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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Refined Entryway Playroom Tudor

If one could have a ‘spirit room’ then I’ll go ahead and say this is my ‘demon room’. That didn’t come out right, but the point is this room is just so challenging in function, layout and now in style. Let’s revisit the past and catch you up to speed on this embarrassment of a space.

When we first bought the house, it looked like this:

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It was right off the entry and close to the kitchen. So we knew once we opened it up to the kitchen we would have this amazing flow and visibility (especially with two small kids). But it made the architecture tricky and I’m sure someone could point out a million things we did wrong. By doing this we were able to get a proper powder room (that you didn’t have to go through a hall to access) and more importantly mom visibility from the kitchen to the playroom (as if I cook and as if they play without us …. although keep reading).

But then we were like ‘WAIT, WHERE THE EFF DO WE WATCH TV?’ The living room has no proper TV wall that doesn’t totally dictate an awkward layout (see our first post, here). So fine, this would be a little den/playroom.

We painted it navy because that’s cozy and fun.

Neustadt 007 Neustadt 008 Neustadt 017

It looked pretty awful and jarring, mostly because of the awkward architecture and its location in the house (all the furniture and rugs were just leftover and obviously not designed to exist here).

So we repainted and attempted to design it as a tv room/den with toy storage.

Emily Henderson Modern English Cottage Tudor Family Room 02

It’s not bad, but not good. I love the sofa, rug (vintage), curtains (well the window curtains) and lighting but because it was so long and narrow, it still couldn’t be laid out in a way that made it look good AND functional.

Emily Henderson Modern English Cottage Tudor Family Room 03

We had those leftover curtains from a different room so I had our handyman install them here and while it was kinda awesome to be in a little cozy theater room, it begged the question – do we need a little theater room?

It felt heavy and made the room feel smaller. Sure it hid the TV but it was annoying and the jump rings would get caught on the rod because the weight of the blackout was just too much for that function.

Family Room 5 Of 51

It was neither a proper play room or a proper TV room. It was a long narrow room with an awesome sofa and a bunch of toy storage.

04 20 17 Updates 9

It worked and man, that sofa is cozy but it didn’t look good. Plus our kids aren’t allowed to watch TV during the week (listen, we have full-time childcare, if we didn’t it would be different, trust me) so seeing it became a battle. Around that same time we bought the mountain house, which doesn’t have a tv and guess what? Those little addicts forgot about their favorite thing in the world. The option was taken away and instead, sticks from the trees, a janky ‘stream’ and a lot of other activities distracted them from their one true love.

The first few months up there they didn’t even ASK for a ‘show-just-one- little-show’. So we were convinced. Up there they had a huge playroom with a lot of fun blocks to climb on, legos, puzzles, bean bags … it was a room totally dedicated to them and GOOD GOD-IN-EARLY-CHILDHOOD-HEAVEN, they played. The two of them would just play. Keep themselves busy. We’d be in the dining room drinking coffee, reading the paper (and by paper i mean magazine) or in the living room hanging out with other parents. Sure, our mountain house is way bigger than our current house and obviously it’s ideal to have a dedicated playroom, a dedicated living room and a dedicated TV den. But that’s not our house so we had to make some decisions.

We finally decided to remove the TV from this room and turn it into a dedicated playroom for the kids. Ironically, around the same time I was (and am) the spokesperson for the most beautiful TV on the planet. Don’t worry, the mountain house will have one, but I literally don’t have the wall space to put it in our current house. You can’t put a 65″ TV in this room and our living room has huge windows on both sides – sad story, I know.

This is the evolution of this stupid room (and I KNOW you are curious if we have a TV at all … stay tuned). It’s long, and has a weird architectural change 1/2 way through on the walls and ceiling. I designed it to be more of a ‘tv room’ so the sconces, drapes and too-big semi-flush fixture aren’t exactly ‘kid’.

And now that the sofa and tv are removed, the big question is HOW do I design this room?

Here’s where we are now – not designed but turned into a playroom.

Kid Safe Vintage Sophisticated Rug Playroom

If I were a normal person I’d be done. The color is pretty, the rug is soft and TOTALLY kid-friendly (plus a 1″ memory foam underneath) and the drapes are nice (although architecture above doesn’t have proper rain drainage thus making the curtain rods fall out of the wall). The kids are happy and frankly I have a lot of other things to design or do right now  – including hanging out with my kids here or organizing a drawer nearby while they play.

But then I’m reminded that not only am I a content creator and designing this playroom is good for traffic, but many of you have awkward spaces and maybe me designing mine will somehow help you design yours.

Kids Sophisticated Playroom Makeover Open Floor Plan

First off, we are set with kids play furniture. The art table is awesome and Birdie spends an alarming amount of time drawing. The cubby and drawer set is genius because the drawer hides the random things, the cubbies are easy for them to access and clean up. As a super experienced mom of 4 years (ha) I’ve learned that kids need to see their toys in order to get the idea to play with them (a couple of you readers actually clued me into this). Additionally, a few books that I’ve read about having your kids help you with chores mentioned cubbies or open baskets opposed to drawers or cabinets because it’s easy for them to successfully put things away.

Emily Henderson Playroom Makeover Progress

The dollhouse is from Target, and while I LOVE IT, for now, it will remain up there until they request to play with it because Charlie mostly destroys every eclectic, modern but traditional room that I create. And if you think I don’t have a sh*t ton of dollhouse furniture, including wine glasses, hat racks, pots/pans, throw pillows, and even fly swatters …  you are dead wrong.  My dollhouse is PIMPED. While I’m trying to brainwash the importance of style and decor into my kid’s heads, Charlie finds it far more fun to “rearrange” with his bat mobile. The truth is they need a ‘doll’. They don’t want to decorate, they like to put PJ mask in there and pretend he’s napping, etc. So I think Birdie is too young and Charlie is in a more destructive phase.

But she sure looks nice, no?

Open Floor Plan Kitchen Playroom Circa Lighting Pendent Tudor Style Home

The relationship to the kitchen is pretty awesome. The whole floor is just so open  – we can be in living, dining or kitchen and still keep an eye on our kiddos.

Traditional Tudor Playroom Makeover

They are obviously happy with it, but I think we all know it could be better.

Playroom Beanbag Art Table Sophisticated

One of the challenges is the fact that there is a jut out and the arch is not quite in the middle. It makes you want to divide the space or do something with that architecture instead of fighting it, BUT WHAT?

Here is the one thing I have planned and already ordered – a big graphic navy and white ship mural with Charlie and Elliot’s names on the boats.


I bet you didn’t see that one coming. I didn’t really either. I saw it on the same site that I got my green forest mural in Elliot’s first room and I fell in love. I reached out and due to the success of their prior gifting to be on this site, they said they’d customize the color and add the kid’s names. GREAT.

Kids Names

We chose a navy blue. It was shipped from Europe in 2 weeks and then I was like …. wait … is this the best thing to do?

This was also during a dark period for me on social media where I felt like THE ONLY things that were hitting were things that were graphic, clean and poppy in blues and whites. As more and more people post other peoples stunning work, it leaves those of us who really just try to put our own work on our feed feeling a little down. That’s a whole other conversation, but my reaction to it was to basically make sure that I design with social media in mind – and incorporate the colors, styles and patterns that I know will HIT.

Now, part of this is disgusting and upsetting – that so-called ‘creativity’ is being dictated (or altered) to appease millions of strangers. But then the other part is that it pushes me to take risks and not be safe. The patio tile (AMERICA’S PATIO) cost me $8k + install and I didn’t want to spend the money but I did because I kept telling myself ‘this is worth it both for your family, resale and business’. I knew that the tile would ‘hit’ on social and BOY HAS IT. In fact we joke in the office that when the algorithm has got us down and a photo that would have gotten 15k likes now gets 2500, someone shouts – “put up a patio shot stat!!” 8 out of the top 20 most liked instagram posts had that patio tile in view.

For the record I would and will NEVER do something in my home just for ‘likes’. But knowing that a more interesting or riskier design element will likely garner new followers and more ‘like’s (thus breaking the algorithm) is certainly not out of my brain when designing these days.

The problem with the mural is then what happens on the other walls?

Schoolhouse Electric Silver Floor Lamp Playroom Bean Bag

It’s hard. I’m stumped. Twenty-seven year old Emily wouldn’t care and would have made it look kinda cool regardless because houses are quirky. Thirty-three year old Emily would have customized it to be PERFECT. Now 38-year-old Emily is not convinced we should do anything and wait til the kids need change.

But it’s content… and if I’m going to do anything I may as well make it as cute as possible.

So thoughts? Feelings? This room is THE WORST so how do I make it the best?

*right now I’m planning on going for the mural then seeing how I feel because it’s great content even if it’s weird. 

***Progress Photos by Sara Tramp for EHD

  1. Love your tricky spaces, your honesty and your process!

  2. For the love of awkwardly shaped rooms, I’m enjoying watching this play out. Also, I appreciate that it looks like the Charlie ship is coming to rescue the Elliot ship in the mural. Just don’t take the nautical theme overboard.

  3. You are right! Didn’t see that coming but love it! Dollhouse commentary–ha! 🙂

    My brain wants something linen-esque on the other walls. Full plain subtle linen look wallpaper, some type of i-dont-know-the-term for framed fabric panels, something textural but subtle is what my amateur gut says. OR large black and white family photos. Not portraits, but photojournalistic photos that are in high contrast black and white.

    Or a ship steering weel and wooden telescope and a porthole and a periscope? Too themey? 🙂 Kids would love it!

  4. I think the mural will look cool. I’d add a good chair for a grownup to sit in that could get pulled up to the art/lego table because at some point you or a grandma will want to do that. I think that end by the windows would make a great stage if your kids are in to costumes, music and dancing. When not in use for that, you could put the art table up there or something else that isn’t too hard to move.

    1. I like the idea of adding a comfy adult seating area to this room and that might be good use of the arched area by the windows. Not anything that would use that entire space, but one really comfy chair in a non-neutral color (like the color of the couch that you’ve since removed) and that will help define that space as well as draw your eye to the distant part of the room.

      I also like the idea of the mural because I think it will help define the room and give it a stronger sense of purpose rather than come off as just being a room that the kids are using for now.

    2. I love the idea for a stage in the window nook. I think it’s a great use of the space, to give it some purpose and definition. And you can hang the curtains right up behind the arch so that it looks like a real theater 🙂

      1. yes! stage nook! such a good idea

        1. What an imaginative idea! If anyone could pull this off it would be you! I love the mural too.

        2. Maybe you can make the stage top liftable so that you can store toys underneath. That would be awesome!

          I’m not really into that mural, to be honest. But then again I’m not a nautical person. I feel its too specific and I would get tired of it. I’d love to see a different mural or some exciting wallpaper.

          Also, have you thought about having fun with the ceiling? We have a white-walled playroom with tons of colorful art, but my favorite part is the silver sunburst stickers we put on the ceiling. They are so playful. When I lay on the floor with the kids – which happens a lot – I love looking up at them. It gives the room tons of personality without sacrificing the view from other rooms. We have two year old twins and we basically live in our playroom. It might be my favorite room in the house. It’s worth designing something you’ll love!

    3. I 100% agree with comfy adult seating. My older son’s room is lacking in this department, and it makes it a bummer to hang out in there with him. It might also help balance all the smaller, kid furniture.

  5. Maybe it needs a smallish poker/game table with club chairs, could even throw in a bar cabinet/area. It could still have space for the kids to have their playspace and some of their play things. The mural would work and give it a lounge feel and helps to get something on the walls without having to find the right scale and placing of other artwork. Since there’s virtually nothing on the walls now, it looks a bit empty especially since all the furniture is kid sized.

  6. Do it! I love that you take risks and not every room you design is “California-cool-neutral”. Don’t get me wrong, I love some all-white, sunny California homes, but some of us live in row homes in D.C. and need to see some other options! 🙂

    1. Yes! This room’s layout reminds me so much of my awkward row house rooms.

  7. If it was me, I would not do the beautiful mural here (in a play house, one day?) and instead get a big piece of framed photography/artwork/poster to fill the space (with plastic in place of glass if you’re worried). Or maybe frame parts of the mural as overscale artwork? Can the kids table go in front of the windows? A wall of framed E&C artwork that you can swap out as they make more could go above the cubby storage. The framed art (professional and kids) will make it seem more grown up on the walls, even while the stuff in there is actually “kid.” If it was me, I would probably pick art that related to the rest of the house for the wall that is visible from the kitchen. I use baskets to house almost all of our kids toys (such as those blocks), which would break up the white furniture. Do you need all of that storage, or can you consolidate/relocate some toys to a bedroom? I say all of this and my house looks nowhere as lovely as yours 🙂 Look forward to seeing what you do as it will be great no matter what you choose.

  8. Please don’t play it safe! I read your blog because you come up with things that no one else does. Of course we all love blue and white, but we can find that anywhere.

  9. I appreciate that you’re a designer and all, but honestly, lately it just seems that it’s all about content. Just make the decision as a mom and deal. I know this is your business but life isn’t always about what creates the most hits on instagram or brings the most revenue. Make choices from your mom gut and let the world deal with it.

    1. Agreed 100% with Jess and Jenn. We come on here because we want to see the way YOU design, not the way you think we want you to design just so we’ll like or comment on a post. Please, please stop making decisions for likes or so it will pop on Instagram. This is the 2nd or 3rd post in as many weeks where you reference this exact same conundrum, and I think it’s time for you to take a step back and realize you are in too deep. This is a playroom. Keeping it lighthearted and designing a space that’s ideal for your kids to play in and that stokes their creativity should absolutely be the #1 goal, likes and social media content a very distant second.

    2. Agree. I know the blog is your primary business, but I don’t like removing the fourth wall. I like pretending that you’re just another mom (with a lot more resources than I am) making her house look as good as she can in creative and problem-solving ways. Maybe that’s an unrealistic expectation, but it takes the blog from relateable (earlier in your career) to aspirational (more recently) to can’t-relate-to-this-world-at-all.

      1. PS I like the mural. But then, my whole house is blue and white and charcoal gray overboard (ha!), so what do I know.

      2. I feel the same. I just wanted to be inspired by your designs and not worry about Instagram likes

    3. I think that being a mom, designer and yes ‘content creator’ who is often racked with indecision is pretty fun content to both create and read. It’s a fun process for all of us (well, I guess most of us). 🙂

      1. Yeah, I really like you talking about content creation and “likes.” It feels more genuine to me.

        1. It’s the new kind of relatable I think, being honest about it being a business. So many lifestyle bloggers are like ‘ooooh, I just threw this together, whatevs lol”. When in reality it’s a totally sponsored & planned post that took days to plan.

  10. Reading your posts about your challenges with designing is so liberating. It isn’t easy even for professionals! I love the drama of the mural, but I think I would get tired of it after a year. Is it easy to take down? Kids move through stages so quickly and the room’s needs will change too.

    1. I fear that, too but yes all wallpaper these days are easy to take down so I kinda figured I could take the risk then see what happens…

  11. I 100% vote for the mural. Will be so fun to catch a glimpse of that from the kitchen, and I can’t wait to see you design the room around it.

  12. Not sure about the battle theme of the mural. How about a library wallpaper with classic children’s books, past and present and small doorway overlooking a garden (is there such a thing?)
    I hear you about awkward rooms. Our tract house living room is 10’ wide. Really. The room would make a wonderful home office or homework center down the road. Or a home theatre (the live kind) with left over drapes hung across the arch, creating a stage.

    1. Ooh, i like the idea of a library wallpaper too …. hmm… and stage – yes!!

    2. A stage! Such a great idea!

    3. Yes, I agree! Not sure I would want the War of 1812 on my walls (and I also worry it will read too dark in there — like the navy walls before it). (Of course, I’m also a nay-sayer on the dark walls in the cabin – sorry!)

      Library paper — or if you are going to do a mural in there, I would prefer something like the one in Birdie’s room, which would add brightness to the room…

  13. MURAL! It’s going to look amazing. I love it. And for the record, I’m 38.

  14. I want you to try the mural because I (selfishly) just really wanna see it and because I have a million spaces that are weird and I don’t know what to do with and seeing you try and figure your space out helps, if only in the “you are not alone” sense. Also, I promise to like more pics in the future – I always real life like them, but forget that businesses need me to actually double tap 😘

  15. I’d be interested in a get-the-look link-up (loving the rug and the huge white storage furniture). Ifff this were my space, I’d stop putting large wood furniture in front of the window (the soft kid chairs are fine), I’d swap out the wall fixtures (love the ceiling one though), and I’d choose a more peaceful mural. To me, it looks like the ships are at war with each other and that the Charlie ship is trying to kill the Elliot ship. Going to go tackle my own albatross room now, a tiny dark room that should be a craft and guest room but is currently a storage locker…

    1. Addedum: Ifffff this were my room and I had unlimited time or money, then I’d paint the kid kitchen white, so that it blends more with the other furniture in the room and feels less visually heavy (I’d leave the kid carpentry table natural though).

      1. Interesting … i like the kitchen as is, but i see your point. I am honestly SUPER sensitive to anything that has any negative or violent conotation and never thought of that with this! I’ll have a second look but I really love it …

        1. I’m shocked that you didn’t see that! It’s the first thing I noticed. It’s a depiction of a battleships shooting cannons at each other, so people are most definitely suffering and dying inside the imaginary world of this mural. I read your post a few weeks back where you referenced kung fu panda bringing out the fighting instinct in Charlie and this is like…a million times more violent than that and in their faces all day! It’s too much. If you want to use it to garner controversy and page clicks then sure, but it’s going up in your kids playroom, too….it seems like an easy decision to me.

          1. Yes, me too. I noticed that the mural is depicting two ships fighting, with cannon smoke, immediately. Also, the BIG ship has Charlie’s name while the LITTLE ship has Eliot’s, also subtly (or not so subtly) misogynist: I really wasn’t trying to read anything into it but it jumped out at me. If the ships did not have names on them then it would not be so bad. But despite all that: if I were to use this mural I’d consider using it at the lake house play room in a larger, brighter space. Even with the lighter (than the original) color on the mural, it still has a great amount of contrast which to me is the achilles heel of this room and why it hasn’t worked well yet. This is a dark room and that narrow shape doesn’t help the light carry through. I would keep the walls light, neutral, and warmer so that the color itself encourages more light bouncing around. I am not a big fan of “yellow” colors but a warm white/pale ochre of some sort is probably where I’d go with all the walls. Some more soft furnishings (a chair or small love seat as others have said), pillows, and smaller storage pieces. I’d try concentrating the furniture pieces more on the ends rather than right in the middle of the narrow part of the room to maximize the open feeling of the space and balance it out. You can do it!

        2. I thought the mural scene was your playful way of depicting sibling rivalry,

        3. I’m a mom of preschool boy and he would DEFINITLEY make that battle ship scene his play-inspiration…. He’s very sensitive to when people seem mad or are fighting…

          Just a thought but what if you took down the arch and opened up more of the wall between the entry and the play room? Yes it helps hide mess but the room would seem less skinny without it.

        4. I totally agree about the violence in the mural! It speaks of battleships (not travelling ships; and then, with the kids’ names on those battleships?? Yikes! Ha! They’re probably French vs. English battleships fighting. Too funny.

    2. I thought it was a bit violent too (though I’m not sure what an acceptable level of violence would look like 😉 ). I think something more serene for a kids room, they will create their own excitement and don’t need the added help. I think as it is so open to the rest of the house a large fun painting/print that appeals to adults and kids.

  16. Play rooms are tough! I love that you’re adding the mural… can’t wait to see how it looks. My only thoughts are to maybe add some more whimsical lighting (i.e. switch the sconces to some vintage tole ones in brass or painted navy)? Also, some shelving near your soft seating for books?

  17. I cannot imagine what it’s like to live in your work as you do. I tried some house style blogging for a while but it made me crazy. I wasn’t able to just relax at home in the same way, my blog To-Do list was so visible. I am so impressed by your determination and drive.

    I suppose I’d get rid of the bean bag/stuffed chairs and get some beautiful upholstered comfortable real ones and the kids are just about big enough to climb into them. And do something with the walls. I like the murals, but, I don’t think I’d like to have them in my house for more than about 30 days. Too much for peace. Again, I am impressed that you can live so visibly especially when being visible these days means “popping” off a little limited-pixel screen.

  18. Hi Emily! I have never commented before, or on any site for that matter. I don’t know why I feel the need to this time. I’ll start by saying that I am a designer,and I love following your work. I immediately loved the mural when I saw it! And I love the fact that the “old world” vibe of it ties into the rest of your home. It’s also playful, while still being grown up in some weird “ fancy library kind of way”. To answer your question about the other walls…the wall adjacent to the mural wall (where the beanbag is), I would hang a simple clock, or maybe lean a tall ladder or some kind of leaning book holder…right now it looks like the kids books are just stacked. Besides that, the only other wall that would seem to be an issue is the wall across from the mural. You could either hang a big cool graphic that has a special saying on it(like a phrase your family lives by).. curt cobain has a few awesome ones! Ha!
    Or you could incorporate a taller piece of furniture there to fill the wall space…something fun, or vintage…idk—-
    Sorry this was long…I guess my point was, the mural is awesome, your windows are awesome, and so I don’t feel like you need too much else. Also I don’t think the room is stupid. I think it is unique! Basic is worse!!

    1. Thank you … i always LOVE hearing ideas from other designers. Part of me wants to GO FOR IT and the other part of me wants to keep it calm. But then I actually think that mural is calm …. ha.

  19. I love the mural and I think it will be amazing. But for the rest – can I suggest COLOUR. I know you’ve said repeatedly that you have a chaotic life and therefore you want your home to be more soothing, but surely this is one place you could go colourful, particularly on that wall that is not visible from outside the room (the one opposite the sofa). You can also go colourful on the furniture items (either getting new ones or painting the ones you already have).
    Maybe it’s not that blue posts get more social media traffic than “neutrals” ones, but that people are craving colour . I’ve commented a few times, and I know others have too, that I miss the range of colours you used to do. Enough with the various shades of dark blue and pale pink – there’s a whole rainbow of other non-cream, non-grey colours out there. And this is the perfect place to do it! (Ideally before rollling out said colours on a more widespread basis…).

    1. I definitely want to bring in some more color, too. Do I want to start all over in the room? Not necessarily but if i can repurpose or donate the things I’m not using then it won’t feel as wasteful….

  20. The Frame TV comes in 55″ too which may be better for your room.

  21. Hi Emily. I know it’s easy for me to say being a social media nobody, but I think you should be inspired by the playroom and feel free to be more *playful* in the design of the space. I love the mural and think it will be amazing and fun and dynamic. And if it isn’t the 100%-best-thing-that-could-have-possibly-gone-here-in-the-history-of-the-world-ever, who cares! It’s fun and it’s for your kiddos. And stuff like that can change when it’s time to change.

    As a designer myself, I know how easy it is to get “in your head” about ALL the choices. I really have to force myself to take a step back and say, it’s just design! If it’s not fun it will feel forced and forced design looks worse than “loose but imperfect” design IMHO.

    TLDR: darn the torpedoes, full mural speed ahead! 🙂

    1. THANK YOU. I agree (well, i’m conflicted but the fun person inside me is like – GO FOR IT AND SEE)

      1. Yes! Go for it and see! Leave it up for a year or so and just let it influence whatever else you do next.
        I have been a fan of yours since you were on HGTV and rooted for you to win. I also had your TV series saved for years and would watch certain episodes over and over just for the fun of it.
        Go for it Emily, let your free spirit shine through❣

      2. Or…accept that you didn’t notice the battleship (as in violence and fighting) element and ….let it go. Or cut a small part out, say, the ship with his name on it, frame it and put it in Charlie’s room?
        Nothing wrong with saying, “Oops! Made a mistake.”

  22. This is totally an opportunity to create a post (or series) of posts about working with what you have in an awkward space. So many of your readers are stuck with rooms they can’t change architecturally, and don’t have access to trades for custom designs and I, for one, would love to see you design a play room for your kids using solely Target and/or Ikea pieces, while still making it beautiful. I love the mural but worry about it upsetting the look of the rest of the house if you put in on the wall visible from the entry. Could you instead hang it on the former tv wall?

  23. where is the cubby/drawer set from?

    1. it’s from pottery barn kids and has just been linked in the post xx

  24. Can’t wait to see how this plays out! I would swap the storage bins ( sans the dollhouse on top) and drawing table around; the visibility in to the room increases and then the mural is on the interior wall instead of visible to the whole house.

  25. We’re dealing with a similarly awkward room at the moment, and the way I’m handling it is to create zones. Ours is our study/library/studio so we have the work zone (with a desk, and filing cabinet), a music zone (where our record console and records go), a reading zone (we’re adding built-ins and a comfy chair), and an art zone. This makes the room sound much larger than it is, but it’s really just about squeezing a lot of function out of a completely worthless space. Our renovation just started yesterday, but I’m optimistic that it’s going to save a room that is by far the weirdest space I’ve ever seen.

    Similarly you could create zones for a play room. Are you at all familiar with the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy? They call their classroom the “third teacher” and create spaces for learning exploration. A building zone, an art area, etc. Perhaps breaking the room into parts will make it easier to arrange. In my experience keeping the color palette consistent keeps things from looking too chaotic.

    I love the mural! I would totally do that. One question though…is the texture of your walls an issue? I can see it looking really cool and old world, but can it be removed without completely destroying the wall?

  26. Um, those ships are FIGHTING with one another-it’s not something calm, like a sailboat race!
    In Feng Shui terms, it will translate to your kids being at odds with one another while they are in that room. I’d not put it up just for that reason but hey.
    That’s just me.
    I like the idea of the art area facing in to the room with the windows behind
    ( really using that natural light) and the the little kitchen on the art wall.
    Bring some furniture forward into the room , maybe?
    Don’t do the furniture ’round the outside wall thing.
    Yes, kids need space to play blocks/house/etc. but you don’t have to leave the entire room bare in the middle to achieve that.

    I’m a teacher of kids with special needs. In my school room design, I use as little wall decor as possible, real art, and real plants. And lots of blue :))) My SpEd kinder and first graders ( there are 12 this year) need as little distraction as possible in order to concentrate on whatever they are doing. I’d keep this in mind as you design/decorate for your kids-while a nature type mural may be fun, plain walls may be better for their brains at this stage of life.

    1. I second this. There will be a ton of color and movement brought into the room by toys, books, and artwork.

      1. I mean, a ton of color and movement *even without* adding a “statement” piece or mural.

  27. So my first thought was ‘whoa!’ at the black and white ships but i really like the more subtle navy as it goes with the decor, style and age of the home. Obviously, adding your kids names is a sweet touch. Functionally and frankly for our sanity, I think a kids room is a great idea. I would love to see you perfect it. I also think that maybe because of its proximity to the front door, I wouldnt want my visitors to be stepping on leggos and shopkins. But it is private enough. So not sure if that is helpful. If you love it, go for it, you will be the one looking at it all day!

  28. Could you reuse the curtains and hang them close to the windows, behind the architectural piece and make either a stage area (with the rug being where the ‘audience’ would be) or create a reading nook back there? The curtains would need to be lighter to work, but something along that lines? And then you could do the mural still and float the crafts table or put in it against the wall as needed?

    Good luck!

    1. I had a stage in my basement growing up, and can confirm it was the greatest thing ever of all time.

      1. ooh, interesting and i’m listening….

  29. What about 2 pretty chairs by the window? That could be the adult part of the room. The rest would be the play room. Is the white bookshelf bin thing too big for the room? If you removed it you could put the play kitchen and tool bench in its place.
    I found this post fascinating. For some reason it has inspired me to take a fresh look at problem areas in my own house. Thanks for sharing your headaches with us!

    1. ha you are welcome. the shelves – do you mean the cubbies? those are all their favorite toys. can’t remove them but i’m open to all ideas. xx

  30. Mural all the way! Murals require guts and you have them. I also think that the window area is begging for comfy chairs or a reading nook. Maybe that’s where you throw the beanbags in or have some big reading chairs. It can be for you to read alone by the window while they are playing or for them to use now or later for some quieter play/reading. I also like the idea of that area being a stage with some curtains where that awkward wall transition is. The wall opposite from the mural should just be some fun posters or framed photos. You have that big storage area which doesn’t leave a lot of space for much else. but because of the mural, the room doesn’t need much else. Blue rug and you are in business with the rest staying as is. good luck!

    1. I totally agree! I’d l;ove to see a couple of chairs and a table between in front of the windows for and adult hang out area… or even a custom made sofa that fits the bay windows like cup of jo had made.

      1. As a grandma who loves to spend time with small grandkids, I vote for adult seating too. We can only spend so much time playing on knees. Just saying….

        1. yah, maybe i reconfigure and make kids area in the center and adult at the other end. i like this idea.

    2. Yes, mural!! Just NOT that one.

  31. I just really want to talk about that gorgeous dollhouse! Be still my 8 year old soul!

  32. Yes to the mural! But put it on the right side, where the TV used to be. That way you don’t have to see it all the time from the entry, kitchen, etc. It’ll be like a secret, with no one realizing it’s there until they turn the corner into the play room.

    1. YESSSSSSSSSS to this! Best of both worlds. (Ships? Lol.)

    2. Agree on this

    3. I second this idea!

      1. but I want to see it!! i love it. but interesting idea …

  33. What about making the area in front of windows and behind the change in the ceiling/wall a little stage? A place for kids to put on magic shows – dances – singing competitions?

    Also agree with the earlier commenter that a “grown up” chair would be nice for both the adults and the kids wanting a cozy place to sit. Eventually they’ll sit still and read use an iPad (for purely educational reasons, of course!)

    1. That spot feels perfect for a baby grand too – maybe a super small navy lacquer one so there is room for performances!

      1. ha. that would be amazing. the space is so much smaller and i really want our kids to be able to play freely and with space but i love that thought.

  34. I seriously love your honesty and am a die-hard fan of your style. Your openness is brilliant and it makes being a regular home owner who doesn’t create content for her job feel normal. But don’t get me wrong – I love watching you save the day on a room and seeing your perfectionism/professionalism win because I love me a jaw-dropping reveal! Now I’m rambling, back to your question of the room. That mural is killer & definitely go for it. My only concern is that it is busy and kids and their toys are busy. I think it might make such a narrow room feel a little frenetic. But if anyone can pull it off its you. And believe me, hit or miss on this room, I will keep following you, liking your posts and copying your style because you are refreshingly real and ridiculously talented. Carry on Emily Henderson!!!!

    1. thank you 🙂 but i don’t think its busy! its graphic and large scale in a soft navy and white … its bold, but not busy (if that makes sense)

  35. The mural sounds cool!

    I’d make that front nook the art space and then do a very large double reading chair in the big space. Ha! That space reminds me of our playroom/office only yours is bigger:)

  36. Where did you find the cubby?

    1. it’s from pottery barn kids and we just linked it in the post xx

  37. I love that you have that space as a play space! Love that E can “do art” whenever she wants, C has a place for cars and crashing.
    It will change! I thought we would live with our little red art table forever but now they are just too big. (I moved it to the attic to save for grandkids.) Now we have the music stand up and the trumpet is out most of the time to play when the spirit moves my 5th grader, which happens to be just when I need to walk the dog! The guitar is on the stand, and the keyboard gets lots of attention. It’s not pretty, but it’s life and it’s noisy and messy and fun!

    Boys are 10, 10 and 12 and this too shall pass…

    Go for the mural! You can always change it.

    1. ha. thank you. and i chant ‘ this too shall pass’ all the time 🙂 except i don’t want them to actually age. xx

  38. I really like the ship mural. Do you have a link for where you got it? I understand about the likes on Instagram. Your not alone in your feelings.

    1. It is from Rebel Walls, they call it ‘High Seas in Henderson Blue’ after Emily!

      1. ha. thanks guys. I thought we linked it up, but glad you are taking care of each other. xx

  39. What happened to that amazing sofa?

    1. ugh. its in brian’s office. I LOVE IT. so I’m hoarding until i’m sure about my decision.

  40. Maybe I need to stand in the space to understand but I’m tempted to put toy storage on that short wall directly opposite the windows. Yes, you’ll probably get half of the toys on that wall; it’s not a bad thing. That would open up the rest of the space for playing. Maybe you need a window seat? A place for adults to spend time in the space? Or the little people to read a book? Or, like I said, maybe I need to stand the space to understand.

    1. I second that. IMHO kids need floor space to play and that wpuld open the room. I would say go for the mural but on the wall that had the TV before. I think it would be too busy if it is visible from all the other rooms.

      1. we thought about that, but then that space would be open to the entrance and I can’t handle visual entrance clutter. It’s a thing. And we want to put a built-in seat but the windows would have to totally replaced as they are falling out and unsafe to lean against and all that can be done but I want to make sure its the perfect thing to do before we spend like $15k to do that. Ideally it would be a round table in that window… but with kids!

  41. You say “let’s get weird”. In re mural, go for it! See what happens.

  42. A mural is fine but not a fan of the two ships in battle. I can see a curtain in the arch to create a playhouse area as well as facilitate performances.

  43. I know you will come up with something really cool for this room! I love the mural idea. I wonder if built ins on the opposite wall would be nice? They can transition from toy storage to more of a library/homework/art room when the kids get older. I love how honest you are about tricky spaces. I have a very long narrow living room that is so difficult to decorate. I change it all the time because I never feel like I have it right!

    1. narrow rooms are the worst. they make function difficult and aesthetics even more challenging. NARROW ROOMS CAN GO TO HECK.

  44. Please use the mural. It is beautiful artwork in its own right, but I just imagine it as a jumping off point for kids play. Looking at it as a child, I think of Peter Pan and Hook and Pirates of the Carribean and can just see the kids using it as a backdrop to play battles and rescue scenes. As an adult, I see it as beautiful art, but also moody and romantic and dramatic. While I don’t have a room I could use this in my house, it makes me want to have a room that for kids could be a playroom, but as they grow older, could turn into a lovely library nook, with two chairs in the windows and a wall of bookshelves across from the mural and a lovely bar under the mural.

    1. Agree!! Well said.

  45. First, the room is pretty and organized as-is. I am sure the kids love playing in there. Second, it sucks that social media is so pervasive in your work, and now home, life. I wish it mattered less. Third, you’re bloody brilliant.

    You love a mural, the kids will love having their names included, it will tie in beautifully with the blues in the rug and curtains, and the company went out of their way to please you. I say go for it!

    I am not sure how to style it, but I have some suggestions about function. I would recommend adding adult-friendly seating where you currently have the bean-chair and dedicated book storage, perhaps front-facing bookshelves at kid height on the mural wall?

    The end by the bay Windows seems crowded, I am guessing because you don’t want to see the toys from the doorway. However, I think that would be a lovely spot for the art table. Do the kids use the tiny armchairs? If not, I would move them out. Finally, the dollhouse looks like it was shoved in top of the cubby to be out of the kids’ reach. Can you find a way to make it a decorative feature, move it to another room, or bring yourself to store it until the kids are ready to play with it?

    Here’s a random thought–plan it like an open-concept great room, only in miniature. Where would you put the living room (kids chairs & bookshelves), dining room (art table), kitchen (toy kitchen), storage and workspace (cubbies and toy workbench), and accents (art work)?

  46. It’s tricky because it’s a 100 year old house and that room is meant to be a dining room – with a long rectangular or oval table and 2 beautiful chairs in the window. I used my living room as a playroom way back when – mostly because we had no money to furnish it anyway – but kiddos rarely played in it……they grow so very fast and whatever you do in playroom needs to be updated for their age every 2 years – keep that in mind when designing and determining how much you want to spend. In a few years – when Charlie reads on his own – he’s gonna want a couch to read on……

    1. so true! i have a 7 year old and a 1 year old and I’m remembering how all the phases of toddlerhood seemed like they’d last forever but now they seem like vapor! And the younger one just wants to keep up with the older one so they go even faster the second time through!

      I am liking the idea of putting the mural on the inside wall so it’s not all you see from the rest of the house. Grasscloth and cool art on the other walls. The stage idea would be a huge hit with my kiddos, bonus if they can pull the curtains across that bay area and create a cubby to cuddle/hide in. Fill it with floor pillows. Also love the idea of creating a reading nook at the ‘open’ end of the room with a cozy armchair, side table and lamp. would look great from the other lines of sight, be handy for adults hanging out in the room and be a nice reading spot. however – you’ll make it amazing i’m sure – but it’s really cute and seems very functional as is and they will need something different in just a couple of years!

  47. If it was my house, I would have turned the room into an office/library. With a desk in front of the window and bookshelves and a little seating area in the rest of the space. But, I don’t have kids, so if you’re wanting to keep it as a play room, I say leave it the way it is. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. And it seems to be working for your kids.

  48. I love the murals you’ve used, so I say go for it.

    Interestingly enough BEFORE you showed us the mural, I kept thinking the window area beyond the awkward architectural beam, reminds me of a captain’s cabin, you know, the one in the back of the ship with all the windows? Kismet!

    What about putting up a curtain under that awkward beam so the kids can put on shows in the “captain’s cabin” area?

  49. For what it’s worth, I think the mural would look incredible and really ground the space. The room can handle something graphic because it’s so open to the other neutral spaces. Also, I would have LOVED having a pirate ship with my name on it in my playroom as a kid!!

    Also, it’s nice to see your internal conflict. Thanks for being real – that’s why we love you.

  50. Can you tell me more about the memory foam under the rug?

    1. I’m also wanting to know about the foam under the rug : )

  51. Probably not what you want to hear, but I would put the architecture back and close the room back up. I think any of your ideas for the room will look great with some structure at the now-open end of the room.

  52. I love the mural; I’m a Patrick O’Brian fan so I’d put that in any room in my house. 😉 Also, we have that tool bench and it’s the BEST because it’s natural and attractive enough to have in a family room where the kids actually play with it! Yay for well-designed, attractive, affordable toys!

  53. Theatre nerd here. If you’re children are at all inclined to putting on plays, you could reinstall those beautiful blackout curtains across the awkward arch/doorway that breaks up the room. Then you have an amazing children’s theatre! I would have lived and died for such a set up as a kid.

  54. Have you asked your children what THEY want in THEIR play room? You might be surprised at what good ideas they ideas have.

  55. Umm. Not my favorite mural. Agree with some of the other posters for something large scale, framed, art that is in harmony with the downstairs. And to encourage Birdie’s penchant for doodling, a mini gallery wall to show off her work (with a rail to easily change out).

  56. I love this room! It’s so weird and challenging. You are so lucky you have weened your kids from the tube, who knew that was going to be such a thing. I have a little 4 year artist (who is also a Magic Schoolbus addict) – could you do some kind of fun art display zone on the wall – the classy wire and clip kind? My kid has finally figured out how to use the scotch tape dispenser and is taping things all over the house (omg). Also – are books a big thing for you guys? I love a good wall of forward facing books. Plus a cool cozy chair for chillin’ and visitors. Good luck!

  57. Call me crazy but I love this weird little space in your house. I see a playroom that would transition into a home office when the kids are too old to need a playroom.

    I keep seeing a lovely built in set of shelves where your couch used to be. One that has places for bins and toys and books and all sorts of child ephemera. A place to showcase mum’s favorite child artist creations, beautiful but fragile toys on the higher shelves and as the kids age a way to bring their personality into the space. Lower shelves are filled with kid accessible toys, toys, toys. Could design the shelving to have a great place to display that tricked out dollhouse. On the opposite wall a chalkboard, the table where they draw and get creative. Then in the back, by that lovely romantic window, a big snugly chair to read to them in. As they age maybe cute kid desks to get homework done on.

    When they are too old for this kind of play space and want to hang out in their rooms and be emo teenagers, that lovely built in shelf gets filled with Emily things. The wall that used to have a chalkboard and drawing supplies gets an amazing piece of original art, and that gorgeous window frames an incredible desk where you can blog write in style. I keep seeing it as a traditional library with an Emily twist.

    I’m really looking forward to what you’re going to do with the space. Thanks for indulging my little room fantasy. 🙂

    P.s. That mural is the stuff dreams are made of!

  58. Well, you have to use that mural because I want to see its awesomeness in your house. Even if you don’t do much else to change things.

    I had to crack up at your dollhouse paragraph. I didn’t even know I liked decorating for years because my obsession was dollhouse miniatures. At the tender age of 8 or so, I got started with furniture made from spools and cardboard in a milk crate house, and continued through high school where I was building electrified, landscaped scale houses from scratch, full of expensive tiny furnishings. I never played with dolls in them, it was all about designing. But it wasn’t until getting married and having some sort of budget as well as a whole house for decorating that I discovered my true obsession.

  59. I would also recommend a place for you to sit. When my son was younger, we made our awkward addition into a dedicated play room. He loved it, but he also wanted me in there when he was deep into his playing pretend phase and would act out stories with his toys. There was nowhere for me to sit so I was stuck inside the teepee. Dude, the stories got detailed and long and so did my discomfort.

  60. I’m a preschool teacher. I would hang the curtains in the arch and have the window nook be a pretend play area/stage. I would also make sure you have a place to hang their art. In my house this is string, nails and paper clips. It is easy to switch out the drawings. Not sure about the mural. Sit down and observe how the kids are using the space. What’s working for them? What isn’t working? What activities do you need to accommodate. If you search Reggio Emilia on Pinterest, you will find loads of inspiration of beautiful spaces for children.

  61. I say 100% embrace the play room aspect of this room. Think back to some of the favorite nurseries and play rooms you’ve designed… the mural would be perfect with those in mind! Like others have said, this won’t be a play room forever. Design the heck out of it as a play room now, and in 5 years you can completely change it to a homework room with a more older kid/grown-up vibe! 🙂

  62. Instead of trying to find the right piece of furniture, or the right piece of art, why not think about perhaps building something for the kids? If it’s really going to be a playroom, what about building them a sculptural play-thing… a lofted reading platform with art space underneath? Something that could turn into a “fort” when the kids want more privacy? A custom sofa that can change configuration… The overall composition of the room could take a back seat and the content portion of what you decide to do could focus more on the build itself and how the kids interact with it.

  63. I so appreciate that childcare/TV comment as a stay at home mom who feels completely guilty about the daily amount of TV my kids watch. It made me sigh with relief that maybe I’m not a terrible mother. Thanks!

  64. The rug is beautuful, but too big for the space. I would use two smaller rugs to create different areas. Near the window I would have a comfy chair and table.

  65. Bring back the weird. Go ship!

  66. You never answered the TV question? Do you still have one?

  67. I love hearing your thought process on this but can I be honest? I read the little intro under your headshot today and noticed it said “perfection is boring, let’s get weird” and I thought to myself…oh, that’s not really a vibe I’ve ever gotten from this blog. Emily digs perfection. And then you even ended this post with “33 year old Emily would have customized it to be PERFECT.”

    It’s a kids playroom, which seems like the last place to stress out over perfect. So I guess what I’m saying is my advice for this room is just to take your own advice and embrace the weird! Listen to 28 year old Emily! Content content content, I know. But houses *ARE* quirky, and your loyal readers aren’t going anywhere if one room isn’t magazine worthy. If anything, we’ll appreciate that you’re a relatable human and not a content machine.

  68. My 1910 house is made up of awkward spaces (awkward shapes, awkwardly located radiators, floors that have “settled” and no longer run parallel to the ceilings, weird wall divisions, just slightly non-symmetrical built-ins, etc. ad infinitum), so obviously I love this post and I am looking forward to seeing what you decide to do. Thank you for this!

    I’m also very interested to see how you decide to handle the mural. I really like this current trend of huge, dramatic wall murals and I’d love to try one in my own bedroom, but I have no idea how to handle the other walls (and the radiator, and the window, and and and…)

    There’s also something whimsical about this particular mural, isn’t there? And whimsy is always right for a kid space! I guess I understand that some commenters finding a battle scene wrong for a play room, but I’m not really reading this mural as violent. For me, the playful style of the art overshadows the battle.

  69. I just love when you let us into your process!
    I almost wonder if this isn’t the perfect space for a music room or library. You have said you’re not sure you love the bookshelves in the main living room, but what about turning one wall into books in this space? Maybe the one that appears to have the thermostat on it? Then you can have a grown-up chair and reading spot for stories, and play space in addition. I also feel like the books would add to the mural.
    Depending on how big the space is, instead you could do books under/around the beautiful sconces by the windows, since the architecture divides that space anyway, and it can be a beautiful window-seat library. And you could move the piano into the space as well…
    Regardless, I’m excited to see how this continues to evolve!

  70. My dollhouse is PIMPED!! 😂😂
    I love love love the mural idea and it will be unique & beautiful and an awesome conversation starter when people see it. On the other walls perhaps you can add a gallery wall of navy pictures frames with white mats show adding a few pieces of your children’s artwork and a few fun, candid photos of them?
    My playroom has had a few versions as my boys get older but I always let myself have a little more fun in that room. I like our playroom to inspire our kids!
    P.S. LIVE for your posts & blog ❤️

  71. I wonder if you could work with the architectural jet by adding some kind of built-ins? I couldn’t find a picture for what I was looking for, but maybe something kind of like this: https://www.houzz.com/photo/777865-living-room-traditional-living-room-portland
    But with a more English cottagey vibe? And I’ve seen in without the columns, or the columns could be smaller.
    Then you could use the little space by the window for an adorable little craft table for the kids?

  72. You say you’re not designing for likes, but it does very much sound like you are. This is a PLAYROOM, right? Then make it fun, some place that your kids can enjoy and be messy and creative and destructive and all the wonderful things kids are. Not every room has to be Pitnerest-worthy or blog content.

  73. No to the mural! You will see it from every room in the house

  74. Good luck on deciding what to do, it’s definitely tricky. I think going with your gut and ignoring the algorithm is the way to go. It won’t steer you wrong! #shipmural

    Also, I think you really should consider reframing in a portion of the wall you opened up. If you create a slight angled, very small return wall and arch a wide doorway, it creates the opportunity to make this space more of a room. It also offers return value for your home in that it could function as a study or office in resale. By adding a “framed” doorway I think it really will make the design much easier.

    In the end, it’ll be lovely whatever you decide. My favorite part of this post was hearing that I’m not the only one whom champions play outside!! kudos.

  75. The ship thing is cool but I feel like it will totally overwhelm the space! what about lower long shelves for books and some sort of way to dispaly the kids’ art and pictures of them above it on that wall??

  76. Put up the mural! It is awesome!

  77. Emily,

    Please please don’t forget you live in earthquake country, let’s protect your precious children! Please remove that high dollhouse and ensure those stacked heavy cabinets are all strapped to walls with earthquake kits!

    As for the mural, shouldn’t it be the children’s choice in this room? What’s the best way to build their creativity, so they can take after their mama? I’d be more inclined to put up a whiteboard and plexiglass for drawing and foam art and give them areas to access supplies and make messy art, use sand, and build slime labs. I think this type of creativity and content is what your mama viewers want to see!

  78. I like the mural; maybe balance it with some art on the other wall (somewhere) that also has navy in it. I’d move the kitchen by the little chairs to where the jut-out is…and the big floppy pillow. Then I’d either move the pillow or get rid of it. I’d get some bigger (not adult size, but bigger) chairs for the window area and put a table between them that can hold lots of books. Then you have a pretty focal point where your gorgeous window is. I’d leave the toy chest and drawing table where they are.

  79. Yes, mural please.
    Bring the couch back, place in front of the window.
    Put low white table in front as coffee table.
    Leather club chair in odd corner, with floor lamp/fun ottoman/pouf, small side table
    Little kitchen against mural wall
    Float a kid size round wood table and chair set in middle

  80. Those two ships are battling each other, aren’t they – the Charlie and Elliot? I guess I wouldn’t be so into that for a play room where there are enough battles between siblings, for myself at least. I would say that if Elliot is really into art to make that more of a focus. Maybe even putting a table and chairs to work out in the window space. I get that you make a living by getting ‘likes’ but I would definitely make this about the kids favorite play at the moment. I can literally see now that my kids are almost all adults that their play influenced who they are now and what they chose to do for their careers. Maybe you should ask them what they want…..? Besides a TV 🙂

  81. My personal vote in regards to the mural is NO. I just think it is too loud and does not flow with the rest of the house. If it was me, I would think about installing a built in bookshelf unit with a sliding ladder. I’d also put in a window seat in front of those gorgeous front windows for the kids to curl up in. I think ANY kid likes the idea of old-school, grandiose libraries, so they would like it and it would also suit the style of your gorgeous house. Just my opinion!

  82. Gallery wall of kid art!

  83. I think the mural can work well. Building on Mary Lou’s idea above, you could build on the ship concept if you tie it to children’s literature. Think Gulliver’s Travels, Narnia, The Little Prince. Get some of those picture rail/outward facing bookshelves and let the books be the wall decor. Keep the cubbies (which seem too high for kids on top of the drawers, IMO) and add a book cart and an art cart. Lots of inspiration from children’s rooms at public libraries. And this bookstore that Young House Love shared last year: https://www.younghouselove.com/2017/08/bookstore-kids-room-ideas/

  84. I love the idea of the mural, I think I just wish it was more muted like the wallpaper in the new bathroom or your daughter’s room. I am worried that this may be too bold and busy and overwhelm this space, but I’m excited to see it! I’m surprised you didn’t Photoshop it in to see how it looks/feels? Maybe you did and just didn’t show us?

  85. Such great options for a challenging room! I saw further down in the comments a reader’s vote for ‘COLOUR’ and I agree:) I would love to see some saturated color that could safely live on the wall across from the mural and dial up the rainbow of impact in the play room while not needing to jive with the vibe of the rest of your gorgeous home.
    I think a bright poppy/orangey color would look so energizing opposite the navy and could have some more modern floral splats of color.
    Random idea for content in the playroom would be a playful and pretty fish tank? Not sure where that idea came from but I’ve been doing a lot of babysitting lately and it’s a struggle to hang out on the floor in plastic toy world.

  86. Hi Emily,
    This post really resonates with me, at least the part about designing an awkward kids’ playroom. We have three children, 5 years old and younger. We’ve just moved into a house with an amazing space off of the kitchen (great visibility) but it has three walls with huge windows and baseboard heaters and the remaining wall has a fireplace and two doors. So hard to work with all of the limitations. For the record, I like the mural, I’d add more subdued fun color to the room & switch the sconces. Staying tuned to see what you decide on!

  87. You should do a “we (readers) design, you (Emily) decide”. This is one of those rooms, where if I had it, I would love for hundreds of people to tell me how to best lay it out because I would be totally stumped as you are when it comes to how it would best function. Not necessarily décor, but furniture placement! Sometimes when we stare at our own rooms every day, we can’t think of things fresh eyes would. You could tweak/combine ideas as much as you wanted… we’re not designers, but we do like design and I’m sure many of us are moms who know how important functional is.

    Give us the dimensions and let us have fun for your benefit!

  88. what if you kept the walls as they are, and paint the ceiling a color?
    The mural is cool. But something like that might get old quickly, at least, if you’re like the creatives I know who have only so much capacity for seeing the same bold thing for so long.

  89. I guess I’m in the minority, but the moment I saw that mural my reaction was a hard HELL NO. The room couldn’t handle a dark navy color, so how can it handle a navy mural of two ships fighting each other? Is this going to be visible to the rest of the house on the sofa wall? I’m all for you not worrying about Instagram likes and designing what you love, but I think your gut hesitation may be right on this. Honestly, nothing about that mural reads kids or playroom to me. I have a 2-year-old and a baby coming in June, so my kids aren’t too far off your kids in age. I agree some adult chairs would be nice and swapping out the sconces to something less formal. My son always wants me in there playing for him and sitting on the floor gets old. The windows are dying to be a stage or reading nook (I believe due to the windows’ issues building in a window seat is out of the question, correct?). I get you want to give the kids room to play, but keeping everything to the walls doesn’t work. A play table in the middle, perhaps a round one, would be great. Overall though, this is a functional playroom. I get creating content is your job, but if your kids are happy with it, why change it? (Also, I was a bit perplexed about your comment about not being able to have a real TV in the living room due to the windows. I have eight windows in my living room, the entire front expanse of the house is devoted to 74″ inch windows, and we have no trouble watching TV). I appreciate your honesty and look forward to seeing you troubleshoot a tough room, but I hope you choose to more work with what you have than throw more money at the problem.

  90. I hate to hear you are designing just for content and what will hit on insta. I know you aren’t only doing that… but like you said it’s in the back of your mind. As a fellow interior designer (commercial) it’s easy to want to just design spaces that look awesome. But at the end of the day it comes down to function! This is your kids play room, have fun and design it based on your and their needs, not just what will photograph well. What I like about your sight is that you are working through real problems and weird spaces that we all have – i think that is all what we want to see. Not the perfectly styled shot that only shows a small vignette and gives no real feel for what the room functions like in real life. I know your business relys on the amount of likes and followers you have, but we also don’t only want to see what looks cool – we want to see real and we want to see what works! Well that’s my personal opinion anyway! Do you! That’s why we follow you in the first place 🙂

  91. I put a sofa in a bay window at our last house and it was like a tiny piece of heaven right in my living room. It was *the best* place to stretch out and look up and out and daydream. Sofas have worked really well for us to anchor narrow rooms, too. A sofa feels like it has a purpose when it faces the length of the room.

    Maybe something sculptural (and red, like the door?) for the kids to climb on and slide off of/use as a ramp/hike up & down/who knows could go against the current sofa wall. It would be fun for the kids (I have five, you can trust me) and, if done right, could even enhance the sophisticated vibe of the rest of the house. And it would look fabulous in front of that mural.

  92. I am really craving something that cuts across the middle of this room. Could you turn Birdie’s drawing table 90 degrees and put an upholstered bench on one or both sides of it? It doesn’t need to be in the dead center of the room, but having everything pushed up against the sides is exacerbating the hallway feel to me. It also looks like there’s nowhere for an adult or two to sit and watch/join in, and a bench (especially one with a cute, low back) could be useful for adults and kids alike.

    Those curtains are also not working for me . . . maybe if you added a bright yellow or red puffball trim, to kid them up and give some contrast? Just my thoughts. Excited to see what you do in here!

    1. I agree that the table should be placed perpendicular to a wall.

  93. This room is super hard and I can see why it’s bugging you but I know you’ll do a great job with it.

    I would go for the mural because it’s awesome and will inspire play and creativity for both kids- plus it’s cool and different. I think an adult sized chair and maybe an end table could bring a lot of life to the room. Also- is it true- this room doesn’t have a closet??? Too many toys in the room at once aren’t fun long term. It’s more fun for kids to have some toys put away (hidden) and then rotated in (while others are put away). I’d put a shallow closet with shelves in that room STAT- where the toys storage is now- if you can fit it in.

    Shoot. Now I want a weird/ cool/ crazy looking mural done in one color for my house… I think you hit the jackpot with that idea and you need to stop second guessing yourself.

  94. Hmm, not a fan of the subject of the mural. Enough sibling rivalry in a home as is, and in today’s hostile environment? Where is Birdie’s art? A Dollhouse that kids can’t play with, why have it in the room? Give them some real chairs (think forts!). Adult fixtures, adult curtains, rugs, perfectly color-coordinated play furniture. Where is the FUN? Release your inner child!! Can’t wait to see what you do.

  95. I would just leave it alone! The room is lovely right now and I think your kids would enjoy having their playroom untouched for a year or two. By then their needs will have changed, and you can rethink the room.

    I would switch out the beanbag chair for a grownup chair for two reasons: 1) it looks better from the front hall and 2) it is nice to have a real chair for parents, grandparents and babysitters to sit in (as someone else mentioned – it gets tough sitting on the floor for a long time).

    Finally, I am concerned about your curtain rods falling out of the wall due to the rain – that seems pretty ominous, so I would get that fixed.

    1. I’m find myself thinking that it’s better to do less than more in this room as well. Having that wall blank makes the room feel unfinished so I can see why you want to do something there. The mural (as cool as it is), could be overwhelming and does have the battle connotation. I personally would like to see something a little calmer, like a large scale Chinese garden scene wallpaper, or screens. Or just a large scale artwork of some sort.

      The other two odd pieces in the room are the beanbag chair and chrome lamp. Just try a comfortable real chair in the same place, and a lamp that has a different look would help a lot. It’s a good place for a grown up to sit and observe when invited to watch whatever the heck the kids just came up with. Choose pieces that work with the rug and hardwired lamps you already have. And maybe put up some smaller artwork on the wall behind the chair, or a small linen covered bulletin board to pin up the kids artwork. It is a kids playroom, so let’s recognize that there is only so much styling that can be done. Toys are still exactly that. Their toys are nice design quality and the storage is nice looking and functional.

      My philosophy on a room specifically designed for use during daytime is be prepared to change it on a regular basis. Charlie will be in school all day before you know it. A real desk for homework may become the next thing you need in that room, so parents can monitor and help from the kitchen. Hopefully he won’t have too much too soon, but starting out with a desk helps develop good study habits for life. Birdy may continue to love art and crafts, she may prefer a bigger flat workspace. They will have constantly changing interests that will require different systems over the years. Building a permanent structure in that room for play seems getting way ahead of the game, and unnecessary.

  96. Love the idea of a mural but not sure this one is super kid friendly….I mean I even like “nautical” but maybe more whale-sque. I have seen some really cool, minimal kid approved sectional pieces, that are almost like movable shapes. Something like that would be cool. What kid doesn’t like making gifts and jumping on sofa cushions? I would do a graphic and kid friendly rug, maybe some BIG printed photos of your kids framed.

    1. *making forts*

  97. What about removing the wall between this room and the entry? If it is an option (structurally) it’d really open up the room and make arranging furniture much easier. Yes, it would be open to the entry but I think the biggest problem is the long narrowness of the room vs what’s on the walls or what furniture is being used. I’d rather have a larger room than a long narrow room.

  98. WAIT WAIT WAIT – “although architecture above doesn’t have proper rain drainage thus making the curtain rods fall out of the wall” – HUH??? Are you saying the walls get soggy from rain and the curtain rods fall out of the wall?? Am I reading that right?? You’re not living with water damaged walls right?

  99. I know this response will not make it into the comments and it probably shouldn’t – just my personal feedback in case it’s helpful. But I am someone who has followed your blog for years and I think this is the end of the line for me. There are so many interior design blogs that show creativity and vision and ingenuity. Increasingly, yours feels all the things you expressed above – rushed, clickbait-y and worst of all wasteful of $ and materials. I think it’s a shame that you took another preserved architecturally interesting house in my hometown (5th gen Angeleno) and imposed some bizarre open floor plan. If that room had a door it could easily be a charming office or library.
    I feel sorry for your staff because these stream of consciousness posts read as someone who is very self-involved (most of us don’t describe ourselves in the third person) and really out-of touch.

    If you want a winning formula for good design and a successful blog it is simply good ideas implemented well. Check out Vintage Revivals or the Mandi’s house on A Beautiful Mess – these amateurs are aspirational, relatable and blow me away regularly. Jenny Komenda, as a professional, is so inspiring because she is so clear and firm in her vision. She always sees a space before she starts on it and her designs bring together her genuine love for beautiful objects and spaces.

    What inspires your work? It doesn’t feel like it is design.

    1. Took the words right out of my mouth, Ali.

    2. I would be interested to know how personality types play into this (myers briggs, enneagram, etc) because the stream of consciousness posts RE-SON-ATE with me. BIG TIME. But, that’s how I think. My brain does not stop and I can go through 40,000 differing and opposing ideas and completely confuse myself and feel like I have no clear vision before finally settling on something. I’m comfortable with that part of my personality (INFJ!).

      I would venture to guess that you’re someone who is clear and firm in your visions (since that’s what you mentioned you appreciate about Jenny Komenda) and you don’t go through a bunch of opposing thought processes to get where you’re trying to go. Which is also a good thing/personality. Maybe I’m wrong!

      Just a thought! One thought of 40,000, actually, about this entire comment thread. I’ve gotten a generally icky vibe — not saying from you directly, just from the entirety of the comments in general–and have gone back and forth wanting to respond to many comments, or just completely leave it alone. I’ve written about 4 other responses and deleted… But your description of the “Clean and firm in her vision” in regards to JK vs. Emily’s “Stream of consciousness” seems like it could come directly from actual differences in personality … and I found it interesting enough to comment on…and not delete.

      1. Ha! As an ENFJ, I can so relate. Good point.

    3. Well that was harsh. I agree with those who put the more positive spin on this, which is to just encourage Emily to connect with her own vision and execute it in the beautiful way she can. I’ve found it so fascinating and refreshing to see how Emily has adapted to the style of this home, and made it work for her family. I’m not a big mid-century modern (or California modern) fan, and it’s been fun to witness this new direction.

      Emily–I hope you continue to share design challenges as well as your successes, and stay true to your gut instinct for this house. You could always “ask the audience” a little less, if that would help you feel less vulnerable and less likely to change your vision for the sake of clicks or likes. I appreciate how you involve us all in your process, but you are a top-notch designer and should never be afraid to own those skills and instincts, even when a room gives you trouble. Tell us the troubles, but show us how you made it work. Because no doubt you will.

      On a final note, I would just echo the people who have suggested adding some adult seating. I have a super awkward-shaped office in my home that serves as a combo “craft room” for my girls, and office for me. I use furniture I think is pretty to hold all their supplies, and added a chaise and vintage table where a small tv sits. I can read or work in the mornings on my chaise, and then it transitions to craft-ville throughout the day for the girls. Then by evening I can cozy back up on the chaise and watch a show if my husband is gone. The decor is for me, not them, but the space is “theirs” too.

    4. Each to their own but I don’t agree with this at all. I find the writing style, content, design dilemmas, everything SO relatable. Checked those blogs you mentioned as examples and they didn’t do anything for me so I guess it’s different strokes for different folks. I also think buildings need to be fully lived in and not just ‘preserved’. The open plan layout really seems to work for their family and the house being truly home for each inhabitant over the course of the building’s lifetime is more important than preserving any individual feature or layout (protected buildings of historic or architectural importance are a bit of an exception but the sentiment remains). Keep doing what you’re doing Emily and team!

      1. Agree with your floor plan thoughts Louise, and more broadly I firmly believe in a person’s right to change their home (or any other possession) as they please. Free will is a gift that shouldn’t be removed from anyone unless they willingly hand over that right ( i.e. HOA and the like). Emily and team, stay true to you.. I’m a fan…i don’t know how you put yourself out there so frequently….hope none of these comments get you down!

      2. Same, I checked out the sites she mentioned and they’re not to my taste. Good thing there are a range of styles and voices out there so we can all flock to what we like. Bye, Ali!

      3. Been thinking about this since last night and I had to come back and comment again, sorry! I just thought some parts of the OP’s comment were quite hurtful and wanted to give another side. Regarding the waste of money and materials, I don’t agree that this is the case. I’m an interior designer and I have replaced light fittings, small furniture, re-painted rooms and more in my own house since I originally re-decorated it after moving in only 3 years ago so I think what Emily does is quite reflective of real life but on a bigger (and faster) scale. I also think that if the budget is increasing due to the blog’s success, it would be lacking in integrity to hide that and patronisingly pretend that budgets are lower to satisfy more frugal readers. I’m happy to see processes, budgets and content evolve over time as it feels natural.
        The bit in the OP’s comment about feeling sorry for Emily’s staff was unnecessarily mean I think and doesn’t really belong outside the playground, sorry OP. I do think it’s authentic and just shows self-awareness on Emily’s part that she refers to herself in the 3rd person on the blog sometimes. The blog revolves around her entirely. She’s the reason so many of us read it every single day. Another commenter mentioned that when talking to her family she often says “Emily says that…” (not a direct quote, I paraphrased rather than scrolling for ages to find it again) I think of Emily as a design celebrity so I think the 3rd person bits just flow for me and make total sense when I’m reading.
        Lastly, I wanted to reiterate to Emily and her team that they’re doing something really special with this blog. Under every post, there are always so many comments that gush about how great the design and the blog is. So much so that I just skim past all these comments if I read below the line. But I’ve been thinking about what it takes to come and write an appreciative comment like that, and how enthusiastically someone must love the content to go to the bother of posting. And I think the truth is that only one person out of hundreds who love that post, go to the trouble of actually saying so here in the comments. But negativity is much quicker to be unleashed. So, for comparison, the positive comments always far outweigh the negative ones, and for all those positive comments, there is a sea of invisible people out there who feel the same way. I hope you feel the weight of all that positivity and appreciation for what you guys do. Keep doing it!

        1. Louise, I’ve been thinking about that unnecessarily mean post all day today, too. It was very sweet of you to come back and write what you did. I second everything you said. I hope Emily and her team read it and know that there are thousands of us out there that adore their work and the voice and personality of this blog. You made me feel better, anyways. Thank you for spreading some positivity.

        2. But, you must agree that there has been a shift in the in-and-out of objects and finishes as an affluence has been built, albeit through hard work. There is a difference and maybe with the new affluence, comes a bit of “It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work, because it was for free or can easily be replaced”?
          I also think that personality does influence everything we do and how we react or respond.

  100. I just love your house, Emily! Whatever the outcome, it’ll be wonderful and reflect your family’s needs.

    I just wonder, whatever happened to a house that belonged to the whole family and children’s bedrooms were where they mostly played?If they brought toys or games out to the rest of the house, they put them away in their bedrooms/closets until the next time. Since when do the children of the family demand/deserve a room totally dedicated to only them?
    Make this room a FAMILY room. Tv, games, reading, computer, etc!! FAMILY ROOM. Down with dedicated children’s play rooms! :)) Go to your bedroom to play or put your toys away when you’re finished, kiddies. 😉
    P.S. A 65” tv is not too big for that room! It looks more like a movie screen that way.

  101. Im not feeling the mural, mainly because its SO visible from other locations like the kitchen and foyer. If the playroom was in a place of its own then it would be great but its still part of the open floor plan you have going.

  102. Absolutely YES to the mural!!!! And as a few people have mentioned, I love the idea of a seating area by the windows.

  103. I always love what you do– but I think this mural would be a big mistake. It is not calming, it is very dominant, and on a wall often seen .I think it would make a great Instagram pic, but would be tiring in real life.
    I know you create content for others, but if it were my home I would take this as an opportunity to be more personal– you have had so many beautiful photos of your family. I would hang family photos,, maybe include kids art.
    I think your children would appreciate both of those things.
    To be surrounded by happy memories and the things they love most. And to take pride in seeing some of their creations.
    Personally, I would love to see how a designer would do THIS.

    1. I completely agree with this! That mural is so busy and loud, and kids are easily overwhelmed by things that don’t bother most adults. Make this your family’s space, comfortable and attractive to you and your kids, and reflective of who you are!

  104. Okay- adding to my earlier comment. Have you seen the cool modular kid friendly cushions? Nugget Comfort. Looks really neat!!

    1. I was going to suggest the Nugget, too. I want one so bad, but can’t find a great place to out one! Great colors, too.

  105. This is going to be an interesting ride. Love the stage / curtains idea. And maybe a dress up corner with hooks and a mirror. Chalkboard wall? Doesn’t have to be black anymore. Display area for kid art?

    I got a yard sale dollhouse I rehabbed and decorated w/ needle felted furniture (by me) for my then five year old granddaughter and it currently houses the Paw Patrol Pups.

    Whatever …

  106. YES to the mural. Also, make this room FUN. I grew up with a bookstore that was just completely magical. It had those construction paper looped banners all over the ceilings, each kid that visited the store could add to it. There was a story time corner with a big comfy chair, a stage framed with velvet curtains, and a wardrobe that was built into a wall that when you opened turned out to be a small dressing room with costumes and a big mirror. And a huge craft table that was mad hatter’s tea party themed. It was the best bookstore in the whole world, and I based my children’s playroom on it. Kids love color and adventure and fun! Go big!

    1. I love this!

  107. Emily, I LOVE your honesty and how genuine you are when you share thought processes like this. As someone who reads this blog every single day and has for going on five years, the evolution of your creativity and the thought you put into how to make a room stunning, interesting, and also good for your family has been really remarkable to witness. I don’t have Instagram but trust that if I did, I’d be liking every single thing you post because I love ALL of it!!! Keep it up and know that there are many of us out there who might not be ‘liking’ things but in the non-quotation-mark sense of the word not only like but LOVE what you do all the time and are incredibly supportive of both you pushing yourself creatively and being so candid with us all about it. Thank you!!!

  108. I like to visit your site because it does occasionally get weird. I also value content that goes beyond what you see everyday. It is easy to like something that is similar to other stuff, and done well, but it is also easy to forget about it. Have you asked your kids what they think about the mural since they are the main users of the room? I find that my kids (5 1/2 & almost 3) are super opinionated about their spaces, and often have differing opinions about what is cool. One of their favorite design features is a gallery wall featuring a lot of their art work. It makes them feel valued. Also, as a kid who grew up in a household with a lot of detail and weird art, I have to say, that having stuff on the walls that you can get lost in, and discover new things in, is a wonderful thing, and it seems like this mural may offer that. My sisters and I still discuss painting in my parents house, or if they are rotating them, we often ask for the ones that were meaningful to us as children so our children can have similar experiences.

  109. What if you use that jut/arch to kind of define “separate” spaces within the playroom? Like set the “jut area” up as the art area, put the workbench and kitchen elsewhere to be a pretend play area. It kind of looks like they are set up sort of like that but maybe there is a way to make them more distinct in design (insert shoulder shrug emoji)

  110. This is my first time commenting ever! *gasp* so I feel like I need to start off by saying I am SUCH a big fan. As an aspiring designer I use your tips and tricks all the time when decorating! I think I’ve used the phrase “well Emily suggests that it should be like this…” so many times that I’m pretty sure my family assumes we chat regularly.

    Now that my fan gush is over- my 2 cents are this, I LOVE the mural & murals in general, but something about the giant navy ships makes me think of a cigar bar, or a dark speakeasy kinda place & not play room for some reason. What about a mural of silhouetted trees? (Always more trees!) something that is whimsical but not too childish? That with leaning bookshelves like someone else suggested would look so pretty IMHO.

    Regardless of what you choose, I can’t wait to keep reading to see how it turns out!!

  111. Totally dig the navy ship mural. I’d add a couple more pops of color — maybe in the throw pillows, trim on the curtains, etc. But I also love the idea of the stage mural. I would’ve loved that as a kid.

  112. I would switch out the art table for a little round art table and put it by the windows.

  113. I actually love the mural idea, but maybe not that one.
    Anthropologie has awesome wall murals–I think this one would be perfect for the space. And it’s very photogenic! https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/nightfall-on-the-moor-mural

  114. Put up the mural, your kids will love it. It’s a kid’s play room, for kids, not for you. They’re children, not 38 year old awesome designers. They will be so happy, which will make you happy. And when they’re older and you look back at pics of this room, you’ll all be happy all over again about how Mom and Dad did something so cool just for them.

    1. Child development experts would say what others already have said about that mural – war – fighting – aggression, etc. These images insidiously stimulate aggressive behavior just by ‘being’ there. Those ships are not ‘playing’, they’re blasting cannon at each other, trying to kill the other side!

  115. Okay, I put my kid hat on and here is my playroom wish list. Curtains on the arch for impromptu plays. Modular furniture ( cool euro low slung stacked cushion number) for fort building. Table centered in room for arranging toys from all sides. Birds or clouds hanging from ceiling to expand the cool seascape mural fantasy. I’ll leave the adult/mom hat to you and your team! Good luck balancing ‘The Algorithm’ with your family’s comfort.

  116. I love the couch! What is the fabric color ? I’m looking at replacing our neutral couch in our traditional craftsman home in upstate NY. Where will you be putting it?

  117. Wow, that is a lot of “angst” over one space that is your kid’s play room but I sort of get it since it is your job to design. Sorry I am not a fan of that mural but if you love it, it’s your house, your kids & your lives.

  118. Would it be possible to do some sort of built-in storage on that where the bean bag, floor lamp and table currently are? Is the mural going on the wall opposite that? Then you could put the art table by the mural, have storage across from it, even incorporate sconces onto the front of the built-ins, and then have they kitchen and tool bench in the window area. Just a thought.

    1. What do your kids want? My daughter loves that I mix pieces of her artwork with my other artwork. Maybe your kids would enjoy creating art for the room. Or use whiteboard paint on a wall and they could use dry erase markers to color and draw. If they love the room, they will stay in there more.
      That being said, I think that having shelves and cubbies is way more important than pretty storage. This is your home but it’s their home too and they need to help you take care of it.
      I would lose the rug though, for something more practical for kids, maybe a touch of whimsy. Kids and whimsy go well together.

  119. This suggestion probably won’t excite to many adults, but kids love to create, even if it’s a few scribbles on a blackboard. Why not incorporate that into part of this space? Our kids have had tons of fun drawing, creating, documenting and expressing themselves on our giant blackboard. As they get older, they are brilliant for doing spelling revision too!
    I do love the mural though!

  120. First things first, I would get that water issue fixed. (what in the world?) Nix the kid size chairs. Would your sofa fit in the window nook area? What a great place to snuggle up with the kids and read a book or take a nap! Move the cubbies to the opposite wall. Yes, they might be more visible but you DO live there with small children. Move the doll house up to Birdie’s room. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent upstairs in my room playing with my doll house. Put the mural on the opposite wall so not as visible but still big impact. Buy a craft table (adult size so you could hang out too) for the center of the room that Birdie could do her art at or the kids could build a fort with. Fort building should not be underestimated. Get a soft indoor/outdoor rug that could be spilled on and cleaned easily and maybe do the same with the sofa – especially if it doesn’t fit. Don’t over think it. Just make it fun!

    1. This sounds perfect. And with a table that does double duty, maybe they will not drag in every chair, small table, blanket and sheet in the house when it’s fort time!

  121. I wanna see the interiors of the pimped out dollhouse! Stat!

    The mural is awesome and the ship/ nautical theme can be very whimsical. Think the movie “Hook” or the playroom that’s all over the internet that had the oversized octopus curtain. Serena & Lily catalog comes to mind too. I think you used their blue and orange lounge chairs in a shelter playroom.

    The window nook could you use some whimsy. How about hanging something from the ceiling like dragonfly kites?

    1. Yes, can we get a series of “dollhouse reveal” photos?? New content, REALLY tiny house!

  122. What about clear bookcases against the wall? The ones that shows the books flat? I’ve seen those on Eva Chen’s instagram and I super dig it. Also I think some cool seating pillows or poofs to make it inviting to come and hang out. That would help balance out (for me) the storage you have on one side. Or go retro and do a chalkboard wall? 🙂

  123. This is going to sound terrible, but please hear me out. It cheers me up IMMENSELY to watch you struggle with this tv/playroom 😀

    I feel like I always have one space in my home that I just CANNOT figure out. Like – why does the living room come together so easily, but then that spare bedroom is just a mess always, and no matter what I do to it I’m not happy? I appreciate that you share with us your struggles with these design decisions and that even you (a professional) get “stuck” sometimes when trying to figure out a space. It lets me know I’m not alone.

  124. Hey Emily! For starters I’m in love with your blog and all of your work you’re incredible. Now, in regards to that window “nook” after the arch…I think that would be a perfect spot for the adults to sit while watching the kids play. I would put two comfy armchairs almost like a reading nook…and maybe draw attention to it and it’s architecture instead of trying to blend it in maybe paint that area (beyond the arch) a color similar in tone to the blue of the mural? So it can pop and look like it serves a purpose.

  125. I love hearing your process Emily and I love your authenticity! This is a tricky room for sure. Mural is super cool! What about keeping the walls neutral (off white ) and doing the ceiling in blue…maybe the gray blue from the kitchen island or something that ties in with the mural?

  126. If it was me I would pass on the mural but for you I’d say take the rest and try it. You can always change it and write another post about it if needed 🙂

  127. Do whatever you feel is going to give your kids the most inspiration and imagination opportunities instead of over designing it. I am a fan of the way Montessori and Waldorf design their kids spaces. Everything is light and airy: whites and woods, colorful, but light colors. I’d rather see you do a wallpaper similar to the Jack and Jill bathroom. Also, wherever the art table ends up I can see you putting art storage cubbies on the wall with plenty of different art materials they can use at arms reach. Felt flowers, flower garlands, etc. Less busy, more imagination!! A chalkboard would be great in this space. Then you can do art prompts (easy I promise) for your kids; look up artful parent website for this. Art pantry for lots of inspiration on designing kids spaces!

  128. Have you thought about building that archway out more. Let’s see if I can put this into words…..Build it out by framing it with custom built floor to ceiling built-in library shelving. It would divide that room into two spaces. On the backside of the library shelving you’d have the window and a cozy play/reading/art nook and on the other side you’d have the rug/play area. If the floor to ceiling built-ins were designed right, you could still get plenty of light flow through there and it wouldn’t have to be too deep either.

  129. I feel like that big blank wall is calling out for built ins!! I didn’t read through all the comments here, but I feel like it would give depth and color but also be super functional for having a million kid toys. And I always wondered if you could float a sofa in front of the windows with a sofa table behind. I love challenging spaces!!

  130. Thanks for mentioning the re-blogger! The thought “am I crazy or did I just read this” always gets an unfollow from me! Just be yourself, the best work comes from the inside. Btw, the mural is great and those kids won’t be little for long! Enjoy!

  131. Assuming the mural goes on the wall where the sofa was…have you thought about putting in a stage? The mural could be the “set” and add a little (low) platform for them to perform on. If they’re not performing (puppet show, talent show, dance moves, reciting poetry, etc.) they could haul up some bean bag chairs (or something soft and squishy) and some baskets of books and call it a reading nook. I didn’t see any books and bookshelves in the current set up.

    And definitely some adult seating options would be good, too.

  132. My thoughts are that a mural or a patterned wallpaper could be really fun – but I’m not sure if the ships one is the right one. It might be a bit too-too, if you get what I am saying.
    But think there’s a lot of opportunity for a more library/study vibe that can be a respite from the family room with comfy yet cool chairs, a play space that can grow with the kids – builtins with cool doors or handles, the stage is such a fun idea and I’m sure one can be found that can fold up if you need it to.
    It can evolve to the kids project/homework area (which has taken over my dining room table on various occasions).
    Look forward to seeing more musings on the room!

  133. The room is looking so much better with the lighter paint color on the wall. I think adding a mural or wallpaper would not look good. Wallpaper is busy and it would detract from the patterns in the draperies. Have you considered doing an art gallery wall. You could frame favorite photos of the kids and also some of their artwork. The room still seems to be missing something. Maybe a taller table/chair set for them to do their art or craft projects; or a couple more comfy bean bag type chairs in bright colors.

  134. Your commentary about the doll house is hilarious. My 3YO has my old 70s style doll house that my mom saved along with all the original furniture and dolls (all of which I somehow kept in pristine condition). She has broken a few things but our cat has really done the most damage to the thing. He is constantly sitting on the roof causing it to collapse.

  135. I’ll be honest….I don’t love the mural. You’re generally really great with doing kids spaces in a way that doesn’t induce a diabetic coma. I think the difficulty of this room has handicapped your natural talent–and lady, you’ve got it. I think your instinct towards navy and white is a good one. It pairs beautifully with just about any color (a kelly green, a sunflower yellow, a bright pink–all gorgeous), but is a neutral enough backdrop that it won’t hurt your eyeballs. It’s your comfort zone, don’t fight it.

    I’d lean towards a wall treatment that’s a bit more linear and graphic. That room is more often than not going to have toys strewn about and you’ll need a place for your eyes to rest. You can also do brighter, more fun artwork over the mural to add the “Instagrammable” factor. For a kids space, it’s just not feeling very “fun” and again, that’s normally your strong suit.

    The good news is that you’ve got 2 other properties that you can re purpose the drapes, rug and lighting. It won’t go to waste.

    Good luck, thanks for your honesty (as always) and keep us posted.

  136. What happened to that couch though?!?!

    1. That’s what I want to know too! That custom couch was the bomb.

  137. This is such a perfect room for a play room! My experience making spaces where my kids (2, 6, & 8) want to play by them selves is that they love kid sized spaces (forts, tents, tiny rooms) and they love flexibility. When we rearrange something even a little bit it gets a lot more play and attention. So I’d say, don’t box yourself in with custom and perfect if it means you can’t make changes on a whim. When arranging a long narrow room I like to break it up into 2 zones with furniture so you have 2 cozy (kid-sized even) spaces instead of the hallway feel. If it were my room I would float some furniture (kitchen or toy shelf maybe) right where the walls get narrower to make it feel intentional. Then you’d have 2 distinct play spaces in one. Floating a toy kitchen always inspires lots of restaurant play, which I think is fun 😃

  138. I think you need to move the playroom to the dining room and vice versa.

    1. ohh! i kinda like that idea!

  139. Honestly, I don’t even like blue and white that much! Really, I am more into greens and creams 🙂

  140. You know, I was just thinking the other day how (while I absolutely love, love, love your style, think you are so talented, and have been a long-time follower) I miss the weird and funky or surprising and unexpected stuff you used to do (picture under window? crazy hand chair? miniature everythings? etc.). It totally INSPIRED me to try stuff at my own house, whereas these days, I sort of just want to copy it because it’s all exactly on-trend and perfectly styled….and sometimes too safe or boring. All this to say: please do more weird, risky, things! I miss that side of Emily!

  141. I actually love the funky shape to this room! A mural sounds nice……I personally like that one that someone tagged from anthropologie better……but whichever you choose GO FOR IT!! It’s design. It’s your thing. HAVE FUN!! I do believe that there is too much white, wooden furniture in there. I’m liking the idea of nice comfy adult seating in the window nook. Bringing in some pops of color. Also incorporate the kid’s artwork. Made it “comfy” instead of hard/white/wooden, etc. Whatever you choose……..it WILL be awesome and yummy….cuz that’s who you are!! Can’t wait to see what you decide!! ROCK ON!!!!

  142. Emily…maybe I missed the plot…..but children are meant to use their imagination in order to grow. They already have far too many toys…..keep the walls white with gay artwork…..think alphabet and numerals with animals…..that’s it. Let them be children, not sophisticated remakes of adults.

    I think you are over thinking. J

  143. Hi Emily, I would not put any ‘full on’ play area (like a stage etc) anywhere near full height windows. I am just picturing handstands and cartwheels in front of glass!!!!
    I would go with a curved couch in front of the windows and a complete bright wallpaper treatment (including ceiling) in the window nook! Then balance that with a large artwork and floor rug in the main part of the room and leave the remaining playroom equipment in this area for the kids.
    I agree with some of the others, that the mural is a little war like, but I think the name idea is cute.
    Looking forward to more updates.

  144. I feel like the mural may balance the room a little more. The cubbies are so heavy and the art table is so light. Do Elliot or Charlie play with the kitchen in this room. Maybe move it to the kitchen. I think the tiny seating maybe throwing me off too. Kids like big chairs. What about putting the doll house up in storage for now.

  145. Playroom now, hangout/homework/game room later (late elementary and middle school and beyond.) They are practical spaces which require flexible furnishings and layouts, and they ultimately become toy storage spaces with toys dragged around the house until put away (too often by parents.) I wouldn’t change anything except putting a comfortable chair for an adult in place of the bean bag chair, as suggested earlier. It looks inviting and perfect just the way it is!

  146. Ha, who knew a mural like this could inspire such strong feelings (of violence no less!). Personally, I love the mural, its speaks of adventure to me + customizing it with the kids names? I would have loved that as a kid and my 5 year old would absolutely adore that touch as well!

  147. This room thus far feels divided. With the sconces, curtains, and bay window, it’s crying out to be an office to me, with a desk pulled away from the window, right between those lovely sconces. I know your kids aren’t quite there yet, but is there any way this could be like a creative/office space?

    In the past, I think I’ve fought my spaces too, and until you land on something the space is laid out well for, nothing will “fit.”

    I can see having a table-style desk, even, with multiple chairs for kids and adults to work/craft/create at. Later, cubbies can become bookshelves. Shift some of the toys from the bay window to the mural wall (though I think that particular mural would be really busy and distracting in this space). Thus far, all the kid sized furniture looks like it’s playing “grownup” in this room because of the rug, curtains, etc.

    And I love seeing that you have some of the same struggles that we all do!

  148. Hey there!
    Ive never commented on here before – but felt the need/urge to put in my two cents as a designer but a non mom on this playroom.
    I feel like sometimes opinions from an outsider may be a bit clearer as when your in the space and look at it too long you’re at a loss, but the answer seemed quite clear to me as an outsider (although its your house – so this may not be the right thing for you or your blog)

    I actually emailed you over a sketch of this idea because I got a little overly excited – but the idea is to basically mix all of your past ideas – with the addition of the mural – in a fresh new way.
    The mural could be hung on the main wall (where the sofa previously was) – to further define the little space past the archway – what about painting that whole area a blue (picking up the darker blue tone from the wallpaper) like you initially did to add drama. I would even do the ceiling in that area blue as well! To define that area even further and create an interesting experience for the kids – I would hang curtains along either side of the archway – maybe even reusing the draperies you previously used to disguise the tv (again using your previous idea) When I was a kid I loved to put on plays/shows and can totally see the kids putting on a performance and utilizing the drapes!

    Oh and either change out the shades on the sconces – or add a bit of fun trim onto them – and boom. Playroom-ified.


  149. Honestly every time I look at that room, I think about it being a library/reading room, for both the kids AND grownups. A big wall of beautiful bookcases where the couch was– filled with books for a variety of reading levels, and comfy lounge-y seating in the window end of the room. Keep the toy cubbies there for while the kids are small, but long-term I think a room that encourages kids to read would be totally ace. If it were me, I’d start collecting GREAT books for lots reading levels, fill up bookcases with great options, and let the kids be self-led readers! My parents also restricted TV on weeknights, but we had tons of books in the house– we’d flip through ones that were above our level and end up coming back to them when we were ready.

  150. Do it! It’s cool and as long as you don’t make it a theme room it will look great. I also think that ,since you already have it, maybe once it’s up and you see it in the room, you’ll be able to come up with an idea for the other wall.

  151. This is so real. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  152. I love the dollhouse and had to laugh at your description of Charly “playing” with it. My 3.5 year old is in exactly the same spot when he’s playing. The more action and drama (read: destruction) the better. “Oh nooo! The two cars crashed! The truck fell off the cliff!”

  153. YES MURAL!

  154. With all you have going on in your life right now, I say leave it alone. Its ok to have one room that not really designed.

    But if you do decide to go full one designer, I have thoughts (because of course I do, I’m a stranger on the internet).

    The part where the walls come out is screaming for built in shelving that separates the space (like you’d see in a Craftsman home) but done in a modern, cool way. Maybe open shelves that are a gorgeous raw wood. Then you can use baskets to hide smaller toys and art supplies. Then the room is divided into 2 and you can make the area near the windows the art/creative zone and the area closer to the hallway the free play zone. One thing my little boys loves to do is have some raised flat surfaces to race his cars along or to set up puzzles or board games. The room is long and skinny and some kind of bench or a series of ottomans or a very narrow table down the center would be so fun to play on. I’m not a huge fan of the mural simply because I think it depicts a battle scene. I love the graphic punch though. I also adore that rug, but it’s just too large.

  155. Girl, that stresses me out. You make everything look great and I go to you all the time for inspiration and ideas. If i were you I wouldn’t even look at how many “likes” something got because let’s be real- whatever you design is the flippin awesome. Just do you. We’re all gonna like it.

  156. I looked at the company that did your wall mural. Gotta say, I LOVED this one:


    Very creative and fun but soft. I think it would look way better in your room and the rest of the house.

  157. Where is that amazing silver lamp from?!

    1. I should say the metallic silver one 🙂

  158. I think the window area needs to be the focal point of the room – so putting something there like two awesome pouff chairs in a more pop color or a round rug over there would be awesome. or maybe you could put a round play table and chairs in the window area so it becomes a focal point with a light over it? Almost there tho! this is a tricky room!

  159. I just love you Emily! Your honesty is truly the best thing on the internet these day. I can’t wait to see what you dom

  160. Thanks for being so receptive to input! for the record, I am so glad you painted over the blue walls! Holy-smokes, did that create a dark cave! The white, to flow with the rest of the entry/kitchen areas is perfect.
    My kids are older now, 13 and 20 but at the ages of yours, there is so much visual noise from all the “stuff” kids have…I was always trying to create calm around me in my home, and the kids stuff is noisy! (I’m a professional artist, and sensitive to having visually calm space when I’m not painting- not that everything I own is beige, it’s just that the circus colors of their toys was just a bit much for me)
    The mural is fabulous although I’m surprised you didn’t notice the little battle going on…But the fabulous part is that it’s large, to fill that wall (thank you) but calm, due to the tight color palette.
    If you introduce a lot of color now, you are forever going to be battling the colors of their toys and things. IMHO, let the mural and the room fall into place slowly…And if not a stage, how about a puppet stage (theatre) It can be small scale, and kids love playing with puppets/voices. it could even be tucked to the side so it doesn’t dominate everything . Like you already know, your kids interests will be changing, so this room will be forever fluid.

  161. Hi Emily!

    Question regarding your hardwood floors – I thought they were herringbone? I’m assuming they are just herringbone in the family room – can’t I ask why?

    Is it too busy to do herringbone thoughout an entire house?

    I ask because I’m thinking of redoing our floors and I love the herringbone.

    Does it look weird to transition from standard to herringbone?

    A lot of “herringbone” in this comment 🤗

    Thanks for the inspiration!!

  162. Oooh, looked on the mural website and I think the Animal Tree in white or Wild Willow mural would be a good alternative!

  163. I really like the mural – it’s playful and it will fill up the room in a bold way. That said, I feel like you need a chair in that corner where the beanbag chair currently is sitting. Is it big enough for a chair and a half? Something substantial, like the Bliss chair and a half at West Elm, in a pop-y color.

    And, oh my goodness, you might not want to hear this, but I am not feeling those curtains. The pattern looks too busy with all those toys around it. I know how much you love those curtains, and I think they’d be great in a more subdued and adult room. But for a playroom… not doing it for me.

    I have a demon space. I feel you girl.

  164. The only concern about the mural is that it is so central to the rest of the house, but that’s probably fine! There needs to be a comfy adult sized chair or two in there if possible. If the mural doesn’t end up working there, then the mountain or Portland house? Looking forward to the result!

  165. No no no on the mural. Those ships are at war. If it were me, I wouldn’t want my kids exposed to that kind of imagery. You can find something much more inspiring.

  166. AND… let’s see some of those dollhouse rooms!

  167. Someone has probably mentioned this already, but what about designing the room with Montessori principles in mind?

    What struck me when reading this post was how you want it to be a place in the house where the kids can really be themselves and play and explore their interests (art, building, etc). A Montessori-inspired room would be beautiful (and yours already is, so check!), with space to rotate kid artwork and prints or artwork that would respond to their interests. You already have some low furniture, but maybe reconfiguring the cubby things which look kind of hulking, or removing them entirely would make the room seem less narrow? It would also free up wall space. As the parent of a two year old in a small house, I am following the journey of this room with interest!

    As always, I really appreciate your openness and honesty about the design process and your family. It is such a joy to read this blog.

  168. What about doing a large window seat/bed at the window flanked by bookshelves. You could put up light colored, really pretty theatre/canopy style curtains at the point where the architectural detail divides the room, if you wanted to make that reading room/nook a little private and special. Then make stations in the front part of the room: art/puzzle station, kitchen station, building station. Have a an aller area that’s just storage (instead of that whole wall with the dollhouse on top) and more storage that pertains to the station, at each station. Can’t wait to see what you do! Also, your designs where you do the same room at three price points is my favorite and THANK YOU for telling us where to buy everything and including links!!!

  169. Love this post! What if in the back by the windows was a reading nook with bookshelf for kids’ books and maybe even adult size chairs (kinda like you have the kids’ chairs). Just a thought. Love where you are going with it!

  170. No to the shops wallpaper, you’ll want to change it in 2 years Max and you’ll feel bad because it has the names. Saving you the drama. I usually don’t comment on blogs unless it will stop someone from making a mistake.

  171. I love that mural! It reminds me of Peter Pan! So whimsical and the perfect backdrop for childhood dreaming and play!

  172. That mural is gonna be the BEST. Huzzah!

  173. The blue sofa looks like the Leonelle from Anthro. But the link goes to Clad Home and I’m not seeing a style that matches the photo. Which sofa is it? Thanks!

  174. Put a sofa in that cute bay window!!

  175. I love it. What a perfect room to try something fun like that. 🙂

  176. I like the mural. I think part of the problem is kiddo furniture is lower to the ground and so there’s nothing that draws the eye up in the room. The mural will help with that. As for the awkward space issue, why not switch out the art table for a round table (cheap round coffee table that can get destroyed with markers?). If you were to put something round in the corner where the beanbag chair and lamp are now, it could jut out into the space but look more defined. You could even put poufs/stools around it to make it a little seating area. It’d help define that end of the room.

  177. Also there is some real irony here!! You stopped your client work (in part) because clients would make decisions you would not fully agree w / were not your aesthetic. And now you find yourself in the same position BUT the whole wide internet is your “client” and is now dictating your choice making. I live in DC and do political social for a living. I will say, chasing likes/engagement will only result in the lowest common denominator. In a system based on enagagent, the most provocative or emotional reaction always wins. (Is your patio tile analogous to populism and the election?!) This whole conundrum of doing what provokes a reaction (likes! Comments!) is basically undermining every industry and leading to not-so-great outcomes right now. You’re not alone, but boy do we need to all break this together. I’m reading “the attention merchants” and “amusing ourselves to death.” I recommend!!

  178. I like the mural! ESP w neutral couch like that pic above💙

  179. Alternatively, put a long table down the middle of the entire space. It could be like kitchen-island style but in miniature, where bins go underneath for storage. Then the room won’t feel as chopped up and the kids have an enormous surface for various projects. With bin storage moved to the middle of the room, you’d have the wall with current shelving unit open to display kid art or books. I think part of what looks weird in here is that there are so many small things pushed up against the walls.

  180. Thanks for your honesty. I started following you because of all your blues and whites, and will always love. Do the blue!!!

  181. Love the mural – do it!

  182. I love the playroom just the way it is. Personally, I’m so against violence, especially in a room for kids. These two ships are battling. I love the idea someone mentioned about a library/books wallpaper. Or something else fun and light that will grow with the kids. It’s a playroom, and doesn’t need design – although you must be itching to do so 😉

    My kids had a playroom growing up, but since my budget was super tight, I just lined two walls with open bookshelves for storage (and bins) and left the middle of the room empty for play.

    Love reading your blog!

  183. Loooooove this whole post and if I could like it 100 times on instagram to help your algorithm then I would!!
    I could either way with the mural and I’m sure it will look awesome if that’s what you do. More importantly, I love how you showed the entire room, weird angles and all, the difficulty with arranging furniture and some of your previous attempts at decorating (not that any are bad, but just showing the whole picture). It’s so easy to put a pretty viginiette on IG, but that’s not the whole reality of the room. It’s so nice to have advice and guidance on where to even start with furniture before we get to the finishing details. Again, love love love this whole post and all of the recent ones like it. And the Adding Character series! Thank you!

  184. On the mural, I vote go for it. What do you have to lose? If it doesn’t work, you take it down. The rug is that part that’s tripping me up. It’s a great rug, but feels out of place. Too large or not the right color? Seems like the room, with all the light paint and furniture, needs an anchor (nautical mural pun not intended) to pull it all together and the rug isn’t doing it for me. And it feels at odds with that sweet print on that bean bag chair. Can’t wait to see where you go with this. Problem spaces are certainly a relatable issue! I have no doubt you’ll make it work.

  185. It’s helpful to know that a talented designer also has a “catchall” playroom. I think that playroom is lovely and sweet. The sight lines are great from the kitchen!

    But–I don’t find anything wrong with you wanting to make it superb. I don’t think that you are using the demands of the blog or breaking the algorithm in a detrimental way. You are using that as challenge to push yourself creatively. That is one awkward space. If you figure it out, it could really help readers who struggle with the same thing. My house doesn’t have to be blog-worthy, but I often can take or incorporate a few ideas from your more aspirational posts. For example, the children’s oasis in the back yard– you admitted it was a whole other level, but then listed ready made playhouses one could purchase to get the look.

    I know that if you figure this space out and make it exceptional, you will also figure out a way to make it possible for others. And if you don’t do that, all of the smart people who comment will tell us how.

    So go for it–

    This made me think of the younghouselove post about the children’s bookstore. Maybe something like this:

  186. I say put the mural up!
    How about making the window area a cozy reading and crafting area with a round craft table a more bean bag chairs or floor cushions.

  187. I think the mural is a KNOCKOUT. I would put it in my house in a heartbeat. I have full confidence you’ll find a way to tie in the rest of the room beautifully. Stay true to your insicts. You’re right – it will pull the kinds of followers you want. 😊

  188. Its ok to have just one room be random and un-designed isn’t it? I dare you to leave it as is.

  189. Hi! Whenever I have a kid space conundrum, I ask the kids what they would want directly… spins me out in a new direction and even though some kid ideas are nonsensical/unrealistic, sometimes they have such brilliant suggestions it really solves the problem for you.

    Also, the mural is awesome and i hope the kids get hats and eyepatches to celebrate!

    Is it weird that i see an old timey, super-low-to-the-ground rope and board swing attached to that beam? Good luck! Tricky small spaces are so challenging!

  190. LOVE the ship mural! Do it!

  191. Since you have already ordered the mural I would go ahead with it, but I’d put wrap round the awkward wall too (the one with the bean bag in front). When you design purely for hits on instagram and on the blog, I think you are losing the plot altogether. This is a play room. Many children don’t have the luxury of a separate room to play in. Years ago our children played outside, climbed trees, and if they wanted to, played in their room with their toys. I think you are making this far too complicated and it shouldn’t be. My children are now grown up adults, and I can assure you they don’t remember how their rooms were designed and what was on the walls. All they care about is being loved, having fun with mom and dad, being allowed to build castles under the dining table, river rafting with dad and abseiling up mountains. I think you are losing your authentic self when you start to design for others instead of yourself. It’s a kid’s play room, go easy on yourself. You don’t need to prove anything. We know you are a good designer.

  192. Not sure about the ships but I am loving the doll house. I hope my little boy loves doll houses because I so want one 😂

  193. PLEASE, DON’T! You are designing a kids play room that shod be bright, happy, colorful place where they would love spending time playing. There is nothing in that mural that says happy, cheers, play, kids etc., it’s dark, oldworld and war theme mural. It’s not for kids room at all, especially KIDS PLAY ROOM! There is planty of murals with illustrated world map so kids could learn about countries or animals for exemple. I think you should find more kids themed murals and ask your kids to choose wich one they would like to have in their play room. It’s their play room after all.

  194. Your basic dilemma is that playrooms are always messy (even when they are tidy) and yours is by the front entry and can’t be shut off. Plus, you feel a need to have an attractive space that you can use as content, while at the same time growing interesting and happy and responsible people. These things are basically incompatible, so it’s tricky.

    I think you’ve been really smart in that the most unsightly stuff is mostly out of view. Keep doing that. I love the mural because it will add interest and direct attention away from the rest of the room. I would focus on making an attractive seating area or… some kind of decorative vignette in the corner by the mural and at the side of the room you see from the kitchen and the entry. And just keep the rest neat and functional and out of sight for the kids, without apology.

    It’s a kind of sleight of hand magic – distract the eye, so the rest of the room becomes insignificant.

    1. PS – I love the mural and my kids would have loved it when they were small. They would have completely missed the violence of battle, and seen it as a great adventure. And having their name on a ship? Bliss.

      1. Subliminally, they would have picked up on the violence. The data shows this is what happens and to intentionally put something like that in a kids’ room…..wrong.

  195. Gosh, we do live in strange times, don’t we?

    Emily, you promised once a separate post on how social media affect design process. I’m SO MUCH looking forward to it because I just don’t get it: how one can spend thousands of $$$ just to get some more likes.

    And, money isssue aside, I’ve always admired your opennes and transparency, but reading that you make aesthetical decisions based on trends on Instagram, and not on your gut feeling… It’s just wrong. We should be following you, not the other way around:D.

    still, best wishes for you&your family:D

  196. what about a large mirror or group of mirrors to reflect the mural?

  197. Hi! Your kids should get a Navy Nugget to go with this mural! I think it’ll anchor the space but still be modern and fun!! My two have one and love it. @nuggetcomfort

  198. Watching your style evolve has been really fun, and while ai love where you are going, I sort of hate that you habe left your whimsical side behind. This mural would be completely lovely, appropriate in the space, and total bring back some whimsy. I am all for it!

  199. Bit late to this but … I think your kids are pretty well catered for in terms of play areas. Upstairs bedrooms (1x each) and fantastic area in the garden.

    I’ve embraced the minimalism philosophy when it comes to toys – less is definitely more. The toys that are out are actually used (rather than strewn all over the floor). They then get swapped out with some other toys about once a month. In my experience, huge amount of toys are unused (they just lie in the play box / floor) – out of sight therefore out of mind.

    Which brings me to this room! As it is right next to your entrance, do you really want the first thing visitors see to be your toy room (which is probably / invariably less than immaculate at all times?!). I would embrace it as being part of the entrance and part of the whole (rather than try to separate it off). Perhaps a “posh” mudroom / getting ready to go out the house area with an elegant seat to put shoes on and an area for a last minute make up check?

    That said, I LOVE the mural and think it’s creative and different. Definitely not the same ‘ol, same ‘ol. However, I would put it in Charlie’s room not downstairs and make it so much more interesting than what (I feel) is a pretty generic look.

    Also, bear in mind that if you put into this room, it will be very visible from other parts of the home too. Do really want to look at stately Spanish galleons from your “great hall” sofa?

  200. I think the mural is gorgeous and perfectly suited to a play room. As a child, I adored the beautiful black illustrations in Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Peter Rabbit. To me, the mural represents whimsy, creativity and adventure. Kids need things that encourage imagination- and that is what the mural does. It also works with the EHD aesthetic and will grow with the kids.

    Other stuff: I do not like the current curtains. They make the room look dated, especially with the rug and traditional architecture. Love your honesty though I wish you’d be less hard on yourself!

  201. I’d stop where you are at, or use that wall for something really kid centric. You can put up commercial wall board so they can pin up fun things, inspiration and their art. The graphic is cool, but I’d be over it in about 1.5 months. Maybe not worth the “likes”? For me the content you post that I’m the most inspired by is when you are ALL IN on a concept that you love! Not when you are thinking about appealing to the masses.

  202. It is a gorgeous room obviously; and I love your work so much! The mural company does amazing work, but I feel strongly against this particular mural for a kids play room. From what I can make out those are battle ships fighting. In this day in age, I think kids don’t need any more messages of war.

  203. Playrooms are difficult! I like to be able to have everything put away, so we can get rid of the daycare look when it’s not in use..BUT easy access to toys is a big deal! My favorite thing in my playroom is a daybed dressed with lots of colorful pattern pillows, and easy to slide out open storage bins for toys underneath. Our biggest toys (kitchen/race track) go in the kids rooms. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  204. I love the mural idea! It will give the room a really nice depth that might assuage your concerns about the shape.

  205. Usually I’d be all for that mural (I love a wallpaper), but I’m against it here. I kinda feel like the other walls will look weird without the mural. Additionally, the room is very busy with all their toys, and that pattern just makes it more hectic. Put up something where they can display their art (I think IKEA has some metal wires that you string across and can clip the kids’ art to it). It would make the space more of their own, and add some color, without dominating like the mural does.

  206. I love the mural, but don’t know that I like it for this room. It seems like there are a lot of elements in a narrow space with a ton of detail (the rug, the curtains, and now maybe the mural) and they all kind of fight with each other and definitely with the current furniture, which is much more graphic and modern, and which accordingly I think makes more sense for a playroom vibe. I think that little chair, the beanbag thing, and the cubbies are great, but wish everything else were pretty simple. I’d love to see a simpler, more graphic rug and solid curtains (or even blinds if there is a problem with the wall – it does seem crooked), and then either the mural or (preferably) a large scale piece of art with more of a playroom feel.

    But if you love the mural, use it! Personally, I ‘like’ and engage with posts when I see the passion behind them, regardless of whether it’s my own personal style. 🙂

  207. mural: LOVE!
    stage nook idea: LOVE!
    and… when stage nook is not in use what about a whole bunch of fun, colorful pillows all over it for a reading nook? My daughter has a nook in her room. We covered a twin mattress with pretty fabric then piled a million pillows all over it. Super comfy for her hang out and read (and by her, I mean me) or to lounge on while she plays.

  208. No need to justify your reasoning behind taking risks for content viewing! We would all be very hypocritical if we called you out on trying to maintain your business- because we are all so desperate for you to stay successful so we can know what the freak to do with our homes! Lord knows we all have an awkward space…

    I LOVE the mural and think it will be killer!! So excited to see how you manage this challenge. I have complete confidence in you and am so eager to see the result. And will definitely be liking the photo when it comes up on my feed because who could not press like on an awesome ship mural in a whimsical country playroom?!

  209. Two years into living in our house and I’m finally starting to figure out our living room. 12×16 with 4 doorways (exterior, bedroom, hallway, and columned Craftsman opening to our dining room), a fireplace, steam radiator, and two windows. CHALLENGING. Just painted the fireplace the same as the walls and moved the couch in front of it and the room is finally starting to make sense. larladawson on instagram. I feel your “impossible room” pain. If I were you I’d embrace the playroom and add a grown up coffee seating area in front of the windows.

  210. It is an awkward space and will probably always be evolving. But, it will always look unfinished until you put some art on the walls, or maybe a big chalkboard or cork board? A place for the drawings to go? Kids stuff is so low to the ground, you need some height, and also books. One of those tent type things would add some height too.

    Also, boys never outgrow their desire to destroy a dollhouse. My friends and I would spend hours setting up the rooms and getting it just right and then my brother would come through, yell “tornado!”, grab the roof and shake the house until everything fell over. He was still doing that when he was 16. Your kids are still a bit young for it, but once they are in school (or demonstrate an ability to play calmly) you could leave just the basic furniture in the house and let them play with it, then add the fun accessories as they show more care. You’ll definitely need some appropriate sized dolls though. The most fun I had with a dollhouse was building all the furniture and making the accessories.

  211. Have you seen people put up those haptic lab ship kites? Would kind of be cool to have something simple but with a 3d element on the other side. Perhaps framed?

  212. The strongest praise I can ever give a room is “inviting” — and this playroom is inviting!!! Some rooms invite you to curl up with a book and cup of tea, some invite you to drink champagne and stay up late. This room invites you to go in and play! Or maybe just to lounge while kids are playing, and you can soak up the happy, kid energy in there.

    This room is inviting now because it’s authentically “kid world.” Please don’t tinker too much with the magic of kid world that you have already set up with your design. The kids add the spice, flair, style and fun to this design.

    I don’t think you need anything more than some squishy Yogibo-type stuff for lounging (and playing, they make good fort walls) and an ottoman/stool for an adult at the art table. You could curate a gallery wall of their art. Or try something I put in my kitchen – a blown-up copy of the last page of the book “Ferdinand”, which shows the sweet bull sitting under a tree and one sentence, “He is very happy.”

  213. Emily, would you consider placing two adult-sized chairs or even the blue chaise lounge that is currently in your living room, in the bay window of the play room? I think it would be nice to have chairs in there so that you can sit and read to your kiddos or do some work while they play. Perhaps it will become a quiet place for them to sit and read by themselves as they get older. I love the soft blues that you currently have in the room and feel that the wallpaper would take away from the serene environment you’ve made for your children.

  214. You are so lucky to have such an accessible play area! Love the idea of a play stage area in front of the window. And love the idea of the mural. Maybe to offset the mural, on the other wall chalkboard paint would be awesome that they could draw on and an area where you could gallery their artwork. You’ll want that as they get older. That would be a nice backdrop for a comfy chair or little bookcase. What ever you do will look awesome!

  215. I wonder if 38 year old Emily may just be a little tired with 763 balls (all perfectly colored and spinning)in the air.
    AnyHoo I’m old and obsolete and I know hardcover books are going the way of the DoDo bird but to me the room seems to be a perfect place for a Library/Study. A calming room where we curl up in lovely largish english type chairs-have an option for listening to good music and being quiet first with a great book-it doesn’t have to be baby-ish reading a great book to smaller children is a great way to make them readers for Life…..and conversational second. Mural on the feature wall and elegant bookcases for what? Books books and maybe a few more books. Whatever you do is always original and lovely as are you and your entire family.
    Thanks for all of the great posts

  216. I really like the idea of this room because it is so quirky. That being said, I really hate that ship mural–not the actual visual of it so much, but I can’t really imagine liking it in 6 months when its in your house kind of deal. I’m also afraid it will make a narrow room seem like it is closing in on you. Dunno. But, I am very pro seeing this as a source of more content.

  217. I totally get what you’re saying about people who just post other people’s content. It drives me crazy! I hate when I follow someone and I think I’m seeing their work, but I’m not. As soon as I realize it’s just reposts, I immediately unfollow. No thanks, just having a pretty feed is not enough for me to be interested in you (to be clear, not YOU, the general you, you’re original and that’s what’s so cool, seeing someone’s creativity and hard work).

  218. Love your detail and honesty – as a small business owner I know all about doing things for likes, it’s nice to see such transparency about it!
    As far as the mural, it is very fun and while not something you will have forever, will be great for a few years. I have a 4 year old and 2 year old also and they would think it’s pretty amazing to have their names on ship on the wall! And then they’ll color the ships! HA! How about flipping the furniture so the mural would go on the wall with the cubbies currently? That way it isn’t seen from the entryway and every other room – it would just be something you saw when you were in the room.

  219. I think you should get that forest wall paper you put in Elliot’s nursery in your old house again. I love it so much. I get that it’s not really the same colour scheme but like magical forest playroom is just soooo beyond fantasy land perfect. Also this room defenitly needs wallpaper or something. Something feels like it’s missing…maybe you should get another of those chair and a half’s for this room??? Or put that dollhouse where it can be seen coming in?! Because it’s gorgeous. By the way, a dollhouse tip: put it on a lazy Susan so it can be turned around by little hands (thanks dad). Maybe some beautiful big wooden blocks?? The tables going to be a mess. Oh my god! Alternatively to the wallpaper you could do one of your lovely gallery walls buttt with their artwork framed. Get them to make a bunch of beautiful pieces with like higher quality art materials and then you might normally give them and then frame them!!!!!

  220. Could you come up with a stylish, unique way to display your kids art on that wall? I don’t love the mural to be honest and for playroom ideas – functional and pretty is always key and will garner interest and saves. Every kid who loves to draw adores having their pictures displayed. Doing it in a way that is easy to replace old pictures and put new ones up and that looks unique and stylish as well would be fabulous.

  221. I am so confused and baffled as to how you don’t see the mural as depicting violence/confrontation. The smoke is coming from a fire or gunpowder, no?

  222. I love the carpet! It was a must for my pinterest board “home decor” xoxo

  223. I like the mural…I don’t know that two battling ships say “playroom” to me? But it would be fun seeing you design around it?

    As for the rest of the room…if I had the resources, I would partner with a Reggio or Waldorf teacher that had experience designing spaces. That way, the room would be maximized for play and you’d be designing for the specific functions of the room (eg. art station, costume corner, building area, etc.) I know the room isn’t big, but it is possible to organize the space into a few of these. As a mom of 3 (4 mo, 4yr, 6yr), I would LOVE this type of collab and would learn tons.

    1. I second this! This is one type of collaboration/designing for likes I could get behind (mom of toddler).

  224. changing rooms feels good, we feel good following along, & we want you to feel good too.🍀

  225. Hi there…I love everything you do and am a big fan. Thank you for always thinking about your audience and what they would like to see.

    Just picking up on a few other’s comments on the subject matter of the mural. There is no doubt that it is a fantastic piece of art/design and would look amazing but for me there is just no getting away from the fact it’s essentially showing a violent act of war which you are then personalizing for your children so that it will have even greater meaning to them. You could argue that it’s whimsical and they are too young to get what is really being shown but I find semiotics fascinating and if you also believe, then I would maybe consider what unconscious meaning you could be creating and communicating to them by having it play such a feature role in your home.

    Other than that, I can’t wait to see how you resolve the space…please keep being bold in your choices! I love that I can always find something fresh and interesting in your approach to design and that it isn’t cookie cutter like so much else seemingly is these days.

  226. I have no idea, but do have an awkward long rectangular play/guest/exercise room so would love to see ideas here of how to manage that please! Have an equally long rectangular office— more like a hallway really with a door on one end leading out to hall/landing, just awful! Desperately in need of advice for long narrow rooms basically! Thanks in advance!

  227. I would save that wall for the beautiful childrens artwork that will be coming home when the kids enter pre-school and elementary school. Especially if birdie is obsessed with drawing! Put it in Ikea frames with gallery lights or string onto wire. It will inspire their creativity and give them a space to express themselves. Did this with my boys who are now going off to college and they still remember feeling like “real” artists…and they are still very creative beings!

  228. What was this room originally? The dining room? I like the graphic boat decal quite a bit.

  229. Thank you for being you. 🙂 I vote for the mural! (It can always be removed – or changed to the library-y theme)
    I think a mural is the right kind of statement-whimsy this room needs. It is leaning toward spare-room-where-we-keep-the-kids’-toys and needs some more ‘intention’ – to borrow your word! I vote for the chair(s) too. (upholstered in bonus-whimsy fabric!) My grandkids’ playroom doesn’t have adult furniture because the kids are big enough to climb but small enough to hurt themselves falling from said furniture. You can’t really hang in there with them on the floor for too long because getting on your feet again can be difficult. :/ We end up in the living room which kinda defeats the purpose of a playroom….. Also, I love the stage idea!!! Daredevil Designer Emily, we await your debut!

  230. As for the mural….I think it will inspire their creative play! My kids (all girls ages 10, 7, 4) love to put on plays, shows and play make-believe. They would LOVE this as their back drop! Through their eyes….there would be battles, shipwrecks and of course pirates, mermaids and maybe even tresure. Children benefit so much from creative play. In the blink of an eye they grow out of playrooms, toys, kitchen sets and pretend play. Enjoy every second of it…..put the mural up!

  231. Emily, thanks for being authentic & transparent about your process, indecision, the drum beat of social media clicks, all of it. It’s you & that’s why we read. That window cove & “proscenium” arch are the greatest invitation for puppet shows & all manner of theatrical encores. GO with that. Your kids will love it; you will cherish memories of your children’s creative antics. And there will be gr8 Instagram worthy photo ops. If it were my home, I’d also make the room comfortable for reading. Give yourself a way to do story time with your kids. You are a brilliant sweet designer. Have fun. <3

  232. I honestly say leave it as is and maybe add some fun art (probably not the mural…). It’s pretty and fits with the flow of the rest of the home but still is simple and kid friendly. Pretend you didn’t have to create content, then would you leave it?

  233. Make it a dining room, that’s what it feels like it is supposed to be?

  234. Do the mural! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  235. The mural will be fun for your kids and something they’ll always remember. You can take it down when they get bigger–the room doesn’t need to be “done”, it just needs to work for where you are right now.

  236. Would you mind sharing the red color you chose for your front door?

  237. Give the mural a shot. That blank wall is looking a bit bland and needs a statement. Yes it is depicting violence but in a fairly calm monochromatic way! Kids can’t be shielded from violence, let’s face it we live in what can be a very violent world. I think this is why fairy tales can be important in childhood. Understanding that there are dangers and bad things out there. I also like the idea of a stage, possibly painting the ceiling(s) and a comfy adult chair or love seat. Another thing although not sure how you could incorporate this into a playroom is the use of mirror to give the illusion of more width to the room. It would also reflect the mural and bounce a bit of light around. Just a thought. I look forward to seeing how it turns out!

  238. I think the playroom needs a place for Mom and Dad to sit with the kids to play a game, read a story, or just have your coffee while they play. How about a sofa that curves along the front windows? I think that Michael Taylor makes one that you could look at for inspiration.

    The art table could go in front of the sofa, doubling as a coffee table when the sofa is in use, leaving the rest of the room for toy storage and play.

    The play kitchen and kids’ chairs could go where the art table is now.

    I like the mural, but I think that it will overwhelm the room.

  239. you are so hilarious! playrooms are such a challenge, especially right off the front entry to your home. people expect a certain amount of “emily” when they walk in. I think just bite the bullet and do built ins to make it fell less hodgepodge. A library/parlor feel with a playroom/ twist…you will get your toy storage, but with a little more adult mixed in. Small round table with 4 chairs for games and puzzles in the window nook and skip the stage — dancing//twirling/acting/wrestling children and lots of glass do not mix well 😉 and me thinks leave the mural for another room. no matter what you decide it will be perfect. 🙂

  240. you are so hilarious and I love your stream of consciousness and honesty. I suspect, all of the designers/bloggers are doing the same thing, but not telling the readers about it. 😏

    playrooms are such a challenge, especially right off the front entry to your home…..people expect a certain amount of “emily” when they walk in.

    soooo many great choices… I think just bite the bullet and do built ins to make it feel less hodgepodge. A library/parlor vibe with a playroom/ twist…you will get your toy storage, but with a little more adult mixed in. Small round table with 4 chairs for games and puzzles in the window nook and skip the stage — dancing//twirling/acting/wrestling children and lots of glass do not mix well 😉

    me thinks leave the mural for another room…it’s too themed. change the sconces and rug, they both read too large for the space.

    i know whatever you decide it will be perfect and I’m excited to see it unfurl.

  241. I would hesitate putting up such a divisive mural so close to the front entrance. The nautical ship theme would fit in better in a bathroom. A calmer garden-like mural would be better. Also you need some adult sitting space by that wall. Are babysitters/nannies just meant to stand there while the kids play or be in the other room?

  242. This is so random, but could you put a TV on a wall mount that moves and put it on the short little wall near the room entry? So when you watch TV, it would pull out/over to center in the space a bit.? Then run the green sofa with a console table behind it in the pretty alcove? Add a floor lamp there too. And then do a large oversized coffee table that would serve as a game and drawing table for the kiddos with poofs that pull out? I want that room to feel less narrow and I wonder if this would work.

    Good luck! I think floor plans are the hardest.

  243. I love to read and so do the kids now that they are a little older, how about a reading/stage book by the windows? You can do a wrap around bench seating with storage cubbies with baskets for costumes and their accessories. You can also do a cute fabric cover cushion and some throw pillows.

  244. At a certain point, all you can do is do your own thing. Your stellar instincts and passion are what got you here. I get the pressure (in my career life, there are similar if different pressures), and I get how the pressure can throw off the inner compass. Maybe it’s time for a proper vacation in a place that you aren’t currently trying to design, and not for content? A little refresh to reset?

    Y’all are rocking it. Yours is the only design blog I check every day, because yours is the only one that makes me CARE. Thank you!

  245. I understand that it’s not really practical…but the problem with this room for me is just that it’s BEGGING to be a formal dining room. I would love to see this as a rarely used formal dining room and then the play room combined with living room 😆

  246. I know I’m late to the game on this post, but 1) weirdly, I think a lot of us design for “likes,” even if we don’t post our homes to social media – the whole world of social media gets into your head, and it’s hard anymore to work on our homes simply for the sake of joy, beauty, and hospitality. That sucks. I imagine it is an uncomfortable pressure to have it actually tied to your income and career, though. I think that would drive me crazy. It sounds like you more or less take it in stride. Way to have positive mental health! 2) I actually would love to see you design this, because my whole apartment is an awkward space, and because my kids’ toys are taking it over and I’m finding that to be depressing and overwhelming. I want to know how to organize with kids’ needs in mind and also make it beautiful.

    1. The wisest words I ever heard regarding kids toys: rotate them. Store most/many of them somewhere other than the play area, which reduces the actual clutter and the visual clutter of having all of the toys out all of the time. Then rotate – move some toys out and some in periodically. It keeps things fresh for the kids, and it makes it easier for you to organize the space.

      I really wish that toys came in different colors. The screaming primary and neon colors of most toys are just so hard for me visually – way too chaotic for my eyes and brain.

  247. Totally agree that the arch divides the room a little and personally I would love to hang out next to the windows, perhaps as a reading nook? Or a window seating. Good luck!

  248. I think you are awesome. Thanks for taking us on the journey; so often designers show an amazing space and it’s impossible to see what actually went into it’s creation. Love hearing about your process, your candor, and humor! You’re the best.

  249. What about making the windowed part of the room (behind the arch) a reading nook? I feel like that bay window is begging for a window seat. And maybe its just because its 40 degrees in NYC, but the idea of finding a sunny spot to read sounds divine!

  250. I think you need some window seats with storage and add some built in bookshelves and 2 desks in between on that longer wall. This will add more storage, can be used as a homework room in the future and look nice. Down the road (college age) it can be your library. Put the mural on the wall with the opening so it’s there and it’s fun but it’s not in your face when you look at it from the foyer or kitchen.

  251. I know you have other priorities, but I can’t wait to see you make this room super cute! I’m not a huge fan of the mural, but I’m sure you will make it look awesome.

  252. I think the mural will be fun!

    One of the biggest eyesores I see now is how the drawers and cubbies are stacked. Will the cubby stack fit on the wall that has the beanbag chair? Then some picture ledge, shelving or artwork above it.
    Also storage for books somewhere. Looking forward to seeing it finished!

  253. Do it!!
    You can definitely adress the boldness in the right way, as you did with the forest wallpaper. You do kids spaces so well in a way that they are both kid and adult friendly!

  254. A few days late reading this and it looks like lots of folks have chimed in. I am a fairly new reader of your blog, and I love your style. I don’t have the time to read through all the comments so someone may have already suggested this but the arched area to me is perfect for the sofa or something similar. This could be an adult seating area (when you just can’t think of sitting on the floor) or a cozy place for the kiddos to read books or snuggle with mom & dad. The art table could be a pseudo-coffee table, and by moving it that gives you the ability to put the play kitchen etc. along the wall. Overall, I think spaces go through transitions over time and it is ok for this space to be an “in between” space for a while before it gets to a beautifully designed space.

  255. Ah, such an awkward, quirky room! But that’s its charm! I think the mural is pretty rad; I think making this space the kids’ room completely is the right thing to do. Like someone mentioned, a stage would be amazing! My favorite kid spaces have unexpected things like swings or a slide coming in from a “reading deck,” etc. With the size of the room adding more than one thing would be a bit much, but I think the mural takes care of the “fun” aspect (still seconding the stage though!) I’d love to walk into a house and turn a corner and see something unexpected like that!

  256. The mural is interesting & it was interesting to read other comments about it.
    Since you are a designer, you might be fun to learn about room design from an early childhood education persepctive. These two posts were really helpful for me when I planned by kid’s playroom.

    1: Designing Spaces for Children https://www.playfullearning.net/resource/designing-spaces-children-getting-started/ This post is the first in a series of how to design spaces for children. She used to offer an e-course called Playful Learning Spaces that I took that was amazing.

    2: Not Just Cute: https://notjustcute.com/2012/08/03/first-friday-qa-replay-toddler-room-arrangement-schedules-and-nap-time/ About halfway in the post there are three links to how to design rooms for early childhood that I also learned alot from.

    Good luck! I’m curious to see what you do with the space and use design to work with the akwardness. I’m sure it will be awesome.

  257. I love your blog (and little family!) I’m a long time reader but have never commented. Here goes: the rug in there, although beautiful, doesn’t work and is throwing all the other design decisions off. It’s too ‘adult’ for the space. Something along the lines of your living room would be a better choice (neutral) for a playroom. The idea of a stage in that little alcove is a great idea from another reader. Keep up the good work. You are inspiring in so many ways. I know you’ll come up with something great!

  258. I love the mural. I think you should go for it. To me, it inspires more imagination and less violence and animosity. To me it conjured up images of the movie Swallows and Amazons and less war torn France and England. At the end of the day though, I’ve found my kids want to be where I am and drag their toys there. So you might as well put the playroom in your kitchen. Ha!

  259. Emily – was the dollhouse purchase more for the kids or more for you? 🙂

  260. I agree with whomever said that a bookcase on the short wall across the window would be perfect. I love the murals you choose. And this one is nice as well, but if our surroundings do in fact impact our lives, then I wouldn’t want battleships on the wall of a playroom.
    By the ways, I love the unique nature and layout of this room. It might be tricky but some people have just this room as kids bedroom and they have to figure out how to fit a bed and a play area. For your kids it’s mostly storage as they can play in the dining room/kitchen or living room. Just having a nice big house like that allows it. They can also play in their rooms. So I wouldn’t worry to much about the shape of the room. I’d put a bookcase on the small wall, and a table by the window. When you put furniture on the shorter walls, the room becomes more square that way, as opposed to one long intestine.

  261. I would love to hear your opinion on Instagram accounts that post a good amount of other people’s work! I have an account for my interior design business and only post our own images so am curious as to how you feel about this since you touched on it in your post. Also, designing for yourself is HARD! The playroom is going to be amazing no matter what your final design is bc you know best.

  262. Any chance you’ll do a budget friendly shared girls room? Love the neutral one you did, wondering how you would make it more girly, but timeless?

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