Creating a Lego Play and Display Space
Last week, I shared with you all the new way we’re sorting and storing Henry’s Legos. But because of my chronic long-windedness, I didn’t quite get a chance to show you how the new drawer system fits into the overall setup in Henry’s room. Today, I’d like to pick up where we left off on Friday and show the dedicated Lego “Play and Display Space” we setup in Henry’s bedroom! Our new layout evolved slowly and without a real plan; but it’s been working so brilliantly for our household (which now includes a crawling baby!) that I wanted to share it in more detail. If you have a Lego lover in your home, read on to see how this corner all came together and why it’s working so well!
Just to recap quickly, we used to store our Legos in their sets in dedicated plastic boxes. That system was ideal when Henry relied heavily on the manuals, only built the included project(s), and rarely played with his finished creations. As he developed his free-building skills in recent months however, having all the Legos boxed up was really hampering his ability to play with them. So we took the leap and unboxed all of our sets and now sort them all by color in an IKEA ANTONIUS system. You can read more about why and how we did this here.
So our snazzy little organization system is great, but where did it end up? How does Henry access it? How do we keep the cute little 9-month-old away from the tiny Legos inside the very-accessible drawers? Plus…the storage for all the pieces is great, but where does Henry keep his finished masterpieces? And where does he build? Well…all those questions can be answered in this one picture below. Here is how we’ve setup a play space AND a storage space AND a display space all in one corner of his bedroom!
Okay…let’s be honest, the desk really looks like this on most days…
But that’s really just a sign of a well-working system because he can sit and play and build until his heart’s content. Which lately has been hour(s) a day. Seriously. Let me show you what all we have here and explain why it’s working for us!
The key to this setup is right here. A desk with our Lego storage right next to it:
The desk was originally brought into the room to be used for homework. But we’re not really there yet with Henry; and when we realized we needed to give him a place to play with his Legos that was well out of the baby’s day-to-day life, the desk became the most obvious location. He specifically asked for a “green rolley chair,” and when I added the desk lamp, he felt like such a cool big kid! I’m pretty sure both were essential in making him love this little spot even more. #itsthelittlethings
Besides offering the ideal storage for our specific Lego collection, the IKEA ANTONIUS system was also a great size and shape for Henry’s room. We don’t have a ton of floor space in here, but we also wanted something that would truly allow him to access his Legos easily. The space planner in me really wanted to tuck the drawers into the corner, but it was very awkward for Henry to reach the drawers in that arrangement. He can now sit at his desk and easily grab whatever it is he wants or needs without having to get up or hunt through buried boxes.
And since Henry’s absolute favorite thing in the whole world right now is to play with the people and weapons and accessories…
…placing the people and all their accoutrements in the very top drawer (where he can pull everything out without opening anything) was pretty much the smartest thing I did in his entire room! #momwin
With this new setup, it didn’t take long for his little desk to become overrun with creations. As I was brainstorming possible ways to add display shelves somewhere in his room, I realized the black bookcases that flank his bed would better serve us storing Lego creations rather than random decor items. So I cleared off all the picture frames and other tchotchkes in order to create some dedicated shelves for displaying all of Henry’s builds.
Honestly, this was another happy accident. Not only can Henry reach most of these shelves (with the help of standing on his bed sometimes); but they are also pretty shallow, making them ideal for Lego creations. He can easily pull down whatever vehicles he wants to play with. When his desk becomes overrun, we just put items back onto the shelves until he’s ready for them again. Having a separate play space and display area has been a game changer for my sanity!
Although we unboxed pretty much our entire Lego collection, there were two sets that were worth keeping together: our Christmas Train and our Ferris Wheel. Both of these sets are Advanced/Expert-level sets that were gifted to us as a family. We bring them out only on special occasions and only as a family. These two kits, plus all the Lego train track, are still kept in clear plastic boxes and fit perfectly into the base cabinet of the display bookcase. There is still plenty of space left in this cabinet should we need to keep future sets together in a similar way.
So literally, everything “Lego” is stored in this one corner in our home. Although it’s not entirely baby-proof, Henry’s room will eventually become 100% off limits to Sammy as he becomes more and more mobile. By keeping Legos contained to this room and the baby out of it, we’ve hopefully created a way for Henry to enjoy his favorite toy but in a way that is safe for Sam.
Oh…and if you had any doubt about Henry’s love for anything Lego, especially Ninjago…let me put those doubts to rest right now:
Yes…we are well on our way to a very Lego bedroom. You’re only a 6 year old, Lego-loving boy once, my friends. At least that’s what I keep telling myself 😉
Sorry for the barrage of Lego-themed posts over this last week. However, I know what a storage nightmare the little things can be, and I really wanted to share the various solutions that are working well for us right now. As I mentioned last week, finding the right Lego storage system is a very fluid process and very much depends on the child and how they play with them. I’m certain this is not the last time we will have to troubleshoot and tackle our Legos; but for now, I think we’ve got our current collection well under control! And that is making us all very, very happy!
I’d love to hear if you’ve come up with any smart or creative storage solutions for Legos! These posts become great resources for folks over time, so don’t hesitate to share what’s worked for you in the comments below! I’ll see you all back here on Friday with my plans to breath fresh life into our boring kitchen! See you then!
13 Comments on “Creating a Lego Play and Display Space”
I love how you decorate and organize Henry’s room in a way that he loves and is special and still looks pleasing to the more design-conscious adult eye!
My kids have a basic set that has a million(at least that’s what it feels like) pieces. They like to play with them together in the living room. My quick and simple trick is to put down a sheet to contain the legos on and make clean up a breeze. At least so I don’t vacuum up as many. :). Of course my kids are all close in age, so I don’t have to worry about babies and legos. Thanks for sharing all the tips !
Megan I have a similar setup for Lego. Organised by colour is definitely the way to go! I find having an “on the go” tub on his desk works wonders. Everything gets thrown in there and then every few months he can sort the tub out into colours again. You can check it out here if you like 🙂
Um, so i’m enough of a nerd to say that this system is for ME. lol. my son and I play Legos, but he’s just adding to my collection that started when i was 5. Hey, it most definitely is the little things and this mama is happy her Legos keep her sane!
Lol, right?!? You’re definitely not the first to chime in that you’re blending childhood Legos with new sets! I say you gotta find something that works for the WHOLE household or else no one is happy…no matter who’s Legos they are 🙂
Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!
How did you make the Ninjago pictures?
Oooo – shame on me for not linking to them. I found them here (https://www.etsy.com/listing/189900862/ninjago-prints-superhero-prints-ninja?ga_search_query=Ninja&ref=shop_items_search_1). They are exceptional quality, and the shop owner was very accommodating until I found a color combo I liked!
Hope that helps!
Thanks for the link!
Love your lego organization system and the pictures in frames are awesome! We do the same thing sorting by color with the plastic bins from Walmart. One issue we have now is having too many Legos to fit the bins and we have about 4 bins with random legos that need sorted. Is there a good way of downsizing legos??
I am so so sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. As far as downsizing, we aren’t quite there yet with my son’s collection (it is still at a very manageable size). My hunch would be that there is no quick or easy way to downsize. My instinct would be to have your kids (quickly) go through each of the four overflow bins and pick out any big/special pieces they may want, then donate or sell the rest. You could easily make yourself crazy trying to pick out a variety of pieces or sorting them out and cutting down by a certain percentage. I would just pick out what is wanted and toss the rest.
Hope that helps a bit and good luck!
This is fabulous and so helpful! We have a very Lego-obsessed 4 year old and I have been racking my brain for storage and play space that does not include covering our dining table in tiny little pieces and mini figures! I did however find some fantastic storage for pieces at our local hardware store.
I am so glad you found this setup helpful, Lisa! It’s still working really well for us…for now. I’ve definitely learned that Lego storage definitely needs to be a flexible system that can adjust as your child’s play changes!
Good luck with getting them all under control!
This is a great post. Thanks for sharing. We use a large shelving system (the kind that has foldable boxes that can go into each square slot) but we use the shelves to display my son’s creations. Like your child, he also builds free-style and his IKEA table is full, always VERY full of MOCs. I agree, embracing your child’s love of LEGO and creative building, especially by creating a usable play space and LEGO-themed bedroom is worth the effort. They’re only kids once!