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A Playful and Bright Playroom Introduction


About six months ago we started a new client (progress board above), and over time we are designing their very beautiful Los Feliz home, prioritizing the rooms that the felt the most urgent first. At the time we started this project she was pregnant with their second daughter, the first one being a toddler so they needed a playroom, a guest room and a big girl room for their toddler ideally before the baby was born. First up is the playroom. She is small, but man she turned out to be so cute.

The playroom was originally a home office:

Playroom_Girls_Bright_Happy_Modern_Emily Henderson_Before_Side by Side_2

It’s fairly small and was more of a storage room than a space either of them sat to be productive. It’s right off the kitchen so it’s kinda a perfect place to put an adorable little playroom and to stash those bigger ride-on toys that clutter up the nearby living room but still need to be accessed.

Stylistically they wanted a place that was bright, poppy, modern, happy, and whimsical. Functionally it needed a sitting area (for cuddling/reading), book/toy storage, and an art/craft table. With that in mind we got to designing.

They had a sofa in another room that was in great shape but that needed a reupholstery job, and they had already purchased the gray bins, but everything else was up for grabs and could be moved or changed. We started playing by pulling together some design boards.


After playing around with different color combos and arrangements we ultimately loved this plan the most (below) and pitched it to the client. We typically bring photos of other options and play around with them if they react negatively or positively to something. But this was our favorite:

Playroom_Girls_Bright_Happy_Modern_Emily Henderson_Option_1

They liked it a lot but were a bit scared of the pink wall … and yet they could handle a pink sofa. You don’t have to ask us to upholster a sofa in blush pink twice. So we updated it slightly and here is the updated design plan:

Playroom_Girls_Bright_Happy_Modern_Emily Henderson_MOODBOARD_final

We kept most of what was originally in the plan but added this soft minty green color and paired it with this fun metallic blue wallpaper from Juju Papers for the small bathroom that was connected to the room.  We also swapped out a few items to better reflect the new color scheme overall.

We got busy painting (Benjamin Moore Green Cast), wallpapering and arranging for the sofa to be redone:

Playroom_Girls_Bright_Happy_Modern_Emily Henderson_Bathroom_Progress_1

The new rug and wallpaper looked just wonderful together.

Playroom_Girls_Bright_Happy_Modern_Emily Henderson_Bathroom_Progress_Rug Wallpaper

We loved the idea of the wallpaper in here, but having it in the bathroom made that small room really special, too.

Playroom_Girls_Bright_Happy_Modern_Emily Henderson_Bathroom_Progress

Don’t worry – the mirror and hand towel were switched out (but no, we didn’t really address the double mirror situation. So tricky.

We finished it up and are ready to post (but probably pitching it to another publication first) so here is a sneak peek of how it is looking from when we shot it last week.

Playroom_Girls_Bright_Happy_Modern_Emily Henderson_Sneak Peek_1

Ginny and Mel were the designers on this project, with me popping in to say ‘Yes! Good job! Keep it up! Move that over there! Not so far! Make it pinker! every week or so, and we all really like the way it turned out and how we made that little storage office into a fun useful space for them and their growing family.

Stay tuned for the the full reveal, and let us know if you have any questions below. xx

Update: the paint color is Benjamin Moore Green Cast, The rug is from Land of Nod, the sofa is vintage upholstered in a pink linen, pouf is from Lulu and Georgia, bins from Land of Nod, and pillows from Target.

***Sneak Peek photo by Tessa Neustadt

Fin Mark


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Emily – I love it! I have a similar room in our house (disorganized office that I want to turn into a playroom), so this post was so timely! I struggle with picking appropriate (and budget friendly) window coverings. Can you say where you sourced the white roman shade from? Thanks!


I believe pottery barn teens has ones that look like that.


Hey Stephanie, It’s from Pottery Barn Kids and we sewed on the cute ball fringe x

So cute and adorable.


I love the multi-colored rug. Can you give the source? Thanks!


Looks like Land of Nod


Is it wrong that this middle aged woman wants this as her playroom! So happy and adorable!! Where are those cute arrows and that colorful pillow from?


Aagh! The paint, sofa and rug are so good together! Rug source, please!!


Now I NEED a blush pink sofa/armchair/something!


So pretty! Would love to know the paint color. Thx!


That sofa is too perfect! When you post the full reveal can you please include the cost breakdown for having it reupholstered (fabric, labor, etc) and the source for that way too perfect pink fabric?

Melissa Smith

Seconded! I have pieces that I want reupholstered but have no clue how much something like that would cost.


I adore the rug! Please tell us where you found it. Thanks!


This comment comes from a place of love because I adore you Emily, but this design board doesn’t look like anything you would design. All of it looks generic to me. Like a target/land of nod catalog. Although, I bet the room turned out way better than your design plan above because I notice the real sofa is different than the stock one. And you probably inserted some cool vintage accessories and art in the finished product-that I just can’t see here. But man, those design plans (above) have no soul. And the one thing about your work that I love is how much soul/feeling they have. It could be that it is a playroom and it has to be this way — or there were really strict budgets that affected your choices — so I might be a jerk for leaving this comment…but it just felt so different than your usual aesthetic.

It says right in the post that she didn’t design it…. “Ginny and Mel were the designers on this project, with me popping in to say ‘Yes! Good job! Keep it up! Move that over there! Not so far! Make it pinker! every week or so, and we all really like the way it turned out and how we made that little storage office into a fun useful space for them and their growing family.”


I did read that. And maybe that’s the reason. I just assumed Emily is always involved.


Yeah, I’m sorry, I don’t know why I commented about the design plans -my bad. Those are always simple. I think I sort of mixed it up with the actual room photos. I’m sure those will have your special style added to them. Thanks for your response.


How about covering the medicine cabinet mirror with solid non reflective surface (wood panel or wallpaper – too much?) and using one of your awesome vintage mirrors as a focal point? Silly?


I would love to know how much it costs to get a sofa reupholstered…on average. It looks beautiful. Thank you.

OMG, I need a pink couch like that! Too bad the boys outnumber the girls at our house–they’d never agree to a pink couch. 🙂 What paint color is the mint? That is pretty much the perfect mint–not too institutional but still fun and bright!


Oh my gosh, how fun!! I love it and can’t wait to see more!

Megan T

Can you share the name of the paint? So pretty!!

I LOVE THIS. that blush sofa is absolutely a dream. I’m pretty sure I need it in my life! We are currently working on our playroom downstairs. The walls are a very subtle blush color, that’s not very pinky. So, I don’t know about adding a pink sofa to that, but this has definitely given me ideas!


Please tell me more about the white book shelf rack! Where’s it from? Thanks!!


I also want to know this!


Love this sweet little space! Can you tell me where I can find that wall light by the sofa? Thanks 🙂


Agreed! I’d love to know about that beautiful light!


Looks great! I’d love to know the cost (retail cost) of reupholstering a couch about that size and any local (Los Angeles) vendors to whom you’d like to give a shout out! Thanks!


Bitly URL shortener is your friend 😉

Link to the Nelsons:


I have this rug and wondering what you recommend to keep it clean!!


I have the rug used in the adorable boy bedroom from years ago in my son’s room. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean. We don’t wear shoes in there a d it’s still dirty. I flip it, then take it to the cleaners once a year. 🙁 I love it so, but it’s a pain in the a$$


I’m curious too, how do you keep a cotton rug clean? While beautiful, I just can’t seem to keep them clean. After a few tries, I feel like I’ve finally learned my lesson and will never buy a cotton rug again. Between pets and children the cotton is just a disaster. But perhaps I’m doing something wrong?


We have a cotton rug like this in my daughter’s bedroom and frankly just toss it in the washing machine every now and then. I may even be guilty of putting in the dryer (on low) when I’m not in the mood to wait a 2-3 days for the thing to air dry in our basement. It’s 5×7 so I’m not sure if a rug much larger would fit in a standard machine. Also not sure if this is remotely recommended, but it does the trick for us!


Would it not be weird to just remove the door of the medicine cabinet and have something of a open built-in on the wall? You could paint the shelves something fun!


That’s a great idea! Another option is to replace the cabinet mirror with clear or bubble glass. This allows the parents to keep contents behind a door and maintains the charm of the cabinet I asumme they don’t really need to keep much in this bathroom.


I think Mel has got it going on! I find myself gravitating to her projects!


What a fun, whimsical space for their girls. I love how it turned out!


I think I’m really going to enjoy this home as we continue to see it. I like their style….biggie and 2pac posters, I’m in!


Cant believe their existing sofa was such a perfect fit for the space!!! What great luck and what a great sofa. This is so cute and fresh and i LOVE it…cant wait for the reveal. Brava All!

lisa d

the final is amazing and perfect I love every inch!


Hi Emily! Can I make a request? Can we see more family room make-overs? I love these play rooms but my kids are getting older and I would love to see rooms that are functional and well designed but maybe a little less cutesy. X


I’d love this too! We’re moving soon and will no longer have space for a separate playroom. I’d love to see a living/family room that works for grown ups and kids alike (mine is 3.5) – lots of hidden storage maybe!


Where is that darling pink and navy polka dot bin from??


Looks great! I’d love to know the cost (retail cost) of reupholstering a couch about that size and any local (Los Angeles) vendors to whom you’d like to give a shout out! Thanks!


would love to know sources from the first mood board, too! dog wallpaper and plaid rug, especially!! thanks!


Where is this wall lamp from? So cute!

The Home Grrl

What is the sofa you used for the design plan boards? It looks like a different, new sofa. It’s exactly what I am looking for! Thanks.

We were so stoked to see Emily used our EMIL sofa in her design plans! It comes in a few colors (white and pink included). Check it out here:

Content Coordinator


What a lovely playroom! The colored, furnishings and accessories are perfect!


I absolutely love this! Could you please tell me what software you use to put together your mood boards? I would love to do that for some rooms I’m redoing. Also, where to source those cool arrows??

Sherrie S

Could you please source the light fixture on the wall – it would be perfect for my daughter’s reading corner…..thank you.


Hi Emily, I would love to know what program you use to make these boards. I’m a new designer and that would help me out a lot. Thanks


Wow! That sofa! Makes me wanna go have some more kiddos…ok, so maybe not. Totally fun room!


Hi Ginny and Mel, this room is incredibly cute! I love everything about it.

Love that couch and those adorable mint green chairs!


This room looks so adorable! But I’m surprised more people aren’t commenting on how impractical the (gorgeous) blush couch and light colored cotton rug are for a playroom. They’re going to look grubby in not very long.

JJ Phillips

Such a lovely room! Love the ability to see the progress with the different design boards as well. Do you use an app or something else to create the boards?


Thanks a lot of for share the informative and useful blog. keep it up…

I love this color scheme so much! This is awesome inspiration for my daughter’s bedroom!



Did you post any figures on reupholstering a couch like this? Any recommendations for Los Angeles vendors?

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