giant pegboard wall decor

I am beyond thrilled that our kid's creative art space inspired some of you to think about creating nooks for creativity in your own homes! I find so much joy in knowing the work I do helps your little ones. I have been getting questions about where various things are from so thought I would share where to find the basics of this room!

A couple of weeks ago, I shared all of our favourite art books for kids as I felt it deserved a post of its own! I've also been asked to share how we made the pegboards; these were a project themselves but turned out so well. Holes were individually drilled into two sheets of plywood (with a piece of wood wedged in between) so that the dowels would be able to support a good amount of weight.

Many of the big pieces are IKEA as this room is a basement rough space, and we decided we wanted pieces that truly didn't matter if paint was splattered on!!! As this is a space for the kids to be free, the point is that it IS messy...and that's ok.

get the look of Melissa Barling's creative art space for kids

01. // Clear acrylic shelves; 02. // Multi-sized paintbrushes; 03. // White wipeable chair; 04. // Ceramic wall vase; 05. // Graphic laundry basket; 06. // White drawer storage; 07. // Cactus art print; 08. // Clay rolling pin; 09. // Wipeable art table.

If you have questions about any other item, please leave them in the comments and I can answer for everyone to read. More than happy to share.

May your weekend be full of creativity and a little messy playfulness :) Happy Friday everyone!


kids creative art studio
children's art space and studio

It's here!!! I am SO excited to share our children's art space for many reasons. This creative room is such a labour of love and really has taken way too long to complete as clients always come before my own home. I'm sure I started telling you this post was going to happen two years ago! Although it has been one of the most used spaces in our house over the last 18+ months, it has not been ready to photograph or share in a styled way until now!

The idea for this room started when my husband broke his hip (freak casual bike accident) and I knew we'd be home more than usual. I started scrolling other art rooms and saving my favourite art room ideas on Pinterest. All three of our kids love creating...drawing, painting, building, pasting, imagining, designing, etc. and after our dining table started to be constantly full of art supplies, I began thinking of an alternate space we could use.

kids art studio
DIY large pegboard storage art room

This space is different than most I share as it is a rough place in our basement that we literally scraped together to give the kids somewhere to make a mess, create in whatever way they want, explore different materials, textures and give their brains a place that they can come when they first wake up or when they get home from school or when they feel they need some time away that is different than anywhere else. I grew up creating, drawing, painting, sewing, making things whenever I could and I dreamed of having a space in our home for our kids to do the same. 

kids art books and shelving

When we started, this room was literally full of boxes and the space we would just throw stuff to be sorted later (we don't have a garage) but realistically we needed to deal with the junk and use the space.

Once the boxes were removed, we had drywall put up and lighting installed. I painted the entire space in Simply White by Benjamin Moore and then the rest was decor. I used porch and floor enamel to paint the concrete floor and although the entire space is still pretty rough, it is totally fine if paint drips, glitter drops, etc. I quickly painted the floor before photographing this room to make it bright and fresh again, but day to day, it isn't quite like this. I didn't need this room to be perfect; I wanted the kids to be able to be free to explore in here, to get the paint out for themselves and learn how to take, use and put away materials on their own. The only way to learn is to practice, right?

kids creating in art space

The side of the wall with the paint easels was so bare so we added these cute irregular dot decals in light grey to add a little interest. They are fun and the kids love them! We use old t-shirts as paint smocks, small jars for paint and large clothes pegs to hang wet art. It's not fancy, but it works!

ikea latt whiteboards for painting

I love how focused and involved the kids are when they are here. The hours of conversation, creations that they come up with and frustrations that turn into proud moments are just a snapshot of what happens in an art space for kids. These three negotiate in here, have another way to release emotion, and show determination with projects that carry on for days. Creating a space for kids to let their creative side run wild is so worth it!


I love how so many of the little details turned out but am definitely most proud of the pegboard wall!!! I could use one in every room. Having everything accessible is great and items, such as the dustpan and brush, at a low height allows an opportunity for the kids to access things easily and help with cleanup. 

large pegboard reggio art space
right side art shelving

It's been such a long time coming and it's finally here...I'd love to know what you think!!!

*A huge thank you to my sister Amanda from Amanda Haddow Photography for photographing this space. 


industrial art space

The idea for creating a home art space for kids came when our kitchen table started to be filled with paper, glue, pens and our kids wanted their art to stay for days. It was driving me crazy! I kept trying to clear it to one side when we ate dinner, and I finally realized that their art was more than a 15 minute activity to fill time; it was a treasure they had created as a way to express themselves and we needed more. More room, more time, more expression, more art. To be honest, it was a pretty simple solution: clean out and take over the back room of our basement which was filled with boxes and boxes of, ahem, junk.

I wasn't exactly sure of where to start so I started scrolling and scrolling through Pinterest, my favourite way to escape into design heaven and I began adding all of the spaces I loved to my Kids Art Studio board. 

Here are some of the ideas for art spaces that I found and loved.

Megan's home art studio has gone insanely viral and I can fully imagine having a playdate with her kids here. I love how friendly and inviting this space is and amazingly, she designs creative art spaces for kids through her site, The Art Pantry. Creating an art studio is an INSANE amount of work and I admire Megan for doing this for clients.

The Art Pantry kids art studio

The Art Pantry

I just love how the bookshelves take over the space below creating an atmosphere that I can imagine any little one whittling hours away in. I still love chalkboards, kid sized play tables and that whimsical air balloon mobile is dreamy too. 

modern kids art room

I saved this space because it appears to not have windows like the actual space we have in our basement. I liked the wall shelves but still fear an earthquake in Vancouver so knew that any art needed to be secured to the wall in our art room. I think I like how busy but clean this space is, the intentional lighting and the number of seats at the table. Again...hours and hours of art could happen here!

bright and light art room

Clipboards and jars! Simple tools that work...YES!!! I mean, look how much you can store (and see!) in those jars. Yup, I definitely needed jars.

art wall

The idea that I saw and KNEW I had to have was giant pegboard. Here is the inspo right here! This tutorial was helpful and the result (although a bit tricky) is so, SO amazing!

large pegboard

Vintage Revivals

As you know, I love simplicity. Ideas just don't have to be fancy (or pricey or hard!) to be so, so good. The below, a piece of rope and some wooden clothes pegs is just right for hanging kids art. I love this idea and knew we needed to use wall space a little like this to showcase special pieces.

kids art on walls

Mother Mag

I just can't wait to share our space this week. I love these spaces and love how versatile art rooms for kids are too. You can play there, read, paint, colour, draw, build anything you can dream up. Even a tiny little art nook is just so, so worth it.

Melissa Signature.png


Children's art room books and shelving

Photo by Amanda Haddow Photography

In anticipation of sharing the first reveal of 2018, our home creative art space next week, I'm sharing a sneak peek of all of our favourite books that sit on the shelves there!

You know I LOVE children's books and for this space, I wanted to include books that were both informative to the art process and also ones that we could pull out in the throws of frustration that happen throughout craft making and the creative process. 

These books are ones we read again and again and I can't wait to keep adding new ones as the kids grow and get more involved in their own artistic endeavours.

For those who are wondering, yes, these books will get dirty, likely get paint on them but more importantly are used and loved. Remember to PIN the image below to save it for future reference!

12 art books for kids and children of all ages

1.// Tinkerlab; 2.// What Do You Do With An Idea; 3.// The Day the Crayons Quit; 4.// The Wonder; 5.// Beautiful Oops; 6.// Art Play; 7.// Mix It Up; 8.// Anything Is Possible; 9.// The Book of Mistakes; 10.// What To Do With a Box; 11.// Art; 12.// Art Workshop

Happy Friday friends...have a great weekend!!!

Melissa Signature.png


Art print in kids' room

When you think back to your childhood home, what do you think of? What graced your walls? Was it family photographs? Or nothing at all? In our home, it was art. Art that had meaning to my parents and had been collected over years. Art that I remember. So when I came across Toi Art Gallery and their collection of special pieces from artists all over the world, I was excited to add some of these beautiful prints to our home collection and thought you might like them too.

Art prints from Toi Art Gallery in a kids room

 Art is almost always the hardest part of the decision making process for clients. There is so much significance in the pieces chosen, knowing they will form a part of making memories for your children.  Choosing original prints is always worthwhile, showing little ones the beauty in the story of the artwork and how they too can aspire to create their own stories in the art that they make.

sweet prints from Toi Art Gallery
handmade doll in basket

I love that Toi have highlighted the artists by name and give a snapshot of their history in each bio.  When I showed the prints to our kids, I could explain where the artist Maria Elina (who created our prints) is from, show them her photo and tell them a bit about her background. The kids loved this and it really brings a meaningful story to the pieces. There are also gorgeous softies in the gift section, including this sweet doll and cozy lamb; perfect gifts for new babies, a child’s birthday or that Christmas stocking (, I'm not talking Christmas just yet)!

After all, it’s the little memories, like art on the walls that will last a lifetime. What do you remember from your childhood walls? Tell me in the comments below!

*This post was created with Toi Art Gallery.