Our playroom reveal: DIY kids desk ideas + more

August 10, 2021

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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.

modern colorful playroom

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:

modern colorful 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?

Our 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!

grown up playroom den makeover

Our colorful 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:

colorful grown up playroom makeover reveal

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

colorful grown up playroom makeover reveal 2

Colorful playroom decorating: What we changed in this 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 + toy storage

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:

DIY built ins 1

And here’s some progress:

DIY built ins 2

And more progress!

DIY built ins 3

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 grass cloth 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.

colorful playroom den makeover 1

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

This is my son’s side:

colorful grown up playroom makeover reveal 3

And here is my daughter’s desk:

colorful grown up playroom makeover reveal 4 diy desk

Creative toy organization ideas for small spaces

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:

LEGO storage ideas

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.

stylish toy storage ideas

More “after” photos of our colorful playroom makeover

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

colorful grown up playroom makeover

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.

diy dog crate

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

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!

back to school 2021 blog hop

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

About Kate

Hey! I’m Kate — I love decorating with color and pattern. I also love finding decorating “easy” buttons: quick DIYs, simple organization hacks and amazing steals at Target.

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