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The Lofted Ball Pit in This Living Room (Using an IKEA Toddler Bed!) Doesn’t Sacrifice on Style

published Jan 24, 2024
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When interior designer Habiba Koroma and her son, Miles, moved into a modern apartment in Harlem, the new space presented an exciting challenge: to create a space that felt both sophisticated and kid-friendly, but within 630 square feet. “My biggest challenge has been transitioning to a kid-friendly space without sacrificing style and sophistication,” Koroma said at the time of the tour.

Koroma employed “Montessori principles” when conceiving the play area. The library, whiteboard, and hanging yarn installation are underneath a KURA bunk bed from IKEA and easily accessible to Miles, which Koroma said encourages “independent exploration.” 

Meanwhile, the upper level is all about pure, colorful fun. Koroma filled the top bunk of the KURA toddler bed with plastic balls to create an at-home ball pit. (Ingenious!) On the wall, a rasterized photograph of Miles boasts his “spunky spirit,” which is likely the outlook for the entire play area. “When I see Miles enjoying his space, I know that it is not only Miles-proof but also Miles-approved,” Koroma said at the time of the home tour. 

Even though Miles’s play area is all about childlike whimsy, it was important to remember that it’s situated in the living room, where Koroma wanted a sophisticated space, too. “I made sure to maintain an eye for high style by using an array of refined patterned textiles,” Koroma wrote at the time of the tour. “The palette includes a mix of black gingham (cushion), bold orange (bolster pillows) and colorful dots (rug and throw pillows), which reference the rasterized mural.”

But it wasn’t just the decorative elements that encouraged an air of sophistication in the living room — a DIY bookshelf, which is Koroma’s proudest DIY, is a gorgeous divider between the seating and play areas. Koroma elevated the bookshelf, though, to further delineate the spaces. 

“In order to block the view of the Kura bunk bed in Miles’s area, I had to affix foam core panels to the back of the bookcase. I took exact measurements of the three openings in the bookshelf and selected foam core from the newly opened Harlem Blick,” Koroma explained at the time of the tour. From there, the Blick associate cut the foam core based on Koroma’s measurements, and she used 3M Command Mounting Strips (her “go-to product”) to attach the cut-outs to the back of the bookshelf. “Voila! A bookcase/room divider which perfectly hides my son’s play area,” Koroma says.

Being an interior designer, this isn’t the only clever room in Miles and Koroma’s home. To see more of their gorgeous space, visit the full home tour on Apartment Therapy.