Toy Story-age (er ... storage): My Basement Playroom

Seriously.  The toys take over and they take over fast.  I am so lucky that we have a home with a finished basement, which started out as our den, and gradually, ever so slowly, the play space took over the chill space and now it is a fully-devoted playroom for the kids.  This room saves our sanity, especially in the Winter months.  But being the somewhat totally OCD person that I am, I couldn't bear to have the room just stuffed with toys.  I've always tried to make the room organized, functional and fun for the kids ... and also a place that we are A-OK spending a few hours in each day.   I don't really have any "before" pictures of the space, but here is my basement playroom now - and yes, the new toys from Christmas have homes and are already neatly tucked away until Hurricane Big and Cyclone Little tear into the room next weekend.

The secret to keeping the space neat and tidy are the super cute (and super cheap) Cubeicals (by Closetmaid) and fabric drawers, all of which I purchased at wait for it ... wait for it ... Target.  I also have a few baskets from Ikea along the one side and some open cubes, so that the entire thing isn't filled with the red drawers.

I took a few minutes before putting together the Cubeicals and put some cute patterned contact paper on the backs of the unit, just for a little pop of color and fun.  I created my own DIY chalkboard labels for the fabric drawers based on these from Pottery Barn Kids that I fell in love with, but refused to pay $50 for  and opted to pay about $7 for instead (not to worry: I will have a tutorial in an upcoming blog post).

My kids love their train table and little kitchen.  I love that the kitchen is absolutely adorable and small in scale, not to mention made of wood so I can add some hooks to it for their accessories.  The train table has two nice sized drawers for extra trains and tracks.  I've hung some inexpensive shelves on the wall from Ikea that store larger toys that won't really fit anywhere else. I keep these to one toy per shelf and it ends up looking kind of like a toy store.

The toy box holds the kids' dress-up clothes, and the baby area is right here too.  I plan to paint the baby bed (also from Ikea) white with pink polka-dots in the Spring while I am painting my dining room furniture, since I'll have the primer & white paint already working.

I found this small-scale table and chairs from Ikea.  In retrospect, a white table was probably not the brightest idea for a children's art table, but I guess the crayon marks just add character.  For the art supplies, I bought the little set of knob-hooks at Ikea and found the pails in Target's Dollar Spot around Valentine's Day (hence the heart cut-out).  Crayons and waterproof markers live in the pails.  I again modeled the idea after one I saw in Pottery Barn Kids, but mine cost about $5 versus the Pottery Barn Kids $30 plus shipping.  Woot.

The art over the table couldn't be simpler: it is a cheap ($5) bulletin board for each kid with his/her artwork tacked up.  I found the hanging black frames in the Target Dollar Spot and simply framed each of their initials, to create a mini art-gallery for each babe.  It is so easy to switch out art and this helps answer the question of what to do with all that artwork that your child brings home from school.

I found this corner armoire on Craigslist a few years ago.  It's great for what we need and was a steal at $40.  We have the TV for us and for workout DVDs when the kids are in bed.  I bought the red bins on the bottom at Ikea and we store coloring books in them.  The top basket (from Pottery Barn about 10 years ago) keeps a few small items out of view.  Those silver mesh containers to the right are actually laundry baskets from Ikea.  I use them to hold the kids' big cardboard bricks that the kids love but that take up so much space (and anyone my age will probably say OMG! I totally had those bricks!)

Finally, this is the grown-up chair and ottoman.  The chair is an Ikea Tullsta chair, which I found on Craigslist for about $30.  The ottoman is an old faux leather ottoman from Target that the cat destroyed, but my sweet friend Liz made the adorable ottoman cover for me. I bought a couple of inexpensive pillows at Ikea to match the transformed ottoman.  My DIY copy cat Pottery Barn Typography art hangs on the wall here.  As you can see, I carried the Cubical storage and fabric drawers to this side of the room too. What can I say - we now have cars-trucks-trains and dolls-dollhouses-Barbies in one space.  So far, they peacefully coexist.

There you have it!  If you have any toy organization quandaries, please pass them our way.  We *love* to organize!  I'll close this post with a Sesame Street-esque ending: this playroom brought to you today by the stores Target and Ikea and the website Craigslist.  Ha.

See you swoon,


  1. The playroom looks great. I especially love the bulletin boards for artwork.

    Goo Gone will remove crayon. I had to de-crayon a bunch of furniture over winter break (grrr....). It's probably not the most environmentally friendly stuff, but it was so nice to wipe away crayon from two tables, a chair, and the wall.

  2. Jennie, thanks for the tip! I have since switched over to all washable art products, which are terrific, but there are a handful of regular crayon stains on the table and on the wall next to the table that I'd love to remove.

  3. I will be waiting for the chalk label tutorial! We have the same cubicals and fabric drawers in our play room, and I *heart* your chalk labels. Yay for organized toys :)

  4. Swoon:
    I like your style.It is a kid friendly playroom, organized and easy to reach each toy from the cubes.
    Where did you buy the large (many cubes)and small (6 cubes) bookcases, are those wood,plywood? It is very difficult to find horizontal bookcases.
    Thank you