The "Catch-All" Room: What To Do with a Giant Grey Wall?

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Consider this the Before picture.

You all were so helpful in my post about decorating with kids, that I thought I would reach out once again regarding our rental. We have a relatively open plan apartment. There currently exists a 15 x 10 room that serves as a path between the kitchen and the living / dining area. It's functioning as a kind of "catch-all" play room, but it needs some creative design. We're also working with a long, grey accent wall.

The grey feels like a gift and I'd like to keep it if possible. But even after browsing this site, Pinterest, and other design sites and books, I'm flummoxed. It's going to be the main play area as well as a breakfast nook. The space is large enough to divide, though I'm not sure that's necessary.

Things we would like to incorporate include:

- Chalkboard paint (open to color)
- Shelving
- Art Display
- Arts and crafts storage

We're keeping the craft table, yellow stools, drum set, and the two bikes. Unfortunately because it's a rental, the hideous cabinet stays, but I *think* we can paint it. Should we paint a giant animal in colorful chalkboard paint? Do something Rothko-esque? Use pattern on the walls? Stagger white floating shelves or chrome shelving? Divide the space with an Expedit or something else? Loft the play area?

It's a blank canvas. Really guys, I need help.

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