Our Playroom Gets a New Look with Board and Batten

Our Playroom Before Makeover

This is how my kids’ playroom looked when we moved in. Very “builder white” and boring. We finally got around to decorating the playroom this summer, and I thought you might like to see how it turned out.

First of all, we knew we wanted some kind of wood trim on the walls, but it had to be more casual and playful than the crown molding we hung in the rest of the house. We decided to try board and batten to give it more of a “vacation cottage” look.

We started by taping off the walls where we thought we wanted it to go. We had to play around with it for awhile to get it exactly the way we wanted. We spaced them out 14″ apart so that we could get a paint roller between each board.

taped walls

I knew I wanted to use an apple-green color above the woodwork, so I narrowed it down to ones I liked and let my daughter Lily choose her favorite. We painted the wall below the horizontal tape line a glossy white and Valspar’s “Limeade” above.

painting the playroom

We paid Lowe’s a little extra to cut the MDF boards into strips for us, which saved a lot of work and mess on our end. (They only charged 25 cents per cut, which was a lot cheaper than renting or buying a table saw!) It was still time consuming to give each one a coat of primer and white paint. They had to be painted again after we hung them. It was a multiple-weekend process, but not too difficult.

hanging the boards

We used 3/4″ thick boards for the horizontal strips and 1/2″ for the verticals. The horizontal pieces were 4″ wide and the verticals were 2″. In other words, the top boards are thicker and wider.  (It only cost about $90 for all the MDF we used, including the cutting charge.)

We left an open spot (no boards) in the center of focal wall because I wanted to decorate it without trying to work around the boards:

playroom during makeover

After we got all the wood hung and painted, it was time to start decorating. We’re reusing most of the same furniture that was in there before–at least for now–but bought some new shelves for hidden storage, and a new green dresser. Here’s how it looks now:

Julia's Playroom After

We wanted some fun new light fixtures–it’s a playroom, after all!–but I didn’t have much in the budget for them. I found these Fillsta pendants at IKEA for $29. Can’t beat that!

IKEA pendants Limeade paint board and batten playroom

I hung four colorful foam bulletin boards I found at Target years ago and had some family photos enlarged to pin to them. (That’s the wall where we left the space in the wood trim.)

cubbies in the playroom 4-11

I loved Nancy Drew when I was a girl. Maybe because so many of her mysteries involved houses (The Bungalow Mystery, the Moss-Covered Mansion, Shadow Ranch, Red Gate Farm, Lilac Inn–what great titles for a budding young house-lover!):

Nancy Drew Mysteries in Playroom

I should add that this room doubles as a guest room, so I had to keep that in mind when we were decorating it, too. The sofa opens up, but our guests are frequently young nieces and nephews who would prefer to sleep on air mattresses on the floor.

There’s a beat-up old sofa under that white denim slipcover. It seemed easier to cover it than to get it back downstairs and out the front door!

Julia's Playroom Sofa 8-10

The little green dresser came from Home Goods for $99. It’s great for storing coloring books, paint brushes, notebooks, etc. The lamps are all from Target:

green dresser after playrm makeover

We found this kitchen table on clearance for next-to-nothing and thought it would be perfect as an “arts and crafts table” for the kids. They’ve spent hours sitting here over the years. I don’t know what we’d do without it:

playroom window & closets

We installed pleated pull-down accordion shades on the window so they mostly disappear when they’re pushed up during the day (no cords). I didn’t want anything to block the view of the woods behind our house. I had found some curtains I loved for the room, but after Dave trimmed out the window, I thought it looked so good that I didn’t want to hide it.

I gave the kids boxes to keep their craft supplies organized on the table and Lily labeled them:

craft boxes

I also hung a big bulletin board on the wall where they can display their artwork:

Playroom 12-11 double doors orange chairs

Most of the houses in our neighborhood have two-story family rooms. We asked the builder to create a playroom above our family room instead. A soaring family room would have looked much more dramatic and impressive, but I’m a practical person at heart who hates wasted space. (You can read my thoughts on two-story family rooms and see the results of the poll I took about them here.)

To sum up, the playroom went from this:

playroom before makeover

To this:

Hooked on Houses our playroom AFTER makeover

P.S. Visit “My House” to see more of it, including…


Gwyneth Paltrow-August '10 Vogue cover
Gwyneth Paltrow is on the August 2010 cover of Vogue magazine's annual "Age Issue." Inside, the 37-year old Oscar-winning actress poses in the kitchen of…
When we moved here 7 years ago, I claimed this little spare bedroom as my home office. I work as a freelance writer and editor…

See More


  1. says

    Oh my goodness! Where do I start? The board and batten is WONDERFUL. Thanks for the very specific play by play. And I love your playful, modern furnishings. Playrooms can be a nightmare (you should see the one in my basement right now). Yours is inviting and vibrant. And I’m with you on the 2 story fam room thing. I have a 1960’s house so it’s a non-issue, but I have a friend who traded hers in for an extra bedroom and has not regretted it. :)
    .-= anna see´s last blog ..The One that Got Away =-.

  2. says

    Oh my word, how wonderful! All those pops of color are so fresh, those fixtures ? Amazing ! What a fantastic job you did on that board and batten, I love how tall it sits ! Well done on the color choice too Lily!

    What a marvelous room and fantastic memories will be made there.


  3. says

    Julia, I love, love this playroom!! Wow, it doesn’t look low budge at all, but very dramatic changes. I love the B&B in here with the lime walls. Looks SO wow now, you’ve got to be so happy with it. Gorgeous! All the little details & colors are wonderful. Those Ikea lights really make it too.

    I think those tropical Ikea panels that are all over blogland would look really great in here if you decide you want some drapes. You’ve done a fab job!!

    After seeing B&B all across blogland & now this one, I’m really wanting to put it somewhere. I just hate to jump on if it’s going to be a fast trend. Maybe I can find a small spot for some. :)
    .-= RHoda @ Southern Hospitality´s last blog ..Rusty Cricket Giveaway =-.

  4. says

    pure genius! first of all, to have the space above the family room closed in to make another room is the smartest move of all…who can’t always use another room?
    It looks so full of life, and with that big window, full of light. I love the board and batten, and it’s someting you rarely see any more. It takes that “flat” look of a smooth wall to something with depth.
    I also love the paint above the board and batten. Lily picked a perfect color!
    If you also have sheep grazing out in a meadow which you can see out that big window, I think you have my perfect house!
    .-= Pat´s last blog ..Love Is Lovelier… =-.

  5. Julianne says

    FABULOUS! This is WONDERFUL. My favorites: the new light fixtures and the green paint. Perfect. It’s all terrific!

    (PS…yay for closing off a 2-story family room and making it functional for your family.)

  6. says

    I love it and you did such a wonderful job on the board and batten! That’s a good tip about Lowe’s cutting the MDF – will have to remember that. I loved Nancy Drew (and Trixie Belden) as a girl too and had forgotten that some of the books involved houses. Maybe that’s where my love of houses started too!
    .-= Vanessa@decor happy´s last blog ..Bake-n-Blog- Red Velvet Cupcakes =-.

  7. says

    I love, love, love this room! Not too “boy,” not too “girl.” The print above the sofa is adorable… and the mix and match colors are adorable. I would love to know where you got the orange chairs. Can I come over and play? I will be good and bring snacks!
    .-= Carol´s last blog ..Hope and Despair =-.

    • hookedonhouses says

      I forgot to mention I found those orange chairs at a store called Hold Everything. I loved that place, but they went out of business right after I snagged these. Come over and play any time–we always welcome people bearing snacks! -Julia :)

  8. says

    This goes down in my books as one of the cutest playrooms I’ve ever seen! I love all the bright cheery colors and the B&B walls look AMAZING! $90 seems like such a great price too, I’d do that to all my rooms if I wasn’t living in an apartment :)

    I’m also with you on 2 story room thing, I’ve seen them done well so there are exceptions but the majority of them are decorated awkwardly and it seems like a waste of space.

  9. says

    How beautiful! I love the board and batten and that lime color is so vibrant! Your “merchandising” is also great – the Nancy Drew mysteries and a perfect touch! Thanks so much for sharing – and thanks so much for your blog. Its given me hours of entertainment and pleasure!!
    .-= Anne´s last blog ..Hey =-.

  10. Kristie@makingarrangementsblog.com says

    Your family room is absolutely delightful!!! Love what you did to create the wall treatment, it adds so much character. And I always love pairs of chandeliers or pendants – brava!

  11. says

    Great job! I love what you did in your game room. I too cannot stand the wasted space in a 2-story living room. I wish we didn’t have a 2-story entry, more wasted space. :-( We are in the process of removing the wallpaper in our kitchen, painting, and having a banquette built in. And in the master bath, wallpaper has come down, then we will add tile halfway up the walls (maybe marble) and redo our shower. That won’t be cheap, but will make a huge difference!
    .-= Laurie @ My Domicile Style´s last blog ..Before &amp After from Mrs Howard =-.

    • hookedonhouses says

      We have a two-story entry and I wish every day we had figured out a way to make it an extra upstairs bathroom instead! Next time… :-)

  12. says

    It looks WONDERFUL! You did an amazing job! I think anyone would be happy to hang out in the playroom. It’s bright and cheerful….fresh and fun! I am with you on the making use of space. I would never want a two storey foyer or living room either…I would want the use of functional space instead.
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..My New Little Reading Spot =-.

  13. says

    FANTASTIC!!! Love the little bursts of color, and of course the batten walls are fabulous, too! Such a fresh space, I am very impressed! ;o)

    .-= Mary´s last blog ..what I am doing today =-.

  14. says

    I love this playroom! The b & b looks fabulous. I am wanting to do something like this in my boys’ room, so I appreciate the tutorial.
    The colors are so much fun! They will definitely inspire a lot of creative juices in there.
    I love it all. Trying really hard not to covet. :)
    .-= Traci´s last blog ..Wanna come to my party =-.

  15. says


    Supersmart to leave the open space in the batten-board. I was wondering until I saw your clever reason behind it (no pun intended!)

    I also love your blog header and general layout, great job all around!

    .-= Andrea ´s last blog ..From THREE-OWWW To THREE-OOH! =-.

  16. says

    What a great playroom! You did an amazing job, they must love it!! That craft table in front of the window is so great. I can imagine how nice it would be to sit there with some paper and just gaze out that window. Perfect spot. Love it all!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Hey Remember Me =-.

    • hookedonhouses says

      It’s “Limeade” from Valspar (Lowe’s). -Julia

  17. says

    Simply perfect! And so much more real than any makeover I’ve seen on HGTV. The bold color palette matches the room’s playfulness, and I’m totally on board with your decision to leave the big window naked.
    .-= the 7msn ranch´s last blog ..George and Alan play Twister =-.

  18. says

    once again proving why I *always* come to your blog when I’m in a funk & can’t shake it. SO FUN! I love this, love that you can see as much beauty as you do in your work, and then put together such an affordable re-do.

    The board & batten is beautiful, the colors are fresh, and everything is so accessible for the kids. They are clearly welcome there.

    (Oh, and further proof you’re fab – I”m also obsessed with those old Nancy Drews, and now you point it out, of COURSE it’s because of the great old house settings, and detailed house descriptions!
    .-= Kirsten´s last blog ..Oil &amp Vinegar =-.

  19. says

    Everything is so right in this lovely playroom! I would play there, work there, sleep there… you get the picture. :)

    I love the way that the color palette jumps off of the crisp white and then the Limeade sings its way around the room. It is super fresh & inviting without being dated or too juvenile.

    Lovely work, Julia!
    .-= Stacy @ DesignSomethingBetter´s last blog ..TV Junkie- Flipping Out =-.

  20. says

    It looks FANTASTIC! I love the bright green above the board and batten. And I saw those green lamps at Target today and was drooling! I love all of the bright splashes of color. You did a great job!
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..Where does the time go =-.

  21. says

    Julia, this is absolutely adorable!!! I love the color scheme – Lily made a good choice! I adore the lamps, especially the blue one. The Nancy Drew books are a nice touch. Do you read them to Lily?

    This looks like such a bright, happy room. I’m sure it will be everyone’s new favorite hangout soon!

    .-= Kelly@40isthenew30´s last blog ..What I Learned Last Year =-.

  22. says

    It looks fabulous! My middle daughter has changed her favorite color from pink, pink, & more pink to blue and lime green. Thanks for testing out the limeade…bright greens are really hard to pick. I may be stealing this color 😀
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Here’s the Rub =-.

  23. says

    You have created such an alluring, relaxing space – I’d love to put myself on that sofa with my feet up and a good book – no phone, no computer – and no-one could find me except the children! It isn’t just that it looks good Julia – it’s the feeling. wonderful, I dips me lid to you.
    .-= Tricia Rose´s last blog ..Superego =-.

  24. says

    Great makeover Julia! I love the color scheme of the room too. That green is amazing! My hubby (peering over my shoulder!) really likes the Ikea figure. May have to hunt these down on my road trip to Ikea next Monday! 😉
    We’re planning to do the board and batten in our family room this fall. Thanks for the inspiration!
    .-= Cathy´s last blog ..A Beach Inspired Dump Rescue =-.

  25. Kathleen says

    I love it!! What do you think about putting the markers, crayons, and pencils in transparent glasses or cups (glass or plastic) and store them by color: all the reds in one cup together, all the greens in one cup together. It looks amazing when placed on the table in the order of the color spectrum and because it looks so inviting, children become re-interested in drawing. And probably fewer in number would be sufficient and more appealing. Maybe

  26. says

    I would know those generic light fixtures anywhere. I love the knew ones from Ikea. Thanks for showing the process from start to finish. I really shows that you can work with what you have. The room looks great and you really took advantage of that big window. I have just this week started a blog with the goal of putting all our home renovation pictures in one place. I wish I had done it sooner.
    .-= Terri´s last blog ..Fireplace =-.

  27. Elisha says

    Fantastic makeover. I love your paint choice. Are the storage shelves the expedit ones from Ikea? I was also wondering about the fabric bins inside. I just got the expedit shelves myself and am looking for bins to fit in the cubes.

    • hookedonhouses says

      We actually planned to get the Expedit shelves from IKEA but then we found these at Target that were similar, so we went with them instead. Not sure if the fabric bins from Target would fit the IKEA ones or not, but you might be able to make them work. They came in lots of great colors! -Julia

  28. says

    SUCH fun! Great post with clear details on how to copy this look. Of course, the white woodwork now pops. Very well done. And “The Secret of Shadow Ranch”! Ah, those were the days. I loved The Hardy Boys, as well (do you remember the TV show with Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson?! Good to hear that you’re passing your love of reading down to the kids.
    .-= Sheila´s last blog ..Definitions 101- Whipsaw =-.

  29. says

    What an amazing transformation! I love everything about it….the color, the board and batten and all the fun details. It looks like a perfect, stylish play space!
    .-= Jenny@Anything Pretty´s last blog ..Zesty Salsa =-.

  30. Kim says

    Wow, what an amazing transformation. You really have the interior designer touch. I love the new look, especially the batten board. If you ever feel like it, you can post pictures of your house. I have seen the pictures of your house decorated, but I would love to see more. Especially the outside.

  31. says

    love, love, LOVE this! The colors you chose are perfect. Not too young, not gender-specific…awesome. The board and batten is a hit and now I’m wondering if I can convince my husband to do it in OUR playroom. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? thanks for the inspiration! 😉
    .-= Courtney @ nesting instincts´s last blog ..still here =-.

  32. says

    Absolutely adorable. It’s almost too cute to play in. I think the addition of the play room instead of the two story family was a great choice. Now you have this great room to prove it.
    .-= Pamela @Atmosphere ID´s last blog ..A Work in Progress =-.

  33. says

    Great makeover! Love the board and batten! I’ve been wanting to do that in my daughter’s room and you made it look so easy! Love that you kept your Kim Parker print for the color it brings to the space. It looks perfect above the sofa! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • hookedonhouses says

      Yes, I forgot to mention that I turned the Kim Parker print on its side and hung it over the sofa because I hated to part with it and couldn’t find anywhere else to put it. -Julia

  34. Cindy says

    Your play room is absolutely wonderful. You had some great ideas that really worked out. I’m so glad you shared this because I would like to try something similar with the walls in our family room. Thanks Julia.

  35. says

    What a splendid job you’ve done :) A gorgeously colorful playroom & the darker colour above gives it a more intimate, cost feel for the kids. Thanks so much for sharing :)
    .-= Tomas & Jones´s last blog ..Every Girls Dream! =-.

  36. Jennifer says

    Looks wonderful! I love that you had the builder do that instead of the soaring walls and ceiling…I don’t like wasted space either, what a great idea! Hope your kids are enjoying it!!

  37. E. George says

    Hi Julia what can I say you guys did a wonderful job I love it. I’m trying to get a bookcase made at the moment been looking on screen for hours just to match the legs/feet with the style I’ve picked am getting confused so I thought I’d check in on your blog and never to be let down as usual thank you for sharing. Regards Esther from Sydney…. PS have a wonderful weekend…..

  38. says

    Wow! Loved this tour of your “new” space. Those walls are genius. You’ve really got my mind going now with where I can try that in our house.

    And, btw, I feel the same way about two-story family rooms. Unless somebody in your family can fly, they are a complete waste of space :)
    .-= Emily A. Clark´s last blog ..My Office on Southern Hospitality =-.

  39. April says

    Love IT!!!!!! Suggestion>>>>> Paint the Television armoire a fun color and change out the hardware. Love the orange chairs!

    • hookedonhouses says

      I like that idea. We’re getting rid of it soon, though, when we get a flat-screen TV to replace the old one that isn’t working right. A flat-screen won’t fit in the old stand. -Julia

  40. says

    Beautiful play room!! Totally agree with you about those soaring two story rooms. How the heck do you change those pot lights???lol….Not a fan of renting a cherry picker to change out light bulbs. Heights make me very nervous so I love love love my nine foot ceilings. That is high enough for me!
    .-= Arlene @At Home with the Grimms´s last blog ..Celebrating Uncle Charles =-.

    • hookedonhouses says

      When we asked the salesperson at a model home how you change the lightbulbs when they burn out in a two-story room, she said, “Just don’t turn them on unless you have to. That’s what we do here.” Good to know. 😉

  41. karin/lifeinsmallchunks@blogspot.com says

    I am dying to do that board and batten look at my house. LOVE it! You did a great job. I don’t know how old your girls are, but this is definitely a room that can grow with them well into their college years – it looks more like a lounge than a playroom now! I’m sure they love it.

    • hookedonhouses says

      Lily is my youngest and she’s 8, so she didn’t need a lot of the toys she used to have in there anymore. Now it’s all about Barbies and Littlest Pet Shops. I should have mentioned that this doubles as our guest room (the sofa opens up into a bed), so we were also trying to make it more comfortable for visitors. -Julia

  42. says

    Yes! Yes, Yes, YES!! I love the whole thing. And you’ve inspired me to tackle a space in my house that I’ve been baffled by. . . until now. Now I think I may have the solution–thanks to you!

    What a magnificent job you did. Bravo!
    .-= Richella at Imparting Grace´s last blog ..Custom coasters =-.

  43. says


    It came out so beautiful. All the colors in the room look so pretty together. Thank you for letting me know the color on facebook. Enjoy your new room!!

    .-= Claudia´s last blog ..Buon Appetito! =-.

  44. Dean says

    Beautiful! Everything you did fits perfectly together and looks like an expensive make-over. You really transformed this room!

  45. says

    This playroom is so colorful and fresh I love it! I’D play in there, happily! You did an amazing job. I love Lily’s color choice. I hope the playroom I do for my (hypothetical at this point) children is half as cool. I’m obsessed with chalkboard paint and want to give them either an entire wall or paint closet doors with it so they have some space to draw or do homework problems. The room looks awesome-have a great weekend Julia!
    .-= Bre´s last blog ..Beach Bound =-.

  46. Anna says

    Love this wall treatment! I have been contemplating using board and batten in my nursery, but am worried about ceiling height. How tall are you ceilings??

  47. says

    How FUNNY!!! I JUST finished doing this same thing to my guest room!!! I hope to post pictures this weekend – just need to add a few finishing touches :) The playroom looks great and I love the fun color on the walls….
    .-= Deb´s last blog ..Its that time of year! =-.

  48. says

    Fantastic transformation Julia! I love every bits and pieces you did in your kids’ playroom. The pendant lights are fabulous, the paneling of course (didn’t know that Ikea will cut to measurement by the way), and that huge window is just amazing! Your kids are very lucky…they have a large great cheerful hang out room. Happy Friday.
    .-= Marie´s last blog ..Charming Beach House =-.

  49. Barbara says

    Oh! When can I move in! I love it, and I was especially thrilled when I saw your Nancy Drew Collection–I still have all mine too. I’ll have to compare and see what you and both have!! It looks stunning. I’m working on my unfinished basement right now to try and turn it into a game room of sorts for my 9 year-0ld son. I have cement walls, and I was thinking of doing walls as you did–it came out great. When I’m done, I’ll send the before and after pix, although it may not be for quite some time! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  50. Heather says

    I just want to lay on the floor and color in this room! Well done!

  51. SOL says


  52. says

    You outdid yourself on this one Julia!! It’s just wonderful. I love the white woodwork and those lights from IKEA just make the space. All the color is just perfect. I know I’m leaving inspired:)
    .-= Becky @ Farmgirl Paints´s last blog ..Two peas in a pod =-.

  53. Paula says

    Julia – you have inspired me!! Love, love, love the board & batten!! I’ve been trying to think of a way to re-do my office/school room (we home school…). This is just what I’ve been trying to visualize… I just needed to SEE it first! I like the limeade wall color: I have a pale avocado that’s probably going to stay on my upper area. I’m also working on a cube storage area; but I’m collecting the scrapbooking cubes sold at Michaels whenever I can snag one for 40-50% off. I can’t wait to show this to my hubby: he’ll agree that this is just what our room needs.

    I loved all the Nancy Drew books, too! I remember going to our local library & checking them out – when I was getting close to finishing the series, it almost became a thrill hunt to find one that I still needed to read!!

    Enjoy your new space – you did an outstanding job! Thanks for sharing this, too.

  54. Jared says

    I love it! You guys did a great job, its adorable and functional. By the way I love Home Goods. I could hang out there all day lol.

  55. js says

    Where did your accordian shades come from? I have about a dozen windows in my house that I want to put them in.

    • hookedonhouses says

      I had Budget Blinds install all of the blinds on the back of our house. They did a nice job, but it wasn’t as cheap as you’d imagine when the word “budget” is in the name! -Julia

      • Lisa T. says

        I recommend overstock.com for blinds. You would have to install them yourself, but they have a huge selection and BIG savings. I love my bamboo roman blinds I installed in my kitchen brkfast area. OK. I sound like a commercial :-)

  56. Jennifer says

    Have you ever heard of Trixie Belden, also by Carolyn Keene? She’s also a “girl sleuth”, but she’s only about 12 yrs old. Trixie’s family lives in an very old farm house with an apple orchard. They describe her home also, with a front porch/veranda, big farm kitchen, and living room with a big old fire place. Lokk it up…I think you’ll like it!


  57. says

    What a fun room! I love all the bright colors! We tried to paint our playroom apple green, but it was too much green for us….I think a board and batten treatment like you did would have toned it down nicely! What a nice, happy place for your kids to play!
    .-= Cara´s last blog ..Treasure Box =-.

  58. colette says

    I Love It ! When you first said “LIME” I have to admit , I was scared. But it looks great!

  59. says

    So many things to love about this room: the wall color, the lamps, and all of the pops of color. As I looked at each picture, I was so impressed to see the way you layered the room…that’s the hardest part of decorating for me. I’m not so good at it…but you are obviously great at it! Nice job!
    .-= Kimberlee J.´s last blog ..Mean Mom Devotional =-.

  60. Maggy says

    You get 2 thumbs up! What a terrific transformation! LOVE board and batten; mixing up the wall space with the apple-green color, and all of the other primary colors for some of the accents (both furniture and baskets/containers) works perfectly, especially as a playroom!

    Was wondering about the light carpet, but I see that’s on your “to do” list, too! Also love the fact that you left the room open … plenty of space for games, projects, exuberant energy .. :- )

    Wonderful job, Julia! Anytime y’all are in the area and available for a little board & batten job to help *me* with, just let me know! Ha ha!

  61. Susan S says

    So adorable and cheerful! I loved Nancy Drew too, but I didn’t save any of my books! I spent many summers reading those books with my potato chips and pop in hand. Nowadays, my reading material is different, but I can still be found munching away on potato chips more than I care to admit!

  62. Lisa T. says

    Yeah, I’m wishing I kept my N. Drew books too after seeing that…sigh. Oh well, my son wouldn’t appreciate them anyway.

    Anyhoooo. Love the playroom/guest area!! You inspired me when you started this project and my son’s room is pretty much done at this point. It looks great! We did white wainscoting with a shelf/trim on top. Comes up about 4 1/2 ft. I wish I could post a pic, but I don’t know how. I wanted Lilly’s green, but somehow??? ended up with a mint!? on the wall over the wainscoting. My husband was rushing me at Lowes that day. I really don’t understand how it happened but I’m not going to be living with that color for long. It looks too much like a nursery color. He’s 8.

    bought a bed off Craig’s List and did a fun paint treatment on it. My husband hung his old surfboard on the wall and we screwed rock climbing chips to the bed for my son to climb instead of a ladder (takes up too much floor space). We bought an odd lot of hardwoods and installed it ourselves so it is so bright and open now. Love it! Thank you girl!

  63. says

    I love what you did! A little colour and board and batten sure goes a long way. I’d love to try this in one of my rooms some time…
    .-= Lori-Anne´s last blog ..Cute as a Button =-.

  64. says

    Oh, and, this room goes to show what some structural details and color can do to transform a room and add character–it looks like a completely different room yet you used all the same furniture. Just fab, girl!
    .-= angela | the painted house´s last blog ..A Happy Place =-.

  65. says

    OMG–I want to do that in my dining room so badly! I love how bright and cheerful your room is now. Your daughter did a fabulous job of picking out that green–How pretty! Kudos to you, for making this look like a completely different room.

    Hope you have a great weekend,
    .-= Misti England´s last blog ..Another ahhh haaa Moment- Kitchen Island =-.

  66. says

    Great job and love the green paint! It’s amazing how the board and batton add such nice dimension! I guess I didn’t realize your children were young!
    .-= Renae Moore´s last blog ..Dorm Glam =-.

  67. says

    I really love this! And I love green. My fav from Lowes is Apple by Laura Ashley. It look a lot like Limeade. I really need to go to Home Goods more often. So many people find great furniture there and I never have. :) Have a great weekend!
    .-= Nichole´s last blog ..DEATH TO SQUIRRELS! =-.

  68. Destiny says

    I don’t think there is anything better or more important than having a playroom when your children are young, and your children are going to make the most wonderful memories in this room. It’s just perfect — my favorite thing? The precious handwriting on the boxes. That is just sweetness personified!

  69. margaret says

    I really like the bright colors and the relaxed feel. I’m curious though, how did you decide on the height of the B&B?

    • hookedonhouses says

      It’s 6′ from the floor to the top of that horizontal board. We just thought it looked right there. -Julia

  70. says

    I am soooo lovin’ this room! I am getting ready to do the B&B treatment in my son’s room…would love to find some of the cubbie shelves you have along the wall…they’d be great for all those little toys that little boys accumulate. You did a great job!
    .-= Angela ´s last blog ..My next project =-.

  71. says

    Julia! I love it!! What a fun and playful playroom! The colors are beautiful, you guys did an AWESOME job on the board and batten, those light fixtures are very cool, and the furniture is nice too. I love it all! :)
    Hope you have a great weekend.
    .-= beth´s last blog ..August happenings =-.

  72. says

    Wow, Julia this turned out so great! I know you and your children must just love it! Totally changed the whole feel of the room…thanks for showing us how it was done! This would be an awesome Met Monday post!
    BTW, I almost fell out of my chair when I saw all your Nancy Drew books. I was just today thinking about mine today and how much they meant to me as a child. They are one of the very few things I have still from my childhood. I think you and I bought the same titles! LOL I will have to do a post and show them one day. :)
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Do You Have Synesthesia =-.

  73. says

    I’m a big fan of making space for a playroom, if feasible. Yours looks great! I’m currently renovating a large closet and turning it into a playroom for our children in our vacation home. Fun finding your blog!
    .-= hamptontoes´s last blog ..Our date with Nate Berkus! =-.

  74. Kathy :) says


    WOW……..LOVE IT !!!!! What a transformation you guys should be proud !!!

    xo Kathy :)

  75. says

    Julia…Your playroom is perfectly playful now…it couldn’t be more delightful!!! You have *all* done an amazing job…well worth the effort. Fun, fun, fun!

    Time to relax & enjoy…
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..The Garden Lollipops Are Here =-.

  76. says

    It’s awesome, I love it! The bright color with all the white works so well, and the Ikea lighting is perfect. You’ve made a wonderful space – and, best of all, you have cubes in there!! Nancy Drew would be very proud.
    .-= Struggler´s last blog ..Before and After- Master Bedroom =-.

  77. says

    What a fabulous transformation!! I love the board and batten, what a great idea that would work wonderfully in so many rooms! Thanks for sharing the measurements and the cost.
    P.S. I love that you have Nancy Drew books for your kids to read, they were my favorite when I was a kid too!!

  78. jana says

    Looks great! We just built a new house and I also opted to make the 2 story living room an upstairs play room. I call it my Trading Spaces room because if there was ever a room I would hand over to someone else to do, it would be that one! I have a few ideas swirling around in my head. I have 2 boys so I’m leaning toward a nautical theme with a dark blue and maybe a bold stripe around the room.

    Love your blog!!!

  79. says

    Julia, I LOVE your new playroom. (Also I just read through all your archived posts about 2-story family rooms – totally agree with you there!) But I love the bright colors you used, especially that pretty green, and especially the set-up of the room with the workspace and the TV/reading space on the other side of the room. Your kids will get so much use out of that room – not to mention that it will grow with them so well! I would have loved having a large table like that to work on projects at, even through high school. (Although knowing you are a hooked-on-houses-and-design kinda gal, I guess you might update that table at some point, but it’s such a great layout!) :)
    .-= Kate (Little Beach Bum)´s last blog ..Disney World! =-.

  80. says

    Julia, the playroom is sensational. I bet the children just adore it. The colors are perfect and you must be fending off the entire neighborhood kid-gang by now!

    News! On Friday we’re starting a link-up-your-giveaway party (and we’ll announce an amazing giveaway). Please join us at http://bit.ly/bmXgYj any time.

    Nice to see you! Jane F.
    .-= Jane F @ Atticmag´s last blog ..Scandinavian Summer House =-.

  81. amanda says

    What a huge difference some paint makes! I love the room and the color scheme! So pretty. I really like the board & batten walls.

  82. says

    Wow, I just came across your site through an article I was reading on my NY Times iPhone app, I’m so glad I found you! This is just the stuff I love, love, love. And I’m so impressed and inspired by your playroom, thanks for sharing! I’ve seen board and batten everywhere and would love to give it a try myself.
    .-= Nancy J´s last blog ..3D Social Icons =-.

  83. Erin says

    I love the Ikea pendants you used in your playroom and had been considering them for a spot in our new home, as well. Have you been happy with the amount of light they put out? Also, where did you get the green lamps? Your playroom is wonderful!!

    • hookedonhouses says

      Thanks, Erin! The green lamps were from Target. And we’ve been very happy with the Ikea pendants. Of course, we have plenty of other lighting and a big window to keep the room bright, so I’m not sure if I only had one pendant and it was the main source of light if that would be enough or not. There is only one bulb in each pendant. Hope that helps! -Julia

  84. carol berry says

    I’ve just recently found your site and I have to say I LOVE it. Is it possible we come from the same DNA? Probably not because although we seem to have a lot of the same ideas about things(wasted space for a 2 story family room), you seem to be able to act and complete your ideas where mine lack that follow thru. Maybe it’s my adhd showing thru. LOVE your site, love the before and afters, love the Movie homes!

    • hookedonhouses says

      Well, keep in mind I’m only showing you the things I’ve followed through on. There are plenty of things waiting for my attention around here that I conveniently leave out. So maybe we are related. Ha. -Julia :-)

  85. Jess says

    That has got to be the best playroom ever! I’m looking to re-do ours and was flipping through a PB catalog; while their designs are great, they’re so unrealistic. What kid only has pink and green toys to match their pink and green playroom? Honestly…

    This may be the stupidest question on earth, but I’m new to home-ownership and all DIY projects: How did you hang the wood…did you use a nail gun?

    Love the look — you did a fantastic job!

  86. Mary says

    This is a late question on this post, but I was wondering where you got the white denim slipcover that is on your playroom couch? It looks great!

  87. LuAnn says

    Just spent a couple hours looking over your site–I love houses as well. I got started in TV houses and just kept going! I’m also fascinated by the number of comments on your Nancy Drew books. I recently got back into collecting them. You and your commentors may like this site: http://nancydrewsleuth.com/ where you can learn about all things Nancy Drew.