How an Extra 200 square feet could change your life

In the September issue of Today's Parent magazine, I have a story on how one family turned a 200 square foot addition into a play room, office, powder room, and hallway closet. Jennifer Evans (who also did an incredible job styling this space) made the most of the small footprint by forgoing traditional furniture in exchange for smart built-ins.

Get the look:  white frames , $10 each, number art, $5, and square basket, $9, ; beige basket, $95, ; “every day” art, $280,

Get the look: white frames, $10 each, number art, $5, and square basket, $9,; beige basket, $95,; “every day” art, $280,

By leaving the bottom of the custom corner-seating area open, an assortment of baskets, storage boxes and caddies filled with toys can be stowed underneath.

Amelia, Jen's 6 year old daughter, loves to make art, so she created a dedicated area for her. By attaching a roll of drawing paper and a storage unit for art supplies directly to the wall, Evans freed up valuable floor space while still keeping everything within arm’s reach. With its mix of framed children’s drawings and professional work, the art zone fits in seamlessly with the salon-style gallery wall.

Featured toys:  wood elephant , $260, and  puzzle stacker , $35, ;  wood blocks , $45, and dolly pram, $130,

Featured toys: wood elephant, $260, and puzzle stacker, $35, ellaandelliot.comwood blocks, $45, and dolly pram, $130,

“Our children are at the stage where they have a ton of toys, but we know it won’t last forever,” says Evans. Realizing that down the road they would need a homework space, they designed this area as a small office with a built-in desk. In the meantime, it provides lots of handy storage for toys, with an assortment of baskets, boxes and vintage wood crates keeping them organized. An extra built-in shelf takes advantage of space that would otherwise be unusable.

Add some closed storage. Let’s face it, not everything should be in plain view. No one wants to look at piles of shoes or sports equipment. Outfitted with hooks and easy storage systems, this narrow closet (it measures just 12 inches deep) holds everything from the baby’s stroller (hidden behind the left door) to skateboards and winter coats. Sliding doors take up less room than swinging doors and keep this space clutter-free once the panels are closed.

Learn more about this space including how to make the hanging art paper roll as well as 7 tips to keep your closet organized in the September issue of Today's Parent.