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A fun and attractive playroom

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What could be more exciting than using your imagination to design a playroom your children will remember forever? Create a space that reflects their interests, personalities, hobbies and preferences. Read these considerations before starting your project.
Keep in mind that today's kids are tomorrow's teens. They will replace toys with watching television, playing electronic games or listening to music with friends. These same teens will turn into young adults who may wish to challenge mom and dad to a game of pool or table tennis.
Design your playroom to transition through the different stages of life, ensuring your little ones—no matter how old or big they may be—always have a space to “play.”



LAYOUT

The layout of the playroom will largely depend on the age, activities, gender and interests of your child(ren). In general, here are several ‘areas’ to consider when designing the layout of the playroom. You child will likely not enjoy all of these activities, so choose the ones that meet your needs.

  • Television/Gaming: An area set-up with a television and game equipment, comfortable chairs and perhaps a coffee table. These comfy chairs could also be used for reading.

  • Arts and crafts: A table and chairs or a desk to accommodate projects. You may even add an easel, bulletin board, chalkboard and more to this space

  • Acting: A small stage, a clothes rack for costumes and a trunk full of props should suffice.

  • Sports: Widely varies depending on your child’s interests. From a basketball hoop and rock-climbing wall, to a simple slide for a toddler, consider an active area for your little one to release some energy.

  • Storage: Regardless of what activities your child enjoys, you will need plenty of storage space to store the necessary equipment. If the room doesn’t have a closet, consider a wall unit with cubbyholes that you can slide baskets or bins into.

Arrange the furniture in a way that helps define each activity area.
Consider these areas when designing the layout, but don’t forget to leave some empty floor space. Children enjoy being on the floor to play, read and more—give them enough room to sprawl out.
 

FLOORING

Choosing a flooring material for the playroom is a difficult decision. Safety is of primary concern, but longevity is also a determining factor. Yes, those foam squares are cute for your toddler, but in a few short years (more like months, really!), you will have no need for them. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that will be obsolete in a few months.
Ease of cleaning is also a determining factor, especially if your little ones will be eating in the playroom or doing messy projects—such as painting or play dough. It also seems that more and more children are fighting allergies, so you must also take this into consideration.

Hardwood flooring, coupled with an area rug, is a good option for the playroomThere are several flooring materials to choose for the playroom:

  • Cork flooring is an excellent choice for a playroom. Cork has many, many benefits:
    • Provides a soft, cushioned surface
    • Reduces sound
    • Retains a median temperature, never getting hot or cold
    • Resists water and is easy to clean
    • Is anti-allergenic, insect and mold resistant, and fire resistant
    • Installs easily, either for the DIY-er or saving money on professional installation
    • Is beautiful enough to be used for “grown-up” room when the kids outgrow the playroom
  • Hardwood flooring, coupled with an area rug, is a good option. Vacuuming is often the only necessary cleaning agent, simple and easy! The cost of hardwoods (and the cost of installing them) is the drawback on this beautiful flooring option. However, these are a type of floor that can grow with the room—from a playroom to hangout room to perhaps a game room—as they will likely last forever.
    • When children are young, you can easily top hardwood floors with foam blocks, comfy area rugs or other shock absorbing materials that will help break your children’s fall.
  • Laminate flooring can resemble wood, tile or even stone. It is extremely durable, does not scratch and is simple to clean. Standing water (such as a bathroom leak) will ruin laminate flooring, so only place in areas that are protected from water. Some laminate flooring is loud when being walked on, so if you choose laminate, you will need some acoustic softening materials in the room, especially for those noisy feet and loud voices!
    • Like with hardwoods, when children are young, you can easily top laminate floors with foam blocks, comfy area rugs or other shock absorbing materials that will help break your children’s fall.
  • Carpet is warm, comfortable and quiet for a children’s playroom. However, keep in mind the disadvantages of carpet—traps dirt, harbors allergens, stains easily and often needs replacing—when weighing the benefits.
     

FURNITURE

When it comes to furnishing a playroom, fun is the prime consideration, followed by storage. Of course, all items in the room must be safe as well.

Table, chairs and lots of storage unit are a must in the playroomThere are several questions to ask yourself before filling the playroom:

  • Is this a girl, boy or gender-neutral playroom?
  • What age ranges should the room appeal to?
  • What activities does my child(ren) enjoy?
  • How much storage space do I need?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to begin filling the room. Keep in mind that furniture should be scaled to the children who will be playing in the room—miniature chairs should accommodate miniature bodies, and so on.

Playroom basics:

  • Table and chairs: Perfect for arts and crafts, coloring, projects and maybe even homework. Make sure there are enough chairs for your own children, and likely a few friends as well.
  • TV and console: Though optional, many playrooms incorporate a television for cartoon and movie watching.
  • Comfortable viewing chairs: Pick comfortable chairs and/or couches that are sized appropriately for your children. You can also use beanbag chairs or other unique furniture designed for kids.
  • Storage unit: You will need some sort of storage unit for toys, games and more. Storage with smaller cubbyholes or containers often work best, keeping similar toys, games or books grouped together.
  • Bulletin board: You will want a large bulletin board or another area to hang your children’s artwork and projects. Consider an entire wall made of corkboard!
     

Nothing is too crazy for the playroom—not even a rock climbing wall!Playroom Considerations:

  • Train table: Perfect for the little boy (or girl!) who spend countless hours driving around cars, trucks and trains. Consider painting your own from a sheet of plywood.
  • Clothes rack: A simple bar hung at kid’s level is great for the children who love to dress up—whether as Cinderella or Spider Man—keeping the outfits off the floor and easy to find.
  • Slide: Incorporate a slide—or perhaps a complete playground—to keep your children active while indoors during those long winter months. Use your imagination to create a magical slide—perhaps a secret escape out of the castle or maybe it comes “out of a tree” that has been painted on the wall.
  • Climbing wall: Perfect for getting that energy out—and exercise in—while staying indoors. Create an easy through advanced wall that will entertain your children for years to come.
  • Stage: Let your little ones put on a show for you—outfit a small, elevated surface with ceiling to floor curtains for the ultimate entertainment stage.
  • Tent: What child—boy or girl—doesn’t like to hideaway in a tent? Set one up in the corner of the playroom that they never have to take down!
  • Puppet center: A half wall with a curtain beneath can instantly be transformed into a puppet show!

Ask your child what he or she would enjoy in a playroom, and try to accommodate it. Let your imagination run wild—this is the room to go all out. Create a space—and outfit it with furniture—that your children will never forget.

LIGHTING

When thinking in terms of lighting, you must consider whether there will be sufficient natural light or whether you will need to rely on artificial lighting. If you are to use artificial lighting, what type it should be?

The choice of lighting is paramount both in terms of its efficiency and the atmosphere it will create in the room.

  • The fluorescent tube is economical and efficient. Its lighting is not close to natural light and it is well behind other types of lighting when it comes to atmosphere.

  • Halogen lighting covers a relatively small area, compared to fluorescent tubes, radiates a lot of heat and requires careful installation that includes a transformer. It is also more costly than fluorescent lighting.

  • Incandescent lighting (the most commonly used in homes) provides less intensity and coverage than both fluorescent and halogen lighting. On the other hand, it is the warmest of the three.

A combination of fluorescent and incandescent lighting would seem the most efficient for playrooms. If possible, accentuate the natural lighting of the room by reflecting it using mirrors. Painting the room in light colors will also make the room seem brighter.

STORAGE

Choose storage solutions with smaller bins, baskets and cubbyholes, allowing you to group similar itemsStorage is a crucial factor for the playroom. If there is not enough storage, or if the storage is too difficult to reach, the playroom will always be left in shambles. Organization is key, but don’t over do it. If it is too difficult to follow the initial organization plan, chances are the children will likely give up and just throw everything into one area.
Consider these storage options for the playroom:

  • Choose storage solutions with smaller bins, baskets and cubbyholes, allowing you to group similar items. For instance, instead of having one huge trunk for “boy’s toys,” consider having several smaller bins—one for Legos, one for cars and one for miscellaneous.
    • Label, label, label to ensure everyone knows what goes where! Label bins with paper tags, tape or anything else you come up with. Consider painting a small rectangle of chalkboard paint on the container, allowing you to change out the name when needed.
    • Ensure storage containers are easily accessible to little ones—allowing them to get out and put back their own toys.
    • Transparent containers might prove helpful, allowing you to see what is in the bin without having to pull it down.
    • By keeping containers uniform, you’ll create a better-looking storage unit. Whether its wooden crates, plastic bins or cloth cubes, the uniformity will go a long way in bringing a sense of serene to a busy playroom.
  • Construct a window seat in the playroom with a removable lid under the seat cushions. Tuck larger items in here, or store extra blankets and pillows for sleepovers.
  • Give extreme attention to the arts and crafts area. Shoeboxes, jars and even recycled containers from the kitchen can help keep small items such as paperclips, markers, stickers and paints organized. Or, use small pails for pens, pencils, scissors and more and place them on a Lazy Susan in the middle of the arts and crafts table, making it easy for each child to get what they need.
  • Choose furniture that doubles as storage. For instance, stools around the art table with removable lids allow you to tuck items inside.
     

COLORS

For less intense rooms, paint the walls a softer color and use the bright hues as accentsThe choice of colors in the playroom is up to you and your little ones. Consider how the room will be used before you decide on colors. Do you see your little one to running, playing and expending energy in the playroom, or will it be more of a calm space of crafting, playing on the floor and perhaps reading? The colors you choose will likely influence the energy levels of the room.

  • For intense playing, paint the walls bright, bold hues. Reds, oranges, blues, yellows, greens—if you like it, go for it!
    • Keep in mind that children may not spend as much time in a crazy playroom as a more subdued one. Though its fun to be wild and crazy for a little bit, it is exhausting. Keep this in mind when choosing a color scheme.
  • For less intense rooms, paint the walls a softer color—perhaps even white—and use the bright hues as accents: a red chair, a blue pillow or a colorful piece of artwork.

You can also give the room a theme, following up with a mural on the walls. Consider a fairytale castle for your little princess or maybe a pirate ship for the little man. Gender-neutral murals are also a possibility—the great outdoors, the beach or perhaps outer space.

Lastly, consider chalkboard paint for the walls. Let your little artists have a blast creating changing scenery. One week it may be a mountain-scape and the next, a zoo. Keep their imaginations rolling by simply wiping down the walls to create a blank slate. Keep in mind that chalkboard paint is now available in a range of colors—not just the typical green or black anymore!

TRENDS

  • Wall length storage units—weather window seats, mid-wall height, or full-wall height—are very popular for playrooms. You can never have enough room to store all of those books, toys and games, so it’s no wonder why a large (yet attractive!) storage unit is so popular.

  • Painting a wall or portion of a wall with chalkboard is increasingly popular, allowing countless drawings and doodles from your little ones.

  • Patterns are trendy—stripes, dots, checkers and more, though chevron stripes are in highest demand.

  • Extravagant playrooms are becoming more and more frequent. A tree house suspended from the ceiling, a rock climbing wall or even a life size dollhouse isn’t out of the question anymore. Let your imagination run wild—everyone else’s is.

Ask your child(ren) what they want in a playroom, and do your best to accommodate. If your child is happily playing on his or her own, and you have a few minutes to yourself, you’ll both be happy campers.
 

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Bright colors feel intense, raising energy levels.
A fun and attractive playroom