Adding a crafting space to the living room

I feel a bit wistful writing this post because it reminds me of when I posted just a few short years ago about embracing toddlerhood and turning our hallway bookcases at our old place into toy storage:

toddler hallway 2

But alas, our firstborn is no longer a toddler.  She’s 4 1/2, and like many her age, is a prolific artist.  Until recently, her artist studio was our dining room table.  This didn’t really bother me too much when all she required was a box of crayons and some paper.  But, as she added more and more supplies into rotation, it started to take over our dining room…and in our open-concept living space that is a huge problem.  And she of course didn’t like that she had to move EVERYTHING any time we needed to eat a meal!  That’s when an idea was born: we could give her a dedicated craft space nearby in the living room in the underused space here:

built in entertainment center - finished

This space has been an awkward-don’t-know-what-do-do-with-it space ever since we moved in.  You can see in this old panned-out shot the awkwardness of the space.  At first we had a chair there:


And then, for a while, we had this storage bench:

entertainment center with doors closed

But nothing ever really worked there because it would block the doors below the TV where we kept a lot of the components (see the recent makeover of that space to improve it here).  After some measuring we figured out that we could pull down the chalkboard coffee table we had in our upstairs “everything room” (seen here):

upstairs window replacement

and that it would fit perfectly into this awkward space!

craft table in living room

Sydney was so excited when we showed her the new use of the table!  Here’s a closer up shot of how we arranged things for her:

kid's craft table in living room

In addition to bringing down one of the chairs, I added a lamp and some organizing tools I had on-hand to help arrange her supplies.  I keep a stash of organizing stuff in the basement so I can re-organize things when I need to without always having to buy something new.  I’ve found that now that I have kids my organizational needs change frequently so that stash has been a lifesaver!

kid's craft table in living room

The white spotted organizer had been in her nursery years ago, and the lamp was one from a set I bought at Target some time in grad school (more than 10 years ago…) with a new shade.  The lazy susan was one I gave a little makeover to.  I bought it on clearance from Home Goods for $3 (the paint was chipped) and gave it new life with a coat of spray paint.  I then made the little cups using old soup cans covered with with some scrapbook paper and washi tape.  I love that it holds so many of her supplies at the ready and looks (somewhat) neat, especially now that this is always on display in the living room!

Of course it is a challenge to keep this space looking tidy, even with the organizational tools, but we’re working on that!  In the meantime, we have a very happy artist-in-residence, I have my dining room table back, and this awkward underused space in our home has a new purpose!





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