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Create the perfect playroom

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Playroom design and accessories

You finally have the space to stash your kid's toys -- it's a miracle! Now that you have a room dedicated to your little one's "stuff," it's time to get down to designing the playroom. From making the most of the space to must-have organization items, learn how to create the perfect playroom.

Ikea playroom

Before I had kids, I used to wonder why anyone would need a playroom. After all, isn't that what your child's bedroom is for -- storing toys? It turns out that I was wrong -- very wrong. (Add that to the hundreds of other incorrect judgements from my pre-parent days.)

We now have a "new toy in, old toy out" rule, implemented after I cut my two toddlers' toy collection in half when I realized our home looked like a sea of brightly colored plastic that could pass for a day care center.

Still, toys can get messy, and in the hands of little ones, they can take any organized house from neat and clean to post-tornado chaos in a matter of minutes. The perfect solution is a playroom. If you're lucky enough to have the space in your home for a playroom, make the most of it with these tips.

1Clear out the room

It may sound obvious, but the first step to creating an organized playroom is to completely empty it. Yes, the thought of that alone might be enough to put the brakes on your playroom makeover plan, but remember that it's hard to create an organized space when it's still full of stuff. Take all of the contents of the room out of it so you can start from scratch with a clean, fresh area.

2Sort, donate and trash

Take honest stock of your children's toys. Perhaps Grandma and Grandpa have given new meaning to the word "spoiled" or maybe you went a little crazy -- hey, who can blame a first-time mom? The reason doesn't matter. If your child has too many toys, it's time to pare down the collection.

Make three piles -- keep, donate and trash -- then sort accordingly. Beyond keeping one or two sentimental toys, leave emotion out of the process. It's easier said than done, I know, but if you think about the way your darling little tot played with each and every toy, you'll never get rid of anything. Trust me.

3Plan the room

Planning out the room is where your budget comes into play. While most of us would love to create a playroom fit for celeb kids, few have the bottomless bank account to make it happen. Consider all of the purchases you'll need to make so you don't find yourself short of cash -- and an incomplete playroom.

Also consider your talents at this stage. Are you into woodworking (or is someone in your family)? Making shelves might save you some cash. Or is your specialty refurbishing old furniture? You could hit Goodwill or other thrift stores and find a piece to repurpose.

Also, if your child is old enough and you're brave, include her in the planning phase. Whether you're willing to allow her to select the paint color or a table and chairs set, involving your kiddo makes the new playroom more exciting for her.

Some of the purchases you might need to make:

  • Paint
  • Shelves -- for the walls, bookshelves, etc.
  • Toy box
  • Small table and chairs
  • Small crates or boxes for organizing
  • Rug

Need inspiration? Check out these fun playroom themes! >>

4Get busy!

Time to roll up your sleeves and get down to business. Again, if you're a brave mama, find a task for your smallest helper. Barring any physical limitations, you should be able to complete the playroom makeover on your own if you're keeping it basic.

Looking for playroom makeover inspiration? Check out some of our budget-friendly ideas.

Playroom makeover

1. Aborg Rug

The high-pile Aborg rug from IKEA ($40) will provide a soft surface for little feet and cut down on sound in homes with hardwood floors.

2. Mythic paint

Paint is a great and fairly inexpensive way to give a room a completely new look. Try Mythic paint -- it's non-toxic and ultra-low odor and it comes in a lot of great colors.

3. Mammut table and chairs

Whimsical and perfectly child-sized, the Mammut table ($35) and Mammut chairs ($14 each) are lightweight, durable and extremely easy to clean. Not that you anticipate any incidents with the crayons, but ...

4. Storage organizer

Small toys need different-size storage bins. The storage organizer ($60) from Target has 12 different bins of varying sizes. It's perfect for keeping an assortment of small toys grouped together.

5. Wall art

After you've painted the walls, throw on a removable decal for instant and inexpensive decoration. Land of Nod has adorable wall decals, like this branching tree stick-on ($54).

More playroom tips

Transition your playroom from toddler to teen
10 Quick tips for organizing the playroom
Kids playroom design ideas

Photo credit: Ikea
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