little things : when toys take over

little spaces

one of my biggest struggles in our home is Wolf’s lack of a designated play area.  right now, most of his toys are in the living room, along with all of our stuff, too.  we call his toys “parent mines” because the likelihood of stepping on a lego or mini car is pretty high.  it works ok for us right now but it certainly isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing.


I’ve complained to Levi over and over that when we find our next home, Wolf must have his own play room.  but until then, I’ve been admiring homes where toys and adult pieces find balance, with little spaces carved out for the kiddos.  how perfect is this nook under the stairs?  I love that a play area can be as simple as a rug that toys stay on!


{photos from milk magazine, design mom, wee textile}


8 Responses to “little things : when toys take over”

  1. Michelle Smid said:

    I know exactly what you mean! Recently I became so fed up with her toys being in the living room, and not being put away after she went down for the night, I rearranged.

    The next day I rethought her bedroom. Its very small, but we made it work. We had the expedit 8 cube unit from Ikea so I went and got 4 bins. In them we put all her loose toys. On the other shelves went her books and her cute wooden toys. She has a small table and chairs in their too.

    It was done more so that when she went to bed, her toys did too and our adult space would feel more…adult. :) Well, on the plus she spends her time playing in her room! Occasionally some toys find their way out to the living room, but at the end of the day her toys go back to their own space. It is so nice.

    I hope you can find a way to make your space functional for each of you. :) Its a hard balance!

  2. Rachel said:

    I really love the second image. It also makes me wish that my kids didn’t always want such ugly toys. If only they understood the value of a well styled play space.

    • alyson said:

      haha, totally!! I’ve been trying to weed out the plastic and ugly stuff but then more things inevitably come along.

  3. Lauren Maxwell said:

    Parent mines is hilarious. I’m imagining those little metal rolling trucks with the sharp edges (no kids yet, but two little brothers taught me well).

  4. cocopuff1212 said:

    I love the top photo. Is this your living room???
    I have to say, when a child in the family is young, the balance between practicality and aesthetics tips heavily toward practicality. I hated storing my son’s toys in clear plastic bins, but using those meant he could see all the toys in the bins and all toys got played with. Unlike wood or cloth boxes, they were easy to clean and sterilize.
    Dedicated playrooms are a recent concept, promoted by the design industry. We didn’t have the luxury of having one until recently. Sometimes our house doesn’t look like the ones in the photos on Pinterest, but we’re real people living real lives in real homes. It’s okay! Embrace the mess. Find a place in your heart for that ugly toy. They won’t be in your house forever, I promise. Think of how much happiness that ugly toy is bringing to your child.
    We recently moved and I had a chance to go through my son’s old toys. When I came across this particular toy he had especially loved as a toddler — plastic, blue/red/white choo choo train with a hideous-looking bear that flashed and made all kinds of animal noises — I stopped for a moment and seriously thought about keeping it. The image of my son playing with it came back and I almost had tears in my eyes (!).
    You WILL be able to have all-adult decoration soon enough. Trust me, it goes fast.

  5. mosey said:

    ‘Rug for the toys to stay on…’ That is a great idea! We have a tiny 1 bedroom apartment and a baby on the way and I know we’ll have this same problem for a while until we can upgrade to a bigger space. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Amanda Z. said:

    We currently have a marble tower in our living room, but we try to keep our son’s toys put away in his room for the most part, or at least in bins and off the floor (we have a pup who seems to love to eat plastic). Our house is small so keeping things uncluttered is key for us, but the living room is the biggest area to play. He is turning 3 next week (sigh) and is old enough to tidy after himself. I don’t mind having some things out because it is his home too, and all of our belongings in harmony is what makes it a special and welcoming place for all of us.