It’s taken awhile, but we’re finally starting to find our groove with this house. We’ve moved around a lot of furniture in the two years we’ve been here, and one space that stumped us for a long time is what the builder of this house probably called the formal living and dining room. These are the first two rooms you see when you enter the house. Here’s how they looked when we saw our home for the first time.
And this is how the space looked right after we bought the house. The white door you see here is our front door, so those windows face our street. I immediately knew we’d be replacing the window treatments and painting the walls, but those changes took a lot longer to achieve than I hoped!
This home had two living areas but no dedicated playroom. We originally thought we’d use the sunken den as a play area, but at the time our oldest was just learning to walk and couldn’t manage the split level stairs down to the den on her own. Now that’s the case for her little sister! Since this formal living room was on the main living floor, it became the playroom by default.
Here’s a photo I found that shows how we initially set up the space. We anchored those bookshelves to the long wall and began filling them up. For awhile, we placed our books on the top shelves and toys filled the lower ones.
I eventually found a second chair for the space and later replaced the pile of pillows (fun while it lasted!) with an end table between the chairs. This was about a year ago. Notice the window treatments and wall color hadn’t changed yet!
I’ll write soon about adding seating in our dining room on the other side of this space. When we made that change, we were able to remove the adult chairs in the photo above and replace them with a wooden shelf, kid-sized chair, and chalkboard. I also finally took down the previous owner’s cornice boards and started thinking about paint colors.
We liked having our books on display and a place for toys, but those open shelves always ended up looking messy. As the girls got taller, it was harder and harder to keep them from pulling heavy books off the upper shelves that were supposed to be off limits.
The wooden shelf under the window created a sort of window seat and good storage for stuffed animals, but again, it always looked messy. I also didn’t love how the chalkboard blocked the window, and the blinds were in terrible shape and hard to operate.
Here was our plan for the space!
First, the walls had to go lighter. The girls loved the play kitchen, so it had to stay. We decided replacing the bookshelves with closed storage would go a long way towards keeping the room looking tidy. I also wanted to bring in some texture with new roller blinds, a DIY wall hanging, baskets, and colorful art.
So how did it all turn out? Stay tuned – I’ll be sharing the after photos of this room very soon!