Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Who else believes that the key to a happy and user friendly playroom is storage? If you can, I advise getting everything off the floor to increase play space, but in small spaces this isn't always possible. However, if you are able to design some shelves or cupboards to go on the walls, then you can hide the toys away and or display them in an attractive, child friendly way as seen below.
This playroom is essentially a walk way between the kitchen and the hallway. I enjoy being able to keep an eye on the children while I am cooking or pottering in the kitchen. The previous tenants had older children, so they used it as a reading nook and it also housed excess kitchen storage which can be seen in the photos below.
When it came to re-designing the space, I originally thought we would keep the red band below the Dado Rail, but it made the small space feel very dark and as I knew it had to be a space we wanted to use all the time, all year round it had to be as light as possible. After deliberating between Oxford Stone, Shadow White and Slipper Satin, from Farrow and Ball - Slipper Satin won in the end.
The walls were painted and ready for us to move in. Luckily the room came together quite quickly and for the first year we simply used the storage that was there (the bookshelves and the cupboard, although we replaced the glass shelves with mdf ones) and then placed storage baskets below the fitted shelving, leaving the floor space clear and plenty of room to play.
However, after the onslaught of very generous gifts the children were given for their birthdays and Christmas, as well as general 'stuff' we had acquired through the year, storage was becoming more of a premium, and the shelves filing up fast. So, we called our friendly handyman and he built another shelf!
We drilled a whole in the corner of each shelf so that we could add lighting to the shelves and all the leads could then tidily connect to the power socket below. I then decided I didn't want the shelves to be white, and wanted them to become a feature, adding another layer to the room. The walls were fairly neutral and as it is a playroom, I knew I wanted the colour to be bold and bright to reflect the Alphabet gallery wall created by Paul Thurby (see below) which was to live opposite the new shelving.
So, I first pulled out some Farrow and Ball tester pots and got busy painting using Dix Blue, Babouche and Eating Room Red directly on to the bare MDF shelf. I looked at the colours in both daylight and at night and felt they weren't strong enough to hold their own (apart from the Babouche), so the next day I hopped down to our new local paint store, Craig and Rose Paints and thought I'd see what else was on offer.
I purchased three tester pots, Hot Pop Yellow, Grand Turquoise, Medici Crimson and Flanders Blue. This time I stole my daughters colouring pad and painted 1 colour on each A4 sheet.
Babouche - Medici Crimson - Flanders Blue & Grand Turquoise - Hot Pop Yellow (L-R)
As you can see the Hot Pop Yellow was quite orange and the Flanders Blue quite navy, and the red, fun but quite angry, so the two I narrowed it down to were Farrow & Ball Babouche, and Craig & Rose, Grand Turquoise.
So it was now time to do more painting on paper, let it dry, and then use that paper to wallpaper the shelves and style them with toys to see how the colours work together.
First up was Grand Turquoise
Next Was Babouche
As you may know yellow is my favourite colour and I was pretty certain that was going to be the winner, however you may see from these pictures that the yellow tones in the toys, made the yellow shelf look rather flat, whereas each toy jumps out at you from the turquoise shelf and it doesn't loose its wow factor, which was why it became the winner in the end. Along with some friendly advice after an instagram poll I did too :)
So the hard work continued and next on the list was masking, priming, painting and styling! I used a small roller and paint tray (and old set from the £1 shop), an old paint brush for the more difficult corners etc, regular masking tape (although Frog tape is meant to be the best) 2.5 litres of Leyland Trade Acrylic Primer Undercoat and 750 ml litre of Craig & Rose Kitchen and Bathroom paint. All are waterbased, so no need for any white spirit to wash the brush or rollers out.
It took one day to prepare, prime and paint it and I then let it dry overnight before I added anything to the shelves the next day.
Styling - where to start?
Without giving too much away, I always start with a centre point - in this case it was the globe. I then balance the books on either side, which also helps to prevent bowing in wooden shelving. I then begin to add the objects one by one, layering them up, placing various heights next to each other, moving things from one side to the next creating different focal points and balances. Of course these shelves don't remain like this for long and the children can help themselves to the toys, but I do try to keep it as in check as best I can!
Next I will add details of the shelving we added in the other corner, so check back soon for the 2nd instalment from postprentisdesign!