The Blog by Ellen Wags

a lifestyle blog for real mamas. featuring family-friendly home decor, casual mama style, and stuff to keep your kids entertained. 

One Room Challenge – Week 1

I’m so excited to share that I have joined this spring’s One Room Challenge as a guest participant!

Keep reading to learn all about the challenge and my plans!

image of empty room with a moss green play couch stacked in the corner and natural light filling the room

What is the One Room Challenge?

The One Room Challenge was started in 2011 by Linda Weinstein with a very simple premise – finish one room with a community of online friends cheering you along. 

Pretty fun, right?! The challenge has grown over the years and features both designers and influencers. Anyone with a home on the internet is invited to join as a guest participant. Since tackling this front room has been on my ‘to-do’ list for a solid two years, I thought, what better time than now!?

Is the Formal Dining Room Dead?


pine table with cane chair and bench

The only dining area needed in our home.

Coming out of the gate with a bold statement! As a young family of four, we hardly have any use for a formal dining room. It really felt like a waste of precious space to have two places dedicated to dining, especially when my children would much prefer to just enjoy their snacks standing in front of the fridge, ready for another 🙃

A few years back, we made the decision to ditch the second dining table and eat in the breakfast nook. We have not had any regrets! We rarely host company, and when we do, our breakfast nook and beautiful back porch can accommodate everyone without issue. Also, we directed the girls to keep their toys and playthings either in the front room or their bedrooms, so it has helped keep the other areas of the house tidier.

PS Our breakfast nook could use a bit of love, but that is an update for another (maybe the next?!) challenge.

The Challenge Room

For the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, we are going to update our formal dining room and entry space. Our family has found that better use of the ‘formal dining room’ is a play area for the kids. As seen in the photos below, this room has been home to only a rug, a Nugget, and a lot of toys scattered about (I shoved those to the side for the photos). It is time for that to change! Here are the ‘before’ images of our space!

What do I love about this space?

When updating a space, it is important to determine what is and isn’t working for the room.

I absolutely love the light in this room. It is a north-facing room, and doesn’t get direct light; however, the large window fills this room with beautiful indirect light all day long. I love to photograph my family in this room!

We loved the wainscoting from the moment we walked in. Obviously, that isn’t going anywhere!


What isn’t working in this space?

Well, the first clear issue is that there is no seating! At one time, we had a pair of chairs in this room, but they didn’t feel right for the space. Matt and I’s bones are just a bit too creaky to spend all our family game time on the floor, haha!

Along with the lack of seating, there isn’t any storage in this space, meaning toys are often all over the place.

The cream color of the wainscoting skews a bit too yellow for my taste, and while the blue brings a nice bit of color, it just doesn’t feel like my style anymore.

Obviously, this room doesn’t need any major work (no demo here thank goodness), but rather the right design and furniture to bring it to life. We are going to take this empty space from a ‘formal dining room’ to a ‘family-fun room’ in just eight weeks!


Design Inspiration

white shiplap with a pennant banner with soft neutral colors

Design inspiration can come from anywhere, and for me, the inspiration for this room came from this simple pennant garland that has been hung in my eldest daughter’s room for the past two years.

Think airy, feminine soft tones paired with cozy textures with a bit of a whimsical flair. I might be the only one getting all that from a simple pennant garland, but I am who I am LOL.

Check out more inspiration on this Instagram post.

black woman's hand holding a cute green stuffed loch ness monster with design inspiration blurred in the background


The One Room Challenge Moodboard

So what are we going to put in this space? GREAT QUESTION! Here is my mood board for this room and our to-do list:

moodboard for a family-friendly living space. This collage image features a cozy gray couch, a blush-gray rug, white and pale pink paint swatches, and airy linen curtains

 To-Do List:

+ Repaint the wainscoting and walls: bring a brighter white into this space and a lighter accent color

+ Add some cozy seating for adults where we can cozy up with the girls for reading and slow Saturday mornings

+ DIY a storage solution for the entry area and add baskets for toy and game organization

+ Replace old curtain rod with matte black to match the other updates we’ve made in the house

+ New airy linen curtains and a rug with soft, feminine neutral tones

+ DIY or source a side table or small coffee table

+ Add art or photos on the walls

+ Swap out our Nugget cover for a different color that fits the new color scheme and maybe add some other fun kid things to the room


Things are slowly starting to move on this to-do list and I’m so excited!

I’ve set a budget for this room and began to source products for the space.

I’ve tasked Matt to build me a table for the entry that can house a few baskets to store the girls’ toys. He’s also on standby for potentially a small coffee or side table as well. The man loves to use his nail gun and saw, and I’m here to please.

For even more mood board content, be sure to follow my ORC Pinterest board!

Okay, this is amazing…now what?

I KNOW RIGHT?! I cannot wait to share the process of completing this room with y’all!

The One Room Challenge is running for eight weeks, with the final room reveals being shared May 25-29! I will be posting updates on the blog each week under the ORC category tag, and sharing updates on my Instagram (be sure to watch my stories for behind the scenes!).

Follow the main One Room Challenge Instagram here.

Be sure to click here to follow along with all the One Room Challenge Guest Participants’ progress!

One Room Challenge Guest Participant Logo

Tell me in the comments, have you heard of the One Room Challenge before? Is there a room in your house that needs an update?

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