Friday, July 24, 2015

Thrifty Thinking: Give Your Playroom a Makeover on a Budget

Photos and article by Jennifer Tuohy

A playroom can be a challenging space to decorate. Investing in fancy artwork or sleek pieces of furniture doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a room that will a) get trashed and b) need a complete rethink every three to four years as your children grow.

When my family of four moved into our new home, we were thrilled to finally have a space that could be a playroom (and guest room). However, following a major renovation of the house, there wasn’t much left in our budget for decorating the playroom. So, I set about coming up with some creative, inexpensive/free ideas for creating a fun, colorful and adaptable room.
My rule going into this project was that any décor had to have at least two of the following three traits:

1.     It needed to be durable (to survive two rambunctious children).
2.     It had to be inexpensive/free.
3.     It had to incorporate some form of storage and/or help me de-clutter.

Here are a few of the ideas I implemented in my playroom makeover:

Experiment with Stuffed Animal Taxidermy
As I suspect is the case for many families, we have an extraordinary amount of stuffed animals, many of whom have immense sentimental value but are rarely, if ever, played with. This combination means that getting rid of them is not an option, but neither is storing them in the laundry bin (as had been the case with my family). I decided to turn their cute faces into a fun wall hanging, using a wall organizer I got as a baby shower gift (see image above).

Another alternative would be small shelves to display the furry critters. This idea from, using pretty ribbon to hang simple shelves for storing the bears on, would be adorable for a girl’s room.
Result: 3 out of 3 - durable, free, clutter container

Show Off Your Children’s Artwork
There's no need to buy prints or framed artwork to decorate the playroom. I created an easily interchangeable artwork display for all the creations my children bring home from school with a piece of string, some nails and a handful of small clothes pegs. The display takes up an entire wall of the playroom and it's so easy to swap out pieces, keeping the room's decor fresh and interesting. I also love this clipboard idea from, but it’s a little more permanent, and because we use this space as a guest room too, I wanted something that could come down and be put back up easily.
Result: 3 out of 3 - durable, free, clutter container

Get Crafty
As much as I love the artwork my children bring home, I also love putting them to work at home creating beautiful pictures and crafts to augment the decor in their playroom. I picked up a couple of canvases and asked them to draw their favorite creatures, and ended up with two beautiful pieces of original artwork to frame and hang on the wall. I might use this fun idea for framing them from; put a large frame on the wall and just place the artwork inside it on a nail or
clothes peg, where you can swap it out as the favorite animals change.
Result: 2 out of 3 - durable, inexpensive

Pick Up Some Colorful Plastic Bins
After a lot of trial and error, I realized that packing away toys in the toy box (no matter how cute it is)
results in said toys never, ever being played with. Rather than stick things in drawers or on shelves behind cupboard doors, I picked up some big colorful plastic bins. These add a great splash of color to the room and, crucially, contain clutter while still allowing easy access to the toys.
Result: 2 out of 3 - inexpensive, clutter container

Invest in an Outdoor Rug
The one splurge I think is worth considering for the playroom is a good quality rug. Whether you have carpet or hardwood floors, having a big spacious surface that can be played on without fear of recriminations is essential. Plus, with so many great, colorful patterns available now, a rug provides an instant solution to your decorating challenge.

Bearing all this in mind, an outdoor rug is a great choice, especially on a budget. Outdoor rugs are substantially less expensive than their indoor counterparts, but that’s not the best part—most outdoor rugs are stain and mildew resistant, and built to dry quickly. So when the inevitable happens and the juice box goes “splat” or the marker inexplicably draws itself all over the rug, you can just take it outside and hose it off—sort of like we wish we could do with our children sometimes!
Result: 2 out of 3 - durable, inexpensive

Do you have fun ideas for decorating the playroom on a budget? Please share pictures and ideas in the comments!

Jennifer Tuohy is a proud mom who resides with her family in Charleston, South Carolina, and writes about her home décor and renovation projects for The Home Depot. To view a selection of area rugs from Home Depot's Home Decorators collection that might be a good match for your own family's playroom, you can visit here. 

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