Tuesday, July 20, 2021

New Room Reveal: The Star Wars Playroom!

Who's got a great feeling about this?

Yep, I'm back with another room reveal, this time the promised Star Wars playroom!

Quick background: Our friend Ray got a new work-from-home job, so we decided to swap his home's current office with the kids' playroom, for reasons you'll see in a minute. I already revealed Ray's spankin' new Spider-Man office, definitely check that out if you missed it.

The old office/new playroom is just inside the home's front door, and has two sets of french doors leading into it - basically the worst set-up ever for working from home, but fantastic for keeping an eye on a room full of kids. This project was a last-minute bonus for us, so it has less structural changes, more fun decorating.

I'm kicking myself for not taking better "Before" shots, but here's the general idea of what we were working with:

For years the only thing in this room was that tiny desk, dated track lighting, and a huge bookcase that we already moved out to Ray's new office.

Imagine a big bookcase here. Thanks.

Oh, and this rocker chair, which has sentimental value to the family:

The two sets of French doors made arranging furniture a huge pain. Keeping enough clearance for the doors to swing open in a not-large room was definitely our biggest challenge.

Our goal for this room was to add in a TV gaming area, change out the lighting, add a ceiling fan, arrange the rocker chair and desk area better, add storage for toys and books, and overall just make it more fun with a Star Wars theme.

Pro Tip: I like IKEA's online Home Planner for situations like this. It's free, easy to use, and doesn't require a download or even an account. The furniture selection is extremely limited, but if you only have a few pieces it can be a great start.

In fact, here's the design I sent to Ray and Julianne for approval:

(Ignore the flooring and wall color; this was just for furniture placement.)

And - BIG REVEAL TIME - look how closely the finished room matches the mock up!

We nixed the shelves flanking the TV after we realized we didn't need that much storage.

That was fun, let's do the other side of the room:

The desk and bookcases are shallow enough that the French doors can open almost all the way. And while it doesn't look it, there's also enough clearance by the couch.

Aaand here's the finished room:

Pretty bang on, right? So satisfying.

You can't quite see the ceiling fan we installed, but the light is so much better without the harsh spotlights of the old track lighting.

Since the kids are in those transition ages where you don't want anything TOO permanent, I kept the bright colors to just the art and accessories. By keeping the walls and furniture neutral, I'm hoping the room will grow with them into their teens. 

Let's go in for a closer look at all the fun stuff:

The cube TV stand and bookcases are from Walmart; we got all 3 for about $130. The colorful fabric cubes are from Dollar Tree: an absolute steal at $1 each, and worth driving to 4 different stores to find, ha.

In fact these cubes helped me pick the rest of the colors in the room; I matched the curtains to the teal, and found this perfect Star Wars poster with shades of hot pink and blue:

 This huge poster was only $5 on Amazon (the price has since jumped to $10), and happily we had a spare frame that fit almost perfectly. We used a sheet of black Dollar Tree poster board to cut a mat to make up the difference.


Over to the side, some of you might remember that Armory board: John and I made it three years ago to hold Nerf guns in the boys' Star Wars bedroom. The toys are long gone/broken, though, so the armory has been sitting empty, clearly awaiting its new life as a magnetic art gallery:

I love re-using things. Plus this helps de-clutter the family fridge.

In the corner we have the big rocker chair, no longer in danger of getting smacked every time the door opens:

I asked the 3 kids who their favorite Star Wars characters were, then found art for each character. This Rey print is a digital download from Etsy, SUPER convenient when you're on a time crunch:

We used Dollar Tree frames and DT poster board to make the mat.

The two boys picked baby Grogu & Mando as their favorite characters, so I found a fab 6-piece Mandolorian set from Amazon that matches the watercolor style of the Rey print:

More DT frames, which I hung in pairs around the room to help make up for their small size:

The desk wall still needs something, I know; so bare!

Putting the desk in this back corner gives more privacy and less distraction from the TV area, plus I love how tucked out of the way it is. The plant next to it houses the router and hides most of the wires.

The two desk drawers needed a lot of help, so it was like Christmas for me opening them up:

This was after digging down a few layers, ha.

I can't tell you how much fun I have organizing drawers like this... mostly because folks look at me with concerned expressions when I try.

Anyhoo, a handful of Dollar Tree drawer organizers and few minutes later:

Ahhhhh. That's the stuff.

One more:

If y'all could just box up and send me your messy junk drawers to organize, I'd appreciate it.

Continuing around the room, you can see both sets of doors and how we used the awkward space between:

Again, the bookshelf is so shallow that both doors can open nearly all the way. Score!

Here's an example of the kids making this room their own, which I love: when we came back the next week to hang the last of the art, we found they'd displayed a bunch of their favorite LEGO sets and toys on the bookcases, plus claimed an extra shelf for their library books:

It's not as sparse and tidy now, but the fact that they're using it for their favorite things makes me happy.

Look how sweet all of Ellie's LEGO sets are!

And finally, the kids asked us for a way to display all their Disney Infinity figures. I decided to flank the TV with a row of shelves to mimic the shape of the art board, just for symmetry's sake:

(The floor pillows are from Costco, aren't they fabulous? The baby Yoda one is SO SOFT.)

Believe it or not - although knowing us, you'll totally believe this - John made the display shelves out of scrap 2X4s we found on the curb:

He routed the edges, but of course 2X4s aren't great wood, so they needed lots of sanding.

Then 2 coats of trim paint.

Here's another pro tip: The shelves had screws near the back, and were still kinda rough, so we covered just the tops with white woodgrain contact paper I had from another project:

See the difference? SO MUCH BETTER. Hides the screws, and the contact paper is much smoother for dusting and cleaning. This is a great cheat if you ever make shelves from crappy wood; you'll get a laminate finish, and no one would ever guess it's contact paper!

I also used little circles of the contact paper to cover the screw holes on the lower braces:

Not bad for a few hours' work and free scrap wood.

(With wood so expensive I'm becoming a menace: every bit of trash wood I see on the side of the road is now in danger of my grabby hands, ha. Poor John.)

This is my favorite corner, I love all the colors:

Oh, and most of the fabric bins are still empty, so the kids have plenty of room to grow.

The best part is how the whole family uses this room now: Ray and Julianne tell us they're often in here playing games or watching TV after the kids go to sleep, and last time we visited I spotted little Ellie working on the computer in the corner while the 2 boys played a video game. Considering this room used to be just a spot to pay bills and store books, that's incredibly rewarding to see. 

 And that's the Star Wars playroom! I hope you enjoyed our latest mini makeover, and that this gave you some ideas/tools for your next project.


P.S. Convention season is nearly upon us, so over the next few weeks you'll see me switching gears away from room makeovers and back into ::gasp:: cosplay photos? Could it be??


I'm so excited.

I can't wait to go and see and come back to share all our stories, photos, and videos with you. John and I even have a new cosplay of our own in the works, which I'll be introducing soon, so... cue the supersonic screeching. 

I hope you're as pumped as I am to jump back into the world of costumes and silliness and partying with our geeky tribe out in the real world - while still being smart and safe about it, of course. I know cons are going to look a little different for a while, so I'll be sure to bring back a full report for those of you not ready or able to venture out yourselves just yet. Stay tuned!


  1. This room is so much fun! If I could send you my drawer to organize I totally would. That's a great idea though, the Dollar Tree organizers. We're moving in two weeks and my husband has a new desk to fill with stuff so I might go get some this week to prevent any craziness beforehand!

    I'm so looking forward to the cosplay photos. I'm not ready to venture into conventions yet (I'm so glad I did get to meet you and John at DragonCon in 2017 as I doubt I'll ever be able to do that one again! My crowd-phobia was really unbearable there. O_O ) but I know you'll have a blast. I can't wait to see what you have cooked up for your costumes! :D

  2. this looks amazing! I wish you could help me. Just had my kitchen redone and that looks wonderful except I have to put things into new places and reorganize and we moved a doorway, leaving the room on the other side in disarray. I think you'd be really good at solving the issues. I will just have to channel your genius for design and space and tidiness.

  3. Awesome work! I need to figure out how to make a portal so that it's easy for you to come to Wisconsin and help me redo all of my rooms :)

  4. I love that you use such simple and affordable items for organizing. Sometimes I see organization "systems" that are complicated and of course expensive. Thanks for the ideas!

  5. If you're going to cons, please assure me that you're both vaccinated.

    1. We are, but we plan to wear masks regardless. :)

  6. Wow, love the room transformation! It looks so open and inviting, and that was brilliant to repurpose the Armory board. I've been meaning to look into installing shelves to store toys and plushies -- you and John make it look so easy.

    I had no idea Costco was selling the giant Squishmallows of R2 and BB-8 as well -- my local Costco had only Baby Yoda and Chewie. (Probably better for my wallet that they didn't have them all, though, haha.)

  7. I love this transformation! Wish you could travel more for home reorgs! I always struggle, especially once I have stuff sorted and then... don't always know where to put it. Your multi-use room was definitely an inspiration to better arrange my craft room/kids play room loft area. Love the room remodel posts - but also the convention and cosplay posts (and always crafts!). I just realized we have less than two months till our convention (it was pushed back six weeks later than usual) and I haven't started on any costumes my kids want or fixed mine and husband's costumes that need some work. Eeeks!! But yay to have something to work for. Enjoy the conventions!!

    1. Oh, I forgot - I have that Star Wars poster too! It's not on display right now because it's in a poster frame we cycle gaming maps and posters in and a gaming map covers it, but my husband bought it in 2010 with our first bluray, Beauty and the Beast, as a coverup that he'd bought the movie for my birthday gift. Love that poster because of that ;) And your saying you use dollar tree poster board for frames has given me ideas for matts for some posters I need a better edge around.

  8. Oh that is a well done room - you do an amazing job of making spaces feel delightfully geeky while also accessible and pleasant to spend time in for people of all ages. Based on those drawing skills (and what a great reuse of the Armory board), I'm sure one of the kids will eventually produce a suitable piece of art for above the desk.

  9. Are you going to DragonCon this year? We'll be there (both vaccinated) but can't say I'm not a little anxious about the whole thing. Not just because of COVID, but because it's SO MANY PEOPLE! My brain might explode.

    1. We're planning to be there, yes! Should be less crowds than usual, but I'm curious to see how *much* less. We have at least 2 conventions before Dragon, so those should give some idea of what percentages to expect. I'll keep y'all updated!

  10. I LOVE that you guys pick up scrap wood off the side of the road. I do that too. My favorite are old coffee tables or tables. Soooo much good quality wood just sitting there. It does require more work taking off old finishes, but it is soooo satisfying when something ends up being literally free because all of the components have been made from roadside finds. Just invest in a stud finder or hand held metal detector. Do a quick sweep for hidden nails before you do any cutting.

  11. I just showed the display shelves to my hubby, these are so simple, and look like they will be perfect in my craft room. Off to find some scrap wood!

  12. I love the transformation! But, dang that first room looks rough to work in, oof. Cant imagine how much better/happier they must be to have the room swap.

  13. I fear you may live to regret that offer. Your postal carrier is going to be mighty tired of carrying boxes full of everyone's junk drawers to your front door!

  14. *fist bump* I ALSO enjoy organizing a junk drawer. And yes, I also get that look of concern from friends when I say those words!


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