Fun and Fabulous Toddler Playroom Makeover
This toddler playroom makeover will inspire you to transform a basic boring toy room into a beautiful extension of your home that you won’t be embarrassed to see even when all the toys are scattered. Read on to learn the best toddler playroom organization and DIY decor ideas
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for more details.
I’d like to think I’m the opposite of a hoarder. In fact, I’m pretty much an anti-hoarder and compulsive declutterer (is that even a word? If not, I just made it one). It drives my husband absolutely insane because I tend to get rid of things that he thinks are still useful and might need in about a decade from now. Hey, if it hasn’t been touched in a year, it’s gotta go.
This habit shows up the most in how I declutter our kids’ toys. If you read my recent blog post on How to Have a Tidy Home with Kids, then you’ll know that I’m a full believer in the philosophy of “less is more”. My children tend to appreciate and play more often with a smaller group of toys. But don’t get me wrong, we’ve still accumulated quite a few toys along the years, enough to fill their own room in fact.
The question that always weighed on my mind though was “How can I blend all of these toys into a playroom so that it feels like part of my home and not a giant eyesore, or worse a mini toy store?”
The Challenge to creating a separate play room
Our home is very traditional. It even has one of those formal sitting rooms in the front of the house when you first walk in. It’s that room you see in a lot of traditional older homes with the typical setup of a couch, some chairs, and maybe even a piano. This room is open to the rest of the house, and it’s also the room that typically never gets used and is mostly for show.
Which is a total waste of space in my opinion, but the perfect option to house all of the toys for a playroom.
The only problem? It’s one of the first rooms you see when walking into our home and it’s visible from the rest of the house because it has absolutely no doors. I wrestled with this issue for quite a while, and even considered trying to build a massive sliding barn door to close off this space when it becomes trashed by the kids.
None of these options would have looked quite right though because of the architecture of the house and how the staircase is built right onto that room. So I decided to stop fighting it and just embrace the room I had to work with. Which happened to be a great open space big enough to hold all my tiny human’s toys.
starting with Small Changes
It probably took me a good 6 months to even get around to touching this room after we moved in. I didn’t make any big sweeping changes other than painting over the green walls to a much brighter gray. I used the same “mindful gray” paint color as the dining room which happened to be directly across from the playroom so it felt cohesive with the rest of the house just by making that small change.
It pretty much sat untouched until the New Year when I really decided to tackle the makeover. And I’m JUST now finishing it. Shows you how much of a perfectionist procrastinator I am (Yes, that’s a thing).
Now, I really did try to work on it, I promise. About every few weeks I’d go in and totally rearrange the storage cubbies moving them from wall to wall. At one point I even tried to set up play “stations” for pretend play, but it just felt too busy in the room.
The kids would flip out, their eyes lighting up like it was Christmas morning with new toys, every time I moved something around. They would spend hours mesmerized by the same old toys they’ve always had. Seriously, just because I rearranged the room. Kids can be so weird, but hey, it kept them occupied.
I never really nailed down a design for this room until I got into full organizational mode after a trip to Ikea for some more storage solutions.
Organization Overhaul for a Toddler playroom
Knowing I wanted this room to blend in with the rest of the house I stuck with neutral options while bringing some fun design elements into the space.
I loved these taupe polka dot storage bins from Ikea for all of the smaller odd and ends toys. They’re extremely sturdy and hold about twice as much as the old fabric bins I was using. Plus, they were gender neutral with a little bit of flair.
I ended up dividing our main playroom wall into two sections. One for my daughter’s small toys and the other for my son’s. Let’s be real though, they still end up fighting over each other’s my little ponies and super heroes, because, well, toddlers. But, it does help with keeping things organized for them since they know where each of their toys belong.
To divide up the main wall and add some height to the room, I added in a vertical section of storage cubbies, but incorporated some seagrass bins. These storage bins were a great option for some of the heavier toys and are extremely sturdy. I love how the different material breaks up the wall to add in some natural texture while still keeping with the neutral feel of our home.
Functional playroom Storage
When it comes to playrooms you really have to get creative with storage options. The last thing you want is for the room to be so perfect with everything out of sight that it feels uninviting. You want your children to be able to access the things they use the most while still being able to control the chaos of toy clutter.
SPOILER – There will always be clutter. But, you can make it whole lot easier on yourself when it comes time to clean up for company.
Keeping these storage cubbies a low height meant that my kids can grab some of their larger items off it without climbing or yelling “Mommy I can’t reach it!” Followed by tears, and lots of whining.
Our playroom inherited this storage bin from our last house and it works great to conceal the large bulky toys I always find myself tripping over. It also doubles as a cozy reading nook too with the addition of some cute throw pillows.
My kids love to color and we’ve accumulated a ridiculous amount of coloring books in a short period of time. I came across this rustic ladder wall shelf to store them in and I love how the kids are able to grab them on their own.
We do however, keep the crayons waaaaay outta reach on the top of the storage cubbies. I totally don’t trust my 2 year-old daughter. A minute alone with a crayon and she’s either trying to eat it or practicing her mural skills on my living room wall. She’s lucky she’s cute.
I had the most difficult time blending the large pretend play items into this room to make it feel like they really belonged. Our old brightly colored play kitchen and grocery store stuck out like a sore thumb in the neutral space.
So I may have sold our old play kitchen just to purchase this more realistic white one to match the theme of the room.
I’ll admit, it was totally for looks. The kids didn’t seem to mind though. They can store more things in the new kitchen, plus it came with a cool ice dispenser. They love anything that mimics what the grown-ups use.
The white kitchen also led me to spray paint this second-hand grocery store I picked up. It’s amazing what a can of spray paint can transform. I think it turned out great and so far it’s held up without any chipping.
I could have really tried to make this room picture perfect, but I had to stop somewhere. As much as I would have loved to have given my daughter the pottery barn play nursery of her dreams I just had to be real. These are toys and not everything has to be perfect, so for now she can have the pink plastic hand me down doll accessories. I seriously doubt she would now the difference.
We were fortunate enough to be gifted a train table that fit right into the theme of this room. It doubles as a dance floor for my daughter.
Decorating our toddler Playroom
In keeping with the minimalist theme of the rest of our home, I focused on adding decorations to the room that really reflected the kids’ personalities and our style. My absolute favorite items in this space are the poster sized black and white prints of my son and daughter.
I love how classic and neutral the black and white photos look in this space. The kids absolutely love seeing their photos blown up and point to them all the time.
Whether it’s real or faux, I love to incorporate some type of florals or greenery into every space. Since my daughter likes to pick every petal off any flower she gets her hands on, I thought I’d spare a poor plant’s life and opted for a faux boxwood planter and some adorable potted flowers from Ikea.
I wanted to get the kids involved to create something for the walls and I eventually settled on these DIY watercolor prints in a set of white floating frames. Check out my tutorial for the full details. But this project was a total winner and added a pop of color to the neutral walls.
We finished off this room by using my window cornice tutorial to create a set of upholstered cornices in this beautiful striped farmhouse fabric. The neutral pattern went perfectly with the polka dot storage bins and rustic wood tones.
Lighting it Up
By far the most creative project in this space was our set of faux hardwired wall sconces for lighting. This room had been tripping me up for over a year when it came to lighting. Simply because it had none. Literally no ceiling light fixture in this room whatsoever.
I finally came up with the idea to install accent lighting sconces above the kids’ photos to brighten up the room. It turned out beautifully and you can get the full tutorial here to create your own look without an electrician.
If you want to know about any of the sources for this project you can find them all here:
- Knipsa basket
- Ikea DRONA storage bin
- Kallax storage cubes
- Ikea Fejka faux pink florals
- Ikea Ribba poster frames
- Rustic wall magazine rack (similar)
- Play Kitchen
- Vintage Wall Sconces
Pin this project for later
Apparently this is the month of projects for the kids because we’ve also just wrapped up this amazing swing set transformation and you are going to want to see this one. JoAnna Gaines herself would be proud.
Thank you so much for reading friends. As always I hope this post gives you the inspiration to recreate your own spaces so that you can Love the Home you Have. Please give this post a share on Pinterest below!
Hi there, in the process of updating my sons playroom. Is the horizontal toy storage on each side the same at the vertical one? Looking to do a similar layout. Thank you!
Hi Angie! All of the storage is from ikea, just different units.
Hey Martina! This was soo helpful. I’m just now in the beginning stages of transforming our sunroom into a playroom for our two kiddos (19 months & 5 months). Where did you find the storage shelving? I also love the sea grass baskets! You have a great eye!
Catherine S. (SC)
Thanks so much Catherine! All of the storage and baskets were from Ikea! I think I linked them at the end of the post 🙂
I love your aesthetic. And I love your paint color! Great job on making a playroom look like an awesome space for us adults as well. I will definitely be poking around on your blog for more great ideas for my home.
Thank you so much Shanda I’m glad you like it! The paint color is Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams and pretty versatile.