Every other year, my husband and I seem to find an impetus to change things up around the house. This year, that impetus came courtesy of the kids, who decided that they rather liked sharing a bedroom during our vacation in Calgary, and wanted to make it a permanent (for now) arrangement. As an only child and an introvert, the idea was odd to me, but they were excited about it, and so eventually we came around too. (It helps that the kids seem to sleep better, and actually longer, when they’re together. Odd but great.) After thinking about the logistics for a bit, we decided that it made the most sense to have them bunk together in the smaller of the two bedrooms (formerly my daughter’s nursery) and turn the larger bedroom into a playroom. In this way, the available space would be most optimized.

We didn’t want to invest a lot of money (or time) into this project, mostly because we weren’t sure (and still aren’t) whether this is a fleeting whim on the part of the kids, or something they’ll want to stick with for a few of years. (I’m thinking that by the time they’re 6 and 8, if not before, they’ll want their own bedrooms again. My kids currently share a lot of the same interests — Ninja Turtles, Legos, Peppa Pig, Robert Munsch books, to name a few — but that will probably change in time.) We ended up getting only a few pieces from IKEA, mostly for storage, and re-purposed the furniture we already had in my son’s bedroom (and elsewhere, because we are hoarders, apparently). If you’re interested in the “before”, you can see pictures of the bedroom in its previous incarnation here.

new playroom
new playroom

Our main objective in “designing” the playroom was to create a space for all of their hobbies — arts & crafts, reading, construction, etc. We bought a bigger table and chairs (from the IKEA Mammut line) so they could work side by side. This was the biggest investment, though still relatively inexpensive. We were in a rush to get this finished quickly before we went back to work, but if you’re looking for something similar and have time, I would recommend checking out Kijiji — there’s always someone selling one of these sets.

all the storage
all the storage

You will recognize the smaller storage unit from the previous layout; the bigger one originally came from my husband’s college-era apartment. It’s been sitting in out basement for YEARS, and is now perfectly useful once again. I won’t lie: I feel this vindicates my hoarding tendencies. Also, these Expedit units are basically indestructible it seems. They also make great storage/book/display cases.

We also re-purposed my son’s old table, which fortuitously fit perfectly in the gap between the two bookcases. I’m calling it the “homework desk”, although who are we kidding: it’s probably going to be anything but.


All in all, this playroom came together with minimal effort and only two trips to IKEA (one of them blessedly child-free). The kids love it, and I love that it’s fairly easy to keep tidy, notwithstanding the enormous amount of toys it contains (hidden from view for the most part, thankfully).

The best part of this whole endeavour? I get my library back!

Disneyland got nothing on this: the happiest place on earth
Disneyland got nothing on this: the happiest place on earth

12 Comments on Home Decor: C-c-c-c-changes

    • Thank you! I am so thrilled to start reclaiming it … although my daughter pointed out today that it’s still the “family room” rather than “mommy’s room” (she pointed me towards my bedroom in case I was confused, hah!)

  1. I want that library! It’s gorgeous. I need a few more bookshelves but we’re in a holding pattern until we get married and combine stuff (and hopefully find jobs in the same city!).

    By the way, on that note, is there anything you’d recommend for a registry that you’ve found surprisingly useful/awesome/pretty/worth investing in when setting up and decorating a home?

    • Honestly, I’m the worst person to ask about useful household things because I rarely think about stuff like that. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head where I can say “yes, THIS was an awesome thing we got for our wedding that I can’t live without!” For example, we didn’t register for dinnerware or a stand-up mixer or any of those traditional things because (a) we had old IKEA plates that were good enough for us (we don’t throw a lot of fancy dinner parties) and (b) I’m not much of a cook/baker. A nice set of knives was pretty much the only “fancy” thing on our registry. (Our registry was small because most of our guests gave us cash, which is traditional in our cultures.)

      I will point to two things I *wish* I’d had the foresight to add to the registry, because I badly need them now: a good vacuum (I would love a Dyson) and a good steamer (Jiffy). We’ll end up buying them ourselves at some point, but it would have been nice to have them already.

      In terms of decorating, the only thing you need is … money. LOL! And patience. A handy spouse also helps a lot — my husband actually built the library. He is a big fan of “IKEA hacks” — taking basic IKEA pieces and customizing them to make them look, well, custom. It’s a great way to save money on renos and home decor. More generally, when it comes to decor, a mix of IKEA/Target/HomeSense pieces and one-of-a-kind vintage or antique (or thrifted) pieces also looks more unique and fancy than just buying everything at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. Just my 2 cents 😉

      • And here I thought there was some secret list of household goods I was missing out on! The vacuum and steamer are good ideas, though. Thanks.

        I think I’m drawing a bit of a blank on the process because we’re both in our thirties and have been together for three years. The stuff that matters to us we’ve gradually upgraded (mostly baking gear for me) and the stuff that we haven’t mostly doesn’t matter that much to us.

        IKEA hacks are great. If I could do one thing to upgrade my living space, I would refinish our furniture, which is solid but second-hand and so looking a little, um, “shabby chic.” And maybe buy a few teal velvet Chesterfield armchairs that are wholly impractical with a dog. :/

        • I have a teal (microfiber) sofa in my living room, so I’m partial to that last idea. I will say this: that microfiber has stood up to two kids (and their clumsy mom) for almost 2 years and still looks amazing. Chocolate milk, diet Coke, snot, markers, and pretty much everything else under the sun has come off without a trace. I think it was pre-treated to make it bullet-proof, but you can also buy some kind of protective spray. I can’t speak for dog-related challenges, though …

          • Thanks. I’ll have to look into micrisuede. Love my dog like crazy but she sure puts a crimp in my favorite decorating schema from my single days (cream, dark wood, and loads of jewel tones accents).

  2. Elodie keeps asking if she can have bunk beds so that she and Felix can share a room. He’s only just turned 2 so I feel he is a little young yet. I’m sure I read somewhere that 7 is the age when opposite gendered children should stop sharing a room? That might be complete bunkum of course but it stuck with me as Elodie is 5 in a few weeks time so if we did it, it would be a 2 year thing. And I don’t have a fancy pants library as an incentive 😉

    • Hahaha! Two years is enough motivation for me. I’m hoping that by the time they’re 7 and 5 (or later, still hoping), they will have less plastic crap in their lives (or at least an amount that can be contained in their respective rooms) so that I don’t have to surrender my library ever again.

      Actually, my husband has already been making plans to install Luka in the basement “suite” when he’s a teenager, which will free up another room upstairs — for a dressing room for moi, haha! But I have a feeling that Tea will have something to say about that. I can totally see her bamboozle her older brother into giving her the basement — or bamboozle me into sharing my dressing room (and closet) with her.