Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Medieval Meets Nerd: Playroom Inspiration

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about and designing a playroom for Vander.

The first step was to commit to where we wanted to put the playroom. Initially I was thinking of using the open space in the downstairs main room and kitchen area, which would have given us a good amount of space to have a table and chairs, a little play area and storage. This would have required some sort of cushy play mat or foam flooring to make it more kid friendly since it is tile flooring. In the end, we decided to convert my office/craft room to the playroom. We figured since we have some nice cushy carpet in the room, that would probably be best. Unfortunately the room doesn't get much use these days from me, so it really isn't too much of a loss to change it over.

Currently we play in the living room or Vander's room the most. They are carpeted, have good lighting and are relatively open, so they make great play areas. We rarely hang out in the family room since I don't watch TV when Vander is up. I really like the idea of a playroom, especially one in the basement, in order to limit the messes of toys all over the house. As much as I love playing with Vander all the time, I like the concept of keeping most of the house "adult" looking as best as possible.

Like any planner, the next step was to google how to plan a playroom. I found a couple great sites (here and here) to give me the playroom essentials. I determined I wanted some sort of play area, a table and chairs, a reading area and versatile storage. After looking around at a lot of Pinterest and websites, I had a good feel for what sort of items were out there for playrooms. There are SO many options and ideas out there, it can be really overwhelming!

I figured one solution to help me narrow down what I might want would be to follow a theme. Once we had a theme in mind for Vander's bedroom, I was able to run with it and it turned out exactly how I wanted. I was hoping that might work as well for the play room.

I was looking at kid's table and chairs at IKEA online and stumbled across this:
I immediately fell in love with a medieval theme! Of course, once you give a nerd a castle, they start thinking of what else goes with castles... I sent Dylan that picture and his response was we needed a stuff dragon to go with it. Which for me made me think of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Pretty much ever since then I have been scouring the internet for one year old friendly nerd items. 

While still just thinking medieval theme, I came across this Knights of the Round Table set on Pinterest:
So stinking cute! You know what would make it better? Game of Thrones crests for the backs! Unfortunately this set no longer exists... So I need to decide if I just want to find a basic wood table and chairs, or if I want to get custom made chairs that have the crest/shield for the chair back. Either way, I plan to have my mom paint them the colors and designs we want. While Dylan suggested we pick one side of the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) plots (i.e. Lannisters and allies or Starks and allies), we decided it would be best to have the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens. We will not be including the house mottos, since "Fire and Blood" is a little intimidating for a playroom. 

To bring in the Harry Potter fanatic, we are looking at these stuffed dragons...

The ceiling in this room has a dropped ceiling along the middle due to the vents, so one one side of the dropped ceiling I was thinking about putting this:
And on the other side:

Finally, on the walls I want to put maps from each of these series:


For the rest of the room, I want a reading area. Vander already has a ton of books and I know I will be buying him a ton more. Right now he literally has piles of them on his desk since they don't all fit. A lot of the books are well beyond his sitting still abilities at the moment, so it would be nice to move them somewhere else for a little bit until we want to rotate some new ones in to his room. We will likely utilize one of the many bookshelves we already have, but I think a comfy reading spot would be great. Since Vander is an especially uncommon name, I also think it might be a nice touch to personalize a spot for him:
Finally, storage! I think these IKEA systems would be great, since they allow for kids to pull out one thing at a time. I love the splash of color they could add too. 
The biggest challenge with the playroom really is all of the options. I want to provide great entertainment for Vander, but open spaces to play are really the best for imagination and exploration. I also need to balance the right age of items for him. There are so many great toys as he gets older! I don't want to get toys too advanced for him to play with, but I also don't want toys he will only enjoy for a couple more months. To make this even more complicated, we plan on having two more kids, who will be at different ages, and somehow we will want the playroom to work for all three of them. 

I think we will have a great base that will be able to grow with Vander and I am so unbelievably excited about the theme! My sister said I sounded like a kid talking to her about it. I figured that is the exact mentality to have while designing a play room!

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