The Treehouse: Music Corner

Design Mom Music Nook 3

By Gabrielle. Images by Kristen Loken for Design Mom.

Pieces of The Treehouse are coming together, and it makes me super happy! This little corner is in our family room. It takes up the space right below the be reading loft. I love it! Obviously, it’s all about music.

Remember our green piano? We painted it when we lived in Colorado. It’s for sure the hero of this space. Our instruments can look very formal and traditional, so centering them around the bright green piano keeps the whole area more fun. We want music, and our music area to be totally approachable and kid-friendly. I think the green piano nails it!

Design Mom Music Nook 2

The instruments that are hanging around the chalkboard include: an acoustic guitar, a kid-size guitar, an electric guitar, a mandolin, a ukelele, a trumpet, a tiny violin, and two very small cellos. Ben Blair plays the mandolin and guitar. Maude takes guitar lessons, and plays the ukelele for fun. Oscar is studying the trumpet and piano. Betty is taking piano lessons too. (Ralph and Olive are taking a break from music lessons while they’re in France.) Music books and sheet music go in file organizers on the wall.

The tiny violin and little cellos were played by a tiny Maude an little Ralph when we lived in New York. They haven’t been really played in ages, though June likes to use them during family jam sessions.

Design Mom Music Nook 1

The family room overall isn’t done yet. But it’s getting there. The play area needs some tweaking. And the couch is a problem. We inherited the couch with the house and it’s not the right shape for the space. Also, rugs. We need an excellent area rug in front of the sofa, and possibly one in the play area as well. But otherwise, I feel like we’re so close!

As has been typical for this house, I’m trying not to go too fast. But man oh man. Sometimes, allowing myself to take my time with decisions, means that I put off making decisions altogether. Apparently, I have not found the right balance between going slow enough to make good decisions, and going fast enough to finish the room in a reasonable time frame. : )

How do you like our little music corner? And where do you do music at your house? Living room? Family room? On an iPod? Are your kids taking lessons? If yes, how serious is music study at your house? Are you going for “good enough to get a university scholarship”, or do you keep it pretty casual?

51 thoughts on “The Treehouse: Music Corner”

  1. I LOVE the bright green piano! I gone through phases in my life as a musician where I either loved the idea of a wild and crazy piano (ex. 8th grade–really pushed for zebra stripes on my piano; luckily, my parents knocked that down asap) or I’ve had really strong opinions about gloss or satin matte finishes on a piano (NY Steinways for the win). As I’ve gotten older and now especially with a child of my own, I agree with you about making music as child-friendly as possible and that pop of green really does it. Our 14-month old is absolutely obsessed with music. I’m not sure how much of that has to do with the fact that my profession is pianist and piano teacher so she has been immersed in it since conception. Nevertheless, I’m going for the “do it cause you love it” tactic with her and don’t want her to ever feel forced to do it just because Mama does it. After all, I play because I love it and I want her to as well. Keep rockin’ on, Blair family! :)

  2. All eight of my children have taken and are still currently taking piano lessons. The piano is in our living room, and we take a serious approach to piano study. Scales, arpeggios, and a piece each from 2-3 of the musical periods at a time. They practice an hour a day. They also study music theory. And three of my children study the violin as well.

  3. I love the green piano, so much fun! We have four kids and and while I took piano when I was younger, I claim I’m not musically inclined. My husband however is one of those musicians who can play nearly anything he randomly picks up. When we built our home we included a designated “jam room” for him that holds a piano, his guitars & bass, drum set, amps & PA, as well as numerous other instruments. However, there is always a myriad of instruments scattered throughout our home and I wouldn’t have it any other way. From music on our ipods & speakers, to impromptu jam sessions between kids, or the more “serious” sessions between my husband and close friends, our house is always filled with music and I love it

  4. GAH! I have spent ALL DAY trying to find THAT EXACT CHALKBOARD! Please let us know your source and save my poor, tired fingers any further googling!!!!

    Also, this whole space is PERFECT. Love it!

  5. So fun! I wish we had space for that! We have a ukulele, acoustic guitar, electric bass, keyboard, 2 small glockenspiels, a recorder….and I think that’s it. My 20 month old loves all the music we play. She tells us she wants to play the keyboard by saying “doo doo doo!”

  6. Wowzers! What a great space. I love that your kids have access to many different instruments even if they don’t know how to play them. You can still make music, even if you don’t know any notes.

    We just purchased a very old used piano and my oldest is taking lessons. I will ask all of my kids to take at least a few years of piano. After that, it will be their call. If they’d like to play a different instrument or quit all together, it will be fine with me. I want to expose them to music, but not push it on them. I am not musically inclined at all, so I would feel bad pushing something on them that I have never taken the time to learn myself. When my kids are older, I hope to learn to play the piano. I’ll be the 40 something dinking out Twinkle Twinkle at the recital and mighty proud of it:)

  7. I love the file folders on the wall. So smart and organized. I’m hoping in our next house we’ll have a space for just the piano and instrument practicing. Practicing in the living room gets a little loud. :)

  8. Be still my heart: a green piano! Simply genius!

    I love the idea of all the instruments together and the kids being able to pick what they feel like playing. (How about adding a big drum for the proper boom-boom addition? I can just imagine June going wild on that :-)

  9. Have you thought about doing FLOR rugs for the living room & play area? There’s a showroom in San Francisco so you can see & tough everything. Super kid friendly & eco friendly too!

  10. I love this space! I am dying to hang guitars in the wall in our music room, but my husband won’t let me- he says it’s really bad for them (something about the humidity). So all of our guitars are “propperly stored” in ugly cases and my walls are boring! In his defense, he has really expensive guitars, so I can’t blame him- but now I’m inspired to go find some inexpensive instruments, for decorating. Plus the kids could play around on them, so it’s a double win!

    1. I totally agree with your husband. Hah! The instruments we own look pretty, but are not precious at all. If they were, I’m sure we would handle them with more serious care.

      I remember finding the cellos and violin on ebay at bargain basement prices. For curious kids, they’re just right.

  11. I’d live to know how you’ve hung the instruments. I can’t tell from the pic but would live to hang my sons guitar. Thanks!

    1. Oh Julianna, I hesitate to tell you, because I wouldn’t want someone hanging a really valuable instrument this way. But here goes. We use OOK picture hanging hooks (this kind — the ones intended for 30 or 50 lbs). Then we tie a ribbon around the instrument, looping the ends. Then hang the loop on the hook. As simple as it gets.

      But let me say again: if you have an instrument you adore, or that you know is valuable, please don’t follow my lead. : )

  12. Wow, this is great. We live in a small apartment with neighbours that do not appreciate jam sessions!! I would love to be able to encourage my kids to let rip on the kiddie instruments we have, but it’s just not possible. I recently bought an electronic keyboard, so at least we have the option of plugging in earphones and playing “piano” without annoying anyone, but it’s not quite the same!

    I have one nosy question: where is this room in relation to your kitchen/dining/living room? Is it on another floor? I didn’t realise that you had a second living space. That’s brilliant.

    And one final thing – do the musicians jamming and the engrossed readers above never come to blows?! My piano playing vs. my brother studying was a daily argument in our house when I was a teenager!

    1. That was also my question. Our music room (except for the piano) is waaaay back in the farthest corner of our house. We did this because I need respite from all that music making. Our repertoire includes drums, tuba, baritone horn, trombone, trumpet, oboe, flute bass guitar, and guitars. Some of these guys are loud, and sometimes I need silence. (Well, it is never silent, but it isn’t too bad with two doors closed)

  13. Oh, I love this space so much! I have wanted to paint an old piano for years but my friend’s father is a piano tuner and said that paint ruins the sound, so I never went for it. I think I may have to just deal with a slightly different sound, though, because this piano makes the room! My kids would be so much happier about practicing their instruments in a happy space like this. Thanks for re-inspiring me!!

  14. Pingback: The Treehouse: Music Corner | The Tressle Blog | The Official Blog for

  15. Ah, the painted piano that launched a thousand piano paint jobs! I’ll be honest, it still makes me cringe with horror. As a serious musician raising a houseful of serious musicians, painting an instrument in a garish color seems like such an insult to the integrity of the object itself and the craft of the instrument-maker. Not to mention, it completely destroys the resale value of the instrument.

    However, I know mine is not the majority view. And even a grinch like me has to admit that it is a bright and cheerful little corner. :) (By the way, we hang our stringed instruments on the wall, as well — there are instrument hooks made especially for the role that are very sturdy.)

  16. Wow Gabrielle…as a musician (guitar) this room puts a huge smile on my face. the colors are relaxing and the space is large enough to be reminded of music school practice rooms way back in the day :) And yes, the beauty of the piano brings everything together. Hopefully this space gets used a lot!

    Thanks for sharing and take care.


  17. Wow, this is so inspiring! We have one son (he’s three and a half) and he’ll be our only one, so we’re trying to be careful about not-hovering-too-much and not-being-so-pushy, etc etc. But that said… I desperately want him to play an instrument! We keep some harmonicas, a small xylophone, and a little drum in our family room and he routinely gives us concerts as a one man band. : ) My husband loves piano but has never had official lessons, so I think a purchase will be in order if our next house can accommodate it. At which point I can cleverly suggest piano lessons for the whole family. :)

  18. Hi Gabrielle!
    I just love the music room. My husband and I are both professional musicians and we just can’t figure out how to find a space in our home solely for music. Currently the piano is in our living room and the other instruments take over the dining room. Wish I could take a pic but I am technologically challenged! You might think that as musicians we would naturally decide to have our kids play, but we have struggled with the decision. Ultimately, we want them to be able to pick up an instrument, and be able to play music as a venue for expression and as food for the soul. We have three kids. My oldest tried piano lessons and it didn’t work out, she has different loves (such as ballet and art). My middle daughter (7) has been taking Suzuki violin since age 4, and is doing fine, but I am daily challenged with at home practice and finding time and I worry that she doesn’t even like it! My youngest is an almost 5 year old boy, and he just started cello. I must admit that I am excited to see how it goes. He is super musical and loves to sing. He looks SO cute with the cello! We are just going with the flow!

    1. Oh man. I’m no expert on this at all! We’ve tried all sorts of things. Ralph and Maude started cello and violin when they were preschoolers. But Oscar and Betty didn’t start piano until they were 8. And Maude didn’t start guitar lessons until she was 13. I’ve actually heard lots of advice on the topic and often it disagrees! I’ve heard the answer depends on the instrument, the child, and the lesson method.

      Perhaps one of the music teachers who reads reads here will have some better advice!

  19. I love your music space! Right now my son just keeps his trumpets in his room and my daughter and I keep our guitars kind of various places up and downstairs. We keep wanting to at least get the cool hooks on the wall, but don’t know what wall we’d put them on right now anyway. I would love to have a music area. We inherited an old organ, so that’s as close as we come to a piano right now. But I really wish we could find a not spectacular, but functioning $300 piano that I could paint. I don’t know what color I’d paint it, but I’ve looked at blogs that talked about theirs, and disassembling. I was waiting to hear that someone didn’t do that- so thanks for adding your link about the green piano. I just want it done, not mess with parts. I already don’t know enough about pianos as is! But I want one. I want my kids to learn. Pianos are soo expensive. I guess the trumpet was too, but it was a rent to own program so it took a few years, but it’s paid off now, and the other one we got was from the DI in the glass case. Also another one, which needs to be fixed, if we ever get around to it.

    1. I don’t know if it will help, Jeanne, but in one house we made a music wall over our sofa! And I hear you on expensive pianos. This one we own was bought used by my parents when they were newlyweds. They paid $500. All these years later and I’m sure it’s worth much less. : ) I think that’s why I was so fine with painting it — and not bothering to disassemble it as well.

  20. Are the cellos supported at the bottom in addition to neck? If not, the weight can cause damage, at least for full size instruments – not entirely sure about small ones but I’d still wouldn’t risk it ;-)

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