top of page

Living Room with Play Area

I am so excited to share a client project reveal with you today! Thanks so much to my client, Heather, for letting me photograph and share this space here on my blog.

Who Lives here: Heather, Warren, their 2 little boys and their dog

Heather and her husband had just purchased a home in North Vancouver and she wanted help decorating her new space. The house has a bright and open living/dining/kitchen area and she explained to me that she wanted the Living Room to be stylish but kid friendly.


When I first meet with my clients, we talk about how they need their space to function, what items they want or need to purchase, and their budget. I also try and get a sense for their style and color preferences.

Heather really wanted a stylish but kid friendly Living Room that could also serve as a play space for her little boys. As you can see from the photo, just like the majority of families with little kids, they had lots of toys and a play kitchen that her boys loved using. She had mentioned during out first phone call, that she loved the look of built-ins around a fireplace but didn't have the budget for that, so was thinking about some bookcases instead. The problem was, she had a beautiful cabinet that was sentimental and housed her china collection, but she wasn't sure how to incorporate that with bookcases.

My advice was to relocate both the toys and the cabinet to the opposite side of the room behind the couch and to make the mantle and bookcases the focal point. That first day we  jumped right in and moved the cabinet to the opposite side to see if it would work (spoiler alert, it did!) and then we were off and running.

After our meeting I came up with a decorating plan and a mood board to guide the process. Heather and I share many style preferences so this came pretty easily. I got busy sourcing and shopping, and this is how the space looks now:

Check out the play area for the kids:

Toys are a a reality when you have kids, so figuring out a way to incorporate them into your home without having them take over the space can be a challenge.

Now the boys have a play area and access to their toys and play kitchen, but it's not the first thing you see when you walk in the room. It is also not visible from the couch, so when Heather and her husband want to kick back on the sofa or entertain friends, the toys are not in their sightline.

Lets take a look at the elements we added to the space:


As I mentioned, one of the initial things that we chatted about was the need for some storage in the living room. As much as Heather loved the look of built ins, a project like that can run around 10 grand, and that just wasn’t in the budget. Does this sound familiar? I had the exact same challenge in my family room! Heather had actually seen my blog post and read about my bookcase “look-for-less” makeover and we both agreed that this could also work in her space. We decided to go with the same bookcases I used…the Liatorp series from Ikea. With decorative elements like the molding trim pieces on top and the beadboard backing, these bookcases really mimic the look of a built in but for a fraction of the price. Don't they look great framing the beautiful stone fireplace?

We decided to add baskets to the lower shelves so the boys could have a place to store their books and toys.

With 8 baskets in total, 4 on each side, they now have plenty of space for all of their treasures!

I had so much fun styling the upper shelves. I used a combination of wood elements, faux plants, candles, books and picture frames to give these bookcases some life and personality.



If the kitchen is the heart of a the home, then the couch is the heart of the living room..Given this family’s lifestyle and the fact that they have little kids and a dog, I recommended that they go with a slip covered sofa from IKEA. We went with the Vimle sofa in gunarad beige, which despite it’s name actually looks more grey. *update, IKEA has recently changed the name of this sofa to the Finnala


Heather and I both loved this gorgeous leather chair from Structube and this is one of my favorite items in the room.

Winston really likes it's the perfect place to keep an eye on the street!

Sofa Accents

No couch is complete without throw pillows and a cozy blanket. Heather told me that she is not a big fan of color and really loves neutrals, so I went for texture and pattern to add some style to the sofa.

Just a few accessories and this sofa looks perfectly styled!

Accent Tables

Coffee Table

When you have little kids and babies, coffee tables can be a tricky thing. I try and steer clear of glass table tops or any kind of surface that will show wear and tear too quickly. I found this simple yet stunning table from Rejuvenation and it just happened to be on sale!

I love the clean lines and criss-cross design, and it's made of metal which makes it a really practical choice for families.

Side Tables

We wanted an accent table beside the chair so we went with a set of black metal nesting tables to tie in with the coffee table.

The great thing about nesting tables is that you can break the set apart if you are entertaining and want to have an extra surface for drinks, etc.

This particular set is no longer available, but I found a similar set on Wayfair here.

Area Rug

One of the things that was key to styling this space was to find a rug to define the seating area and provide some color and pattern. We wanted a large rug (10×13) that was neutral and that would lay nice and flat and be easy to keep clean. We found this one on Wayfair and we liked subtle pattern and how it adds both visual interest and warmth to the room.

Mantle Decor

We kept the mantle styling simple and modern. A round mirror is one of my favorite things to hang above a fireplace.

The mantle in this living room is quite wide so we added some vases and candles to fill in the space on either side of the mirror.The cream and brown colors in the vase are warm and pick up similar tones in the chair and mantle, which ties everything together nicely. In my mind, there is nothing better than some greenery and flowers to bring life into a room, and these faux stems do the trick.

Wall Art

Heather was off to a great start in the Dining Room and had purchased a live edge dining table, matching bench, rustic metal chairs and a funky light fixture.

She wanted some help figuring out what to hang on the wall and we decided to go with some simple but pretty gold botanical prints that we found on Etsy. A set of three worked really well on the wide, blank wall.

One more look at the before and after...

Thanks again to Heather for letting me photograph and share her home with you all. If you have any questions about this project, leave a comment below. If you would like help decorating your family home, check out my services and packages here.

Thanks for reading!

xo, Kerri


bottom of page