Toy storage and an inspiring place to play
It’s so handy to have a kid’s corner somewhere close by ...and I don’t mean “the naughty corner”. It’s their own space where they can play with their toys. They can be far enough away that they don’t disturb us but close enough that we can still see what they’re up to. The little darlings can be safely doing their own thing so we can focus on getting our own work done.
Really fun spaces can be designed in kids bedrooms or corners of the house where they play. Such as near the kitchen or in the second living room. There are also kids spaces outside of home, in places of business. Such as in retail, waiting rooms and showrooms.
We needed such a space in the Laminex showroom. At times there are children running around all over the place, having a great time but causing havoc. Some clients bring them along because they like to include the entire family in the plans for their new kitchen or bathroom. Some clients prefer not to bring them along so they can concentrate better, but they haven’t got anyone else to look after them.
Unfortunately, making choices for your home can take quite some time and patience. We all know patience is not a child’s best virtue. So we need to make sure they have something they can play with, quietly and safely. Only then will things progress much more quickly and happily.
I really enjoy projects like this because it’s a chance to get super creative and have fun with it. I got together with my team and brainstormed some ideas, then I came up with the final design.
The design brief we gave ourselves was to use colour and shapes in a fun way. To provide storage solutions for toys and books, and safety is also very important. It had to be suitable for just one child to use, or several children at once. Although space was limited, we chose a corner of the showroom in close proximity to the parents.
We purchased several pentagon shaped ottomans, upholstered in different bright colours. They are my favourite part of the design because they’re so flexible. They’re used in so many different ways because they can be moved around. I was pleased to see that a parent made their own “fence” with them and moved them together to barricade their toddler in. Another time, some tweens pushed them all together to make a bed that they could lay on. I also love it when the adults sit on them to have a rest. It’s usually grandma while she’s watching over the kids.
The kid's chairs are from Freedom furniture.
A colourful storage box was left over from another project and we decided to use it as the toy box. It was the first thing we started with, and so the design evolved around it. We picked up on the colours within the pattern for the walls and the joinery. There’s some lovely vivid colours there.
The laminate on the toy box is 'Hothouse' from Laminex
The lid of the toy box was dangerous for little fingers. Our cabinetmaker cleverly installed a soft closing hinge. That way it wouldn’t slam shut and it also made it easier to open, and stay open.
We used robust finishes so you can clean off the odd Texta marks or Vegemite smears. Laminate joinery, resin desk top, acrylic carpet mat, and upholstered seating for comfort.
RECYCLE & RE-PURPOSE
We re-purposed the white resin desk top. It was actually the benchtop of an old bathroom vanity unit display. I saw it and thought it would be a perfect kid’s desk except for the big hole in the middle where the basin used to be. So I used my creative juices and worked out how to cover it up and still make it functional. If no one told you there was a hole in it, you would never know!
Sometimes when you need to be creative, it’s easier to proceed when you have a problem to solve. It gives you something to work with at the start, and once you get started, the magic keeps flowing out of you from then on.
As I was sketching the design, I started thinking about lego blocks. This is because I needed something to “plug into” the hole and also create some visual height.
Stacking the “lego blocks” in different ways allowed me to create some open areas and some closed areas for storage. Each “block” opens up like a cupboard door. So you can put things inside. I had a lot of fun drawing all the shapes and created these 3D images and working drawings. Which I then gave to the cabinetmaker for manufacture.
One last thing to remember is to have a powerpoint handy. So many children have their own electronic devices or prefer to play games on mum’s phone. To protect smaller children, safety plugs were installed into the sockets.
IT'S INSTALLED & WORKING WELL
Now the box is full of toys, the favourite one being the Magna Doodle drawing toy. The kids often line up the dolls and trucks on different shelves, for fun.
You can actually see the relief in their parents face when they first arrive in the showroom. They say “oh, you have an area for the kids!”. Sometimes they even have trouble getting them away from there so they can go home!
Are you thinking of a place in your home or workplace that could do with a kids area? Do you already have a space but it’s messy and over run by a toy invasion? Could it use some clever storage and personality? Maybe you already have kids furniture and are looking for a creative way of arranging it. I can give you some great ideas.