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Our Playroom Reveal: DIY Kids Desk Ideas + More

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This post has been a long time in the making … but I’m finally ready to share with you our brand new playroom, complete with DIY kids desk ideas, creative toy storage ideas, and so much more.

But first, let’s take a look at where we started in order to really appreciate the evolution of this room.

This is what our playroom looked like several years ago.

Our needs at the time we moved into our home were pretty simple: Paint the walls gray, find a big area rug, and create as many toy “zones” as possible.

We did exactly that, and we even did it on a budget.

A Look Back on the Kids Playroom: Before Pictures

A look at our modern and colorful kids playroom with a cubicle bookshelf packed with storage bins, books, and toys, a blue table and chairs, kids kitchen playset, and more.

Then the kids got a bit older, and we didn’t need all the large plastic toys anymore.

We kept the kids’ table and chairs, along with our cube storage unit.

And with a few simple changes, we landed here:

A white cubicle bookshelf packed with storage bins, books, and toys up against a gray wall, decorated with colorful art prints. A blue kid-sized table and chairs sits on a striped area rug in the kids playroom.

However, now that my children are 9 and 5, the “bonus room” (it was formerly a living room when we bought the home) on our main level needs to serve multiple purposes.

Not only does it need to house kids’ toys, but it also needs to be a spot where the kids have ample space to do crafts or homework, and a place where our entire family can sit together and play a board game or build with LEGOs.

And one more need that’ll inevitably come up in the future: It’s got to be a place where we can watch TV together, or the kids can play video games.

That’s not too much to ask, right?

Updated Playroom Makeover Plans

I mentioned earlier that this project has been in the works for a long time.

In fact, I started this room makeover as part of the Better Homes and Gardens One Room Challenge almost a year ago. 

Here is the initial playroom makeover plan I put together.

Thanks to many stops and starts — plus life getting busy and, of course, COVID times — it’s taken a while to get to a place where I can call the room “done.”

Here’s a teeny peek at what the room looks like now. Oh, and here I am too … hi there!

Kate poses in front of the built-in desk and bookshelf in the updated kids playroom. The built-in bookshelf is decorated with colorful books, fun art prints, and has chairs and workspaces for the kids to work on homework, crafts, or games.

The Updated Kids Playroom: After!

I am so excited to share the new space with you.

This is certainly one instance where moving slowly paid off … because we wound up with a room we love, and we didn’t make any decorating mistakes along the way (and mistakes always happen when I rush projects).

Here’s the view of our playroom from the foyer:

A look at the updated kids playroom through a doorway, looking at the build-in bookshelf and desk against the far wall.

And here’s the view when you first enter the room:

A full look at the new built-in desk and bookshelf setup in the updated kids playroom. We built this DIY desk area and bookshelf to have plenty of storage and workspace for the kids.

Colorful Playroom Decorating: What did we change in the room?

I won’t cover ever single change we made in depth in this post, but instead I’ll give you a high-level look at what we did and why.

Here’s the to-do list we ended up tackling during this playroom makeover:

  • Paint the walls a fun color: We have so much gray paint in our home … and so I knew I wanted something different (and unique!) for this space. We settled on Jadite by Sherwin Williams.
  • Add built-ins with two desks, closed storage, and a spot for a TV (someday!): My husband and I DIY’ed this together. What a project!
  • Buy a kid-friendly, pet-friendly sectional sofa: Our last playroom design was lacking adult seating, so we knew we needed a comfy spot for the whole family to sit.
  • Decide on new toy storage options: It was important to me to keep the kids’ toys accessible, but also keep them out of sight. I used some of these creative toy storage ideas in this project.
  • Build a dog crate that blends well with the space: This was another DIY project by my husband. I love how it turned out! The paint color we used is Coral Crush by General Finishes.
  • Add new (or reuse existing) wall art: Our motto around here is, “No blank walls,” so I knew we needed to add some personality to our walls with new artwork or by using existing pieces.

DIY Kids Desk and Toy Storage Solutions

The built-in shelving was a major undertaking for us, and was by far the lengthiest part of this project.

And when I say “us” I really mean “my husband.”

Sure, I helped with the design and planning, but in terms of making weekly runs to Home Depot and sawing all the wood … that was all him.

Here is the very beginning of the built-in shelving project:

An in-progress photo of the DIY built-in kids desk and bookshelf in the new playroom; this image shows a bare wall with just the frame of the built in desk and storage area.

And here’s some progress:

Progress being made on the DIY kids desk and built-in bookshelves; we've attached the bookshelves to the built-in desk and storage frame.

And more progress!

This DIY built-in desk and bookshelf area is almost complete! Image shows more shelving added to the bookshelves and a cluttered playroom in the process of a makeover.

This is the first major woodworking project we’ve done in our home, and I’m not sure we’re qualified enough (yet!) to give a built-in shelving tutorial.

So while I won’t share step-by-step instructions with you on how to build your own built-in shelving, I’ll talk a bit about what we considered when building these shelves.

  • We needed two desk areas for the kids
  • I wanted a few closed cabinets to house board games, puzzles and LEGO sets
  • We needed some shelving for the kids to display their own art or trinkets
  • We’ll need to add a TV to this room someday, so needed to leave enough room somehow for a TV to work here in the future (we wound up leaving a large space in the middle that’ll someday fit a TV in our desired size)

Once the built-ins were done, I decided to give them a little glow-up by backing them with a roll of A-Street Prints grasscloth wallpaper.

I love the texture it adds to the room, and just love everything overall about this view! And I am so, so proud of my husband for all his incredible work on this.

The completed built-in DIY kids desk and bookshelves. White painted wood desks and shelves filled with colorful books, decor, and art prints.

Here’s a closer look at the desks, too.

This is my son’s side:

One side of the built-in kids desk area shows a clean workstation with organized craft supplies, a blue chair, desk lamp, and some decor on the upper shelves.

And here is my daughter’s desk:

The other side of the DIY kids desk bult-in area; a clean workspace with coloring supplies, a desk lamp, chair, and deocr on the upper shelves.

Creative Toy Organization for Small Spaces (like playrooms and kids desks!)

While we added some cabinets to the built-in shelving so that we could hide games, puzzles, and other toys, I still had more kid stuff that needed a place to live in this room, and so I sought to create different “zones” for various items.

First up: My son’s LEGO collection.

He’s only five years old and so we buy the large Duplo LEGOs, so a storage coffee table wound up being the perfect spot for them:

A large round coffee table doubles as LEGO storage for children's LEGO sets in the kids playroom.

Lastly, we needed a home for things like superhero figurines, Magna-tiles, and other toys that have lots of small pieces.

I wound up ordering this cute Chinoiserie-style lacquered shelf from Amazon, and using our numbered Crate & Kids bins there for additional storage.

These easy-to-build shelves look like they're made with PVC pipes, but is really a sturdy white wood storage shelf  packed with storage bins that are perfect for kids toy storage.

More “After” Photos of the Updated Kids Playroom (colorful kid-friendly decor, art, and more!)

That’s the Cliff’s Notes version of our playroom makeover story!

A look at our updated kids playroom with a navy blue couch, bookshelf, coffee table with storage, and green-painted wall with framed art.

I’ll write a few additional posts that dive deeper into some of the projects we tackled in this room.

I have to say that I’m so thrilled with how it all turned out.

The art print wall in our updated kids playroom is painted a gorgeous hunter green and decorated with colorful framed art prints and a coral colored storage cabinet.

It’s a fun, cozy place that all four of us (or five if you count the dog) absolutely love!

Mom, dad, and two kids kit on the navy blue couch in the updated kids playroom, smiling happily at the camera.

What questions do you have for me about the makeover?

Ask me below!

And as we head back to school, be sure to check out some of my blogger friends who are also sharing homework stations, school supply organization ideas, and so much more!

A collage of images shows different rooms in the home - a bedroom, kids playroom, mudroom, and kids play areas with kid-friendly functional decor.

The Organized Mama :: SKG Designs and Style :: Blue i Style :: Kate Decorates :: Global Mindful Journey

Small Stuff Counts :: Simple Joy with Ann :: The Modern Minimalist :: Practically Perfect :: The Tidy Dad

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