Modern Vintage Inspired Playroom Reveal

When we moved into our home a little over four years ago, I spent some time trying to work with what I had.  Back before I tackled painting the walls and refinishing furniture, I simply hung some junk on the walls and arranged our rooms the best that I could.

It didn’t take long before I started dipping my toes into creating some things for our home, and I decided that I need to do something to liven up Zack’s playroom (this was in the pre-Emma days).  At the time, I was so proud of putting together something that Zack loved, even though I knew it wasn’t going to be the room’s forever decor.

Looking at that space now, I get a little weepy.  I can’t decide if I want to hide rooms like this in an effort to make myself feel like my rooms have always been solid gold awesome, or if I want to share them as proof of how far I have come once I quit worrying about what anybody else thinks of my home.  I’ve obviously decided on the later, because it is such a freeing feeling.

That before picture also makes a tremendous impact when I show you this.

BAM!  The playroom is finished.  To say that it is one of my favorite spaces in the house would be an understatement.  And do my kids love it?  Well, let’s just say that a friend of mine came over yesterday, and Zack said to her, “Come upstairs and look at our room.  My mom is so cool.”

This room has everything a playroom needs – tons of storage and a lot of space for the kids to play – and more.  I was determined to make this room more of a family space than one where toys were just lined up around the walls.  I knew it was a success when I found myself sitting on this sofa when Zack and Emma were in school instead of sitting in our living room.

I started this transformation at the beginning of the summer when I transformed a 1960s stereo cabinet into a cobalt blue beauty.  It set the tone for the room and I kept it in the back of my mind as I moved on to the different elements.  It houses a giant bin of Duplo legos, lots of dolls, and all of our Little People.  Puzzles now occupy the spot that once held records.

I striped two walls of the playroom in Peacock Blue by Glidden, and I painted the third wall solid.  We added a set of “built-in” bookcases to the solid wall to give us more storage.  The kids still dump toys out all over the floor, but it sure is easier to clean up when everything has its own place.

I got rid of the ugly (but oh so comfy) La-Z-Boy recliner and replaced it with an Eames inspired rocking chair.  It was at this point that I fully embraced where this room was headed.

I kept the accessories minimal for a few reasons.  First, there was already a lot going on in the room. Second, everything had to be kid-appropriate and kid-friendly.  On the stereo cabinet, I ended up adding a stack of books, a pot of succulents, and a vintage carnival chalkware dog.  On the other side, there’s a clock (that Emma picked out – Mama was so proud!), a globe and a little brass duck I found for 50-cents at a thrift shop.

I used a lot of Zack’s and Emma’s toys to accessorize the bookcase shelves.  I did, however, come across some fun vintage toys to add into the mix, too.  I found styling these large bookshelves in a kid-friendly manner to be really difficult!  I originally painted the back of the bookcases a bright yellow, but that color really fought with the colorful toys.  Once I repainted it a dark gray, it looked much better.

The original inspiration for this room was a beaded light fixture that I made from plastic Mardi Gras throw beads.  It reminded me of a carnival, and I knew that’s the vibe I wanted this room to have.  The funny thing was that as this room progressed, the fixture no longer fit.  I replaced it with a globe pendant light, but I still have the beaded chandelier that will eventually have another home in my house.  To keep the carnival feel, I made the DIY carnival marquee sign and hung this vintage sign from a now closed amusement park in Oklahoma.

I’m going to put together another post with sources for everything in the room and links to the tutorials I put together for the various projects.  If you have any questions, be sure to let me know and I’ll answer them for you.  I am also going to be sharing my tips for putting together a stylish, yet functional, playroom.

Until then, I leave you with this before and after.

It hardly even seems like the same room, does it?  Man, I love paint.

Filed Under: Decorate Your Home, Project Gallery

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. Hi Lindsay,
    WOW! What an impact! And you are right, it hardly seems like the same room. Everything is just perfect!
    (I love paint too!)

  2. Wowzer!!! Now that’s a transformation! Love the look and feel. The fun sign is just the coolest!

  3. AMAZING! I’m in love and I know my kids would be too! Awesome room. I love all of the details. You really put a lot of thought and planning into this space and the result shows!

    • Thanks, Jody! It takes me a LOOOONG time to get a room finished, but I like to think it’s because I am making intentional decisions and editing myself. At least it makes me feel better to think that. :)

  4. Wow! What a transformation!

  5. WOWZA! They do have a COOL mom!! Love it!

  6. Lindsay,

    This is amazing. Truly amazing. I love, love, love it. Can you see this from downstairs? It looks like there is a railing there? I would love to see that view…I bet the stripes look great from there too! :)

    • Thanks, Angie! Yes, you can see it from downstairs. In fact, I can lay in my bed (in the chevron room) and see directly up to the striped playroom. It’s one of my favorite spots, because from there I can actually see two whole rooms that are finished! LOL

  7. Love this Lindsay! Now this is what I call a makeover! Great job!

  8. As always, FANTASTIC job!!!

  9. WOW, Lindsay! Your attention to detail, the super fun theme and your bold color choices are awesome! LOVE it!

  10. Linda Hollander says:

    My kids are all grown up and one has two boys of her own…it is so exciting to see all the young Moms sharing their ideas, and you have some really great ones!

    I can’t wait to know where you got that chandelier!

  11. You have reached design stardom with this transformation! Seriously, how many mags have called you up asking to feature this before and after?!

    This is so awesome I can’t stand it. Plus I love blue. :)

    Ok, for sources please tell us where you got the hanging light fixture, chair, and couch. I’m sure you were going to but I’d thought I ask just in case!

    • LOL! Thanks, Christine! I love blue, too. I try to get away from so much blue, but I just can’t. :)

      I’ll go ahead and fill you in on those sources. The pendant light is from Lowe’s. The chair I ordered from One King’s Lane (I see it there a lot, so just keep checking). The sofa is from Ikea.

  12. I can’t tell you how much I love this room! It’s just one more source of evidence that we were separated at birth or something. I love the bold color, the big stripes… the hanging sign is awesome. Where did you get the red filing cabinet? I’m assuming you painted it etc… Man, my kids playroom is so lame and now my hubs is going to be a tad ticked at you Linds when I mention that it’s time for a re-do :) We have high vaulted ceilings and a cool stone fireplace in there, so it’s screaming for some awesome. Thanks for inspiring and doing a crazy cool before and after!


    • Thanks, Monica! That means so much to me.

      That little filing cabinet is actually from Ikea – I didn’t have to do a thing to it but assemble it. 😀

      Your playroom sounds like it has awesome bones…now get to work! LOL

  13. I love every bit of this room! That fun sign, is so much fun!!

  14. I totally love this! It’s beautiful! Great job :)

  15. Alma Bosek says:

    I wish I could tranform my little apt into this beautiful creation.

  16. so cute! i really love the dark gray backing of the bookshelves! :)

  17. Great work! Would love to know about the lights that sit on top of the ‘built ins’. Love the color change in the back of the built ins. I didn’t think there was much wrong with the yellow when you wrote about it but love the change!

    • Thanks so much, Amy! Those little lights are actually bookcase lights from Ikea. I didn’t realize until I went into the store, but they have tons to choose from for bookcase lighting.

  18. Looks great! I adore the stereo cabinet revamp. Any plans to provide a budget breakdown? I only ask because we desperately need a play area, but I am afraid of the cost.

    • LOL – Yeah, I hear ya. I’ll break down the budget when I do the source list. The sofa was by far the biggest expenditure, followed by the bookcases. The rest of it was fairly inexpensive (as complete room makeovers go).

  19. Such an awesome room! I would stay in here all day, without my kids. This is definitely inspiring me to up the cool factor in my kid’s playroom.

  20. I couldn’t even believe it was the same room. Talk about a room transformation! It looks fabulous. Love the paint, the couch, the built-in and the table beside the couch. Nothing like a great looking space with multiple purposes.

  21. I have been contemplating stripes in our basement for a while. I love this look and it’s such a nice change from blah beige colors. Thanks for the tutorial about stripes…hopefully I can tackle our room soon! You did such an amazing job!!

    • Do it! You’ll love it. Even if you do similar tonal stripes instead of doing something quite as bold as I did, I promise that you will be oh so happy with it.

  22. I love, love, LOVE this room!!!

  23. AMAZING! You did a fantastic job!

  24. Amazing! I absolutely love this space. The marquee sign is so cool and I love all of the bright, bold color. Love love love!

  25. This room makes me soooooo happy!

  26. Oh i love this! What a difference, wonderful job.

  27. First of all – I love the new look and name!

    Secondly, what an amazing makeover. I love that color blue! Such a great makeover.

  28. I love it!! Is the lamp next to the sofa a dog lamp? And did you make it? It is the cutest!

    • Don’t you just love that little dog lamp? It’s actually from Target. I spotted it on the endcap one day and grabbed it – the cashier said she had never seen it before. I found an owl lamp there the same day, so I’m sure people who saw my cart thought I was nutty.

      Anyway, I haven’t seen another dog lamp since then. It’s not on their website or anything. It’s almost like the dog shaped lamp gods were smiling down on me that day.

  29. OMG! I love this room! Can I come play?? Yes, your style has definitely evolved… into something amazing :-) Great work – can’t wait for the full run down!

  30. My jaw LITERALLY dropped when I scrolled to the “after” picture. You’re so right–what a difference paint *AND* a brilliant creative mind make!! :) GREAT work!

  31. Amazing job! Around how much did you spend in giving this room a new look?

  32. Where did you get your rug?? I love it! I also mentioned it in my blog!

  33. Rooms like this make me hate that we move every 2-3 years! I can’t wait until we finally settle down in one spot and can really bring out our style.
    You did such an amazing job – was that closed-down amusement park Bells in Tulsa, perhaps?

    • Thanks, Jessie!

      You know, I didn’t get the name of the amusement park from the gal who sold me the sign. I tried to do some research and feel like it probably came from Joyland Amusement Park because the lettering on those signs that I found online is similar. It would be cool to know for sure, though!

  34. This room is fantastic. It is very similar to what I am working on in our living room. My room isn’t quite as big, but I can only hope that my room will look as good as this. Great job! I will be following along with your blog to see what else you come up with.

  35. This room is fabulous! I’m in the process of doing a playroom as well. Where did you find the FUN sign?

  36. What an awesome transformation! I love the marquee lights and the little details =)

  37. allyson barker says:

    Love this room.. what is the name of the color? and how hard were those stripes to paint. i want to do this in our upstairs room that everyone says looks like a bowling alley now.

  38. Lindsay,

    I love your transformation great job!

    I am looking for a new couch and I loved the one you bought from ikea. Can you tell me your review on it? Did you change the legs? how’s the quality? Thanks so much!


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