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Reveal day! The kids’ third floor casual hangout space

    If you remember from a couple of previous posts, we’ve been turning an open third floor bonus room into a functional space for our growing kids.

    Since moving in, we walled in a bedroom and closet, painted the walls, changed out the lighting, updated the trim and replaced the carpet (read all about the updates here). Instead of it being a big open space, we gave the room structure and it works so much better.

    With the shell of the room complete, I got to do the fun part and add finishing touches. I started with a design plan (see it here) and kept to a mainly neutral color palette (big shock, I know), pulling in a bit of green and blue for color.

    The room is casual and comfy, a little bit outdoorsy and a great spot for the kids to hang out.

    Now that the kids are a little older (13, 11, 9 and 7), our playroom needs have changed. No longer do we need tons of storage for toys or open spaces for floor play. Those were sweet days and I loved creating a playroom for the kids when they were little (see it here).

    This hangout space needed to work as a space for the kids to watch movies, play games with friends, lounge on a comfy couch with a book or create with legos.

    I loaded the sectional couch with assorted pillows because I just can’t help myself. Of course they all end up on the floor when the kids are up here, but I still insist on them because they add texture and pattern to an otherwise very plain room.

    On either side of the big window are framed posters of two of our favorite National Parks. I just love the greens and touch of blue they bring.

    And, of course, you can’t have a finished room without a touch of living greenery. This time, I chose a very low-maintenance plant called Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (ZZ for short). It doesn’t need much to keep it alive, so it is perfect for this room where I’m not regularly having to bring it down to water.

    Next to the couch, tucked into the little nook is where we ended up putting all the legos.

    Lego storage has stumped us for nearly 10 years. We’ve tried so many different solutions: colors organized into separate boxes (that was very short-lived), spread out on a lego table, under bed storage bins, lego pit (that was a fun one where Ryan built a half wall in the boys’ dormer bump-out and we dumped all the legos in there), plastic totes. You name it, we probably tried it.

    Truth be told, I love legos. The boys are super creative and come up with the most amazing things. As they get older, they are less and less into building, but I still want to keep them accessible, especially for Mason (9) who still enjoys digging through, building scenes and playing with the guys.

    Our current lego storage solution is working out great. The big galvanized trough is what we kept our baby chicks in for the first few weeks. Once we moved them to the coop, Ryan had the brilliant idea to use the bin for legos.

    It’s super sturdy, had rounded edges so the kids don’t get hurt while digging, it holds all of our legos and won’t break like every other plastic lego bin has seemed to do.

    To fill in the big wall, I hung two shelves left over from the boys’ old room.

    My original thought was to fill that wall with shelves so the boys could put their lego ships/cars/guys/etc on them. But then the decorator in me came out and instead filled them with books and pictures and plants and decorate-y things.

    Here’s a more pulled-back shot so you can see how the room fits together. Don’t mind the unfinished stair trim, handrail and door. Someday we’ll have all the woodwork painted :)

    On the other side of the stairway is the entrance to the bedroom.

    On the wall opposite the couch is the tv on a low shelf with storage baskets. This is where the boys keep the xbox, games, controllers and a million wires.

    It is so nice to have this great room for the kids. They tend to hang out downstairs most of the time, but I like that I can send them up when they have friends over and it gives them one more spot to chill when they need space.

    As I was taking pictures, I realized how hard it is to show how the room flows together. So I snapped over to the video setting on the camera and made you a video tour. Enjoy!


    ceiling lights | couch (Costco) | coffee table (old) | pom throw | green velvet pillow | patterned pillows (Homegoods + made by me) | textured dot pillows | plaid throw | floor lamp (old, Target) | national park posters | poster frames | lego trough (farm store) | shelves (wood) + brackets | tv stand | beanbags | wall color: Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore | trim: Shoji White by Sherwin Williams

    Thank you to Barn Light Electric for sending us the industrial ceiling lights. We didn’t want anything that would easily be broken by random flying objects (this is primarily a boy hangout zone!) and the caged double pendants are perfect. 

    50 thoughts on “Reveal day! The kids’ third floor casual hangout space”

    1. This is by FAR my favorite room in your new house! Love the colors, the relaxed style – the not-fussy-but-still-classy-ness of it is terrific!

      Soli Deo Gloria!


    2. I loved your ZZ plant. I was on a shopping trip in Bucks County, Pa and found a beauty in a local garden center while looking around. Very pleased with it. Thanks for the post about my new fav house plant !!

    3. Emily,

      Love the room! You show that you bought the sectional at Costco. How long ago? It is exactly what we are looking for. Do you have the measurements?

    4. I love the carpet and wondering how it’s holding up with the foot traffic of the kiddos? Does it stain easily and leave wear patters or is it too early to tell??

    5. Love the room! The older the kids get, the more they want their own “get-away” space and you really aced it with your design for the long term.

      I really liked the carpet you used. What brand and fiber is it? I’ve been looking at neutral, sisal type rugs for my living room, but would like an odd measurement size and something a little softer and was considering having one cut and bound from regular carpet and think the one you used might work.

      Enjoy the blog post and all the lovely, livable designs you come up with.

    6. Beautiful room– I’m envious of the top-floor space for the children to hang out! You have such a knack for making spaces inviting and warm.

      Regarding Lego storage, we have several giant Lay-n-Go mats, and they work well because the pieces are all scattered on them for visual ease of finding *just* the right piece. But, with one pull of the drawstring, they neatly disappear into the bag which can be hung on the door or placed in a corner.

    7. This is a beautiful space! Would be interested to hear what you do with completed lego projects? We have a good storage solution for all of our separate legos, but it’s the larger sets, once completed, that we don’t have any space for. I hate to take them apart after my boys put so much work into creating them, but I don’t have space to display them all either!

    8. What did you not like about the under bed srorage for your legos? Did they just have too many? I have a couple of those kind of bins and using them for legos sounds perfect!

      1. We used underbed storage more than anything else for legos. It works fine – the main problem is that the legos are ALL over the bedroom floor and the plastic totes always crack from some inevitable wrestling match … having the legos confined to a nook seems to keep them more contained.

        1. Thanks for the response! I moved all his legos (we def dont have as much as you YET) into bins under his bed and so far, I think its great! I never think of simple solutions like that…hence the reason I read blogs like yours lol

    9. Do you find the room to be very dark at night with just two bulbs? I’m having a heck of a time finding fixtures i love with more than 1-2 bulbs. We don’t get much natural light and i don’t want our rooms to be cave-ish! Thanks!

    10. What a wonderful space…I’d love to hang out here!
      Can I ask where the round tray on the coffee table is from?
      And did you make those shelves or purchase them? I love them!

    11. Wow, you have a lot fewer legos than we do! My sons’ legos would probably fill two of those bins to the brim! Ours are in various sized clear plastic drawers, which has worked great for the 20+ years we’ve had them (yes, my boys are grown, but they still love legos! And my granddaughter will be graduating from Duplos soon!). My sons liked being able to find the piece they wanted quickly–when we used a bin, they would just dump the whole thing out on the floor and get frustrated when they still couldn’t find some particular weird piece. Glad you’ve found a solution that works for you–for now anyway!

    12. Diana | Dahlias and Dimes

      It looks so great! I absolutely love the National Parks prints. Such a great reminder of your amazing road trip. :)

    13. Love your kids hangout space. IN LOVE WITH THE GALVANISED LEGO BIN – and my question is (being that I am researching chickens/coops because it has to be super functional but oh so cute at the same time) when do we get to see the chicks and their new home ??? Xxx

    14. Looks lovely. Two questions: what is the carpet, brand/color and where did you find the pillows with the texture (pom-pomey, fringyness)?

    15. I love the space. My soon to be 9 year old twins are outgrowing their toys and we are changing over their playroom to a media room. I LOVE that you embraced the need for a lego space. They have taken over my house. Quick question about the bin – How do they find their pieces? We often turn their bin out onto a quilt so they can sort and find but then they go everywhere.

    16. It looks beautiful! It’s like that couch was custom made for that space! Love seeing all the reveals as the rooms come together.

    17. This is a great room. You have inspired me to make out the grand kids playroom. They have outgrown all of their games and are into video games now. So out with the kid stuff and on to the teen stuff I guess. Thanks for the inspiration!

    18. Tina @ buildinghousemakinghome

      Thanks for the inspiration of a bit more of a masculine hang out space–we have four sons and will be finishing off our basement soon – definitely will be copying the blue and green color palette – LOVE! Also love the Lego bin – genius!

    19. When our kids were still at home I always said I got along best with the one on the third floor because…I rarely went up there! haha

    20. I’m always inspired by your spaces and really appreciate your thorough posts! I know you gave so many helpful sources, but I’m wondering if you had a source for the pot holding your ZZ plant. I really like it!

    21. Love the space!!! And I especially love the extra long couch. How long ago did you purchase it — I can’t find it on the Costco website. Thanks.

    22. Love what you did to the room! Truly making this house your home. Thank you so much for letting us “in” to take a look.

    23. This looks great! It’s casual and cozy and perfect. Can you tell me what size prints and frames those are? We ordered some prints from that line after your first post and the IKEA frames I got don’t fit them exactly. I’m wondering how you got around that.

      1. The posters do not fit perfectly in the ikea frames … I just had to overlap the mat a bit to make it work. I bought the 24″x32″ posters and the 24″x35″ frames.

        1. Thanks! That’s what we thought we would do too and it isn’t noticeable at all in these photos so that is definitely the route we will go as well. Thanks for the inspiration! We love the national parks and Hess prints are perfect.

    24. Love this space for your kids to hang out! It’s great that you were able to continue with overall style of your home while still providing them a place to relax and have fun with their friends. So good!

    25. Hi Emily! Love the space. The room is awesome and a great space for the kids as they grow. We are also phasing out of the play room and into more of a hang out space.

      I have been debating those pottery barn bean bags. Do they hold up well? Keep their shape?


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