We’ve all heard the phrase “play is a child’s work,” and it’s true in every sense of the word. Play has shown positive contributions to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of young children. So why not embrace and support their need to play with a dedicated space they can call their own — a playroom!
When planning your kid’s playroom there are several aspects to consider, from colour and storage to décor items and furniture.
Colour palette and pattern
Playrooms often get a bad rep because of their loud, bold colours and patterns, which in an adult world, are anything but design friendly! Gender neutral playrooms are becoming the norm and offer the perfect balance of design and function. That’s not to say you can’t inject pattern and colour. Select one primary colour and run with it! Use it on an accent wall or furnishings. Bold patterns can also be incorporated on textiles such as pillows, curtains and rugs. Kids toys, books and crafts are already super colourful, so leaving the base of the room a little more neutral can make it feel adult-friendly.
No parent enjoys walking by a playroom and seeing toys thrown everywhere, which is why easy-to-access storage is key. The best storage solutions allow your kids to easily grab their toysas put them away. Cubby shelving is great as it can double as a space where favourite toys or items can be put on display. Fabric drawer inserts are also available for cubby-type shelving, which can hide and store large amounts of smaller toys like wooden blocks. Place baskets and totes made of fabric on the floor making it easy for young children to get to their toys. Storage ottomans, wicker baskets and traditional toy boxes also make great options.
Kids are notoriously hard on floors. If it’s not toys being dropped from varying heights it’s spilled drinks and cookie crumbs. If you’re renovating a room from the ground up, select a durable and easy to clean flooring like linoleum, laminate or solid wood. If you just want to protect your floors, use area rugs that can be laundered or are made of sturdy natural fibers. Patterns and prints can also help disguise the inevitable spills and stain. Foam playmats are also a great option. They are perfect for kids who love to tumble.
Fabrics and textiles
Durability is the name of the game when it comes to selecting fabrics for a playroom. Opt for thick, tough fabrics on pillows, ottomans and poufs as they will stand up to all the jumping, rolling and the occasional spill. If the space is large enough to include lounge furniture, like chairs and a couch, consider selecting a fabric that has a built-in stain guard or purchase slipcovers that can be removed and laundered as needed.
Kids furniture has come a long way in terms of design, which means you’ll have an easier time finding pieces that match the aesthetic of your home while being safe and useful for your kids. Tables and chairs are a staple for any playroom as they can be used for everything from play to snack time. Lounge furniture like bean bag chairs, tot-sized couches, day beds and oversized floor pillows offer up places for your kids to take a break. Bookshelves, cubbies and toy storage that’s lower to the floor allow kids to access their toys, games and crafts without adult help. Kid-friendly doesn’t always mean the size of the furniture, it can also mean safety. Ensure all large furniture in your playroom, such as shelving, lighting and art are properly secured to the walls to minimize tipping and falling.
A playroom is more than a place to send your kids for an hour; it should encourage growth, ignite the imagination and increase dexterity along with physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Creating “zones” within your playroom can help encourage different types of play and activities.
A reading nook complete with floating bookshelves, oversized floor cushions, fluffy throw pillows and comfy blankets is the perfect place for your kid to cozy up with a good book and unwind after a busy day of play. Whether it’s a mini play kitchen, canvas tent or a tot-sized tool bench, setting aside a space for imaginative or pretend play can help your child express, explore and work out their own ideas, thoughts and feelings. An active area with an indoor rock-climbing wall, indoor swing or slide can help those little ones release their energy and experiment with physical movement. A craft corner or art zone with tables, chairs, and easels will turn your little one into a Picasso in no time! Don’t forget to include a bulletin board for them to hang their masterpieces — after all, you don’t want all of them to make their way onto your kitchen fridge!
Lastly, if your kids are older and video games are their guilty pleasure, set up a gaming zone with a small wall-mounted TV, gaming console and chairs.
Using décor items and accessories is an excellent way to personalize and add character to a playroom. Wall decals are a low-commitment option as they can be swapped out or removed as your kids get older. Art can also liven up the space, just be sure to choose shatter-proof frames or opt for canvas artwork. Trendy wall hangings like pennants, woven textiles, faux taxidermy animal heads and macrame add texture, colour and a touch of whimsy. Lastly, fun wall lights or string lights can make any space shine and twinkle.
Tight on space?
Small space living doesn’t mean you have to forgo a playroom completely. Even the smallest spaces can allocate a corner, nook or alcove to create an area for play. If you’re setting up a play area for your kids in a common area such as a family room, a simple foam mat or colourful rug can help them differentiate “their space” versus “our space.” Or think outside the box. Any unused space can become a kid’s dream play area — a closet, empty space under your stairs or even a crawlspace can become a cozy place for play.
The playroom is by far the most fun room in the house, so make sure it can be enjoyed by you and your kids!