At the end of last year I gave our playroom a much needed re-fresh, but never got around to posting about it…..now I’m glad I didn’t because if there’s anytime to commiserate over a messy playroom it’s definitely right now!
I first tackled this room years ago when we moved the two boys into one shared bedroom and turned my oldest son’s room into a play space. Over time the layout of the room has held up really great, but as they’ve gotten older it’s become painfully obvious that we needed to deal with one giant problem — their LEGOs!! Now, I actually love LEGOs – I used to build them non-stop when I was younger so I am thrilled to have two sons who also share that love….but we were definitely not equipped to handle our ever-growing LEGO hoard.
Ah yes — behold the mess that this room had become. No matter how many times I thoroughly cleaned this room up it was regularly ending up in this state, which to me is a clear sign to me that the functionally of the room was no longer working. But before I changed anything I took a good look at how the boys were playing in this space and what they actually needed to make it work better for them.
The first thing I noticed was that my younger son had made himself a make-shift LEGO building desk out of a teeny tiny bookcase so to help him out I added another craft table to the center of the room to give them both plenty of space to work. I found this huge faux sugar mold at HomeGoods to hold their markers and (hopefully) act as a barrier between future squabbles.
Next I turned my attention to the dreaded LEGO problem. I knew there were two main things we needed 1) storage for all the random pieces and 2) display areas for all of their finished builds. To deal with the storage problem I decided to design and build a custom cabinet to go under the existing floating shelves (the color is Sacred Sage by Fusion Mineral). I then lost my mind and decided to color coordinate all of the LEGOs into their own containers — it was a big job but now if the boys need are building and missing a piece it’s relatively easy to hunt it down.
The top of the cabinet and the floating shelves have turned into storage for the larger (aka expensive) builds that I don’t want damaged, but I was still needing space for the smaller sets. I was never really happy with the way the “art” wall came together so I mixed things around enough to add two long ledges that the boys can easily access if they want to get something down (I made mine but these are similar). While I was at it, I cut the clothes-pin art display in half to fit the space better, and I built some DIY frames out of scrap MDF to display the larger artwork that they bring home from school.
The rest of the room was still feeling a little too visually chaotic and I battled that in a few ways. First, I finally got matching storage bins for the built ins and used the old ones to wrangle all of the paper mess that my kids accumulate.
Next, I swapped out some of the more youthful decor pieces for some cool comic book art from Timothy Andersen Design. I actually also added another small shelf between the two for maximum LEGO storage.
Finally, I cleaned up the climbing wall a little and turned our collection of Rock Band instruments into decor with these super inexpensive Guitar Holders. My favorite addition to the room is the custom Growth Chart that my sweet friend Amanda at Little Tall Rulers made for me. She hand-burns these so each one is completely custom and such a personal keepsake.
So before you ask — no the playroom doesn’t look this clean every day especially now that it’s seeing a lot more use. I really do try to give the boys room to play in there during the week without having to worry about keeping it spotless (although I do get on their case if I see actual trash or food wrappers piling up on the floor). But on Sunday nights we all work together to clean things up — the boys know where everything goes, it only takes about 15 minutes, and I don’t have to lose my mind come Monday morning! It’s a win-win-win for all of us. And if you’re dealing with your own LEGO crisis check out some of my favorite stylish but functional ideas below…………..
IKEA is always a great place to check for creative storage solutions because they can easily be modified to fit what you need. I love the sleek look of the ALEXA system, especially when they’re stacked to form a larger unit like the one above.
The IKEA TROFAST is a great system that you can find in hundreds of Pinterest playrooms, but I love how I Heart Organizing combined it with some IKEA cabinets to create her own hidden LEGO system. I also think you could accomplish something similar with a cute set of metal lockers and some stacked storage bins.
If I had a longer wall to work with I totally would have copied this idea from Bigger than the Three of Us. I love how these stacked wooden containers from The Home Depot have space at the top to display LEGO creations in a super stylish way.