Makeshift Playroom

We have an unfinished basement that really isn’t good for anything but storage. We would love to add a couple of bedrooms, a bathroom, and a main family room/home theater to the space. However, since we have neither the skills nor the funds for those ideas, we are left with concrete foundational walls, ceilings lined with insulation, wires, and piping, and one electrical outlet for the time being. Blake loves to go downstairs and play with the random storage items, so when it got cold outside, I brought his outdoor playthings down there as well. I ended up creating an entire makeshift play area with some of his outdoor toys and other items that didn’t fit elsewhere in our house. The room may be slightly ghetto in appearance, but the teacher side of me tried to brighten it up and make it somewhat educational.

One of my main goals was to allow Blake active play time while we are cooped up during the winter. The open space is perfect for him to run around, throw balls, go down the slide and through the tunnel, ride his bike, and wheel his car around.

I made some curtains to both brighten up the dungeon and also attempt to make the room less drafty. The downside to the makeshift playroom is that there are no heating vents in the basement, and it is absolutely freezing down there. Blake doesn’t seem to care, but it makes me not want to venture down there on a regular basis!

I dug out our old dust-covered bookshelf from the Tanners’ garage where it has been sitting for a few years. I filled the bookshelf with art supplies, miscellaneous activity ideas and supplies from my teaching days, and my valued child development and activity college textbooks. I thought that adding a space heater would make the temperature more comfortable, but it doesn’t seem to affect the large, drafty, uninsulated space.

Any ideas on how to warm up the tundra would be greatly appreciated! I’m hoping it’ll be more comfortable in the spring, but by then I’ll want to bring most of the toys back outside.


  • Miller Family January 26, 2010 at 3:02 am

    wow, what a great idea – as you said – especially during the winter. I know how it is with an active little boy inside all the time (for us it is the hot summers)!!

    Love the room

  • Stephanie January 26, 2010 at 3:52 am

    I think it looks great-concrete walls and all! Maybe it's because I'm drooling with envy that you have a playspace at all! I'd take it in a heartbeat, even if it is a tundra down there!

  • Linz January 26, 2010 at 4:25 am

    It seriously looks awesome. Wish we had something like that.

  • BreAna January 26, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    That looks so adorable. You did an amazing job. I love all the bright colors.

  • Kourtni January 27, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I think it looks excellent. What toddler wouldn't want to play down there?

  • Unknown November 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Looks great! Ours is similar~with no window (very jealous of yours). I also have had the hardest time getting anything to stick to the walls to hold maps etc. What did you use???

  • Lindsey November 6, 2013 at 5:35 am

    We have finished our basement since I posted this, but I actually used my hot glue gun to hang the alphabet letters. It came right off the concrete, and putty just did not do the trick.

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