Q. What is the best way to incorporate storage into the living room so it can be used as a kid’s play room without looking like a day care center? So far I have two large storage ottomans. Any other ideas?
-Christie (Phoenix, AZ)
A. Great question! I am actually tackling this same problem right now for a client who has two kids under the age of three. It is VERY easy to let toddler toys take over your home. One gift at a time, the toys just keep adding up! Eventually you will look around and wonder what happened to your peaceful, organized home.
The storage ottomans you have are a great way to start! If they are upholstered, they serve double duty because they are soft and won’t cause any injuries to your child! There are a lot of great storage options for living rooms. I think the best solution is built in shelving.
Built in storage for your living room. I like that this piece has cabinets down below, which would be accessible to your child while also hiding the toys from view. I also like the lighting that was built in across the top of the unit. This would be great for displaying something beautiful! The flat surface would also be convenient for keeping drinks or other fragile items available to you but out of your child's reach. A contractor in Arizona could build this unit for approximately $2000-3000.
This built in is basically the same storage solution in a much more modern style. This one offers two panels to hid a flat screen tv. I like the gallery style lighting that highlights the wenge finish of the wood. The only thing I would change about this, is that I would extend it from wall to wall. The open space on the end will end up being wasted space that could have served a purpose. Extending it would also avoid that awkward area that most homeowners end up sticking a plant in!
In Arizona, Stone Creek is a great company that can either build custom cabinetry for your home, or cabinetry from their own line. They offer tons of finishes and door styles. This is a very traditional piece from their own line.
If built-in cabinetry isn’t the right solution or is too expensive to solve your living room storage issues, there are a few other options:
Ikea Hemnes storage combination is available for $910. It is available in black/brown (shown), gray/brown, or white. This would be a great storage solution for smaller toys, but would probably still leave some of your bigger toys out in plain view. The drawers might also be dangerous for tiny fingers. They do offer drawer stops that keep drawers from closing on tiny fingers at retailers that sell baby-proofing products.
Ikea Effektiv storage cabinet with doors is $155. I would use this product as shown in the image below.
The Ikea Effektiv Wall Cabinets could be lined up end to end to create storage along one wall (this image shows three - $465 total). They are available in many different finishes and door styles.
Here are some great storage accessories I love:
Brocade Open Bins From Container Store are a very pretty way to store toys!
Target Toy Storage Bins are $19.99 for two.
Here is another idea. The size might be best for a smaller living room or for a play room, but the idea is brilliant! Boston Storage Sofa:
Boston Storage Sofa in bone offers storage under the seating (image below).
This sofa offers storage under the seating! It is available for $629 from Wholesale Furniture Brokers
You can have all the storage in the world and it won’t do any good unless you use it and keep it organized! It is a good idea to rotate toys in and out storage every few months. This keeps the toys fresh and fun and also gives your living space a break from having way too many toys. Don’t be afraid to get rid of or donate toys! If the child hasn’t picked it up in a month, chances are, they won’t miss it!
I recommend have the whole family take 10 minutes before bed every night to get everything back in its place. This is also great for toddlers because sorting objects helps them with their development. Put on some music and make it a fun experience for the whole family. If you get into this habit, you will get to wake up to an organized home every day!
I hope some of these ideas will help you find a home for each and every toy!