Before I had kids, I loved using kitschy childhood favorites to decorate my home-space – Muppets, Hello Kitty, Raggedy Ann. It was good fun at the time, but since my extended adolescence finally ended with a “Push!” and then a “Waah!” three-odd years ago, it’s become a lot less appealing.
For one thing, SpongeBob appears on every available surface even if I don’t want him to. Hey, I love the little absorbent, yellow, porous fella as much as anyone, but enough is enough – I do like having décor that isn’t fuzzy, neon, or enhanced with googly eyes.
And yet: There’s something cheering about a home inspired by play. Emphasis on “inspired,” as in “I did more than just stick a Monopoly throw on the couch.” Here are some neat ideas that remind us, with a wink, that work is for work – and home is for fun.
Scrabble throw pillows (4 for $98 at Etsy/Dirtsastudio) -- These letter tiles are instantly recognizable – and irresistible. Scrabble is one of the few board games that’s both educational and endlessly addictive – regardless of age. So what if you got all the tiles in pillow form? You could have the most erudite pillow fight ever!
Scrabble coasters (4 for $20 at Etsy/AllisonKapner) -- I know. I know! Two Scrabble entries? What kind of a nerd am I? But here’s what I like about these: You can buy them or DIY them, they use up extra tiles from lost boxes, and they are so, so smooth and pretty. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good Etsy shop.
Lego key rack ($73.49 at Amazon) -- Well, if you can’t have the legendary Lego kitchen, there’s still this. It’s a genius idea: each key ring is attached to a different-colored brick, and all attach to the central panel – yes, it’s like a key hook, but it’s more fun. Of course, it’s also no longer being made by Lego, but how hard could it be to make this yourself? (Especially since you can still get the key chains.)
Monopoly bathroom set ($29.99 at Amazon) -- Quick, which Monopoly piece did you always fight over? Everybody answer at once: THE DOG. Well, now he’s a jar. And nobody else can take him because he’s in your crapper. Plus a money-bag soap dispenser, a wheelbarrow soap dish, and the toothbrush holder is the boot! Let’s face it, we don’t all have $700 to play a park-sized Monopoly game. But this – this is within anyone’s reach, like a house on Baltic Ave.
Mah Jongg refrigerator magnets ($20 for five at Etsy/Mosalchick) -- Some games are a thing of beauty in and of themselves. Vintage Bakelite tiles have been made into chunky bracelets and earrings, and now they can adorn your refrigerator, too. I have no idea what the symbols mean or why the rules are different for Jewish and Chinese grandmas – but I know I love ‘em either way.
Parcheesi Rug ($50 at Hayneedle) -- Nuff said. Classic.
Have you seen game-inspired décor you love? Tell us in the comments!