Disclaimer: please don’t expect to see any Pinterest-worthy playrooms here. This is real life, with real kids, real messes, real moms with real budgets who have real expectations. As with anything, Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration but not always practical in your own home.
A friend of ours came to me (Sara here!) for some ideas with a playroom in their newly purchased house. This is a family of three young girls, 2 big dogs, and all the crazy that goes along with that. She knew what she wanted – a space for the girls that could transition with them over the years. Her most important priority was adding desks for the girls to draw and create at and would transition easily to a homework space when they’re older. This kind of stuff is right up my alley – anyone else just study Ikea furniture configurations for fun? No? Oh, me either.
Keeping budget in mind, especially with all the expenses that come along with moving into a new home, I knew Ikea would be where we’d want to start. I asked her to give me some ideas of what she was looking for (even though she was quite willing to just hand over her credit card and let me do what I wanted). Her wish list included:
- two desks or long table against the wall
- neutral colors with a pop of pink on the chairs
- shelving or drawers for art supplies
- shelves for above the desks
- something to hang or display kids’ artwork
We came up with the inspiration from Crazy Wonderful – she loved how this looked overall and knew we could tweak things along the way.
After seeing her inspiration photo, I knew it would be easy to recreate something like this in her space. And fortunately, from my Ikea catalog scouring in the past, I knew the exact pieces of furniture we’d need to come up with this. I sent her a few different options using various furniture combinations from Ikea and narrowed it down. We left the kids with the dads, took a truck, and made the 1.5 hour trip to the nearest Ikea. (Side note: Ikea has a daycare?? Awesome for future trips!)
In true Sara fashion, I also decided that morning that our own playroom could use a refresh. My kids had outgrown their child-size table and chairs and we were trying to figure out what to do next. I realized we had a similar-enough layout in our playroom as the one we’d be shopping for, so I decided to do the exact same thing.
Here was our shopping list:
- Linnmon table top (78 3/4″ length) in white – $47.99
- Alex drawer unit (for center support) – $89.99
- I had planned to purchase the Helmer drawer unit since it was the same height and much cheaper, but was unhappy with how cheap it felt in real life and decided to splurge a bit on the Alex since I was saving money on chairs (below)
- Adils table legs x 4 in white – $4.00 each
- I already owned the Olov adjustable height table legs from my previous table and kept these, especially since they were pricey
- Dignitet curtain wire – $14.99 and Riktig curtain hooks – $4.99 for 24 for displaying and hanging artwork
- Teodores chair – $25.00
- Once seeing this chair in person, it was actually much bigger and bulkier and less comfortable than I had thought. I decided to choose the cheaper option of the Adde chair for $12.50 each! Even though it wasn’t my favorite in looks, it was more comfortable and I was already over budget so a cheap chair would do for a kids’ playroom
- We found these blush pink chairs from Article that our friend ended up purchasing for her playroom to add a pop of color
- Another good option for kids’ seating is the Bekvam stools, shown in the inspiration photo above. At $19.99, these stools are super sturdy and nice to have around for extra seating so I picked one up too
- Mala Easel – $19.99 (the wood frame is easy to paint for some extra color if she’d choose to down the road)
We were able to pick up all of these things, plus some extras for the playroom like colorful bins and buckets and art supplies. We had intended to get a long shelf to put above the hanging art display wire, but weren’t happy with the sizes that Ikea offered in their Lack floating shelves. While we were there, she was able to look at a few of the other options for storage and may make another trip back once she’s a bit more settled. Some low storage units for the window walls will be the next step in this room. The Trofast system and Kallax shelving are both easily configurable to what you want and helps corral the smaller toys well.
Ikea is also a great place to shop for affordable kids’ rugs and bedding…and well, anything really! Here’s a few of the other things we ended up buying that weren’t on the shopping list:
- Pillow covers – such a good selection this year!
- Pillow inserts – $6.00 for feather pillow inserts? Yup.
- Blavinda Duvet Cover – the sizes we needed were out of stock, but all three of us will be buying this online! So soft and the double-sides give you two duvets for the price of one.
- Various gift wrap, twine, and whatever holiday decor we could grab. The Vinter 2019 stuff was already pretty picked over.
I got home that night and assembled my furniture, with the “help” of my two kids. The kids’ new space has SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES now! (Step Brothers movie reference, anyone?)
Not from Ikea, but one of my favorite pieces in the playroom, this bookshelf handmade by my father-in-law that was gifted to us the year we moved in. He used the plans here from Ana White for the Modern Kids Bookrack and I love how it turned out!
And because I gave the disclaimer at the beginning of this post that we are always going to keep it real… here’s what the other half of the playroom looks like with my hoarder daughter’s dollhouse collection, cardboard sketches and their two “fort” boxes. Feel free to save to Pinterest 🙂
Would I rather have a beautifully designed and decorated playroom straight out of the catalog from Pottery Barn Kids or Crate and Kids? Yes! Do I also know that my kids are perfectly content playing in a cardboard box and would rather use the money to take a vacation or do some other kind of adventure? Yes!