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This fairy tale playroom is what kids' dreams are made of

When designer Liz Finkelstein took on this basement playroom for a 4-year-old girl, she imagined a treehouse-like space. And that dream became more of a reality than she expected after a fortuitous meeting with a creative woodworker.

“This project really let me get back in touch with my inner child,” Finkelstein said.

Before: The basement was nicely finished but didn’t have a lot going on. “My clients wanted to make a creative space for their 4-year-old daughter, but they also wanted it to be a place where they’d enjoy spending time, too,” Finkelstein said. “They have very sophisticated taste and were up for doing something really fantastic.”

Photo by Daniel O’Connor Photography & Digital Media

After: During a meeting about building a treehouse-like space in the basement, woodworker Michael Auldridge suggested he could bring in real tree trunks instead. “I never would have known this was possible without him,” Finkelstein said.

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Get your kids’ playroom organized

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Get your kids’ playroom organized

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Auldridge hand-picked trunks from fallen aspen trees, then bolted them into the floor and ceiling. “If we were going to do this, they had to be climbable,” she said. “There are also ledges to perch on and a ladder made out of branches so that she can play, hide and read in here.” If you look closely, you’ll see a few woodland creatures hiding in there as well. The wallpaper purposely matches the trees, extending the indoor forest.

Photo by David Lauer

“I’m obsessed with twinkle lights, and adding those was a nonnegotiable for me,” Finkelstein said. She recommends the twinkle lights from Restoration Hardware.

RELATED: Live 'happily ever after' in one of these real fairy tale homes

“I’m not usually a huge fan of layering area rugs over wall-to-wall carpet, but the sheepskin throw just makes it extra cozy,” she said.

Photo by Daniel O’Connor Photography & Digital Media

Auldridge also built the cabinets, which, along with felt bins and woven baskets, keep all of the toys, books and art supplies neat and organized. The cabinets, topped with quartz, corrals all the clutter and meet the clients’ aesthetic standards. Ultracomfortable Ligne Roset seating also makes it a space where the whole family loves to hang out. “We chose this color because they match the color of aspen tree leaves,” Finkelstein said.

Photo by David Lauer

Also cutting the clutter is the bulletin board seen here that holds rotating artwork and is made from an antique mirror. “I love to repurpose antique windows, mirrors and frames,” Finkelstein said. She used an old window, seen on the left, to frame more of the young girl’s artwork. For the large frame in the center, she replaced the glass with corkboard so that artwork can be rotated in a neat, uncluttered way.

Photo by Daniel O’Connor Photography & Digital Media

An art table makes a great spot for creative projects, games, tea parties and important meetings. Here, “she is having a board meeting with her stuffed animals about which artwork to hang on their pin board,” Finkelstein said.

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    Kids Room Makeovers

    Raising kids can cost a lot of money, but decorating their bedroom doesn't have to. Check out these ways to create a youthful and whimsical bedroom for less than $100.

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    Make your kid's room amazing for $100 or less

    From DIYs you can do at home to inexpensive items you can pick up at Target or IKEA, here are 9 easy ways you can make over your child's room for $100 or less.

    A framed array of beloved things is both stylish and sentimental. Jennifer Griffin, blogger behind Dimples and Tangles, created a gallery wall with family pics, souvenirs and mementos for her son. “I’m looking forward to being able to add more pieces to it as he grows,” says Griffin.

    Make your own using inexpensive frames from IKEA or have some DIY fun by painting used frames in coordinating colors.

    Dimples and Tangles / Dimples and Tangles
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    Bring in something special

    From one-of-a-kind artwork to a fabulous flea market find, one amazing piece can transform a room. Enjoy It blogger Elisa Blaha’s incredible DIY desk is such a piece. She fashioned her rainbow computer desk by using inexpensive, washi-like Kid Made Modern paper tape, available at Target stores. Check out her tutorial to create your own one-of-a-kind study spot for your child.

    Elise Blaha / Elise Blaha
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    Score a handsome hamper

    Keep their unmentionables hidden in plain sight. Pehr Designs sturdy yet stylish, colorful but not cutesy hamper, available at the online store Tucker Nuck, lets you stash their laundry, stuffed animals, extra blankets and more in style. This fun piece is available in a pink, blue or grey multi-stripe design.

    Pehr Designs / Pehr Designs
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    DIY a mural

    Create a visual focal point by installing a mural. While designer and HGTV personality David Bromstad favors the site MuralsYourWay.com (prices start at $216), there are plenty of more affordable and low commitment options out there, including creating your own faux fresco using washi tape.

    Ceramics designer and blogger Nina Invorm created this lovely display using copious amounts of pretty tape. The effect is warm and whimsical. “The best thing about this type of installation is that you can remove it easily when the time comes,” says Bromstad.

    Nina Invorm / Nina Invorm
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    Show it off

    Dolls, gadgets and other play items need strategic wrangling. “Toys should be grouped together. If kids have a collection of something, show it off, but keeping the pieces all together makes a stronger statement than having them all over the room,” says interior designer and TV personality Erinn Valencich.

    There are endless display options, but we like this cubed wall shelf. It adds a pretty pop of color and showcases toys as if they are art.

    Houzz / Houzz
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    Go for the bold

    Wood tone can be elegant, classic…and dull. “Repaint those brown bookcases or dressers a fun new color,” says Valencich. “Kids rooms can be bold and playful without being overdone.”

    Choose something fun and cool that goes with the palette of their room for an instant lift, she suggests. “I love to paint old cabinetry or furniture orange, blue, hot pink or yellow.” If you’re looking for a knockout to knockoff, check out this painted beauty from Land of Nod.

    Land of Nod / Land of Nod
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    Create a reading nook

    Balancing Home blogger Megan Bray transformed a closet into an amazing little reading nook for her daughter using a patterned stencil, gutters for bookshelves, cardboard letters covered in gift wrap and a ruffled curtain for privacy.

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    Cut a rug

    Think bold — not big. You don’t need an expensive, hand-loomed area rug to completely change the feel of your child space. Something colorful and graphic will do the trick. This Target rug has a gray and navy color scheme that keeps the piece from looking too childish, making it a great choice for babes and teens alike.

    Target / Target
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    Add some softness

    Sumptuous textiles add warmth and coziness to any space — and require nothing more than a toss in the right direction. Brooklyn-based designer Brooks Atwood draped this affordable sheepskin rug from IKEA over a rocking chair in his own child’s bedroom.

    IKEA / IKEA

RELATED: See this 6-year-old's bedroom get a fairy-tale makeover

There is specifically no TV in the room. “This room is just about play,” she said.

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