Let kids have a voice in the design of their space.
Aim to create the playroom of children’s dreams
The playroom might be the one place in the house to have fun, relax, read, perform, paint, and be a kid to a child. Parents may aim to create the playroom of their children’s dreams, but they don’t always know what a kid wants. Luckily, the best source of information usually is the child. The most exciting part of designing a playroom is working as a team with your child. And to take some of the mystery out of making this room a youthful haven.
Children’s interest in the decision-making process
“I love doing children’s rooms. The most enjoyable part of it is getting the children involved,” says Tammy Vaughn of Tammy Vaughn Interiors. Even immature children can get interested in the decision-making process. “One way you can do that is to narrow a color down to three very close colors and allow them to choose the one they like. At the toddler age, they really don’t understand enough to have independent input, so it is helpful if you give them options that are essentially the same.”
Sometimes, the response from the child will not be one that is altogether practical. There are ways to work around that, too.
A neutral room with a concrete wall and fabrics
“[Children] know from 3 years on what they like,” says Pattie Trumbull, owner of Design Inspirations Inc. When you ask, you might hear something like, “I want a Strawberry Shortcake room with sparkly colors.” Even with these simple requests in mind, you can start designing the room; don’t completely give in to the child’s desire for fictional characters and sparkles. Instead, begin with a neutral room with a concrete wall and fabrics and add accents.
For example, including a Strawberry Shortcake pillow can satisfy the child, but it will not overpower the room. It is imperative when multiple children share the playroom. It will also allow the space to grow with the child since the pillow can be changed more quickly than a wall or window.
Furniture on a smaller scale
Another benefit of a more straightforward, more neutral palette is that it allows the toys to become the decoration. According to Daria defoliant of Daria Designs, a playroom by its very nature will tend to be cluttered. Having a solid backdrop helps make it less so.
Once the background colors have been selected, the next step is to fill the room. Depending on the children’s ages, a playroom should have furniture on a smaller scale. Include tables and chairs that are easy and safe for the child to use, and keep hooks, pictures, and other wall accessories at a low level to see and use them.
A room with a lot of mobility
“For a toddler to have an inviting playroom, it is important to keep a room that allows the children a lot of mobility for creative play,” Vaughn says. “Particularly at the toddler stage, the function is for the children to be able to play in small groups and pairs, and at times alone, so flexibility in furnishings is key. You want furniture that is of course ‘kid-sized,’ but you also want it to be easily moveable and lightweight enough so that the children themselves can move it around as necessary.”
According to defoliant, playrooms at home should also be organized and divided into “stations” or distinct play areas, just like preschool or kindergarten rooms. Divided spaces also help accommodate multiple children of different ages. One place can contain toddler areas and more grownup areas too.
Consider the architecture
One way to create natural divisions in the playroom is to consider the architecture. “A playroom can mean so many different things, but almost everyone agrees they want storage,” says Dale Contant, owner of Atlanta Design & Build. Whether it’s bench-seat storage underneath a window or a built-in desk for a computer, storage is a No. 1 priority for playrooms. “It makes cleanup easier,” Content says.
Built-ins are standard in playrooms since they make an ideal place for TVs, video games, and DVD players. Also, bonus rooms and lofts above the garage are perfect for playrooms, with their shorter ceilings and funky roof lines, he says.
Design and renovation by Atlanta Design & Build
One thing Content has learned about playrooms is, when it’s possible, a short set of stairs leading from a Revitalizing Room to a loft is perfect for kids. A small space is created behind the stairs, which lets kids feel like they have their private area. “It gives them a private place, to create a fort or whatever, and they absolutely love it.”
Within the play areas, try creating specific themes. “Children like a sense of structure even in play areas,” Vaughn says. “You may want to have a get Desired Kitchens & Baths by Remodelers, an art area, a video area, a reading area, [etc.].” Trumbull included areas or nooks with themes like reading, lounging, and watching television for an older child’s playroom. She also put a stage and karaoke machine in the room so the child could perform her at-home variety show.
Large pillows and beanbags
Whatever the ages of the children, the most critical issue, of course, is safety. Rounded corners and edges are always a good idea. Furniture should be safety-approved for the right age group. Since kids often prefer to sit on the floor, large pillows and beanbags are a good idea.
“It is always best to get down on your knees so you are at the children’s level and make sure there isn’t anything that they could danger themselves with,” Vaughn says. Cover electric outlets, keep window-treatment cords out of reach, and make sure windows are securely shut. For younger children, the room needs to be completely baby-proof. Since the children may spend time alone in the room, it might be beneficial to hire a baby-proofing specialist to inspect the completed room.
Tastes and activities combine with common sense and safety.
A playroom presents a fun chance for parents and kids to create together. Children are excited to participate in the design. When the children’s tastes and activities are combined with common sense and safety, the playroom can become an excellent place for children to get away from it all. What’s better, with the kids thus occupied, the parents might even get a few moments to relax, too.
- Take the time to get the playroom organized so it can stay that way.
- Purchase or make boxes, baskets, and bins
- Label these so sorting is easy. For children who can’t yet read, attach photos of the items that go in the boxes.
- Start teaching your toddler to put away the toys after play.
- Create a game of it by awarding your child as she/he puts things back.