The Playful Loft

Early on, I decided not to paint the Loft, but it still needed some design finesse. Despite Hubby's plan to go with a "jungle theme" in the loft to ensure that the leaves on the large play structure made sense, I wasn't sold. The play structure had to somehow coalesce with the trains, trucks, and other toys, but I wanted the space to look playfully sophisticated, not like a preschool gymnasium!

It took some time to formulate a plan for the Loft decor, but I slowly worked my way toward simple metal and wood decor with some vintage colored metal baskets (from Hobby Lobby) filled with blocks, trucks, and miscellaneous toys for accents. And of course the toys added pops of color as well! Large 12 qt Steel Buckets contain Lego Duplo blocks for easy storage and transport during playtime.

The large wall that opens to the stairs was difficult to fill. I needed something large enough, but still accessible to children - or at least kid-friendly. But I didn't want a cluttered display of kid artwork (love it, but not right for staging!)

Magnetic Boards as Wall Decor

After a couple less than optimal ideas, I settled on hanging 6 of these Galvanized Metal Framed Magnetic Memo Boards with a variety of magnetic toys for the kids to play with. This really is the ultimate balance of "form meets function." The boards take up a large portion of the wall while being completely usable for children. That's the kind of design I prefer - functional verses useless clutter!

The bottom row of 4 magnet boards were positioned low enough for toddlers to reach; the bottom of the boards measure just 24" above the ground. Each board was placed 3 1/2" apart. Two boards were placed higher in the center, adding to the playful ambiance of the room and tying in the large Wood & Galvanized Metal Letters that spell out PLAY in a stair-stepping pattern on the adjacent wall.

The two higher memo boards have magnetic toys for older (i.e. taller) children: Tic Tac Toe and a Magnetic USA Map Puzzle (slightly too wide, but it was the best looking magnetic map, so I went with it anyway!)

All of the boards were hung with 4 pairs of Medium Picture Hanging Command Strips to prevent wobbling during use.

Under each of the 4 bottom boards, there is a small metal pail for extra magnetic pieces. This keeps the boards from looking cluttered and defines a specific space where each toy can be easily stowed. The other great thing about these magnet boards is that you can very easily change the toy at any given time. When the kids get tired of one toy, just swap it out for another! #momhack

Other ideas for magnetic board toys are:

  • Magnetic alphabet letters and numbers
  • Magnetic fraction tiles
  • Magnetic sight words tiles
  • Magnetic solar system, farm, vehicles, etc.
  • Magnetic dress-up dolls
  • Magnetic dollhouse
  • Magforms or Magnatiles/Picasso Tiles
  • Magnetic shapes
  • Magnetic push pins

The kids love playing with the magnet boards! Since updating the Loft, it gets much more use, and we all have lots of fun spending time there now!

Reading Nook

The space under the play structure provided the perfect, cozy space for a Reading Nook! Children's books were placed in simple stacked wooden crates with one placed vertical for taller books. A stuffed animal and this totally camp-style Hanging Lantern Desk Lamp completed the space better than I could have planned!

The Reading Nook is a favorite quiet place to look through books and spend time together now. It's so refreshing to have a designated space for book time - we love our Reading Nook!

The Large Chalkboard

I shuffled a few different wall decor items around until I finally settled on the current configuration. That means that the chalkboard ended up next to the play structure under one of the large green leaves - how fun and whimsical! I drove across town to pick up this large 36" x 48" chalkboard for 50% off, but it was totally worth it!

Small metal pails were placed on either side of the chalkboard to store chalk markers, which the kids thoroughly enjoy playing with!

And that concludes the tour of the Playful Loft! In which part would you most enjoy playing?

Here's what the Loft looked like BEFORE the renovation:

This was the play structure area BEFORE the renovation: