Office Progress: Squeezing In A “Playroom”

As if our 10′ x 10.5′ home office / guest bedroom didn’t have enough requirements (must accommodate two bloggers 50+ hours a week and sleep two people comfortably every now and then all while keeping our paper clutter tucked out of sight) we ambitiously decided to force yet another function on the space: playroom. We wish we could dedicate an entire room to that playroom title, but with three small bedrooms – one serving as the master, another as the nursery, and the third one being this room – we had to face the music and make it work a la Tim Gunn. So we decided that along with making a lot of rug space an absolute necessity for Clara (think tummy time, bouncy seat, play mat, etc) we also wanted to dedicate this little sliver of wall to her as well in the form of a small already-had-it bookcase full of her favorite toys and books.

Not only is the new setup a pretty sweet deal for Clara, it’s also super convenient for us. Because we’re switch hitters over here at YHL, which means that one of us is on “entertaining duty” while the other person writes posts, coordinates giveaways, answers comments, and does all the other blogging stuff we’ve come to know and love. So having books and toys at arm’s reach really keeps the back-and-forth trips to the nursery to a minimum for whoever is hanging out with Clara. Anything to make it easier, right?

All it took was a few more half-priced baskets from Michael’s (just like the ones we used for our bookcase makeover) and items that we already owned (from stuffed animals and wooden blocks to books and even a fun little alligator pull toy that mesmerizes Clara every time we show it to her). And just as we mentioned, we already owned the bookcase which used to live in our sunroom. Oh and don’t worry, we plan to anchor it to the wall well before she’s mobile enough to pull herself up on it. Safety first!

Perhaps the best part of moving it into the office was that something that used to live in the office (before it became an office) found a perfect spot out in the sunroom to replace the bookcase we stole. Note: stay tuned for our mini sunroom makeover after we finish tackling this office project.

So for the price of two deeply discounted baskets (which are full of more toys, books, and stuffed animals) we worked in a sweet little baby-focused area for our sweet baby girl.

And since we can’t get enough of the whole multitasking thing in this room, we also hung an old mirror and seized the opportunity to make it work as a To Do list of sorts with the addition of a blue dry erase marker. The most fun thing about our little mirror presto-change-o is that we also love that we can erase our list and write a “Welcome To Casa Petersik” message for our guests whenever they come to stay with us. Plus every guest bedroom should have a mirror so family and friends can check their hair before emerging in the am.

So that’s the latest office / guest room / playroom news. Now we’ll pick your brains. Have you guys ever added a small item of furniture to a room and in doing so completely expanded the function of that space? We’d love to know how you make your rooms multitask with minimal effort and expense. Do tell.

Psst- Wanna follow the entire office/guest bedroom/playroom makeover? Click here for the intro post, here to read about the big sleeper sofa hunt, here for the DIY desk play-by-play, here for the homemade light fixture project, here for our hacked Ikea bookcase, and here for how we added some file storage.


  1. Rosanne says

    OMG! I was crackin up! as soon as I saw your post. I have the same avocado planters. I love them, but you should have seen my hubby face when I brought them home….this is a family blog, so I can say what he said, but something along the lines of What the…you can fill in the blank. I move them around the house alot, and put them on this nite stand so he sees them first thing every day!

  2. Amy Wolff says

    Is that the same rug that used to be in the old spear room???? it looks different??????

  3. beabee says

    As a preschool teacher, I see first hand what can happen when parents just don’t care about their kids. Sure, they love them, but when it comes to spending time with them, they’re too busy. “Love” is not enough. Children need face time with their parents. I’m a little teary thinking about a baby that gets one-on-one attention constantly, from Mom *and* Dad. What an amazing gift.

  4. says

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed tracking your progress on the home office/guest room/play room. We just moved into an older home and have an room that currently serves as an office, but also as a dumping ground for unpacked boxes and various “stuff” still waiting for a permanent home. I’d love to make it a more pleasant and multi-functional space, and this room makeover has given me lots of ideas of how to make it happen. Thanks!

  5. says

    Oh I love it! So functional.

    In answer to your question, absolutely. My house is just shy of 1400 square feet, so space is an issue. We have two kids and the layout is such that the coat closet is all the way across the living room when you enter the front door. Not exactly ideal by any stretch of the imagination. So to eliminate the pile-up of coats on the dining room table, we bought a really inexpensive bench & shelf from JC Penney that is a dead-ringer for one from Pottery Barn. It has cubbies with baskets for tons of storage. The kids throw their coats and hats in their own baskets under the bench and we can store sunscreen and other things in the top shelf’s baskets. It’s been life changing. Plus, the bench is functional as extra seating. I just recovered the original (ugly & boring) bench cushions with super cute and durable fabric. :)

  6. says

    Love how you use what you have and “always” make it work!! By the way….your little princess is sooo cute.

  7. says

    I love that you have a home for your toys. I have a huge pet peve about toys that just lie around and have no place to put them away. I however, don’t have kids yet, so maybe this is easier said than done!

  8. says

    Another great idea. Gosh is there anything in the world a basket doesn’t make better?

    I’m so worried you guys are going to decide you’ve outgrown this house and end up in some kind of McMansion where you won’t need to find creative solutions to these kinds of problems! You have no idea how useful this type of information is to those of us who live “small.”

    And, um … when are you guys going to be back to design boards? I’m freaking out about the new master bedroom and I’m gonna need some help (and some luck to be able to catch one when you do open them up again).

    • says

      Aynsley- Great idea! We love it. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Erin- We’re just taking it one day at a time over here, so we’re not sure when our mood board maternity leave will be ending. But we do promise to make a little announcement so everyone knows we’re back on duty.


  9. says

    I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, but that piece would be perfect for all of your ‘welcome guest’ items too. When you have someone over you could move the Clara-phenalia and put their sets of towels, a travel candle, a plug in night light, tiny toiletries and a small stack of magazines there.

    Love the blog!

  10. Patti says

    I added a very small item of furniture to my den, it’s almost too simple to mention, I wasn’t even gonna comment about it, but it’s such a winner! I bought one of those $20 kidney-shaped laptop tables from Ikea. Now I don’t have to balance the hot heavy laptop on my lap and I also have a place to lay a magazine while reading or put snacks or a drink while I watch tv. And if I have company, I put a potted plant on it and place it under the window, it’s red so it gives the room a little punch of color. It’s priceless to me!

  11. Kate says

    Everything looks so great! Your house always seems much bigger than it is because you make such a great use of the space, I’m sure lacking a dedicated playroom will be no problem.

    I also love your made over items (especially Clara’s dresser). We have a lot of (really cheap) particle board furniture from our college years that I’d love to replace, but it seems silly for me to replace working furniture that it will cost time and money to find, buy, and fix up. Maybe once we get a house we’ll need additional furniture and then I can work on finding some non-cardboard stuff to fix up.

  12. Pam Redington says

    Love the paint in this room! What is the color?
    You guys are awesome – can’t wait to read you every morning!