Playroom Makeover

April 6, 2009

We are fortunate to have a bonus space in our home.  When we were first married, we used this space as a formal dining room.  When the munchkins were born, we gave up our formal dining room to have a toddler playroom, rather than have their toys scattered all over the house. Playskool ruled this roost for several years, until I decided to take the space back.

Here’s the before (notice the exhausted Dad):

Here’s the after:

The whole goal was to create a more mature kid space that would multitask as a place for them to entertain themselves and friends with games, puzzles, watch movies, and do art projects.  The first thing that had to go was the weird pastel paint job.  I chose an earthier color to complement the rest of the house.  It’s a tan based mustardy shade of green called ‘Beachwalk’ by Behr.  The window wall is painted an entire shade darker.  The rug is a pale green, very soft chenille from Home Decorators.

The next big project was the Map Wall.  National Geographic makes a map of the world in “earth-tone” colors instead of the traditional red/blue color scheme as seen in most classrooms. It was $99, and this map covers a 10 x 6.5 ft space.  When you consider the price of art for an entire wall, this was relatively cheap.  Instead of applying adhesive to the back like wallpaper, I stapled it to the wall with a stapler, then trimmed it in a moulding from Home Depot that I spray painted Espresso to form a frame around the edges.  We cut it with a miter saw and applied it to the wall with a nail gun.

A wall map make a great backdrop to any guest room, office, kid’s room, or basement wall.  It is educational and quite a conversation piece for all who enter.  The sofa is bone colored leather from Jennifer Convertibles.  It folds out for overnight guests or impromptu slumber parties.  The coffee table was a floor sample – it provides more storage, and another place to play, or have snacks.

For a more updated tour of this space, visit this post where we installed a floating shelf art gallery wall.

This room can also be seen featured on Young House Love and on Apartment Therapy’s OhDeeDoh]

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99 Responses to “Playroom Makeover”

  1. MrsRoy says:

    I think this room looks amazing!!! What a transformation, you did an excellent job. :) I love the map wall, and all of the neatly arranged organization bins (I’m a sucker for organizing things- love them!). I am impressed!

  2. Jen says:

    That looks amazing – now I want to run down to our bland bland bland basement 'playroom' and fix it up so I want to be down there as well! Although E & W would probably just destroy everything…

  3. Erin says:

    What do I think? Besides OMG YOU ARE MY GURU. That is freaking awesome. I am hyperventilating over that wall-sized map.

  4. High-Heeled Foot in the door says:


    Amazing. I love it all. Totally kid friendly, but a room that they can grow into as well. I love all the stations for their toys, supplies and game table. Love it all!

  5. Elise says:

    Ummm, all I can say is: when is the magazine coming out!?! (Okay, I know you are too modern for that! But YOU are dynamite and I just want to keep looking and looking at your improvements! Like when I’m in the car waiting to pick up the kids from school…) Is your family just in awe of the force of your nature: you are a decorating Goddess!

  6. G+D says:

    This is unbelievable!! I’m so in love with the large map on the wall–BRILLIANT!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love this room! I love the maps, the colours and the storage in here. Very creative space for the kids. It looks like a very sophisicated classroom. Great job!

  8. Renee says:

    OMG! Love it! That wall sized map is awesome. The room looks like something you would see in a magazine.

  9. Liz says:

    I followed the link to your site from This Young House – what an amazing transformation!!!! Great job, and I think the huge map is my favorite addition. :)

  10. Danielle and Clint says:

    Holy Cow! What a fab job you did!! And such creative ideas to tie everything togther. The color is great and the space looks kid and adult friendly. LOVE IT!!

  11. Rachel says:

    Who knew you could fit so many fantastic ideas into one space. If only I could be so organized with my daughters toys and crafts!

  12. *claire* says:

    saw this on TYH – looks great! such a sophisticated, yet still fun, room for kids!

  13. Debra L. says:

    Best play room ever…makes me want to have kids just to create such a fun playroom ; ) Seriously though, fabulous design.
    (I found you blog from This Young House!)

  14. KimT says:

    Just saw this on This Young House blog–it’s incredible. And I’m glad to have discovered your blog as well!

  15. Jacci says:

    Hi, Kate :) I came over from John & Sherry's. You did an absolutely fabulous job with this room. I really *love* how you've made this a "whole family" oriented room instead of just a "kid room". It's such a great move toward keeping family time a priority instead of segregating your home. Not to mention that it's just a great use of space to use to room for more than one purpose :)

    Again, you did a super job. Love the chairs and table in front of the window. That spot is begging two of you to come play Battleship :)


  16. Crystal says:

    This room is great! I love the colors and the setup. It seems to be a multi-functional room, one that everyone can enjoy. You did a great job!

  17. Mrs. R says:

    WOW. I really love the map! I was thinking of doing something similar, but because my husband and I like to travel, I was thinking of putting push pins for the places we’ve been to and want to go to. And I’ll definitely be using your idea for the moulding. That’s so much cheaper than buying a frame! I’m new to your blog (saw your space on This Young House), and I can’t wait to see more!

  18. diXymiss says:

    First time visitor via TYH. Adding another rave review. You did an eXcellent job on this incredible transformation. It’s stylish, pratical and affordable (the perfect trio). ThanX for thoughtfully including resources in your description. A+

  19. Nancy E. J. says:

    I love the color scheme and the wall map! I’ve been looking for one that large to put up in my husband’s office. LOVE IT! Oh, did you happen to make those pillows beside the sofa? If so, where did you get that wonderful striped fabric?

  20. aahcoffee says:

    LOVE this! Love the wall map and I’ll be doing that myself now that I’ve seen it!!!! I came across your blog through This Young House. So happy I did!

  21. 18ninety4 says:

    loving the map.

  22. Emily from says:

    I love the personality of your room. Makes me want to be a kid in your family.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I adore it! You did SO much work. I want that map too!


  24. Stephanie says:

    I love this room! I know that the coffee table was a floor sample, but where did you find it? I’ve been looking for something just like it!

  25. Centsational Girl says:

    Dear Stephanie:
    I found the coffee table at Jennifer Convertibles, the same place I found the leather sofa ! See my gal pal ‘D’ at All Things G+D on my blog list for another similar coffee table in her living room. She may be able to help you find it too.

  26. Alicia says:

    Hi! I also found your blog from TYH. I love, love, love your room… the map is especially awesome. Can I ask where you found the small children’s book shelf/holder thingy on the floor? I’ve been looking for almost two years (!) for something just like that.

    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous room, I love every inch!

  27. Centsational Girl says:

    Hi Alicia,
    That’s the KidKraft sling bookshelf, available now at If you Google it, you may find it at Target or ToysRUs as well.

  28. Alicia says:

    Awesome! Thank you so much… ordering tonight! I knew what we needed (something to store those awkward-shaped books) but didn’t realize they’re actually fabric and I think that’s what foiled my search. You’re my hero! Thanks again for sharing the info and your fun room.

  29. Courtney says:

    Oh, my….I’m in love. It’s gorgeous! Wonderful job!!

  30. Kristen says:

    First time visitor from TYH, but this is an amazing makeover!!

  31. Jennifer says:

    I like your room.

  32. Melissa says:

    I absolutely love how you really put this bonus room to such good use. It is truly an inspiring place to “explore” and the map is genius!

  33. nicole says:

    I love what you did to your “kid room”. the map idea is brilliant…I may need to borrow that idea one day down the road.

  34. Mary says:

    Also first time visitor from THY. The pictures on their site did not do your work justice. It is simply beautiful. You must be bursting with pride.

  35. niki says:

    Oh My God. That is amazing & I am so inspired I have a similar space. I am off to start RIGHT now. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. OH MY GOD BRILLIANT. My colors too.

  36. Karin says:

    This room looks awesome. I’m going to copy some of your ideas! I just found your blog from This Young House and I love it.

  37. ema.leigh says:

    Where in the WORLD did you find that huge map? I LOVE it!!

  38. Anonymous says:

    Just came over from John and Sherry’s blog. You are amazing! This is just perfect for kids and adults both. I especially like the color scheme. It is both calming and energizing – if that is possible! Great job!

  39. Amy from Renovation Innovation says:

    First time your blog and love the makeover. I especially liked how you painted the ‘explore’ letters, by leaving the white on the sides to give it a dimensional effect. Genius!

  40. Mrs. J L says:

    This is the first time I have come over to ur blog from This Young House…absolutely adore ur room trsnaformation!!!! GREAT job!!!! :)

  41. Jen @ Sunshine4Teachers says:

    Headed over here from TYH and am so glad I did. I love, love, love the maps! I’m totally stealing that idea :)when I redo our downstairs playroom/family room.

  42. Jeremy and Kathleen says:

    I found you via This Young House and had to swing by. I LOVE the map and have been planning on doing a huge map wall in my guest bedroom. Can I ask where you found it?

  43. ArtHarlot says:

    What an amazing makeover ! I found your blog through This Young House and I’ve added you to my blog roll! Great design ideas and useful tips. Thank you ! – Julia

  44. Mrs. Querido says:

    I love the map on the wall! And your color scheme is very grown up and loungey. Great job!

  45. Cacey says:

    The boyfriend and I had that exact same map on a wall of our bedroom (X-mas gift from his Mother). We elected to wallpaper it up and believe me when I say that it was HELL to take down. I SO wish we had stapled it!

  46. Ashley says:

    Amazing!!! I want that map!

    Great job!!

  47. J says:

    I love this room, you did a fantastic job!

  48. Anonymous says:

    Hi there, I first spotted your room at this young house. You have done an incredible job! :D

  49. Roeshel says:

    What a gorgeous transformation! I love all of your creative details. Great job!

  50. lovely lindsay says:

    love this. it’s got me so inspired – and i love that you shared all of your sources. makes the hunting a bit easier =)
    thanks! lindsay

  51. Anonymous says:

    Love it! You did an amazing job. I love the world map idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

  52. Kate B. says:

    I love your room, but one thing confuses me.
    Why would you suggest that the map would be appropriate for a boy’s room but not a girl’s room?
    I am baffled that a map of the world is considered gender-specific.

  53. Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick says:

    I swear, you must be another twin I’ve found in blogland. I LOVE this room!! I’m in the process of changing our loft to our son’s toy room. It has been SO fun! I’m almost done but now you’ve given me another idea. GREAT.

  54. Donna says:

    I also LOVE this room! Where did you get the pillows/fabric for the pillows? I must have them! Thanks for sharing.

  55. Anonymous says:

    I’m a new reader via This Young House and I love what you’ve done with the room. It’s at once grown up and elegant but also so down to earth and playful. Fabulous job!


  56. Anonymous says:

    Love this room! Can I ask where you found the iron grill for the compass?

  57. Centsational Girl says:

    Hi Anon,
    That grill was from Joann’s Fabrics – I found it for $5, and taped off the green sections to preserve the color, and spray painted the rest of it. Then I added some small letters for “direction” that I found at Michaels.

  58. Spenser says:

    What a great transformation! Wouldn’t it be fun to cover your “explore” letters with fun paper like your inspiration letters form the antique market?!

  59. The Masked Mommy says:

    This is absolutely incredible! I love everything about this room! You have integrated the perfect mixture of class, comfortableness, and practicality! It’s adorable!

  60. Heather - - says:

    Wow, amazing. How long did this project take you? I would love to know more about your planning process…

  61. Becky says:

    I’m here from One Pretty Thing. Wow! I am completely impressed. I just wish I had a house full of children, or even one anymore, to create a playroom. I love this so much!!

  62. toontz says:

    Very nice.

  63. frillsfluffandtrucks says:

    What a terrific space for your family to enjoy!! I really really like this a lot–you did a great job!

    ~ Sarah

  64. Lisa says:

    Fantastic! I’d sort of like to steal the map idea for our living room.

  65. Randi says:

    Great playroom makeover … makes me want to run upstairs and revamp our gameroom. Thanks for all the fun ideas.

  66. Glamour Moms says:

    BEAUTIFUL!! I am re-doing my playroom soon and you have some GREAT ideas here. :)

  67. Heather says:

    Love it all. I’m very impressed with how you made it all work together, even with all the different wood finishes. That’s no easy job! It’s beautiful.

  68. The Popes says:

    I am dying to redo our playroom and this is totally inspiring!

  69. Mrs. Jones says:

    We used to have that little tyke sofa! I’m sure I’ve got a picture of my husband sleeping on it, too!

    The map is amazing. Nice job.


  70. Dunc says:

    My map just came via UPS today (thanks for tipping me off to the sale) and I can’t wait to put it up! I noticed it comes in pieces, so hopefully I can line everything up correctly :-)

  71. Struggler says:

    Thanks again for this wonderful posting. I have linked to it in a round up of great craft projects!

  72. Jennifer says:

    Hi there! So we are in the process of putting our map up and we were wondering since it comes in 3 pieces how did you get the middle edges to lay flat? I know you said you stapled it up but did you staple the pieces together as well?
    Thanks for such a wonderful idea……just love your blog!

  73. Game Room Supplies says:

    Wow! I'm at a loss for words. This actually deserves to be featured in Apartment Therapy! or their version for baby nurseries at Ohdeeoh (sp?).

    I'm at a travel wanderlust right now and this just fits right in!

  74. Lift Up Your Hearts says:

    Oh my gosh, I'm so happy to have found you!! I love love this, and it is really just so inspirational!

  75. melissa says:

    Hi Kate! I'm catching up on some of your old posts~ I've always dreamed of having a gargantuan map in a family room/playroom and love that you gave the link and everything. Thank you! Now, I just need a room to put it in :) Love the warmth and functionality of this room. As always, fantastic!

  76. Mandy Mae says:

    I'm completely in love with it! I discovered your site thanks to Kimba at A Soft Place to Land and I'm so glad I did! This room is a complete inspiration and totally took my breath away at first glance. Thanks for all the details!

  77. […] 2006.  The coffee table was a floor sample from Jennifer Convertibles that used to sit in the kids’ playroom.  It was $89.  The plywood and paint was $30.  Total for my media center?  $317 […]

  78. Christine says:

    Wow! This room is amazing! I wish that I had even 1/10th of your decorating skills.

    Happy SITS day!

  79. Kim says:

    I love the map-my hubby would like it as well! I think I’ll try to sell the idea to him for his office–or what the heck, get it for Christmas. Happy SITS day!

  80. Lynn says:

    AMAZING!!!!!! I am not by any means a DIY girl, except for my brief try with blogger DIY. You are just amazing. Happy SITS day!

  81. Mrs. W says:

    I’m trying to create a slight masculine feel in our home office and love your look! Would you mind telling me what the wall color is?

  82. I love how you transformed this playroom into a tranquil lounge room for adults and a place of wonder for children! The world map and compass encourage learning and the word “Explore” on the wall really ties together the theme. I also love the relaxing color schemes and modernly comfortable pillows…awesome job on this fun room for the entire family!

  83. Heather says:

    Hi! I love this room and I am thinking of incorporating the map in my family room. Did this come in 3 sheets, or was it a single sheet? Thanks!

  84. Stephanie says:

    Love, love, love it!! You are such an inspiration! Where did you get the letters for the homemade labels?

  85. Rachel says:

    I was looking at pottery barn for those giant clips and i do not think they still have them. Did you get them from PB Kids? and do you know where I could find them?

  86. Jan says:

    I love this room. SO many great ideas. I wondered what the name of the fabric you used for the floor pillows. I have been looking for a stripe with those colours for a while. Thanks!

  87. […] Here’s a glimpse of the wall from last year’s post about the map room: […]

  88. awesome re-do! I love it, and I bet they do to!

  89. Ellie says:

    I love this room! It looks grown-up friendly, yet totally kid-centered. My favorite part is the wall-sized map. Can’t wait to use your inspiration when our basement is finished! Found you through Young House Love.

  90. […] few months ago, I repainted the kids playroom a pale green color.  It’s a combination of the leftover BM ‘Camouflage’ from the […]

  91. Heidi says:

    This so inspires me to do something similar to our just looks like it’s missing something!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  92. Vicki says:

    I just LOVE your room and am going to “borrow” some of your ideas for our game room. I wanted to do a wall map and am really glad you linked to your source. I also love the shape and color of your leather sofa. Love me some leather with kids: it cleans right up. Thanks for the inspiration. You did a GREAT job.

  93. karisa says:

    i love your map idea and you executed it so well!! i was wondering if you could share more details on how many staples you put into the map/wall, i.e. spacing? did you laminate the map or anything? has it held up well to dust and such?

  94. Devin says:

    Your blog is so inspiring! I love all of your DIY tips. My husband and I are about to give up our “formal” office so that we can have a casual den/playroom. I am sick of having toys strewn all over our house. We currently have natural poplar paneling in this room that my husband refuses to let me paint. (Apparently, I am the only one that hates it). Any tips for merging a rustic room with a not so rustic style?

  95. Rachael says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!!! I’m thinking about making this room my kids space! And my daughter is only 7 months! Just wondering one thing though: The wall color in one picture looks like a beautiful muted yellow, but on the close up of the compass, it looks more tan? Which would you say it is? Thanks for all the great DIY tips!

  96. Lea says:

    Great job, very inspiring! I too would love to know, is the map laminated or straight paper? Did you only staple around the perimeter or throughout the inside of the map as well?
    Thanks for a great blog :)

  97. Anca says:

    I love your blog! I am trying to do a world map project for my son’s room !

  98. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Lea, the three panels overlap, so I used double sided tape to hold the vertical pieces together, worked great!

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