I had a colorful rag rug in my living room before my baby started crawling. As beautiful as it was, I had a feeling it was holding more dust than I could see, and it was getting spit up on, left and right. I live in a 2-bedroom condo with my family, and there is no designated playroom. I finally decided that enough was enough, and it was time to roll up the rug and get a play mat.
This is my bare living room, without a rug. I started my search on Amazon for baby play mats. There were so many colorful options to choose from, as well as character designs. I’m sure it’s the designer in me, but I really wanted a play mat that would match my color palette. My living room is open concept, so I really didn’t want to sacrifice my style in the space.
Then I started searching for foam tiles. I thought that the flexibility of foam tile pieces would allow me to personalize my space, and still provide a soft and cushioned play space for Baby S. I came across several options, but fell in love with this neutral, grey and white set from Skip Hop. They even provide you with several design options to kickstart the design process for your custom play mat. PERFECT!
I chose to start with the herringbone pattern. You can see that Baby S is already liking his new play mat. As much as I wanted a neutral play mat/ rug for my living room, I didn’t want to deprive any playful qualities for my baby. I became really torn about it…Should I have ordered a colorful ABC play mat instead? I talked it over with my mom, and she had such a great point. She reminded me that Baby S has so many colorful toys to learn from and play with. The color of my mat won’t change the way he plays with us and his toys. Isn’t that the truth?!
With two lines assembled, you can start to see the herringbone-ish design coming together. Doesn’t it look like my baby is already enjoying the cushy feel of the foam floor tiles? I could feel my living room transitioning into a play room. I want it to be a space where we can all play and be together.
Now, the real challenge was to build the play mat quickly enough before Baby S crawled out of my sight! Lol. He was a late bloomer, and started to crawl around his 1st birthday, which is when I put this mat together. Just in time!
After I assembled my custom play mat, I finished the edges with the smooth pieces. It gave a really nice, smooth edge all around my play mat. To me, it also feels more like a finished rug, rather than a baby’s play mat. And then I was done!
Fantastic! Look how great my new play mat/ rug looks in my living room. I was concerned about choosing neutrals, but now I see how all of Baby S’s colorful toys will stand out. It will be so easy to find all his brightly colored toys, especially when it’s time to clean up. Don’t step on the Legos!
One package of floor tile was just enough to match the length of my sofa. It was so great to have this new play space to enjoy with my family. Plus, it makes my living room feel so brighter- and that is what I always want here, in rainy Portland!
As excited as I was about the play mat, it needed a little revision. I wanted to maximize the small space that I have, and fool the eye into thinking it it even larger than it is. I decided to order another package of floor tiles, and added a row on either side of the play mat. It was so easy to remove the edge pieces, and extend the overall size.
Ta-Dah! Do you notice how my living room looks even larger now? Extending the size of the play mat to touch the edges of the bench, sofa, and fireplace hearth keeps the eye moving seamlessly around the seating group. The play mat grounds the living room furniture, instead of looking like an island floating in the middle (if you catch my drift- Haha).
You can see that IT IS possible to having a living room that doubles as your play room, and not have to sacrifice your “grown-up” style. I love my baby and our family time more than anything, but it is the icing on the cake to have a stylish space to hang out in. Mama has to feel good and proud of her home too. We really can have it all!