One of the first remodel projects we did in our home when we moved in two years ago was convert a walk-in closet above our garage into a reading room for our kids. I think I had aspirations to find a perfect rug to brighten the space more or add some Christmas lights, but after two years I have decided it is time to just show it like it is! The kids love the space, and I often find myself saying, why don’t you go play in the reading room?
I was inspired by a variety of converted closets I found on Pinterest. The closet is located above our garage, next to our craft room. My vision was to have a creative space for the kids, where they could go, be imaginative and have fun.
We painted two of the walls green. While it turned out a bit brighter than I intended, the shelves and books muted the color a bit. The ceiling is a beautiful blue. I love it. And honestly, the kids love the colors, which is why really matters.
I found the tree decal on Amazon and really feel that it completes the room. I couldn’t believe that it was just $5. It was very easy to apply.
My dad built the shelves using this pattern from Ana White. We modified the original pattern slightly by adding the scalloped molding instead of the 1x2s. To make painting easy, I spray painted the shelves vs. painting them with a brush. The benefit of making our own shelving was that the shelves could be the exact length needed for the closet and they were much more affordable.
The third wall we painted with magnetic paint, followed by chalkboard paint. The kids absolutely LOVE having a huge wall to do chalk on. I will say that even with three coats of magnetic paint, the magnet is not super strong and only magnets that are really strong (cover the entire back of the object) work. I would not recommend magnet paint after this experience, however the chalkboard paint is amazing and has held up very well. We did two coats of the chalkboard paint.
Some of our current favorite books in the reading room are:
- God Made Light: Currently on one of Amazon’s most-wished for children’s book lists right now, this touching book is one that every family should own. Love, love, love the message of light in the world and in our kids. I get chills every time we read it.
- Audrey Bunny: The sweetest book that we are all uniquely made by God. The illustrations are incredible in this book.
- Llama Llama books: We love all the llama books, especially Llama Llama Red Pajama.
- Because I Am Your Daddy: My kids love the imaginative scenes in this book. It is so sweet.
- Little Hoot: This whole series is hilarious, but we especially love the owl that wants to go to bed at a “normal” time like the rest of his friends. A hoot indeed.
- The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale: You’ve never read the three little pigs like this.
- On the Night You Were Born: This has been a favorite of ours since Elias was a baby
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie : I used to love this book as a kid, and now my kids do too! Because if you give a mouse a cookie…
The closet doesn’t have any outlets, or I would probably add some other lighting, but the kids think it is perfect and that’s what matters. They aren’t looking at other closets on Pinterest!
We don’t have an official “play room” in our house, but this reading nook serves as a small shared space that they both love and can escape to. It is a wonderful way to encourage a love of reading, creativity and learning. In the future I can see adding a small desk or other type of work space.
I hope this inspires you to maybe convert a closet in your home. It is a space you all will enjoy!