Drop Zone. Command Center. Family Hub. There are many names for this type of space, but it’s the area in your home that helps to keep your family organized. We recently transformed an unused wall into a place where our kids can finally hang up their own belongings, hallelujah! And the dry erase calendar and mail holder help keep us all on the same page.
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Why a command center/drop zone is so important for families
So here’s the thing. I kind of went against my own mantra of “practical, yet pretty” when I created the first entryway/drop zone in our new home last year. I made this cute little welcome sign with hooks, but the girls couldn’t exactly hang anything on the hooks without standing on the bench. So I just had them place their belongings on the bench instead. Well, they did great putting their shoes away, but I found myself going on a scavenger hunt to find their lunchboxes & backpacks more times than I wanted.
Pretty, but not very practical. In order for things to run smoothly in our home, and most likely any home, there have to be functional systems and daily routines in place.
So with summer ending and school starting again, I started to think of a better solution to the hooks high on the wall. I had a small blank wall at the end of the hallway that I’ve stared at for months, not knowing what to do. I decided this was the area I’d turn into the drop zone.
Here is the wall before any work was done. Can you tell why it perplexed me? This is my view straight from the main living area. To the left is a hallway that leads to the front door and to the right opens up to the kitchen. That black box in the photo below is the side of our refrigerator and the wall basically what covers it up, or at least tries to. (PS: don’t judge the crumbs on the floor, k?)
The outlet, light switch, thermostat and security system didn’t help me love this wall, but they did give me a good design challenge which allowed me to flex my creativity. So, fixtures on the wall, you’re not so bad. Thanks for making me think outside the box to create this handy drop zone.
My original plan was just to add 6 hooks straight into the wall at a child’s level, but then one thing snowballed into another as it tends to do around here, and we created this board and batten (ish) accent wall instead to give it a more completed look.
Here’s what you’ll need to create your own board & batten drop zone:
- 1″ x 4″ x desired length pre-primed MDF
I used scrap wood I wanted to get rid of that I planed, filled, primed & painted… just make it easy on yourself and buy the pre-primed MDF. I’m a glutton for punishment.
- Lattice Strips or any scrap wood/MDF for the vertical battens
- White paint & roller
- Stud Finder (prepare for any guy around to be located by said stud finder)
- 2.5″ deckmate screws to go through your 1″ x 4″ and into the studs
- Brad Nailer & finishing nails
- White Spackle
Here’s how you’ll create the board & batten drop zone/entryway:
- The first thing you want to do is clean your walls. I used a magic eraser to get rid of as many marks as I could, but some didn’t come off as easily and I just opted to paint over them.
- Next is measuring where you want your horizontal board to go. This area is specifically for our kids. Feel free to place the horizontal board much higher if you’re going for a more traditional look.
- Once you have an idea of the height you want, you can tape off the bottom portion of your wall and begin painting. I have been super impressed with FrogTape lately. It really does give you such a crisp clean paint line. It didn’t really matter here because my board would be covering it, but I still thought you should know that their paint block technology is legit.
- Put on some comfy clothes, your favorite music and start painting. It actually didn’t take very long at all, but any reason for comfy clothes and good music, right? My grey walls required two paints of coat. The photo below is a screen grab from a video hence the horrible quality, but look at my sweet Stella. This was a few days before school started and she didn’t want to leave my side, literally. She’s in her cheerleader outfit cheering her mama on. Oh, how I love that girl.
- I’m back tracking a bit here, but we located the studs in the walls before painting. Since I painted over them (whoops), we just went back and marked them again once the paint was dry.
- With the bottom portion painted, we attached the 1″ x 4″ into the studs using deckmate screws.
- Once the 1″ x 4″ was on the wall, it was time for me to attach the batten strips which was just scrap lattice strips we cut down to fit the wall. Tip: Cut a piece of scrap wood the length between the battens and used this as a ruler/guide. Also, painter’s tape can hold your pieces in place when you get your measurements just right and need to free up your hands.
- Now it’s time to attach the hooks. The reason we screwed the 1″ x 4″ directly into the studs is because we would be attaching the hooks directly on to the 1″ x 4″ and it needed to hold up to the weight of the girls hanging their backpacks and lunchboxes daily. Again the tape comes in handy here when I need to visualize things and make the slightest of adjustments to make sure they’re aligned evenly.
- Fill all of your screw & nail holes with wood filler or spackle and let it dry. Lightly sand off any excess and use touch-up with paint, if needed. The screw holes required two rounds of spackle and I took these photos after only the first round because of my excitement so if you look closely you’ll still see little indentations. I should probably take an updated photo, but just take my word that you can’t notice after the second round of spackle.
- Ideally, you’d want to caulk all of the seams where the wood meets the wall, but since I change my mind so often around here and this isn’t our forever home, I’m leaving it as-is.
And there you have it, a board & batten drop zone for the family. Of course that is only the bottom portion of the wall and that’s mainly for our kids. Sam and I have our own space to put our belongings, but the top portion of the wall here is perfect organizing mail and keeping track of dates on the calendar. I’ll add the links to everything below:
Welcome Home Sign
Dry Erase Wall Calendar
Leather Pouch (I cut off the bottom portion and will be using it near the front door to hang keys)
Ceramic Wall Pocket (This is from our shop and it’s perfect for holding chalk, markers, etc.)
What do you think? Will you give it a try? Don’t forget to pin the image below or any of the other photos from this blog post (just hover over the image and save.)