We’re fortunate enough to have a decent sized living room in our house so I decided to section off a part of it by building a living room play corner! We have a ‘study’ (AKA junk room) that I suppose we could have turned into a playroom but I like the idea of having all of Melie’s toys in the living area that we share. That way she can play on the floor, drag the toys out into the middle or we can sit with her in the corner. I truly feel a play corner is more versatile than a playroom, particularly for babies and toddlers.
I wanted to gift the area to Melie for her birthday so after using the space to accommodate guests at her birthday party we put together the play corner at the end of November.
Where Did I Get Ideas for Our Play Corner?
Where I get all my ideas of course… Pinterest! On a side note Stu actually thinks Pinterest is the devil because it makes me want all manner of perfectly homely things. I think it’s awesome though and you will find my inspiration board for the play corner on my account.
One thing I noticed whilst pinning images of play corners and playrooms was that I clearly needed some of those cube storage units. I would also need a soft place for babies or toddlers to sit or lie down and plenty of storage boxes to go into the unit. Add some toys, some books and a decorative wall piece of two and I was done.
The Final Result
I’m so chuffed with our little area. I know it doesn’t look Instagram worthy but for a play corner on a budget I am so happy with it. Melie really seems to enjoy having all of her toys in an easy to access place and I love that it gives me one specific area to store toys neatly.
I feel it will be a great even as she grows as there is space for a small table and chairs for colouring or even to fit a play kitchen. We’ve only filled a few of the boxes so there is much more room. I will put all the details of the elements below incase you are interested in creating your own play corner at home.
1) Custom Name Plaque | Waterjet Cut by MRC Performance | This was a gift given to Melie by some friends. It is a custom piece cut from stainless steel using a waterjet cutter by MRC Performance.
2) Alpha Animal Large Print | Meli.A Personalised Prints & Graphic Design | As one of the first things I bought for the play corner, it really helped to set the tone for how I wanted it to look. I picked this up at the One Fine Baby Expo in Melbourne. Meli.A has lots of other beautiful prints available and some cute flash cards too.
3) KALLAX Storage Units | IKEA | I don’t really need to say much about these because the design is quite iconic. You may have seen that Kmart sell their own version, which are more affordable but I think the IKEA ones are sturdier.
4) Felt Storage Boxes | Kmart | On our trip to IKEA I actually selected 8 of their own boxes to fit into the Kallax storage unit. I unwrapped one and promptly decided it didn’t look right. The only colour that was suitable for us was black and it was just too dark. So 7 of those went back to IKEA and I picked up these awesome boxes from Kmart. I love the colour and now I actually have 10 of them in my house as I had a couple in Melie’s bedroom wardrobe beforehand.
5) Urban Bubba Mat | Softmats | Last but not least is the Urban Bubba Mat. I cannot talk this playmat up enough. Yes, it’s expensive but it is totally worth it. Other mats just don’t compare to the sponginess, thickness, comfort and ease of cleaning of the Bubba Mat. It really is the hero piece of our living room play corner.
It’s actually a compromise between what I wanted and what my husband wanted. I wanted something that looked stylish in our living room whereas Stu reminded me it was for playtime not a fashion piece. The Bubba Mat caters to both as it is reversible: One side is a simple pattern and the other side is an awesome scene that you can use to play cars or trains on.
Tips for Creating a Play Corner
Set a budget and work within it –
We sold the pool table that was in our living room and used the money to buy the items we needed. This helped to give us a budget and made it more affordable. You could also check out Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace for the cube units as there are plenty for sale there. Kmart also have cheaper cube units available but I do find the IKEA ones a bit sturdier feeling. If you’re not on a budget then spend til your heart’s content you lucky thing!
Use things you already have or are gifted –
We already owned all of the toys or they were given to Melie as birthday presents.
I see some beautiful playrooms that are completely coordinated and full of aesthetically pleasing wooden toys. If that’s not your style, then don’t go out and buy all of Etsy just to make it look how you think it should.
I was surprised how well our corner came together and the rainbow ABC print really helps to tie together all the brightly coloured toys.
Work with the space you have –
I chose to box in the corner using a 2 x 4 IKEA KALLAX cube unit and a 1 x 4 IKEA KALLAX cube unit. If your space is smaller or you want it more open, you could just have the one unit and use a mat or rug to make it feel like a ‘corner’. IKEA also do a 2 x 2 version so you could run two baskets in the bottom and two open shelves on top for a mini play corner.
Think of safety –
Think of anchoring the units, only using baskets on the bottom shelves, lighter toys on the top shelves that toddlers can get down by themselves and avoiding decorative cords or strings within reach and attaching picture frames and things out of reach if they are not safe to be touched.
I know the safety thing is obvious but I initially purchased the print in a frame with the idea of it being lower down on the wall. Stu actually said to me “… But hey don’t forget it has a thin sheet of glass on it and it’s not safe if she bashes a toy onto it.”
Hmm good point safety Dad!
At the moment I have bigger toys at the top where she cannot reach and her books are there too because there are some flap books that we read together as she would just rip the pages out of them if left to her own devices. As she gets taller (or learns to climb!) and older, the layout of items will change but that’s the beauty of having lots of space and different options.
Do you have a play corner or a playroom at home? Would you like one?