Big Brother N could spend hours coloring, cutting, gluing, threading or doing some other type of art activity. Believe me, I’m a huge supporter of this, especially in the winter when his other favorite activity to request is TV. Over the years, we have received hand-me-down supplies from friends and my mom who was a preschool teacher for years as well as new materials as gifts. Our collection was really getting out of hand.
I used to keep many of these materials and supplies in our hall coat closet in a plastic Tupperware drawer and a small shelf unit that Big Brother N could easily access. But because they were tucked in a coat closet that we didn’t use for things other than coats and supplies, we’d actually often forget about them. An item would get pushed to the back that we’d forget what we had and end up with another. When we would get them out, Big Brother N would want them all out and get lost in the activities for hours.
Enter the art area addition in our in-progress mudroom. We had a great partially unfinished room between the entrance to our garage and our house. It was dry walled but didn’t have a floor, texture, paint, trim, or any other finishings. It always ended up being the place where everything got thrown. While it was nice to have a room like that, it drove me crazy. Seano and I started talking about what we wanted to do with it and how we’d like to organize it. We decided to split the room by adding a wall and door: 1/3 of it would be a mud room for hanging coats and storing things like outdoor play toys, extra supplies like toilet paper and paper towels, and cleaning equipment; and the other 2/3 would be a man cave for Seano. Seriously, this man does not have one space in the house that is entirely his. For the kind of husband and dad he is, he certainly deserves a space he can store things however he wants, and catch a breath when he needs to step away. During the preparation of the original room, we had to remove some peg boards from the wall. It hit me that I’d have room for a small art area to house the supplies that Big Brother N could access easily and whenever he wanted as well as offer a designated area for messy projects.
Here’s what we did:
- Painted the room and laid linoleum. We painted the room a bright yellowy, green as it’s the first room we enter when we come home. Next, we chose linoleum because we enter from the garage with, often, wet or muddy feet. It also made sense because it cleans easily and, as I mentioned, is tolerant of messy projects.
- Painted the old peg board white and spray painted the hardware black. I love black and white and chose to use black, white, and lime green for accents in this room.
- Purchased a table and chairs. We love this table from Ikea because the white tops open to hold coloring books and paper. They are also super easy to put in the sink and wash or scrape. We like leaving them messy, too, so he knows this is a space that doesn’t always have to be spick-and-span.
- Identified what materials we’d need to store and which we would want Big Brother N to have anytime access to. We used the white buckets for things he can grab and use anytime. The other items in the black buckets and baskets, are located higher so he has to ask us to get them down for him. He’s welcome to use them anytime, but can’t get into trouble when we’re not looking. The buckets are easy to grab and place on the art table or bring to the kitchen when he wants a bigger space or to be closer to us.
- Got to work organizing and hanging. This was, of course, my favorite part. The board ended up being bigger than we really needed since we purchased the white and black hanging system to go below. So, I added pictures around the outside to help the area feel extra warm and comfy.
Really, it was a pretty easy project once we figured out what we needed and how we wanted it. I probably spent about $50 on the paint and containers. Here’s where everything came from:
- Art Table
- Black and white hanging system (I’ve also seen this used as a planter which is adorable and a great use for when the boys are bigger)
- White pot and plants
- Black buckets
- Black Baskets
- Green candle holder
- Green flower
- Green clothes pins
What do you think? Have you run into any of the same challenges as us with art supplies and spaces? Are you up for creating a small area in your homes for kid projects?
If you liked this post, I think you will love these other DIY projects: