I thought by finishing our basement that I would have solved the problem of our living room being overrun by toys. It was a brief solution, until kid #2 came along. We spoke to designer, TV personality and fellow mom Kasia Waloszczyk who shared her insight and inspiration to find a happy medium between toys and grown up things.
The Dual Purpose Living Room – Playroom & Adult Space
1.If you don’t have the luxury of a bonus room or basement in your home – how can your living room serve a dual purpose as playroom and adult space.
Buy furniture pieces that not only suit your lifestyle but also serve a dual/triple purpose. There are lots of growing families who are choosing to live in smaller spaces. Luckily, retailers have picked up on this trend and offer tons of multi-purpose furniture piece options.
Dual purpose furniture/products can be easily found and for affordable prices. Ikea has a great sofa that not only serves as a couch + pullout sleeper but also has a built in storage unit that can house ample toys, blankets, pillows etc (FRIHETEN) — Its all about staying organized and having a designated space for everything.
2. How do you avoid your living room from being overrun by toys?
The first thing you have to do is ask yourself if your child needs all the toys that are in your living room, does he or she play with every single one? If at the end of the day you are over flowing with toys, perhaps you have too many? Scale back, pack some away and re-introduce them in a month or so, but only after taking away a toy in its place. Rotating your toys will give your child something new to play with, plus it will leave your space clutter free. This method will help with staying organized.
3. Do you have any storage or organizational solutions for toys or adult things?
When it comes to storage, think outside the box. My “go-to” storage is a budget-friendly garbage can from Ikea (KNODD) – it resembles Oscar the Grouch’s garbage can which makes it fun for kids. Get two or three of the same can, and fill it with toys, best of all it has a lid. So, at the end of the day when it’s time for the adults to unwind, the toys are completely out of site. I also love storage cubes, placing two of them across from your couch offers additional seating, you can optimize the storage inside the cube, plus some of them cube lids even turn into serving trays. Urban Barn has a really nice one that I often use for clients (Fay Ottoman – Charcoal). Lastly, opt for a proper TV/media unit – you can customize one at Ikea for a great price. Looks for something that offers you plenty of drawers as well as shelving units with doors (doors are fantastic as they hide the clutter). Remember to utilize your vertical and horizontal space when creating your storage.
4. How do you make a living room safe for kids?
Mount and secure everything to the wall. TVs should always be out of reach for children. Have a bookcase or TV bench – mount them too! Also, avoid furniture that is delicate or has sharp corners such as glass coffee tables. Although stylish, kids leave lots of fingerprints on glass coffee tables. Instead, choose a coffee table with multiple storage, for toys and blankets. Some coffee tables can even open up to provide a laptop/dinner tray. West Elm has a great one. Their Industrial Storage Coffee Table is on the pricier side but is multi-purpose, so it is money well spent. Make sure your living room incorporates a soft play surface – you don’t have to use the foam kids mats. I suggest going for a nice plush rug instead, which will provide a comfy surface for your child but also work to complete and ground your adult space too.
5. What design features or accessories do you recommend that would work for both an adult and kids space?
I love art! It works beautifully for both. You can create a photo gallery wall that will be appreciated by both kids and adults. Work with different sized frames or buy multiples of the same piece of art. To create a cohesive look, choose a photo filter such as black and white – and apply it to all the pictures that you will be displaying. By doing this, you can create a more formal and harmonized feel.
6. What colours work best for a multifunctional living room?
Colours are very personal and unique to each space. Having worked for Benjamin Moore for over 12 years, I know first hand that a color can look amazing in one space, and completely the opposite in another. I would suggest sticking with more neutral tones; warm greys, soothing blues, different shades of off whites – this will help to create a calming and relaxing atmosphere. If you want to inject pattern to the space, add some wallpaper with a tone-on-tone look for that elevated sophistication. Bring in your bold color through accessories, decorative pillows, vases, throws or decorative objects.
Kasia Waloszczyk, an accredited Interior Stylist/Decorator, also runs her own design company, Kasia Waloszczyk DESIGNS, a savvy and trendy décor service that caters to clients in the Greater Toronto Area. As a colour expert, Waloszczyk has held independent seminars on colour and pattern trends. She has also worked with design firms overseas, developing textile colours, designs, and patterns applicable for the North American market.
Gifted with a keen eye for colours and shades, Kasia Waloszczyk has been applying her colour and design techniques for more than 15 years in the industry. A design expert on CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show, Waloszczyk’s work has always kept her ahead of design trends and has also given her an in-depth expertise on fabrics for creative custom window treatments and unique upholstery, for both residential and commercial spaces.