This Tiny, Colorful Playroom Has a Huge Statement Wall

published Jun 28, 2021
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Flatiron apartment playroom:
Credit: Murphy Waldron Interiors

Family: The Halls, with two kids, aged 2 and 4

Location: Flatiron District, New York City

Playroom size: 106 square feet

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As a mom of two young girls who are also wildly creative, designer Dana Waldron of Murphy Waldron Interiors especially enjoys working on kids’ spaces. By combining bespoke design that complements each child’s personality with Waldron’s keen sense of utility and balance, she transforms her clients’ homes into livable spaces that make use of every bit of square footage. Even her littlest clients get this custom treatment.

This tiny playroom in New York’s Flatiron District began as a third bedroom in the family of four’s apartment, but they soon realized it was meant to be a playroom for the kids, aged 2 and 4. “It was a hodge-podge guest room,” Waldron recounts, “yet the kids played in it all the time too. It was a no-brainer to transform it into a space that they could use year-round. I want to hone in on how families will really use their space and commit to it.”

Credit: Murphy Waldron Interiors

On encouraging creativity in organic ways:

The kids love to draw and create, a fact that immediately becomes evident when visitors see the gigantic cork board wall. Spanning floor to ceiling, the wall is covered with original art from the littlest residents of the Flatiron apartment. Small shelves display their special keepsakes. Waldron compares the cork wall to a kind of gallery. “It was really important for me to consider how the space affects the kids, and I wanted to make sure it catered to them wanting to create and play,” Waldron says. 

Credit: Murphy Waldron Interiors

On mixing color and texture in a small space:

The rest of the walls are equally inspiring, covered in a brightly striped wallpaper reminiscent of paint strokes. Play costumes are in full display and easily accessible for kids, presenting them with yet another opportunity to express themselves. “We had a lot of fun with color and texture here,” Waldron says. This playfulness is evident in the way she mixes the West Elm rug, with the faux sheepskin from Flokati and the soft, shaggy pillows. Even the vintage-style pendant light adds an unexpected burst of texture in the small space. “I really like to incorporate surprising elements,” Waldron explains. “Something that gives off creative vibes and lets kids feel free in their space.”

“Everything is so light and bright in this apartment,” Waldron tells us, “that the colors really stand out.” The pink upholstered couch is a sweet and cozy touch, balancing out the more rigid lines of the multipurpose play table from Daniel Hahnemann and the vanity from Kinder Modern. Multifunctional furniture encourages kids to be inventive, Waldron says. By surrounding them in primary colors and lots of shapes, you nurture their education within the home. 

Credit: Murphy Waldron Interiors

On sourcing statement art you won’t tire of:

Creativity is truly a family affair, as evidenced by the neon Audrey Hepburn print that the homeowners made themselves. When it comes to sourcing art for the home, whether in kids’ spaces or shared family spaces, Waldron suggests being incredibly purposeful: “Everyone wants art, but you really have to commit to it. Make it a part of your budget if it’s important to you.” Once you make art a priority and understand that it takes time to find the perfect piece, you can find pieces that will last, versus ones you’ll tire of quickly. If you’re looking to invest in a piece, Waldron suggests looking at places like Tappan and Uprise, where you can get a range of fine art. “It’s worth the hunt!” she assures us.

On starting a new home project:

If you’re organizing your own home redesign, especially if you’re working with a small space, be extra mindful to lay it out clearly beforehand. Think about the purpose of each room, as it will actually be used by your family. Above all, stay practical! That pragmatic-meets-playful approach is Waldron’s signature. She recently went to visit her former clients in the Flatiron District and is pleased to report that “the kids still talk about how much they love and use their playroom! It’s so cool to see.” 

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