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Playroom Makeover with PillowFort + Shop The Collection

As you know I’ve done a lot of baby rooms (I have two myself, after all), but playrooms are even more fun to do for pretty obvious reasons. I used Target’s new, very wonderful and affordable kids decor line, PillowFort, to furnish and accessorize almost the whole space – so it’s a look you can absolutely get if you are into it. The collection is so good you guys, full of easy to mix simple pieces of furniture and a lot of really playful accessories – pillows the shape of ice cream cones, for instance.

The “client” this time was the family of Green Wedding Shoes. Jen and Jayson who have a 3 year old, Sienna, and just gave birth to another daughter, Dakota. Congratulations, Jen. Welcome to the 2-kid club. It’s not exactly like the clubs I used to try to sneak into when I was 18, but it’s definitely full of excitement and way more A-list.

If you are into the whole design process, seeing the full room, and watching a 3 year old style with me, here you go:

When we first met the room, it looked like this:

Pillowfort Playroom Target Before 2

Clearly they had just moved in, and were in dire need of everything. But the bones were good, and the space was pretty simple.


They mostly had left over furniture and random little pieces.


The style of the house is contemporary with a lot of industrial vibes, like rustic beams and black railings. This playroom is a transition room – it’s a loft at the top of the stairs which leads into both kids bedrooms. Our goal, stylistically, was to make the room feel seamless in the home and yet obviously really girly and playful. And functionally it needed storage, a sitting area for reading/cuddling, and a craft/activity table.

We pulled together a preliminary moodboard to help guide the direction.

Pillowfort Playroom Moodboard Pink Mint Green Kids

More would be added and things would shift, but this was our jumping off point.

With out any further ado, the playroom of my dreams:

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover 02

So much to chat about. Everything you see in there is from the PillowFort collection, except the wallpaper and the custom daybed (come back tomorrow for full post about that). Like I said, the collection is really good. They nailed the colors (with lots of options) and they designed it so that kids would love it, sure, but that we as parents would want to be around it. Who doesn’t want an excuse to own a pillow shaped like a panda head for instance? No one. There is so much more than we could even use in this room, so go check out the full collection before you tackle your kids room (there are even beds and dressers).

Let’s talk wallpaper. If you are in the market for some playful and fun wallpaper in a quiet/sophisticated tone, look no further. This is charcoal and white so it works with any color palette, and yes, those are tiny houses. It is designed by Sissy and Marley and it comes in a few color-ways, so check their site to see what else they have (we love all of their wallpaper).

We chose this one because the pattern was more of a texture than a big, bold, busy pattern adding to the potential chaos of the room. When choosing wallpaper know that the smaller the pattern, the less busy it is (although ironically  a medium size pattern is WAY more busy than a really large pattern – like Charlie’s wallpaper). I actually thought this pattern would be bigger than it turned out to be, but I love the scale of it. It’s soft and just adds so much texture without nutty-ness.

The Pillow Fort canopy really was the inspiration for the daybed (we are doing a whole post on the custom daybed tomorrow so please come back for full how/why/how much info). Back to the canopy. Have you ever personally met a person who doesn’t want to lounge under a canopy? They are a universal hit. It’s such a fun, cute place for anybody to read, especially a 3 year old girl named Sienna.

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Bench Makeover 01

We curated the pillows so that there were enough that were square, rectangular, and sculptural. I love that I just wrote that we “curated sculptural pillows” for a playroom. To be fair that panda head and “Hooray!” are indeed pillows, and pretty great. All of the pillows had our light, fun, bright color palette with enough negative space pillows mixed in so it didn’t feel really heavy.

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover 07

We added the sconce to give them some light over there for reading, without needing any side tables. Remember for kids rooms, the less furniture the better, as they need more room for playing, resting, fort making, etc. This plug-in sconce is perfect (and it comes in white as well).

My “pillow deciding” pose is really one of my best.

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover 03

Bean Bags. Let’s talk about those for a while. In our next house every room possible will have some form of bean bag. These two are extremely comfortable – for kids or grownups. They are low and slouchy, but oh so comfortable, and they love you back. They don’t need those pillows, but those two are a couple of my favorites, so we styled with them to show them off.

Those wall bookshelves are a great invention if you need access to some books but don’t have room for a piece of furniture. Also if you want to know my favorite book to read to Charlie for the last 2 months I think it would be Dragons Love Tacos (well, that and Frog On A Log).

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover Book Pockets

The beanbags, shelves, and rug come in a few different colors. We have that rug in our family room right now as Elliot’s playmat because it’s so soft and we all love it. It stays put and is easy for her large noggin to land on. I started noticing that Target is making their rugs with built-in rug pads on the bottom, so they stick and stay on the ground. Genius. Some day, for my 50th birthday I’m going to announce to the world that I will never, ever, ever deal with a rug pad again. Have you ever put a rug under your bed and then realized that it needed a rug pad? That’ll ruin your Sunday, I promise.

Lets take a look at the new activity table area:

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover 05

I love those play tables and chairs, and even tried them in my house but Charlie is still a bit little for them (Sienna is 3 and she’s barely tall enough). They don’t need pillows, but certainly look cute with them. Those chairs also come in pink, black, and white. They are designed to be really stable and not slip (see those little rubber bits on the bottom?). I had no idea how important it is to have kids furniture be really stable, but it turns out that kids sure aren’t.

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover 04

A playroom isn’t complete without a fort or some sort of teepee. Enter this adorable guy:

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover 10

We layered it full of pillows and hung some string lights (maybe just do this for your, say, photo shoots as they are outdoor glass bulbs…not exactly my most kid friendly move). I love that fun pattern on it – which helped bring in more black/white to that part of the room.

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover 12

When stringing those lights make sure to sit in the most flattering (yet uncomfortable) position with a pleasant look on your face. Also thanks, Danielle, for making that hair look so pretty.

I don’t have a clean shot of the shelving, but we gave them two matching shelves and decked them out with bins for storage. The shelves are really simple, clean, and can work in most homes/styled.

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover Kids Tent

If you are in the market for a teepee know that it takes up a lot of real estate  – when fully open they are HUGE. Obviously you wouldn’t STUFF it with pillows as we did – but I wanted to show off more product and style it up for the shoot. Just throw in a couple larger floor pillows and that pineapple pillow, obviously, and call it a day.

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover 11

Lastly we created a little dress-up area with her tutu collection and wings/tiaras with some simple hooks and that adorable “Girls Rule” sign. I can’t wait ’til Elliot gets a tiny bit older and wants to play dress up (if she is into that) because this mama will curate the most amazing vintage girls (and adult) dressup trunk EVER. I can finally look like the crazy bag-lady that rules my insides, all in the name of playing with my daughter.

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover Dress up Corner

We pulled off this makeover in 2 days – with a few weeks of planning, obviously.

Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover Kids Childrens Mint Green and Pink Activity Room Emily Henderson Before and After 2

Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover Kids Childrens Mint Green and Pink Activity Room Emily Henderson Before and After 1

There we have it – a fun, poppy, adorable, whimsical playroom for this lovely family of (now) four. In our next house I would feel pretty lucky to have a huge playroom for the kids like this to really go nuts in, and not have to worry about how much their mess clutters up our area. But, if you don’t, like us, this collection is cute enough for the whole family.

Emily Henderson Target Pillowfort Playroom Makeover Green Wedding Shoes

Feel free to copy it and get that look. And DON’T forget to watch the video and check out Jen’s perspective over on Green Wedding Shoes. 

Target Pillowfort Get The Look Kid Childs Playroom Colorful Pink Emily Henderson


1. Wooden Day Bed (Custom, but similar) | 2. Panda Head Wall Decor | 3. White & Grey Teepee | 4. Pink Stripe Area Rug | 5. Pom Pom Pillow | 6. Pineapple Throw Pillow | 7. Boone 3-Shelf Kids Console Bookcase | 8. Boone Activity Table | 9. Mint & White Striped Fabric Bin | 10. My House Charcoal Wallpaper | 11. Industrial Kids Activity Chair in Aquamint | 12. House Shelves With Pinboard | 13. Mint Desk Lamp | 14. Ice Cream Patterned Throw Pillow | 15. Corduroy Bean Bag Chair | 16. Dip Dye Bed Canopy | 17. Flamingo Throw Pillow | 18. Oh Joy Tassel Pillow | 19. Crosby Swing Arm Sconce | 20. Girls Rule Wire Wall Decor | 21. Flamingo Table Lamp | 22. Pink Book Shelf

Also available: Yellow Polka Dot Pillow | White Giraffe Bookend | Knit DollGold Modern Hook | Girls Tutu Skirt | Embroidered Striped PillowDiamond Square Pillow | Red & Mint Patterned Pillow | Small Wooden Planter | Wooden Architectural Blocks | Oh The Places You’ll Go Book | Metal Lantern | Globe String Lights | Orange Jersey Diamond Lumbar Pillow | White Flower Applique Flower PillowYarn Dyed Geo Pillow |  Panda Head Throw PillowMulticolored Tassel Throw PillowFlower Bear Throw Pillow | Ice Cream Cone Throw Pillow |  Hooray Throw PillowParty Hedgehog Figurine

Into kids design? Here you go: Elliot’s nursery, Charlie’s nursery,  The Shelter Nursery,  A floral/glam nursery, A Playroom Refresh,   Neutral (Well, Mostly) California Nursery, Moonrise Kingdom Boy’s Bedroom, A Rustic Mid-Century Family Room,  Kids Room’s Roundups, A Custom Daybed Story.

*Photos by Tessa Neustadt, Video by Scrunch Media, Hair and Makeup by Danielle Walch. This post is part of a larger collaboration with America’s (and my) favorite major retailer, Target. 

For more Pillowfort Makeovers: Blogger Challenge: 3 Playroom MakeoversA Custom Daybed

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7 years ago

Kid-size tables and chairs are fun, but they are relevant only a few years–from about 2 until 6 or 7. So low-cost options are important. Once they get bigger, anything that smacks of “little kid” will be shunned. The beanbags are an example of furniture that can appeal beyond the early years. Things like tents are great for creating those hideaways that kids love but that can be taken up easily for cleaning and put away or passed on when the kids are grown.

7 years ago

Dragons Love Tacos is a favorite in our house too! I’ve been rearranging our “playroom” lately, but beanbags had not occurred to me. Will put on my list for the future.

7 years ago

Very fun! Where is that lady face case from?

7 years ago
Reply to  Kristin

I’d love to know as well!

7 years ago
Reply to  Kristin

Copy that!

7 years ago

A dream room. What happened to the play kitchen?

7 years ago
Reply to  Antonella

I too want to know what happened to the play kitchen. Do they still have it? Or was Sienna just not a fan of it? Or did it just take up too much space?

7 years ago

I was at target yesterday, looking for the Pillowfort stuff. Where is it in the store? Is it strewn all throughout…bedding section, decor section? Or is it all on it’s own aisle? It was so weird that I didn’t see it anywhere.

7 years ago

Oh so glad to see that pink striped rug here and your review of it! It’s been in my Target shopping cart for a week, now I can pull the trigger with confidence. I just die over the Pillowfort collection, even though it has basically added a minimum of $50 to every Target trip. I can’t help myself. Everything is just so cute.

7 years ago

Whoa! The wallpaper is houses…that sentence took me by surprise. You nailed it on choosing it for the texture, bc at first glance I totally thought it was wallpaper with a painted brick look! I love that as you get closer there are tinier details to behold. Lovely!!

Also:. Talk again about your tanning lotion of choice for your legs (I do remember correctly that you use some kind of bronzer?).

Deirdre Cerasa
7 years ago

Really cute and lots if fun. I see some things my granddaughters would love., her I come.

7 years ago

This is too stinking cute! I saw a little sneak peak on instagram over the weekend and just could not wait to see the whole room. Let me tell you…it did not disappoint! I definitely would have loved this playroom when I was a little girl and I was a tough critic back then 😉 great job as always Emily!!! I actually felt like I needed to have kids right away when I saw this just to have this playroom!

7 years ago

I don’t think there is one thing is this room that I don’t love. Well done, Target & Emily!

7 years ago

I’m loving these playroom makeovers! We are doing an addition to our house right now making our kitchen an eat-in kitchen and we are going to turn our dining room into a playroom for our 18 month old daughter. You have been giving me so many good ideas.

7 years ago

Wow! My kid-self would have loved this room SO much… and I actually really dig it now too! Who doesn’t love pink and mint with lots of black and white??

7 years ago

I’m a big fan, and this room is precious. I do have to respectfully ask: what is the point of styling a kids’ room with string lights for photos, when you say yourself it’s not such a good idea to put them in an actual kids’ room? While I agree that they look great, I do wonder why they are there if in real life they would pose a threat to the safety of small children. Is this post more for eye candy, or real-life decor inspiration? I’m not trying to be a kill-joy – I am genuinely curious. Thanks so much for your input.

7 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Haha! I get it! I have 2 kids the same ages as yours, and I’m always hoping they don’t notice the unsafe things I put out for the sake of style. But then they do and my house just isn’t quite as cute! Oh well. 🙂

7 years ago

Seriously, my ovaries just erupted. I need a little one now so I can buy all of this. This makes me even more sad that my girls are 9 and 12.

7 years ago

“Hey Kid…” Dragons Love Tacos is a fave in our house too. Do you have “Secret Pizza Party” by them? Just as amazing.

Adorable room. Unapologetically girly in a way that I just love.

R. Pyper
7 years ago

I just love this look! And I love the Pillowfort line. Maybe you could pass along a note to the Target powers-that-be that we mamas would love for them to add zippers to their pillows for easier cleaning or switching inserts (and we’d be happy to pay a few extra bucks for zippers too).

7 years ago

Oh my gosh, can I please live in this playroom?? It looks so fun, but also kind of serene. I am definitely stealing some ideas to decorate my adult room!

7 years ago

gorgeous. I love it! Emily, you are pretty tight with Target, yes? You should tell them to SELL THIS STUFF IN AUSTRALIA! It’s so disappointing to walk into one here and know that all this goodness isn’t available.

Awesome space. After this post and the one from last week (at your friends house) I’m seriously considering having my family eat on the floor so we can turn our dining room into a play area.

7 years ago

This makeover is adorable, but Sienna is really the star here! She is so precious.

7 years ago

Question of curiosity: did the potlights in the room (seen in the before pictures) get actually removed or was that “blog magic”?

7 years ago

So adorable! And I appreciated your explanation of “this is how we styled it” vs. “this is how I would do it in real life.”

P.S. It’s spelled tutu. 🙂

7 years ago
Reply to  Emma

I finally got around to watching the video and OMG that child’s response to everything is so cute! Best video ever!

7 years ago

From tragic to magic in two days. Okay, it took tons of shopping, planning and prep but that doesn’t rhyme. Love it. If I were three, I’d want you for my BFF.

7 years ago

Incredible! I love the pink shelving on the graphic black and white wall!

7 years ago

Will the Pillowfort line be adding more furniture, specifically beds? I’m on the hunt for a big girl bed and wondering when to pull the trigger and just buy one?

7 years ago

Love it …

7 years ago
Reply to  Bujaren

The price is right. If you bought a made piece you could spen just as much and you don’t get the perfect measurement andd color.

7 years ago

Aaaaaaaaaaaah I LOVE this room so so much ! I love every detail !