As we consider the design of our homes for the future it is important to ensure that we are able to meet the needs of all members of the family. Office space has become important for parents working from home and space to study is vital for children of all ages. We are also looking with an increasingly critical eye at our kitchens to give us a pleasurable cooking experience, space to eat and ample storage facilities. Outdoor space too is now one of the key drivers in home moves and home gyms have seen increased use. However, with everyone spending more time at home, it is vital to meet all needs and one area of growing interest to many families is designing a playroom or den for the kids.
Young children are usually accompanied by an unfeasibly large amount of stuff and this can spread throughout the house making it hard to distinguish between playroom, relaxation space or dining area in some homes; therefore, a defined play/storage area can be extremely useful. Whilst small children do need constant supervision, older children can be left to play in a safe room alone for periods and a place where parents can play together with children in a creative space of their own is invaluable. Assigning a room as a playroom today does not mean it needs to stay that way forever; today’s playroom can become tomorrow’s homework space, teenage den or cinema room as the family grows and interests change. If a dedicated playroom is not possible, many of the ideas discussed below can also be incorporated into a child’s bedroom.
We all know that very young children have pretty short attention spans, so in an ideal world you would provide them with a room packed with variety – a playhouse, a swing, their favourite toys in drawers they can access easily; the more you can pack in, the longer you will engage their interest.
Although you may be designing initially for small children, they won’t stay that way for long, so try to plan for the future and avoid making everything too ‘age appropriate’. Well-designed shelving and a comfy sofa can also see them through their teenage years. Adding a sofa bed can be a good option for sleep overs.
This room will probably take quite a battering, so choose practical flooring for your playroom design. While a carpet can be soft and cosy it is likely to be difficult to keep clean and spills are almost inevitable. Vinyl flooring is not only super hardwearing and scratch resistant but is also good for playing on. The smooth surface makes it great for playing games, doing jigsaws and playing with cars and trains. It is also warm and soft underfoot, easy to clean and has outstanding noise insulation. Brightly coloured rugs or playmats can be added to specific areas for a softer feel; many of these incorporate learning or play themes such as hop scotch or race track rugs. Floor cushions and beanbags can be added for increased comfort.
Whatever colour you choose for your playroom design, make sure the finish is, at the very least, wipeable. Paints with a low sheen are more durable than matt emulsions, and any marks can be wiped off without damaging the paint. A playroom is the one place you can really go to town with colours and pattern, even a mural. Paint colours which may be considered too vibrant or stimulating for a child’s bedroom can be used freely in the playroom. Doodling on the walls is usually strictly forbidden, but painting a chalkboard wall is a way for kids to customise their own playroom. If chalk dust isn’t your thing, try whiteboard paint, which has the same function but is a wipeable surface for washable markers.
Alternately, if your entire house is a temple to neutral or pastel shades, and you simply can’t tolerate the thought of a room full of vibrant colour, consider a neutral base of white and wood which can be built upon with injections of colour and personality. As your child gets older and the colourful toys disappear, and are replaced with teenage posters, the room will still look amazing.
Kids’ playrooms benefit from as much storage as possible. Shelving and cupboards fitted across an entire wall will look neat and take up little floor space. A combination of open and closed shelving will enable you to display decorative toys and books and hide away anything that isn’t quite as pretty. Bespoke shelving can also include desks which can be used for crafting or homework.
A chill out, or calming down area is a must in a playroom. It makes sense to incorporate this into a book nook with accessible book storage to encourage children to pick up their favourite reads, but also with space to snuggle down alone or together with an adult for story time. Ensure that the area has good daylight for daytime reading but also has a good artificial light that the child can access themselves.
Kids also love a den. A huge variety of indoor children’s tents, tee-pees and playhouses are available on line and these can be customised to your child’s, and to your, design tastes.
An indoor climbing frame is a great playroom idea, especially for rainy days when kids can’t get outside. Alternatively, a more space-saving idea may be to install a climbing wall. Either way very soft or padded flooring should be installed beneath.
For those into dressing up, a storage trunk, low level clothing rail and mirror is a must. Dressing room lighting can add that extra theatrical touch.
To encourage crafting hobbies, desk space and a chair are vital; a flip down table could be used if space is an issue. It is important to include suitable storage for craft supplies such as paper, glue, fabric, glitter and pens; a movable storage trolley can be a good solution.
Displaying children’s treasured artwork is a must. Create a space where some items can be displayed on a temporary, or easily rotated basis, such as a pin board, but also think of hanging some in flexible frames for a longer period.
If you need help designing a playroom contact us at email@example.com.