When Your Living Room is Your Play Room

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A question that comes up a lot on Ohdeedoh is whether to sequester your children's toys in their bedrooms or store them in other areas of your home. But what if your child doesn't have a bedroom? My son sleeps in our office and while we keep his books there, his toys occupy our living room which, in essence, has become his play room. After nearly 2.5 years of shoving his toys in a corner, it was time to carve out some real storage space for his things there. It's like inviting your boyfriend to move in and giving him his own drawer and spot to hang his toothbrush.

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I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner, but we have three large drawers in our media console that could easily be converted into toy storage. The first drawer held dvds which we rarely watch. They certainly don't deserve prime living room real estate and now house my son's growing block collection which he uses every day. The other two drawers hold unused tech stuff and will soon be cleared out to make way for my son's puzzles, cars and other small toys.

Here are some other family living rooms that I'm inspired by:

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I still remember Nicole Balch of Making It Lovely's small storage basket in the living room. What might have otherwise held magazines and newspapers is now an attractive depository for some of her daughter's toys.

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Wee Wonderful's Hillary Lang uses an Expedit bookcase in her living room which allows for plenty of storage. She modified hers to hold a television which we think is brilliant.

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Tanie of Unicorn Parade divided her large living room into a kids living room and an adult living room (especially helpful since she does home childcare). She used a mural on one wall to visually distinguish between the two.

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LJ and his wife Elena are architects and were able to redesign their 500 sq. ft. studio when their son joined the family. They cleverly built inconspicuous storage into their space which could be used for toys.

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This family's living room/play room had help from a design firm and I love that they've just embraced the compromise of this shared space. There's no attempt to disguise that this home has young inhabitants or their accompanying stuff.

If you're wrestling with your living room becoming a playroom, here are a few other posts you might want to read:
Toys in the Bedroom or Living Room (or Both)?
Integrating Children Into Your Decor
Incorporating Children Into the Decor
Ten Storage Solutions for your Expedit
LJ Wraps Up

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Family, Playroom, Shelving

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.