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When we moved to Raleigh two years ago, we made the decision to rent a home to avoid collecting homes all across the US. We had decided to rent out our home in Savannah to a great family, but the thought of having two rental properties freaked us out.
We knew that renting a home meant that we would be limited in what we could do. No chalkboard art walls, no major holes in the walls, no major changes. Basically, we had to resign ourselves to contractor white walls for the duration of our stay. We’ve been in this townhome for almost two years and we’re still trying to make ourselves at home.
When we moved in here, we decided that the third floor would be our playroom. It’s a large loft-style area that would have been perfect if only it weren’t so far from the kitchen. I couldn’t very well leave the kids up there to make their lunch or dinner. We never used it. We eventually moved Styles up there so that Madilyn and Grady could have their own bedrooms. The playroom moved downstairs to the living room which proceeded to look like the preschool from Toy Story 3 during school hours. Not a day went by where I didn’t nearly break my neck on a drum stick or feel the pain of a LEGO radiate from my toes to my loins.
After stepping on the 837th rogue LEGO, I lost my sanity and moved the playroom into our downstairs “office” which is just code for “room collecting dust”.
When we got our new TV, we moved the small one to the new, unused playroom, and suddenly a revolutionary thing happened in our home. A thought sparked, and that unused playroom became my office and a functional playroom for the babies. It took some serious thought and creativity on my part to make this playroom renovation happen, but I think we came up with some pretty great solutions for renters who are looking for ways to give their kids a fun playroom without sacrificing their security deposits.
Like most kids, mine love to draw on walls. I lovingly refer to them as “Crayola Wall Artists”. The playroom in our rental has been no exception to that rule. Those wall eraser things do nothing but remove paint from the walls so I’ve given up on them. Repainting the walls has been the only thing that works for removing the colorful wax from the stark beige walls. It got old quick, so please forgive the crayon all over the walls in these pictures. We will repaint before we move. In the mean time, we’re solving other problems. Like how can we still use chalkboard paint for indoor chalk fun? How can we use all of these fantastic Crayola products from Walmart in my house in creative ways when we rent? Easy!
NOTE: I did not do any of this with the help of my children. These are adult activities with the goal of playroom fun for your children. As always, protect your eyes and lungs when using spray paint or dealing with fumes of any sort. And please exercise caution when using glue.
I bought a large frame from Walmart and a can of chalk board spray paint. Two light coats of the spray paint on the plexiglass is plenty. I went for a third coat and the coating bubbled up all over. Make sure you allow to dry for a full 24 hours before trying to use chalk.
Kyle and I aren’t big fans of patching walls all over the house when we leave, so we decided to attach the Chalk Board Paint Frame to the wall with 3M Dual Lock Recloseable Fasteners. This stuff is absolute magic and extremely easy to install. It does require a little bit of patience, but if you do it once the kids are down for the night, things will go much more smoothly. Trust me.
Crayola has fantastic square-shaped outdoor chalk in a massive range of colors (including my favorite – Macaroni and Cheese). These chalks won’t roll all over your floor and the colors are really fun. Who knew you could do such fun things with sidewalk chalk indoors? As RENTERS?! Right? I know. Genius.
My favorite thing might be the little repurposed denim pockets that I glued on cork boards. They were easy to throw together, and can be used to hold a multitude of things. We’re using them to stash our sidewalk chalk. Madilyn and Grady each have a pocket so that they don’t fight over colors. Why do I feel like there will still be fighting?
My next act was to cover the windows with Contact paper. This served to provide my kids some privacy from the road, but also so that we could tape paper to the window so the kids could use their Crayola Washable Paints without painting directly on the window. We can then take the LOVELY paintings and affix them to the wall with some 3M stickies to create a homemade wallpaper wall. Obviously this is a work in progress, but I am actually really looking forward to seeing how this comes along. It will be like living in a Jackson Pollock. Because the paint is washable, it is easy to take a wet paper towel or rag and wipe any stray (washable) paint away. I’m not at all worried about the window frames because this kids paint is so easy to clean up. I actually recommend letting it dry and then wiping it up with a warm, wet rag. SO easy.
Adding an art table is a great way to foster creativity in your children, and gives them a large space to color on when you’d like to deter them from drawing on the walls. If it gets colored on? Whatever. Glue? Psh. Glitter? Bring it on! It’s an art table! Have at it! It’s an easy way for renters to have more surface area for their children to play on without having to utilize the main dining table. Anything created on the art table can be used as decor. Let your young arteests flex their creative muscles with their premium Crayola Crayons!
With Madilyn going into a Transitional Kindergarten class, I want to give her an area to work on her letters. I wish we had room for an easel, but this room is relatively small, so I found an old, unused frame and added a sheet of white paper behind the glass. I used another cork board with repurposed pockets to stash some Crayola Dry Erase Markers and flash cards. I then glued a clip to the board so that Madilyn can pick a card out, clip it to the board, and practice writing her letters on the frame. Grady is right behind her and super interested in learning his letters. I’m so excited that I could provide a space for them to enhance their learning.
So see? You can rent a home and make it your own. It just takes a little creativity, and a smidge of elbow grease. Now if we could teach our kids to pick up after themselves, we’d be happy parents, right?