A Playroom Update: Lighting and Rug

December 16, 2015

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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It’s time for a long overdue playroom update. Back in October, we shared that this would be our next project. A few weeks later and we had almost everything here from the mood board I made:


My next task was picking a paint color. I really want to go darker since this is our media room, too. And then we started talking about just doing the back wall dark so the girls’ art really pops against it and then we started looking at colorful sectionals for the media room side and maybe we should just wait until we get a sectional to pick a paint color?

Really, a paint color has never taken this long but this room is kind of tricky. The carpet needs replaced, the corner fireplace (see below)? We’re talking about tearing it out entirely and squaring off the room.


We’d also really like to add a big slide on the wall, but that might be phase 2 as well. Winters are long here, and we want to make sure these girls have a place to play (this room) for the next couple months. So the goal for phase one is to create storage for toys, pick a paint color and get something on the walls–even if it’s just the back wall (where the fireplace adjoins, make the fireplace work for now. Phase two we’ll tear out the fireplace, get new carpet, recessed lighting and add a slide.

We just installed the lights above the craft table and tore out the old fluorescent light that was there and it instantly feels better in here. Greta really wanted a pink rug, which usually isn’t in my wheelhouse, but I found this amazing one from Rejuvenation that we both love. It incorporates a lot of fun colors that we can work in elsewhere in the room.


I snapped this photo with my phone a couple weeks ago. The teepee is a hit! Greta slept in it the first night we had it. This room is rather large and the girls already spend so much time down here having the best time, so I don’t want to interfere too much. Anything we do down here is a complete bonus to them no matter how necessary it feels to me. Haha. It’s an important lesson I’ve learned.

See the mood board with links to everything you see right here. The rug is the Skyline rug from Rejuvenation.

What do you think?

  1. Melanie Purtzki says:

    I love this design so much that I am planning to emulate it closely for my own basement! Can you let me know what size of rug you used for this space?

  2. Trish says:


    I’m a long-time follower and just love how your style and selections have evolved. I’m a mom who lives in a cold weather climate as well, so I can related to the need for indoor physical play space. Your kids will remember that teepee forever, what a wonderful childhood memory!! I wish I had thought of that when my kids were young. My kids are in their teen years now, so if I might, here are a few words of advice – art – hang lots of it, but use plexiglass instead of glass. I have no idea what really happens down in our playroom (and I’m not sure I really want to know!), but I do know that my picture frames have taken a beating but nothing has actually broken yet (YET!) because of plexi! The favorite toy in our house has always been some kind of punching bag. Santa brought us one that had adjustable heights (the bottom filled with sand) – and the kids used it for years and years to get out their ya-yas on cold days. I love your idea of a slide and would add you might want to investigate climbing walls. This has also provided hours and hours of entertainment – our ceilings aren’t super high in the playroom so it’s more of a bouldering experience. – this is a cool diy. We had someone build ours as a surprise for the kids when they came home from 4 weeks of summer camp. This looks right up your alley, as Chris is so handy! I just love how your blog is evolving and can’t wait to see what’s next for you! Happy New Year!

  3. Stacy says:

    Julia and Chris are creating a beautiful home and are sharing their journey with us. I’m very grateful for the inspiration, whether I can afford exactly what they buy, are gifted or DIY. However, their ability to put beautiful and unique pieces together is bar none, and I think they try to be upfront about what is purchased, gifted or DIY. I like that. I like getting ideas from their home decor ideas and I will continue to come back for more! Keep up the great work, Chris and Julia! I love watching your space transform through time and effort. You inspire me to take my own home remodel one step at a time. Thanks!

  4. The playroom looks amazing! We also have a teepee in our playroom that my boys just love. I made it on a pretty low budget and love how it turned out (one of my few DIY victories lol). Is that a floor pillow inside yours? I recently put a little wooden table and chairs set inside theirs but I’ve been really considering swapping it out with one of our floor pillows. Less messy than blankets but still a cozy place to hang.

    • Julia says:

      It is! We got it from Land of Nod. They sell them separately from the teepees, but it sounds like you are handy enough to make one!

  5. Angie says:

    I completely agree with what others have said. I read blogs to for ideas and inspiration on décor and DIY ideas for my own home. To be perfectly honest average people cannot afford to put these type of finishes into a playroom, atleast not those who are reading blogs for ideas. I had been on the fence about continuing to check in and see what you were doing after the kitchen renovation, then seeing this, glad I read the comments and can see I am not the only one feeling this way. It’s just not for me anymore, the average person doesn’t get all these things “gifted” so I need practical solutions and ideas. I do love your style and good for you that you are able to get all these things for free, I just cant relate anymore. I am looking for real ideas for people with real budgets.

    • Julia says:

      I’m not sure what kind of outrageous finishes you are referring to?? But, I wish you the best of luck in your search and with your own home!

    • KC says:

      I, too, am on the fence about this blog. It just doesn’t seem authentic anymore to have EVERYTHING gifted to them. It’s not realistic (i.e. a free $900 rug for a kids playroom) and it’s hard to discern the quality/value of an item when their sponsors give it to them. But, I like the look so I just pop in every once in awhile for inspiration and take everything with a grain of salt.

      • Angie RS says:

        Was the rug a perk? I didn’t see that mentioned anywhere in the post and assumed that was a legit purchase. If it was a gift from the company and not a real purchase, that info is definitely relevant and I would’ve appreciated that being mentioned in the post (and maybe it was, and I’m having a reading comprehension fail). I really don’t have a problem with bloggers accepting free stuff if they are really upfront about it every time. Even if the items they are gifted are way out of my budget, I can get behind it from an aspirational perspective (but only with full disclosure).

    • Angie says:

      I didn’t use the word outrageous but they are definitely not within the realm of a modest budget. $900 rug, pendant lights at $299 each, etc. Just saying that the average person does not get these things given to them for free so the usefulness of coming to a blog for ideas is lost. Most bloggers openly disclose sponsored posts or “gifted items”. I think that makes the world of difference. Just saying that things have changed from when I first started visiting and I can no longer relate. Best of luck to you.

  6. Cara says:

    Agreed and you’re right, our first home we didn’t fill with the best of the best because we knew we would be leaving. My approach is different with our “forever” home now so thats certainly why its going to take a lot longer to finish, if you can really ever finish. I appreciate your thoughtful response. I really didn’t mean to attack you so I hope you didn’t feel that way. Thank you again for providing a lot of inspiration and Merry Christmas.

  7. Cara says:

    The room looks great. I’m excited to see how it comes together. To kind of piggy back on what Alison G said earlier, I was wondering if you have any plans to write a post about how you budget for your spaces or if you ever plan to specify what is gifted to you (c/o) with your posts. Most families can’t renovate at the rate you have and I wonder if you do set a budget or if rooms have come together more quickly and with higher priced goods because of sponsors providing most items (frigidaire, rejuvenation, etc) . I hope that isn’t too intrusive and I’m certainly not trying to be rude. I understand this is your job and those are the perks. I have followed you since your last house (your studio brought me to your blog) and I guess I miss the more budget friendly posts. It was more relatable and true to life for most people (multiple rooms aren’t completed, fully accessorized, within months. It takes years for the average family.) I can’t speak for everyone but the reason I look at DIY blogs is because it is more realistic than a magazine spread. I can find plenty of inspiration in magazines; I want something that I can actually recreate in my own home on a decent budget. For instance, in your kitchen I found myself wondering what you actually bought verses what was gifted, aside from the appliances and pantry and whether you’d make those same choices if you had to spend your own money. I know my house would look very different if I didn’t have to buy everything. Please know this comes from a good place. I enjoy your blog but lately I leave feeling “defeated” because what was once a blog for affordable, attainable style is now getting more and more out of reach. When I see something I like I can almost always guarantee its not in my budget. I guess I’m just suggesting you maybe be a little more transparent (ala Young House Love) with what items you received (c/o) verses what you actually bought. I’m all about picking where to spend money and where to save. Splurging on some really good stuff is necessary but we all need some Home Goods in our lives☺ I’m happy for your success and just wanted to put out a suggestion for us regular folks.

    • Julia says:

      These are all good, valid questions Cara! I try to be really transparent about everything. And when we get something from a company, I almost always say so. I’ll try to be even better! A big difference between our last house and this house is two fold. First, we knew that wasn’t our forever home while this one we plan on being in for a long time, so investing in our home now feels good. Also, we didn’t have the income we have now. Which I think is pretty normal, right? Chris works a normal 8-5 job and I do this, but also work for To be as transparent as possible without revealing too much about our finances, this blog makes money now. Through ads, through sponsorships, through affiliates. I take that money and put it back into our home.

      I have also decided over the past year or so, I don’t want to do cheap filler projects on the blog for the sake of content. I know a lot of people like those projects because they appeal to a wide variety of budgets, but it’s a really cheap way to make money for the blogger and even then, I just can’t justify the waste. I’d much rather save my money for something that will improve my home in the long run and not post that day or week.

      We have also been lucky enough to pick up some pretty great partners over the years that are always willing to partner with us on projects whenever we see a natural fit because they feel confident in our delivery and style. We don’t get paid by these companies to use their items in our home. Every room in our house is a mix of splurges, c/o and saves. Take our living room for example. We splurged on a $1500 rug and about the same price for a sofa. People flipped, but we saved and bought those things almost 2 years apart. We found the leather chairs at an outlet store 8 months apart. We accessorize with a lot of Target and TJ maxx finds, but also did have companies like Wayfair and Lulu and Georgia occasionally want to send us a few things–which we only select ourselves. And the room is still evolving after two years.

      I think/hope that’s the biggest takeaway from this blog, homes are not one big before and after. I tweak and tweak and tweak a room over a long time. I share the process and mistakes along the way. We finished our kitchen in September and are just now getting ready to really tackle the playroom–in stages. I think everyone prioritizes how they spend their money, our home has just always been at the top of the list for us. I hope this helps!

  8. Dee says:

    I would love to see how you store all the toys . Storage is a big issue and I kinda stuck not knowing what to do

  9. Evelina says:

    That teepee is gorgeous! I can’t wait to see what paint colour you choose!

  10. Mariah says:

    I am soo glad to see that you are using this rug on top of your carpet. Did you put a pad underneath it? Any good rules of thumb to follow when doing this?

    We are doomed to live in apartments for a few more years (in Rexburg, actually) and I’ve been hesitant to put rugs on top of our carpet because I didn’t know if it would ‘feel right’, you know? But I would sure love to cover up our ugly, stained apartment carpet.

    • Julia says:

      An area rug over carpet is completely a-okay. It defines a space just as if it was hardwood or tile or any other kind of flooring. We didn’t put a pad under this one yet, because we wanted to see if there was a need first. Good news is it is staying put really well.

  11. Alison G says:

    Wow with just finishing a kitchen renovation, laundry room and pantry and buying new furniture for your great room, you would think you would be tapped. I sooo wish I had your budget. Lucky girls to have such a nice play room.

  12. Jen says:

    I am so eager to see how it all comes together. And I love that when Greta asked for a pink rug, you found one that makes you BOTH happy. It’s always odd to see children’s rooms decorated just for the parents, instead of the kids. It looks like this room will make everyone happy. Bravo!

  13. Amy lehto says:

    The rug is beautiful and I look forward to seeing how the playroom comes together. I live in Finland (from Florida, was in the same ward as Meagan Briggs and that is how I found you) and our homes are MUCH smaller. Our house is 1,000 square feet with 3 bedrooms and is larger than most homes that people live in here. Anyways, winters are LONG, DARK, and COLD so you cannot just send your kid outside to play all day. I have a 2.5 year old and this winter was becoming painful with her toys everywhere and though I am fine with her using the entire house, I knew it just wasn’t working for our family. I read The Art of Tidying Up and it gave me the kick I needed to get rid of a bunch of my clothes and stuff. Afterwards I was able to move my daughter from the smallest bedroom(86 square ft) to the largest bedroom (120 square ft) in our home and life has become so much better for everyone. She LOVES it. She finally has the room to run around and play and places for all her toys. Anyways, I look forward to seeing how the girls enjoy the playroom and I totally love your kitchen!

  14. Amanda says:

    That rug is gorgeous and I SO wish I had a good spot in our house for a teepee! My son would love it!

  15. Brittany says:

    I love that rug, and I am thinking about buying it… But it would cover up some carpet in our living room. Have you found that it’s soft enough to be worth covering up your carpet? We play so much on the carpet in the living room it needs to be cozy enough for me to cover it.

    • Julia says:

      While it’s probably not as soft as a cushy rug, it’s a lot softer than a traditional kilim! A lot! The girls play on it all the time with no issue or complaint.

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