Morgan McBride6-Minute Read
UPDATED: May 30, 2023
It can be tempting to design your home to look like something out of a magazine or HGTV show. However, those designs aren’t always functional if you have young children. When doing renovations, it’s important to make your living spaces feel like home for everyone – including the kids who might live with you.
While you might not want to have kid-specific decor all over your home, you do want every space to feel welcoming and livable for every family member. A fun and easy room to decorate with kids specifically in mind is a playroom.
Playrooms are really fun to design and decorate because you can get away with a lot more color – and over the top themes – than you can in an adult space.
When thinking about the themes and decor for a space, don’t forget to focus on the key aspects of any good playroom: safety, layout, and leaving space for creativity and open-ended play. Decorating with these ideas in mind will help to create a playroom that you and your family use and love for many years as you all evolve.
Here are some tips to create the ultimate playroom.
The most important part of any home is safety, and this is especially true in kid-centric spaces. While small children should always be supervised, having a safe space makes everyone feel more comfortable with independent play.
Since this space is just for the kids, focus on furniture that’s perfect for them. Kid-friendly fixtures such as bean bags or mini foam chairs lower the risk of falling and provide opportunity for open-ended play.
The material of furniture is important, too. A playroom isn’t the spot for a square glass coffee table. Stick to materials that are gentler on little bodies. Also focus on fabrics and materials that can easily be spot-cleaned or, even better, thrown in the washing machine.
If you have babies or small toddlers, be sure to baby-proof the playroom to protect the youngest members of the family from things that older kids might be safe with now. Cover all outlets, tuck away any loose cords, and consider covering any sharp edges such as table corners or windowsills. Safety measures like cabinet locks or anti-tip furniture wall straps might be annoying in the short term, but are worth the effort for your family’s safety and your peace of mind.
While safety should be of the utmost importance, it’s also wise to create a playroom that serves as a fun rec space for all. This is important for several reasons. If you have or host kids of varying ages, having a multi-use space is a must have. A well-designed playroom will also grow with your kids as they get older.
If you personally have kids from very different age groups, the easiest way to do this is to set up zones for each one. This way, they each know where to go to find their toys and feel like they have their own age-appropriate space. Give each child a section of the room, or even a shelf or cubby, so they feel like they have their own personal space.
To prepare your playroom for multiple ages in general, focus on open-ended play and lots of floor space and room to relax. Open space and comfy seating can be enjoyed by all ages for a variety of activities and is the easiest to share. Table and chair sets are another good option for multiple age groups as they can work for crafts, games, homework and pretend play activities.
One of the best things you can do in a large playroom is to organize the space into different zones. Whether that’s based on varying ages of your children or their varying interests, zones take a big space and give it specific purpose.
One idea for a zone is a sports area. Hang an indoor basketball hoop or a dart board and create a scoreboard chalkboard for the wall. Or, create a game area with a pool or ping pong table.
Think about your kids’ passions and set up zones for that. If they love video games, get a couch or chairs and a TV. If they prefer playing pretend with play kitchens, set up a little miniature playhouse in one corner.
Also remember any unique aspects of the room and use that to your advantage. A deep closet, for example, can be transformed into a reading nook. Arts and crafts areas should be positioned in zones with good light, such as next to a window. Window seats can make a great seating spot without needing much floor space!
If possible, consider adding a daybed, futon, or pull-out couch. It can serve double purpose as a great spot to lounge or play and a spot for guests to sleep in a pinch!
Playrooms come in many shapes and sizes. Whether it’s an entire basement space, a spare room, or a corner in the living room, you want to be strategic with the layout to make the most of your play space.
To save floor space, go vertical with your storage. Shelving and cubbies are great options for getting toys of all shapes and sizes up off the floor. Invest in bins or baskets to keep similar items corralled together, make it easier for kids to clean up, and to keep your shelves looking neater. However, make sure that any vertical storage doesn’t stretch higher than your kids can reach, or the toys will go unused or never be put away.
Another great way to maximize space is to look for large items that can serve double duty. For example, you can get bean bag chairs that unzip to store stuffed animals. You could also select an ottoman or bench with a lid that opens to reveal hidden storage.
No matter the size of your playroom, try to assess it a few times a year. Remove any toys, books, or furniture that are no longer being loved or used. You can rehome them to another part of the house or sell them to make room in your budget for something new!
There’s a ton of value in giving your kids the opportunity to use their imaginations and to be able to express themselves creatively through the design choices you make for the playroom. Don’t mandate what they can do based on how you style the room. Make it so they can lead the play.
If your kids love to craft, a crafting zone is a must. Get a table and chairs that fit them comfortably – and be sure to add a chair or two for adults to visit, too. Set up ample storage for their favorite crafting supplies and don’t forget a trash can to make clean-up easy. You can also add a pull-out roll of crafting paper to the end of the table so they have easy access.
If your kids like to get creative in other ways, consider painting a chalkboard wall. It allows for freedom of expression and takes up zero floor space in your room. Adding a gallery wall or corkboard for displaying artwork is another easy way to celebrate creativity without using any floor space.
It’s super important to allow your kids to have input into the design of the playroom. They might have opinions on the paint colors, the decor, the wall art, toys and games that align with their interests and hobbies. This room is for them – giving them input can make the playroom feel more like their own.
If you’re worried about your kids having too wild of ideas, just give them options. Select two paint colors that you approve of and let them pick their favorite. Give them a choice between three different types of chairs. If they feel invested in the space, they will want to spend more time there!
If you ask for a family member’s opinion, be sure to actually listen to it. There’s nothing worse than being asked what you want in a space and then having it go in the opposite direction. Remember – in the end, this space is for your kids. It might not be exactly what you would choose to design for yourself, and that’s OK. The rest of the house is for you!
Playrooms are really fun spaces to decorate in your home. With your kids in mind, focus on safety, a smart layout, decorating in zones, and leaving room for creative and independent play. You’re sure to design an area that your family will enjoy for many years. Be sure to check out more Homeowner Tips on the Rocket HomesSM blog.