Previous Post Next Post


Brought to you by

Playroom Makeover

By Monica Bielanko |

Pssst... Wanna see my playroom? Keep reading.

This summer we made the big cross-country move from Utah to Pennsylvania. We rented a big, old farmhouse (sight unseen!) that was built in 1902.

This house is amazing. UH-mazing. It’s huge. For the first couple of weeks I actually kept taking wrong turns and getting lost. The downside? Lots of ratty old carpet and some pretty horrific wallpaper. One room has something like seven layers of wallpaper. Not kidding.

Because we’re renters, we don’t want to do anything hardcore. But the landlords have pretty much given us carte blanche to take up carpet, rip down wallpaper and paint. All of which doesn’t cost very much if you do it yourself.

So we’ve updated the bathroom a little, then moved onto our living room. We recently decided to transform what was at first my office into a playroom. I realized we were making parenting super difficult by not having a place to dump the kids when we become overwhelmed. And let me tell you, having a designated play area makes all the difference. The room has two entrances, both of which have doors so we can lock the kids inside and we can’t even hear the Dora The Explorer theme song! Plus, when the room is a dump, which it usually is, you can just shut the doors and ignore it while you have a glass of wine for the evening.

So, I didn’t really take any before photos although you can kind of see the room in the background in this photo… But the room had dark wood-paneled walls, the horrible seventies kind and then that one wall, which you can see in the photo had wallpaper along the top half.  The room also has some old Berber carpeting. We kept the carpeting because I prefer carpeting for a playroom and baby’s tender head and hopefully soon we can replace it. But for now we focused on painting and decorations.

Now listen — this isn’t some fancy-schmancy situation here. This is something we whipped up over the course of two days. So wipe those HGTV scenarios and glossy magazine spread-type images out of your head right now. This is pretty basic, but I’m happy with what we’ve done although I’d love new carpet.

Check it out!

nggallery id=’112714′

Playroom Makeover

Wide View

This is the view from one end. The wall to the left was completely dark wood-paneled so we painted it a darker blue. Then, on the other wall, we painted the paneling white to emphasize the wainscoting. Where the wallpaper used to be we painted a slightly lighter shade of blue. That far door over there on the left opens onto a small foyer containing a staircase and a second door that leads to our living room. You can see the old Berber carpet... and the fact that both dogs favor this room to all others.

More on Babble

About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

« Go back to Baby

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, profile photo and other personal information you make public on Facebook (e.g., school, work, current city, age) will appear with your comment. Comments, together with personal information accompanying them, may be used on and other Babble media platforms. Learn More.

11 thoughts on “Playroom Makeover

  1. NicoleR says:

    Commenting based on your post on your blog. I suggest getting yellow curtains with a more “Serge acceptable” color as the liner. You’ll be glad for the lined curtains in the winter & this way you both win!

  2. Jill says:

    The rug is my favorite thing in the room. I agree that cheerful yellow curtains was the way to go.

  3. Nicole says:

    I have to ask, where did you get the *jail* from? I have been searching for one of those for my daughter (who likes to open gates…) to keep her out of trouble.

  4. Laura B says:

    I love what you’re doing with your home and wanted you to know it inspired me to finally make my own. Dooce has the most amazing rooms but good holy hell who can afford them?

    I’m raising two beautifully expensive teens alone on a secretary salary so I’ve got a deeply limited budget. I figured I couldn’t do *anything* but finally got the nerve to make some changes to because I saw what you were doing. Consignment and thrift stores are working wonders and we love it now.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  5. Jacqueline says:

    I think your playroom is wonderful. Toddlers are messy beings. Why put anything BUT thrift and used items in it until they’re older? I think it’s nice to have a designated space for them where they can be themselves.

    Also, my children are mostly grown and while I don’t watch television I’ve always allowed them to watch it and I don’t see the harm. As adults they spend very very little time in front of it. As toddlers it was a lifesaver sometimes and in my opinion sane Mom equals happy family.

  6. Megg says:

    Little changes can make a big difference. I love the blue on the walls. So much nicer than that cloying wood paneling!

  7. Melissa H says:

    Love what you are doing! It all looks fabulous – and I love how it is all realistic. While I love the fancy shmancy HGTV stuff – it’s all intimidating and way over our budget. I adore the rug THIS MUCH, and also was very surprised at how reasonable the canvas art was – I had always figured it was rather pricey to do that.

  8. Shan says:

    Would you consider a bare floor?

    I recently moved into a rental and took up the old carpet and underlay and painted it all with a heavy (outdoor porch) paint. It works well.

  9. s.buzzella says:

    this picture says ” I LOVE JAIL SO MUCH IMA EAT IT!!!” :) So stinkin cute!!!

  10. kelly says:

    Awesome room! Although I love Target as well, it can be a little expensive. I’ve found that Ross, TJMaxx and Marshall’s has a lot of things you can find at Target, for almost half the price.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

Previous Post Next Post

The Daily Babble