Mera’s House: Playroom Before & After

The playroom is done!  For real this time (sorry about the ghost post last week, email subscribers)!  To recap, here is where we started:

Red House West || Playroom

Okay, so this was when the room was going through a particularly awkward/heinous phase.  It wasn’t always this bad, but during the holidays last year we realized that we needed the space to function both as playroom, and as an occasional guest room when we have lots of family visiting.  We cobbled it together, but the room was a chaotic, rumpled mess.  Definitely not a welcoming retreat for weary travelers, nor a space to spark the imagination of a preschooler.  Fast forward five months, through drywall repair, painting (the prettiest pale peach shade), wallpapering, and changing out fixtures, outlets, and switches, and here is what it looks like now:

Red House West || Playroom

When I think of playrooms, antique Persian rugs don’t typically jump to mind, but this rug totally makes the room.  It came from my father-in-law’s childhood home, and was in our living room for a while.  As it was in our living room, it’s too big for this room and curls up on the edges, but I think that adds to the magic.  To me it looks like the secret room you would stumble into when the back of the antique wardrobe you’re hiding in gives way.

The element I’m most proud of in this room is the playhouse.  It is a simple piece of plywood, with a caster on the bottom, attached to the wall with a piano hinge (I’ll be sharing details on how we made it soon).

Red House West || Playroom

It’s painted with chalkboard paint and folds flat against the wall, or can be pulled out so that Opal can play store or house, or do puppet shows, or whatever she can think of.  Turns out a lot of imaginary scenarios are made better and more fun by the addition of a window.


Red House West || Playroom

The daybed is from Land of Nod, and is really really useful in this room.  Having a bed for guests was a must, but it’s also nice to have a cozy perch for reading together, and it makes for comfortable theater seating for the audience at puppet shows.

Red House West || Playroom

Behind the daybed hangs a thrifted miniature painting.  It’s tiny, only 3×4, but the details knock me out, and the colors are just right.

Red House West || Playroom

The curtains are lovely, light, and informal.  I’ve never had a room with matching drapes of any kind, and I suddenly feel like I get it — they really do tie the room together.

Red House West || Playroom

Katie helped me hang the wallpaper during her last visit to Alaska (read our tips for wallpapering success here), and I’m still completely in love with it.  It packs a graphic punch, but doesn’t overwhelm the room, and is a great backdrop for Opal’s storytelling performances, which lately usually begin with “back in the olden days . . .”

Red House West || Playroom

Red House West || PlayroomI’ve had the string lights for a while, and I love them.  I like the look of bare bulb fixtures, but they’re usually too harsh for my eyes.  Not these babies.  I have them on a dimmer, and they give off a warm and lovely glow.  I’ll share some tips I learned about how to hang things on wallpaper in another post soon.

Red House West || Playroom

I’m really happy with this room now!  We all spend more time in here, and Opal is often engaged in deep, imaginative play, rather than digging through rubble and rubbish.  I love that the room is clearly a playroom, but isn’t overwhelmed by toys or loud colors or designs, and that Opal’s creativity is the star of the show.

Red House West || Playroom

Winnie is insufficiently impressed that my child wrote “Oprah.”


Thanks for reading along, and in case you’re curious, here are sources:

Daybed, Land of Nod; Mattress Cover, Etsy; Curtains, (print no longer available, but same style) Urban Outfitters; Mural Wallpaper, Anthropologie; Buffalo Check Pillows, Ikea; String Lights, onefortythree; Wall Paint, Peach Fade by Behr.

12 responses on “Mera’s House: Playroom Before & After

  1. Katy Gilmore

    You are not to be surprised when Opal grows up to have the most sophisticated design sense (combined with well-exercised imagination!). What a beautiful space you have made. And the stage set, swinging house, is so very clever, with so much potential (do I see a mailbox to the right?) Well done!

    1. Mera Post author

      You might remember the mailbox as a certain cumbersome package shipped to your house and then hand-carried on the airplane! It makes a perfect spot for storing chalk. Thanks, Katy! 🙂

  2. Carol Bryner

    You’ve done such a good job with the room. The space for creativity lives on! (I remember it when it was another wonderful artistic hub of activity.) All the pattern in there somehow works together to make a cozy and intimate space. Well done!

  3. Meghan

    It was also such a great space to visit and listen to preschoolers playing out in the backyard… I love the totally finished product and am scheming where we could install a similar playhouse (there is a half-used can of chalkboard paint beckoning). Yay for cozy and inviting yet functional rooms!

    1. Mera Post author

      Thanks Meghan! Opal keeps asking when Nico will come over again. “He lives in California” is a pretty abstract concept! xoxo

  4. Donna Matthews

    This beautiful room inspired me when playing with Opal this week. I loved seeing the old dollhouse in there, too, then discovering that the mailbox held the chalk for wall writing and drawing. The room is an unexpected and joyous combination of comfort and decor. If you weren’t my daughter, I’d want to move in and be your daughter!

  5. Brittany @ white dog vintage

    This is a sublime playroom. I shouldn’t speculate, but I just feel I might have been a different, probably better person had I grown up playing on an antique Persian rug. It definitely couldn’t have hurt in any case. The mural is fantastic and I love the pop-out playhouse. Great transformation!

  6. emily

    what a beautiful play space. i just love the way the colors all work together! what an imaginative space…I would want to spend as much time in there as my kids!

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