consider options that won’t leave kids feeling left out, i.e. a table with only two chairs etc.


Lindsay October 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

Which FLOR rug did you get? Is it soft?


Meg October 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Hey! where did you find the cushions for on top of the Ikea Expedit bookcases? Great Idea!


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