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Turn a largely unused space into an art and work space for children :DIY Home Decor

Some of you will remember that Sherry talked about grasping in January these wooden chairs by Target on Instagram Stories for “a side project we are working on and which we will share after the bathroom is finished”. And then the bathroom dragged on for a few more months (you can see The finished product and the full budget breakdown here) and somewhere in there This big thing happened to.

While we have been enjoying this completely new room for several months, we are happy to finally share the update with you. So let us show you around and explain why we decided to redesign this room.








Chairs | Drawers | legs | counter | carpet | louvre | similar fairy lights| Wall paint: Behr Irish Mist

The room you are looking at is actually our old guest room that you may remember, as in the picture below. About the time we were thinking about Repeat the middle bedroom in our beach houseWe found that we had exactly the same problem at home: we had an entire room that was only used a few days a year if that was the case. Mostly … not at all.





The large couch in our bonus room doubles as a huge bed, and our friends and family prefer to sleep there because there is a TV and more space to spread out. Therefore our guest room is never really used. We also found that we can always bring our kids together in one of their rooms for a night or two to free up an extra bedroom for guests when we need one (my family always did when she grew up). And when we floated the idea of ​​an art space past our children, they were extremely excited.

So already in January before this whole plan to move to Florida we bubbled and decided to turn this room into a room that was more useful to us every day. And I have to say, since the children’s school was canceled for the rest of the school year (after an official announcement from our mayor yesterday) and they were at our house every day, it was a pretty good time, even if it seems like a strange change, that you need to do before you decide to move. We are so happy that we made it.





In addition to making this space about 500% more functional, some slow-growing sticking points have been eliminated our own home office on the ground floor. We generally loved having our kids’ art room in our office with us, but they definitely outgrew the kid-size desk we had there (and the tiny chairs that were just 20 cm above the floor).





And because the desk and chairs were too small for them (and this space on the wall wouldn’t really support a desk big enough for both with standard size chairs), this meant that their craft and boxing creations were more and more took over more of the space every month. You can see more of the takeover in the highlights of “real life” on Sherry’s Instagram profile.





Does every child or family need their own art space? Nah. But our kids spend a lot of time drawing, cutting, writing, cutting, gluing and somehow cutting more. Taping too. So much taping. And when we found that we basically had an unused room upstairs waiting to be turned into one of the busiest places in our house, it was ridiculously easy to sell the bed to a friend and the side tables on the List Facebook marketplace We had a wonderfully bare room to transform into the room you see below.

With a solid door that we can close to hide the mess (and since this is not the space you see immediately when you enter the house), these additional benefits were great too.









So that’s the thinking process behind this space. Let’s get to the details of how we did it.

The oversized art desk

The number 1 priority was to give them a larger workspace. Our children have been using for eight years A small desk that we made from an old door from our first house. Basically, the desk we made for our daughter when she was one was still strong (she’ll be May 10), but it was cramped to say the least. Even her little brother (who will be 6 next month) often only drew on the floor because there wasn’t much room for two older children to sit down and work together. Imagine a nine-year-old sitting on the left side of this desk …





I can’t say that Sherry didn’t cry a bit when she sold the kids chairs and our handmade desk to a neighbor with younger children (it was surprisingly emotional to see them go), and we met in the new art room upstairs decided Go from wall to wall with a desk. This would give our children a lot of well separated work area (focus on well separated work area) and at the same time create more space and drawer space for dealing with paper, markers and other materials. The basis of our more spacious desk for two would be three of these ALEX drawer units. They come on wheels, but they weren’t big enough to bring the desk to a standard height …





So we hacked them a little bit thanks These $ 20 sets of metal sofa legs. They come in different heights and designs, so we have three sets of 5 “black and just installed where the rolls were. Super easy and it made them the perfect “table height” to work with any kind of regular desk chairs or dining room chairs you may want to use.





We wanted something for the desktop surface:

  • Light (we didn’t want to burden these Ikea parts with real stone)
  • Affordable (duh)
  • Durable (we didn’t want to worry about children messing up – that’s literally the whole purpose of an art space)

The solution turned out to be this synthetic marble laminate worktop sold at Ikea EKBACKEN. I know that “artificial marble” and “laminate” can sound crowning, but we were really impressed when we saw it personally at Ikea.





Actually, our original plan was to get one this solid white version The artificial marble convinced us personally because it looks so good. And it’s $ 20 cheaper each than the all-white option!





We needed two 6-foot pieces to span our three drawer bottoms (they also sell 8-foot pieces, but two 6-foot pieces worked best for our setup). It means we have a seam in the middle, but it’s mostly covered by art objects, and even if it wasn’t, we don’t lose sleep over it. Not a big deal at all.





To secure the countertops, all we had to do was remove some of the top drawers and then screw through the top of the plinths into the bottom of the countertops. Not only does this keep everything in place, it also helps minimize the seam by holding the two parts tightly together.





Here’s another shot of the artificial marble counter so you can get a good idea of ​​what it looks like. We heard from some people after sharing a photo of them at Ikea in IG Stories that some of you used and loved them in your kitchens and offices. In our experience to date, they can be easily wiped off SUPER. Even if the kids draw markings, paint, or glitter glue on them (yes, it happened at least three dozen times), we don’t have to cause stress. Everything wipes off immediately. I don’t think a sharpie would necessarily do this, but gel pens, color and other things come out right away.





The drawers were perfect for fighting arts and crafts, which is why we chose these bases. We grabbed a couple this plastic drawer organizer to keep things separate in each drawer. When we finished the desks in January, our kids had a lot of fun going to Michael and spending part of their Christmas bonus on various supplies to fill their drawers. Googly’s eyes were clearly a must.





Sherry kept most drawer organizers in place with their patented move that is only used Some 3M command bars on the bottom (so they don’t slide around). We also left a few of them free so that they can be lifted out so that the children can put them on the table or floor when they are working on something.

The display area

A fixed point of the previous art space (also known as an office) was our huge DIY cork board. We love to have a place where our children’s artwork can be exhibited, and we know that they value having space to showcase their creations. That is why we decided to move this function to this room too. It just feels good to have everything in one place.





We were considering repeating the same method with huge cork boards (you can see our tutorial here), but we decided to give it a try these $ 15 breadboards We noticed that when we were at Ikea. They were a lucky decision because they do much less damage to the wall and are easy to move – which is suddenly extremely true.





They are available in different sizes and designs, but we thought the cork-colored ones would give the room a nice warmth. They each hang on a rail that is installed behind the top of the board (each requires only two holes), and they have pegs at the bottom that help them float a little off the wall.





You sell too a variety of breadboards (Shelves, hooks, bungees, containers, etc.), but we only packed white clips to show everything.





Speaking of artwork, we decided to repaint the room in a lighter color (Behr’s Irish Mist) just because it was the only dark room in our house, and I think after almost 7 years of that color we were ready for it bright as is the rest of the house. Our favorite rooms always seem to have light walls and colorful art – that definitely made sense here. The children even helped us paint this room! Both did a great job while we were cutting – and we were twice as fast and twice as many hands worked away! We needed a lot more drop cloths, but we lived to tell the story.

The footprint

The most difficult thing to capture in these photos is that we left most of the area completely empty – apart from that this carpet. Since their favorite past time has been to make cities and villas out of boxes, we wanted to give them enough space for that. Or, you know, take on any other activity that needs space to spread.









They tend to build a “box city” for a few days and then start over (you can see some of their creations Here), so we didn’t have much to do when the room was freshly finished. They had turned their attention to making “stuffed animals” for a hot minute by drawing on two pieces of paper that they had cut out and stapled together, and forming a bag that needed to be filled with paper towels to “swell” them do. I think they invented a board game below (the pipe cleaners are the parts or the money, I’m not sure).





We also got some almost matching bean bags from HomeGoods because they also begged for bean bags there. It was remarkably difficult to find good bean bags that didn’t cost hundreds of dollars (I see you at PB teen) but HomeGoods got through in the clutch.









Ours actually had MANY of them and we could get two in the same color / material, although the patterns were slightly different. And they were only about $ 25 apiece. The kids use them a ton, so they’ll definitely come to Florida with us, just like their new desk and chairs. The great thing about not installing anything in this room (you know, nothing is attached to the walls or the floor) = we can take everything with us!

So that’s a little look into the guest room, which has become an art room in our house. It is now used for hours every day, which feels very good considering that we created this space and then said, “We’re moving – ahhhh, should we have left a guest room for resale ?!” The answer is: “Yes, probably”, but luckily we even sold the house with an art room immediately (more on that our home sales process here) – and we printed out an old photo showing that it used to be a guest room to help people imagine a bed there if they wanted to use it that way. All’s well that ends well. Especially if you work in googly eyes somewhere. And Fairy lights. Always fairy lights.

P.S. To see some other child-related projects and spaces we’ve done, there’s one whole archive full of it – and here are a series of handicraft and art projects to.

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