The Toy Room, Before

With Mikey and Nicholas now 4 and 6, the toy room is slowly morphing from consistent disaster area to old furniture retirement community. This is where the boys play every day, and on Monday I spent several hours cleaning and purging their toys. I have big plans for this room, not the least of which is to repaint the urine yellow walls. I also want it to return to its cozy den status from when Mikey was an infant and all the toys in the house could fit in two baskets. That’s going to take time, so it will have to stay the way it is for now. It isn’t much to look at, but it isn’t terrible now that I can see the floor!

There isn’t a single thing in this room that is less than 5 years old, except for the sofa and chair. But, given the abuse they tolerated under the RED SHARPIE OF DEATH, I put them closer to 73 in furniture years. The drop leaf table under the window is an antique and the coffee table is from my first apartment after graduating college (!!). We found it in my parents’ storage unit in perfect condition. Three months in the toy room and it now has dings, scratches, and Hot Wheels tracks. This is why you put out of style, fifteen year old furniture in toy rooms. (I was still annoyed.)

That is the infamous desk, the one I was sitting at when my neighbor came over. The Mister bought it for $20 at a thrift store. The GILBERT chair, which is super comfortable as a desk chair, was in the as-is section at IKEA years ago. I bought the turquoise lamp 6 years ago at Target, and it goes perfectly with my old color scheme. Hah!

On the coffee table sits Bakugans, Star Wars legos, and cacti. Just like yours, right? The cacti were a gift from the Mister. He went on a business trip to Arizona and, because he knows me, ignored the purses, jewelry, and clothing and went straight for the plants. He forgot them at the airport and I was so upset that he called the airport on the off chance someone turned in his gift box o’ Cactaceae. He figured he would end up going to Home Depot on the sly and buy me some more, but as luck would have it, he is the only traveling salesman married to a woman who thinks a gift box of prickly plants is a good thing. They were right where he left them hours later.

We used to have a long and low sofa against this wall–a little bit longer than those prints– but we sold it to make room for the toys. The prints were $4 each at a going out of business sale. I bought them because they were generic, and Michael’s was having a custom frame sale (this was back when they did 50-75% off your entire order). You can’t tell from the pictures, but the frames are pitted barn wood with rubbed bits of gold. My plan was to replace the prints with large scale photography of the boys. Yeah. It’s been 6 years.

The ottomans I tried to dye a few years ago are here, still wearing their muddy frocks. The table is from IKEA and used to be our kitchen table back when we were a family of three. The lamp, I think, is from Target and is from when we first got married. I remember leaning my head against it in law school late into the night. One time, I was so focused on what I was reading that I failed to notice the metal shade of the lamp burning the top of my forehead until it was too late. I wish I was kidding.

Okay, this last picture I almost didn’t post. I have a ScentSational. I kept hearing about them on Twitter, but I didn’t really understand what people were talking about. I figured they were candles and that was that. Well, the other day I was at WalMart (of all places) and saw an end-cap display. It was timely, as most end-cap displays are, because with the boys, the dogs, and the wall to wall carpeting, I am convinced it would take a vat of Febreeze to eliminate the smell of testosterone. I bought it because you can leave it on 24/7 if you like (I don’t) and doesn’t require an open flame, which is key in a room dominated by boys. I turn it on in the morning and off at night and, I have to say, it works great.

Looks? Well, we all can’t be beauty pageant winners. I thought this one was the least offensive of the bunch. If I squint my eyes and look at it sideways, I can almost convince myself it looks like vintage pottery. My main complaint is that most of the scents are fruit or food inspired, which I loathe. ScentSational needs to step up their game and offer some more sophisticated scents. Not all of us want our homes to smell like caramel popcorn or guava berry. And no, Wild Thing is not what I had in mind.

Last, but not least, is the art wall. If the toy room is the place where old furniture goes to die, it’s also the place where kid crafts are exalted.

And that’s it! The before images to what I hope will be a great den sometime before the boys graduate high school. I have a crazy idea about painting everything white, maybe giving the back wall a charcoal gray/chalkboard look and hanging up one of the Star Wars pictures of the boys in a super large scale. My mom is going to hate it! Which makes it almost a no-brainer!

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  1. You know, I imagine the den will be ever so lovely … but I can’t think of it now. The room looks much too happy!

    As for the bars, you might look into Scentsy (the ones that started it all): Oh, and look for multi-packs if you order–it’s cheaper that way.

    Speaking of, what is with the video for the scent of the month? Yeah, that makes me want to buy a room freshener … but I digress …

    • Ah, Scentsy! See, I was so clueless I didn’t even know that I bought the knock-off version. I just checked out their site, and the original is MUCH better. More selection, more scents, etc. I wonder if anyone who reads this sells it? It’s a direct marketing company, so I can’t get it in stores. Hmmm.

  2. i could hang out here. it’s got a good vibe.

    who knew there was such thing as a prickly plant *gift box*? not me. but now all i can think is, “why hasn’t my husband ever bought me one?”


  3. What does it say about me that it was the last two sentences that convinced me that I needed to comment?

    We have a toy room slowly being morphed into something better (I hope). But it really irks my Mom when I do certain things (like have a play room) which of course means that I have to do it!

  4. Lol – that last comment is super hilarious. What is it about girls and their moms? I’m still not sure why I pierced my belly button at 19 (long taken out now, thank God) – when my mom found out about it, it put her in such despair that she had to write an entire piece about it for her master’s degree in creative nonfiction. Something about my subconscious needing to sever the ties or bonds between mother and daughter…. whatever it said, it had NOTHING to do with my reasons for getting it (read: because I felt like it/thought it’d look cool). Even now, I find myself never wanting to use red to decorate our apartment because my mom uses tons of red in her house. And I love my mom, and I love her house. Too funny.

  5. To be honest, my first thought was “oh, a room…” on seeing this post. Because I am always super jealous of everyone for having more-fabulously decorated rooms than I do. (Someday, I will start blogging again, and will blog the epic disaster of “trying to paint stripes in my bedroom.”) AND THEN.

    And then I saw your craft wall. I love love how you use the boys crafty prjects to decorate your house. It doesn’t look like a magazine, it looks like a home, where people live and love and people who blog rarely show that part… anyway. Rambling. I love your craft wall.

  6. This room is beautiful the way it is! Although there is beauty in a newly painted room, it’s addicting, that immediate gratification of a quick change. I’ve painted my living room twice in the 3 years I’ve lived in my house, with plans to repaint my bedrooms that were just painted slightly over a year ago. My husband swears that we are losing square footage with all the layers of paint.

    And my mother, she hates that I’m always repainting. Maybe that’s why I love paint so much.

    Aww yes… the complicated joy of relationships between mothers and daughters.

  7. Jules, my best friend sells Scentsy. If you want her contact info I can get it to you.

    I’m jealous of your toy room, wanna see mine? It has hideous wood paneling (that I painted in a fit of desperation) and shag Cookie Monster blue carpeting. I would take pictures, but I become quite fearful of my life when I attempt to walk up the stairs … and the girls don’t even play up there!

  8. As soon as the room is finally done, you start moving things around again to fit a portable crib–for the grandbabies.

  9. Can I ask what size curtain rod you have? I’m looking for an oversized one, but they are so expensive!

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