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shopperc 12-18-2011 07:01 PM

Playroom in main living area
Our house has an open floor plan. Our kitchen flows into the living room and the office area. When we moved in a year and a half ago we turned the basement area into a playroom and have basically kept toys out of our main living area. We have two boys (5 1/2 and 5 mos). Our son has never really played in the playroom in the basement because he says he doesn't like to be down there alone, away from us. We know with a baby that we are going to have toys around for quite a while more.

Well, tonight DS posed an interesting question. He asked if we could turn the office area of our main floor into a playroom. He said he would play with his toys more. We always complain to him that he needs to play with his toys more and not focus on being around us constantly.

I have to admit that I am a pretty picky housekeeper and very much into the design and organization of my house. This is why I don't really like too many toys around. But with two active boys, I may need to move on from this. Does anyone out there have a playroom as part of their main living area? Does it look nice? Have you found a way to work it into your decor? I'm willing to try this but want to see some ideas first.

Mr.NJ 12-18-2011 07:03 PM

You could always buy some kid of divider - a folding divider, a shower curtain, anything!

It's for...10 more years :D

Brooke S. 12-18-2011 07:08 PM

Our playroom is in the formal living/dining room right when you walk in the front door. I try to keep it picked up and have nice organizer bins for a lot of the toys. It always looks neat and tidy when we have guests over but it is totally a playroom.

We use the room off of our kitchen as our dining room and living room. The other room is totally a playroom in our house.

I think it would be a good idea. Your kids would get a lot more use out of their toys. They have nice white shelves at Target that look like cubbies and you can get canvas buckets to put the toys in on the shelves.

AD 12-18-2011 07:22 PM

We have a big loft right when you go upstairs where the bedrooms are. That is our playroom. We keep it neat, because we walk through it and it's the first thing you see when you get upstairs.

The key is to have toys organized. You can get cute baskets and storage bins/shelves.

This is what we have:

We have the light wood storage systems with blue and green storage bins.

When my kids want to bring toys downstairs to the living room (main floor) they grab a bin and bring it down. When they are done, the bin goes back upstairs to the loft. We try to limit the toys on the main floor, and this helps.

I have friends who have the white or light wood storage systems on their main floor in a converted office or formal dining room. I think it would be fine!

superteacher0 12-18-2011 07:22 PM

We always had our kids' play room in the living room at that age. They need to be near you when they play. I bought cute play room furniture from IKEA and made sure it looked nice (for a toy room). I figured it the room got a lot more use that way, anyhow!

me41 12-18-2011 07:27 PM

Reminds me of a story... kids are playing in yard, tearing it up a little. The mom says to Dad, they are ripping up the grass. Dad responds, we are growing boys, not grass.

What is the most important for you? Happy children playing where you can see them or a clean house?

Buy some big storage units that appeal to you and let the kids in the living room.

mamacanteach 12-18-2011 07:41 PM

Our play room is in the main (formal) living room. DS is 7 months. He needs his toys and me close by and I don't want to live my life in the basement, especially since there are no windows down there. I figure it'll be this way for a while and eventually I'll make the basement into a nice playroom and move toys down there but it won't happen for several years at least. I bought a nice area rug for $30 at Ikea. I know it will get ruined and we'll have to replace it but I don't care. We just needed something because the floor is cold in the winter. We have a couple of baskets beside the couch that hold his books and small toys. Larger toys are hidden inside a pair of storage ottomons which we use as end tables. Soon we'll probably have to get more baskets and a shelf but whatever. As DS gets older, I'll move more toys up to his bedroom too. I like my house looking lived in and I like to live in the nicest part of the house, which is definitely not the basement.

shenanigan 12-18-2011 07:47 PM

Expedit shelves ikea
Are awesome. Get a mix of canvas or natural bins and the mess is gone in minutes. They come in dark brown, natural or white and many sizes. We have one with 8 cubbies and use it as a sofa table.

ily 12-18-2011 07:52 PM

Me41- I love that saying and need to remember sometimes.

Now that my girls are 4 and 7 they have a playroom upstairs in our bonus room and I love it, but before moving here we had a playroom in our living room, we had bins to store the toys in, you knew it was a play area but it was still neat and tidy.

happykids 12-18-2011 08:26 PM

Your comment about always being near you struck me. Sounds like my DD. We had baskets with easy clean up like others suggested. Her bedroom is down a SHORT hall. She never played with toys. She would just watch me.

She is now 10 and if she stays in her room doing something alone for more than 10 minutes, I begin to worry. She can't be by herself for any amount of time. It drives me crazy.

DS on the other hand will make toys out of anything and just run around. Today he is playing hockey with a wrapping paper tube. He has been given three hockey sticks and has never touched one of them.

Good luck!

knb0628 12-18-2011 08:53 PM

I think that as long as your son can agree (to an extent, being that he is only 5) to keep his things cleaned up, that it is reasonable.

booksrfun3 12-18-2011 11:19 PM

When my DD was small, I arranged the furniture a little different. I pulled the couch away from the wall to make a wide hallway (if that makes sense). I got some low shelves and kept her toys in tubs on the shelves. On an ideal day (ideal being the operative term), she would get a tub or two out, play with the toys, and then put them back on the shelf. The thing I liked about this arranged was when the toys were on the shelf they were out of eyesight. I hate looking at clutter - even if the toys are put on the shelves neatly, it still looks cluttery to me. The funny thing was she likes little spaces. Many times she would play in the cubby area behind the couch.

Eucalyptus 12-19-2011 03:16 AM

I have 7 year old boys...
... and a small house... and they STILL don't like playing in our "playroom" (the bedroom at the end of the hallway - which is only 10m long... so 10 steps from the kitchen/tv room)... even together ... aged 7!!!! They still prefer to be near me.

In our house, DH is the neat freak... so when he is not home (school holidays etc), I allow them to spread out to be near me (my office is halfway between kitchen/tv room and the playroom)... DH and I have an understanding... as long as he calls when he is leaving work (which can be anywhere from 1/2 an hour from home, up to 2 hours from home depending on the day)... he can expect a tidy tv room/kitchen area when he arrives home. If he turns up unannounced... expect it to be chaos!

The minute we know he is coming home, it all gets packed away to the playroom... and usually... the kids end up watching TV in the tv room (nearer to me) until he gets home! They really don't like to be far away :)

Kids need to be close to a grown up - even when it seems they are playing alone or with each other. It's comfort for them.

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