3 Days and $50 to Go from Red to Blue

Thanks to everyone for all the comments on our “new” playroom! I’m excited you all like it as much as we do! As promised, I am back today to show you exactly how I took our playroom from red to blue! With a little paint and swapping of accessories, this change was pretty quick and cheap!

Before I get started, just a disclaimer: there is A LOT I don’t know about decorating, and A LOT in our home I am still trying to get right. I love some of the choices we’ve made in this most recent house, but there are others I probably won’t do again. Regardless, I am always up for experimenting, and sometimes I stumble onto concepts that actually work! For once, I assembled a room that was pretty easy to change (usually my decor decisions are all-in, 100% committed in a certain, often bold, direction => really tough to change). Although I am still learning, there were a few things I got right this time around! Here’s how we made this color switch!

Tip #1 – Create a neutral foundation.

Although some of the elements we have going on in this space (aka: stripes, houndstooth, hex window treatments) are busy, all of the big, large-impact decor items were kept in a pretty neutral color palette. Here’s what I mean:

With this neutral foundation, all of the color (and impact) in this room came from the red accents I’ve been creating over the past year (i.e., the floor poof, the chalkboard play table, the luggage tags, artwork, etc).

So, a neutral foundation + red-colored accents…

…equalled this red/Americana-ish playroom!

So….when I was toying with the idea of changing out the color scheme, at first I felt like it was too much work. After all, I did create a lot of really great, really cute RED projects for this space. But, as I looked around and thought about what I needed to do, the “amount of work” actually wasn’t that much. This swap didn’t require new wall colors, new furniture or new window treatments (all big, costly, time-consuming elements in my mind). All I had to was swap everything that was red to blue!

Tip #2 – Go ahead and just paint it!

You’re probably thinking that the one thing holding me back was the re-painting of some of the kiddie furniture in the space. (Nope – the thing that was holding me back was the luggage tag labels, but more on that in a minute!) Either way – whether we kept the room red or changed the color – the table and chairs were getting a fresh coat of paint this summer.

Why? When I first did these last Fall, I didn’t give them a top protective clear coat. No clear coat + toddlers = lots of chips and scratches. A quick re-paint of these items was already on my to-do list! My no-cost option? To use paint I already had on hand! Yep – that’s the same turquoise paint I used on my office stools and storage towers. This really was a no-cost makeover, because that gallon of paint was given to me by my neighbor!

If you’ve never painted furniture before, this is what I always tell friends…”you will be amazed how quick it can go!” Yes, re-finishing furniture can and does take a long time considering the piece you are transforming. But these little chairs, table, and single drawer required no sanding or stripping. A prime and paint job is easy! It took me about an hour to prime, another hour for a first blue coat (done on Day 1), an hour for the second blue coat and an hour for the final clear coat (both done on Day 2). I did give the chalkboard top an extra day to cure, but the repaint of these four pieces took about 4 hours over two days!

Here’s the results of free paint + four hours:

(pst – you’ll notice the drawer got fully painted this time around!)

Oh! And I mentioned this the other day, but if you’re curious about the train table top…all I had to do was flip it over! (You can read more HERE about how I made over this train table.) And while one side was red and white, the other side was done in a more neutral scheme so I had the option to tone things down if I wanted.

I will admit, I kinda miss the dose of color on the train table. Those stars (below, left) are just vinyl decals and the border is painted on. If I want to change it to blue, it will  probably take me about 20 minutes – we’ll see if/when I get there!

Tip #3 – Switch to a color that is already in your house!

After I re-painted the red furniture items to blue, I had to remove other sources of red. To find accessories for the now-blue playroom didn’t require me to go shopping; because I use teal/aqua/turquoise throughout the house, I had other accessories around that were either not being used or were a better fit in the playroom. This has been a recent “house changer” for me – when things all throughout your house coordinate, it’s super easy to move things around when you need a change of scenery or want to update certain areas!

Here’s what I mean. I bought this breadbox from Target almost two years ago on clearance. I think I paid $5 for it. Our kitchen didn’t have a good spot for it, so it’s been sitting out in the garage, and was almost sold at garage sales on two different occasions. So glad I didn’t get rid of it, because it was a perfect swap for our red one (bought at a Flee Market for $3)! (The art, sadly, had to go. Because this is part of a bigger room, it looked weird having art hung so low from a distance across the room!)

Same thing here…the pillow fabrics were bought for the couch in the adjoining living room, but by making a few extras with my leftover fabric, they are perfect in here too! To find more color-appropriate accessories, a hunt through Henry’s toys yielded some pretty great finds!

Tip #4 – Keep your eye out for a good deal!

So last but not least, the toy baskets. Previously, we had all of Henry’s toys stashed and stored in these X-Large Y-weave baskets from Target (which they don’t make in this size anymore, apparently – boo!). Back in the fall, I made these adorable luggage tags to label the baskets. Not only did they take me a good amount of time, but I really, really loved them. The main element in the red playroom that almost put the breaks on this color switcheroo were those red luggage tags. I just didn’t want to re-make them in blue, and I had 10 good tags here ready to go!

But then I went to IKEA while I was up in VA visiting family a little while back. When I saw these new bins, in a perfect teal color, for $5 EACH (the website is showing them for $5.99, but I KNOW I paid $4.99 for mine!), I knew this color transformation was happening. While these bins don’t have the sturdiness of the white baskets, they are much bigger and hold Henry’s toys much better (aka – large trucks and blocks just didn’t fit in those white baskets). So long white baskets, hello new toy storage!

On Thursday, I will show you exactly how I made the labels for the blue baskets; but for now, I will just say that I am so smitten with this toy storage now, even more so than before! The blue bins fill the shelves so much better, they hold more toys (which means we could go from 10 baskets of toys to 8!), and the strong dose of color was exactly what this space needed!

Tip #5 – Be willing to let go for the bigger picture!

I really, really didn’t want to get rid of those cute basket labels or other red elements in this space; but I had decided that the red just wasn’t working in the overall space and it needed to happen. After the switch was made, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had better spots for all those red items! If you’re thinking I’ve wasted my time/money on all the red items I made for this space and have since gotten rid of…stay tuned dear friends, they too have moved on to bigger and better things 😉

I said last week that I pulled off this color switch in about 3 days with about $50. Here’s how that time and money was spent!

Schedule

  • Day 1
    • Prime and first coat on furniture
    • Flip table top
    • Remove all red accessories
  • Day 2
    • Second blue coat and seal furniture
    • Purge and re-organize toys into new blue bins
  • Day 3
    • Create and cut new labels for blue baskets
    • Re-assemble room with newly-painted blue furniture
    • Accessorize

Budget

The main portion of the money I spent was the $40 on the blue toy bins from IKEA. I estimate about  another $10 or so on other materials used (aka – the paper to label the bins, leftover fabric for the pillows)…however, everything I made or brought into this space, I had on-hand. I didn’t go out and buy anything else for this space other than those toy bins. Oh – and the blue paint was free from a friend!

I am so so so glad I took the jump and made the switch for design reasons, but the fact that it was a pretty simple and economical fix made it all the better! Here’s one more look at how all those simple changes added up:

I have one more playroom-related post before we move on to another area of the house–I want to show you how I labeled those new blue toy bins! See you Thursday with all the details!

Megan

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