The Den (Playroom) - Before & After
The "den" or the "playroom" or "downstairs" is kind of a giant holding room for leftover furniture, decorations and lots and lots of toys. Not quite a living-room, not quite a basement, maybe we should call it a rec room?
Whatever it is, it's needed some help along the way - and we're not there yet. But, in our painting marathon of October 2012, we did manage to step it up a small notch. Here's what we did:
Exhibit A: BEFORE (looking down)
Believe it or not, this is after MANY improvements and variations. Note the lovely cat food containers (on the mantle) that make *great* storage containers. Just keeping it real. We don't apologize for recycling.
And yes, we have a television in our fireplace. We live in Alabama. We don't need heat.
Exhibit B: AFTER (looking down)
When we did our big painting marathon, we continued the SW Anonymous 7046 color from the kitchen down the big wall where the mantle is, and used the lighter SW Worldly Gray 7043 color (used also in the entryway and my office) on the other three walls and ceiling.
Exhibit C: BEFORE (looking up)
We moved our loveseat and chair from the living room down to the playroom and removed or relocated a few of the bigger toys. The easel was disassembled and turned into a flat chalkboard and dry erase board. The pink chair was moved back to Ayla's bedroom. The tool bench moved up to Paxton's bedroom, the basketball hoop to the garage, and that great big "craft" desk (that was ALWAYS a disaster of papers and markers) was donated to Goodwill.
Exhibit D: AFTER (looking up)
We moved the treadmill and deep freezer over to the less-visible space next to the stairs, which has seemed to work really well (both for convenience and asthetics).
Notice anything else missing? We removed the railing and the carpet on the stairs, which significantly opened up the room. Safe? Probably not to code, but it's working for us, so for now, that's how it stays. Painting the top metal railing the same wall-color as the kitchen helped it disappear, as did painting the door that goes to the garage.
I moved a few of my 12" x 12" frames to the space over the mantle, and with the help of some white spray paint, they pop really well on the dark gray wall. While I was spray painting, I brightened up the wood "Family" sign and several smaller frames to bring some color to the otherwise dark and gray wall of stone:
We didn't ban Ayla from doing crafts entirely, but we significanly down-sized her desk space in the hopes that it would downsize the mess. All her papers and coloring books and art supplies are stored in this cabinet, and she works at the little table next to it. This setup has worked *pretty* well so far. But still, the floor is often covered in papers and markers. You just can't hold an artist back. :)
The room still needs some artwork on the walls, a coffee table, and hopefully wall-to-wall carpet before too long (when we'll probably say goodbye to the area rug). But for now, it's been a step in the right direction -- more living space, less "junk" space.