Home Design Your Best Life - 52 Week Series Finding Freedom Week 36: Was Building A $4000 Playroom Worth It?

Finding Freedom Week 36: Was Building A $4000 Playroom Worth It?

by Phia @ Freedom 101

Ok…..yes, we did spend nearly $4000 creating an awesome playroom. But, it isn’t JUST a playroom.

Back in Finding Freedom Week 15 I talked about how Mike and I had been contemplating our environment. Specifically, our house. Should we downsize in our current neighbourhood? Move cities to a lower cost of living area? Or do our best to maximize every bit of enjoyment/utility from what we already have.

We ended up opting for the latter, which meant some renovations were in our future. First up? A play space for our kiddo’s to hang out.

6 months later, I want to revisit the investment we made into that playroom, what exactly we did,

and whether or not it was worth the money.

A Quick Recap

A big component of our decision making came down to the fact that not only is our mortgage paid off, but our basement suite produces sufficient income to cover all the annual operating costs of our home, with the additional benefit of a small net income.

Everything we were looking at downsizing too came without the option for a basement suite. So while we would capture substantial equity to invest elsewhere, we’d be giving up a very stable, inflation protected, (and diversified) income stream.

One that we could arguably live off of if we really had too. (It would be an extremely lean lifestyle, but it could absolutely be done.)

There were myriad other factors that played into our decision as well. The location of our home in proximity to our oldest’s school, friends and activities etc, etc.

There is also the fact that we’ve come to really like our neighbourhood, and specifically our street. Trading those quality of life factors in for some extra cash in investments just didn’t seem worth it.

So that left us with critically evaluating our current home, and where it wasn’t quite measuring up to it’s full potential.

The Guest Room

That analysis quickly identified the guest room as the least used room in our home. As the second biggest bedroom, it accounted for nearly 10% of our families usable floor space And was getting used at most about 20% of the year.

Those numbers weren’t working for us.

But because both of our extended families have to travel to see us, I wasn’t ready to give up having a nice comfortable space for them to stay in. So how to recapture that space, while keeping all the benefits of the guest room?

Why A Playroom?

If there was any type of space I wanted to create in our home, it was a play space for our boys. I don’t like my main living area to be strewn with toys, and I also don’t like their bedrooms to be full of stuff.

In my view, a bedroom should be a place of calm. A space geared and tailored to affording my boys the best sleep possible, without distractions and heavy stimulus.

I also wanted them to have somewhere they could be their rough and tumble selves, without worrying about disturbing the basement tenants. At times this has led to us discussing taking back our basement space, to create room for the boys. But from a numbers perspective, it just made NO sense to do that. Especially when we have living area’s in our current space that are being under-utilized.

Having a play space on the second floor of the house was the ideal solution. It meant I wouldn’t feel the need to harp on my kids when they wanted to thump around, or crash their trucks, and generally just be kids. Especially when you factor in the frequency of rainy days in our West Coast region. It’s not always practical to just send them outside to expend their pent up energy.

So not only would this be a fun space for my boys, it would be a huge aggravation saver for ME! Which meant I would be happier Mama. And we all know happy wife, happy life. So Mike would be winning too.


The Renovation Plan

In order to turn this space into a fun zone, the first order of business was to find a comfortable alternative to a traditional bed.

I couldn’t bring myself to stick my guests on a pull out couch, so my research quickly turned to Murphy beds. Fortunately there’s a ton of great options on the market these days. Unfortunately, a lot of them are CRAZY expensive!

I had a quote for a built in bed that ran me well over 10K!

Say what?!

That wasn’t going to work, especially since I wanted to keep the ENTIRE reno under 5K.

After a ton of research and shopping around, I finally settled on the Allegra Portrait Queen Murphy bed available from Costco. This bed was well reviewed. Made from solid wood, rather than MDF or particle board products. AND had an awesome hydraulic piston system that assisted in lowering/raising the bed, smoothly.

No crazy springs, or exposed tension system where little fingers could get pinched. Nor did I have to worry about the kids pulling the bed down on top of themselves.

After FINALLY finding the perfect bed, I went on a couple days later to order it, and found it was no longer available. UGH.

I followed up with Costco customer service, and they let me know that they would probably have it back in stock within a week or two. Lucky for my, Costco came through, and the bed arrived mid-November.

**I’ve checked back a couple times since, and it seems really spotty when this bed is available. Sometimes just the queen bed is available, but the one with the built-in storage that we purchased seems hard to come by. So if you want to purchase it, I’d suggest contacting Costco directly.

The Fun Stuff

After the bed was sorted out, I moved on to setting up a fun space for the kids. I used an existing Ikea storage bench in the bedroom to repurpose into a toy box. A quick coat of dark blue chalk paint, some new woodland animal hardware, and a few storage containers inside, and I had a fun new piece.

I painted the room a soft misty grey, along with an entire wall of beautiful off-white to keep the space feeling open and airy. I added casings, a ledge, and built-in shelves to the large window area, and painted the entire surrounding window space white. That made the whole room feel brighter, and the window a LOT bigger.

We spent a few hours at Ikea taking advantage of their annual Besta series sale to create a custom entertainment unit to house the TV/gaming systems and more toys.

Then I used the old door to my childhood playhouse, which my mom had saved for me, to create a fun “PLAY” wooden sign, along with a place to display my boys artwork.

Adding in a soft shaggy rug, and a bunch of cushions made the floor space cozy and fun to roll around on.

Lucky for me, I also had the added benefit of Christmas on the horizon, so my parents bought our youngest a small wooden kitchen to add to the playroom, and their Great-Grandma gave me cash to buy their gifts.

We quickly decided on two very large Jaxx brand bean bag chairs to finish off the room, and were very happy to have these cost’s covered off as a gift. Who knew bean bag chairs were so expensive?!?!

The Grand Totals

So how much did all this stuff cost us, with tax included?

Repositioning the existing TV we had, along with the gaming units meant no money spent on electronics. Repurposing the toy box, and using several wooden signs I had created as decor also saved us a few hundred dollars. And doing all the work/assembly myself saved a bundle in labour costs.

We were also able to sell the existing Queen bed frame, and two side tables on Craigslist, which brought in $300.

our playroom

That left us with a total conversion cost of $3845.20.

Bringing us to the final question, and most important question.

Was it actually worth it to spend nearly 4K on a playroom?

Mike and I have repeatedly found ourselves looking at each other and expressing how glad we are that we went ahead and spent the money.

Like when we are having a glass of wine peacefully on our main floor, while the boys crash cars around upstairs. Or when they are playing “wrestling” while we are quietly prepping dinner to relaxing music. Or when we are reading in our living room, but can still hear everything they are up to as they giggle away, and busily engineer a master fort.

The boys love it.

They constantly want to play in it, and they love hosting their friends there.

I love it because not only is their noise and mess contained in one single room. I can ALSO close the door of the room when I don’t want to see the mess, so we don’t have time to clean everything up. Which is a thing I am known to do.

Mike loves it cause he can wrestle with the boys and generally do rough and tumble boy things without me constantly yelling at them to be quiet.

The biggest measure? We took a room of our house that rarely saw use, to a room that literally gets used MULTIPLE times per day. Not to mention, with the fact that we are spending nearly all of our time just hanging out at home as a result of COVID, this has officially become one of the most used rooms in our house!

And the math?

Overall, I’d say the room gets used at minimum, 2 hours every day. Translating to roughly 60 hours per month. Thus far equating to 360 hours of use. That represents a current cost per hour of use of $10.68.

Kind pricey, no doubt. But, if we continue to use the playroom at this rate over the course of 12 months, that drives the cost per hour of use down to just $5.34.

Here’s the real kicker. If we continue to use this room an average of 2 hours per day (and frankly this is ultra conservative, because I forecast it will get even MORE use as our boys get older) over the next ten years, that will create a cost per use of .53 cents per hour.

Would you pay .53 cents an hour to have a fun space for your kids to play (that also gets them out of your hair, but you can hear what they are up to)?


A million yes’s over here. Worth every penny.

What room would you like to change in your house? Have you repurposed a space that get’s limited use? Let us know in the comments!

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