Instead of traditional―and expensive―wood veneers, the custom-designed particleboard storage closets in the kids' play area are covered with magnetic boards, mirrors, and light boxes (which can be attached to existing doors or an unfinished cabinet). Surface area that would otherwise sit idle becomes work space for tracing pictures, displaying art projects, engaging in wordplay, and generally getting creative. "The rule is, the kids pick up after themselves," says Lauri. "But I think the only way you can really expect them to do that is if you make cleanup and storage simple. The different look of each door is a good visual cue for them, making it easier to remember what's in each closet."
Closet-door attachments: Magnetic boards, $13 each, ikea.com.