Small Home Tours (Mini): Stephanie's Beautiful Kids Room with Ikea Hack Play Bench


I am so thrilled to share the kids room of a friend and designer I admire very much. I had to beg a little for her to open up a small part of her beautiful apartment to us and I’m so grateful she did. Stephanie is an architect and interior designer and currently the Director of Interior Design for a developer in Vancouver as well as a mom to two beautiful boys. I’m in awe of how she gets it all done. Here she has found the perfect balance of high and low design in this room for their 3 year old. Soon it will be a shared room for baby and brother and I can’t wait to see how she manages that transition. Below Stephanie shares a bit more about this room. Hope you will find as much inspiration in it as I do!

Can you tell me a bit about your living situation ? Who lives there? How big is your apartment?

I live in a 3 bedroom, 1200 sq ft apartment in Vancouver with my husband and two boys, Ivan (3) and Maksim (3 months).

Love your kids room style. What's your favourite part?

I love the play bench because although it is simple, it embodies a lot of the aspirations we have for our home - thoughtful design for a young family that is both nice to look at and efficient.


Can you tell us how you made that cute play bench IKEA hack?

Originally we had bought a different shelving system and we were trying to fit the shelf in the room in addition to a toddler bed, an armchair, and a kid's play table while still trying to maintain some open floor area for play. Eventually we realized we could do a simple IKEA Hack that worked better and looked better. We used a piece of pine to create a table surface above a set of Nordli drawers. The result is lots of storage, a play surface, and even a little window seat. The Nordli drawers are 21.25" high which is a nice height for young kids and works well with the IKEA Flisat stools. We also like that Nordli is modular so we can continue adding to it if we need more storage down the line. We used the same pine wood for wall shelves above the play bench. The leather straps were sourced on Etsy (ed. note: similar linked here or here ).

With the play bench against the wall instead of a standalone table, we freed up floor space. I also think this allows the other side of the room to remain flexible for layout changes. Currently we just have Ivan’s toddler bed in there but we are now brainstorming how to move his little brother in as well.


Tell us about the green walls? It's so calming.

I wanted the kids to have a colourful room. At the time I chose green simply because its my favourite colour. Once we saw the dark forest green on the walls it really tied into the trees in the distance and the room felt so grounded. I hope the kids find it both fun and calming as well.

Do your kids need to share a room in your apartment or are you choosing to?

We are choosing to have our kids share a room and we would like to keep this arrangement for as long as we can. We changed our third bedroom into a flex area for the whole family. It’s part playroom, part den, and a guest room when our family comes to visit.(but mostly it's a playroom!). We would rather have smaller or shared bedrooms so we can have more shared living area for the whole family.

What are some challenges you are having combining the kids in the room?

It took me months to decide the best option for sleeping arrangements and I was most concerned about enough play space in a small apartment with limited outdoor space.

The plan is for bunk beds but with our youngest being only 3 months old, we are a few years away. For our in-between stage now, our biggest challenge is to design a room that doesn’t just feel like a room full of beds. From a sustainability point of view as well, we’re trying not to buy too much furniture that we will only use for a short amount of time. It’s definitely a challenge! I’ll let you know where we land.


I personally know you have the best taste so I have to ask if you had no spending limitations (or shipping limitations) what do you wish you could outfit their room with?

Everything Smallable and Ferm Living Kids. I love their use of colour and prints that let kids decor feel whimsical yet still in sync with the rest of a home. I think this is nice, especially in smaller spaces. (Ed. note: couldn’t agree more.)

Thank you so much Steph for sharing your kid’s room with us. Hopefully we can have you back when you figure out how to share it. Or maybe one day the entire apartment tour!

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