Whether you have a dedicated room or you’re trying to adapt a tiny corner somewhere in your home, planning and creating a playroom space can be exciting — but it can also feel a little overwhelming. Fear not. We have you covered with everything you need to know, do, and avoid when it comes to playroom ideas. The best part? It doesn’t matter what your budget or style is — there’s a good chance you’ll score some major cool points with your kiddo! 

Ready to have the best playroom on the block? Let’s get creative!

What should be in a playroom?

Big picture: A playroom should have everything your child needs to do just that — play. Toys and games, a comfy area for reading, a space to get creative with arts and crafts, etc. To decide exactly how to design the playroom, though, you should take a few things into consideration. How big is the space? What does your budget look like? How old is your child, and what are your child’s interests? Will this space be used for multiple kids of different ages? Those factors will determine essential things, such as the style of storage and decor to bring into the space. 

Here’s a closer look at some of the typical must-haves of a good playroom:

  • Comfortable, quick-to-install, and easy-to-clean flooring
    This could be a carpet, a rug, or one of those special rubberized floorings they promote for just such an occasion. The right choice will vary depending on the age of the child, but adding one to a space is always a great idea as it adds coziness, helps define the space in an open plan, and even protects children while playing, so they don’t accidentally get hurt.
  • Lots of storage
    To help keep the space tidy, you’ll need plenty of options for corralling the objects. Even the tidiest of kids tend to have a lot of stuff to keep up with. And let’s be real, most kids haven’t mastered the art of picking up after themselves at this point, right? Toy boxes are a must to make sure you don’t step on a LEGO® in the middle of the night. And guess what? They come in all sorts of cute sizes, shapes, and designs these days to match any theme or personality!
  • Pretty, but not precious decor
    You want the space to feel welcoming and cared for, but you don’t want to add decorative pieces that will easily break or that are too pricey to replace. Stick to cute yet durable items, and even consider using some toys as design elements.
Children playing with a chalkboard wall in their playroom
  • A chalkboard wall or some other type of board
    This is a great trick to keep kids away from your painted walls while also helping them feel like they have a little creative freedom. A wall that doubles as a board is a fun option for entertaining when other kids come over, too — and when you need to work through that tough homework problem together.
  • A reading nook
    A tiny corner with a comfy armchair or even a kids’ teepee with some pillows and throws can go a long way to introducing your little one to the wonders and joy of reading.
  • Toys and games
    This is a playroom after all, right? Be sure to keep things under control by selecting what toys make it into the space in the first place and which ones should be donated. Repeat this process periodically, as needed, and use our decluttering checklist and advice on how to get rid of junk after decluttering, if you need some easy-to-follow pointers. If you end up with a lot of toys and games that you want to keep but don’t want to keep out, consider stashing some in a nearby closet and putting them on a rotation schedule.
  • A table and some chairs
    Some sort of table and chairs will always be a great addition to a playroom space. These are great for when children are hanging out with friends, doing art projects, or even doing after-school homework — making your space work double-duty!
Insider Tip: To create the space you need for your playroom, you’ll likely need to do some decluttering. Consider having a PODS portable storage container delivered right to your driveway to use as a sorting station while you go through everything. Determined in the process that you’d like to store some stuff away? No problem! PODS will pick up the container and keep it at a secure storage center until you need it again.
A woman painting children's furniture outside her home

How do I create a playroom on a budget? 

Two words: double duty. Whether you’re on a small budget or not, making a plan is the key to a successful design and space that meets all your needs. That includes good storage and organization for toys, of course! Your best bet? Look for pieces that have more than one function.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to children’s furniture and storage for toys that work overtime but don’t break the bank when you’re looking for playroom ideas on a budget. Choose chairs with storage compartments and bookshelves with visually appealing designs that help you create extra storage space without the extra effort or expense, for example. And if you have any old objects you’ve been thinking about repurposing, it’s time to bring them out of storage. 

Another one of the top budget-friendly decorating playroom ideas? Incorporate your child’s artwork into the design. It will make the little one proud while saving you a ton of cash on meaningless, mass-produced artwork you’ll be sick of in a couple of years (or less).

An organized playroom with a kids table and bookshelf

How do you create a playroom that will grow with your child?

If you have the space for it, creating a good foundation means that you will be able to tweak things as your kid grows and needs some changes here and there. Try to stay away from specific children’s furniture and colors. How can you do that in a children’s space while still making it welcoming and fun, you ask? Use toys and books as decor accents and keep the furniture in neutral colors and designs. That way, as your child grows, you’ll just intuitively replace the items they no longer use, and the space will stay “fresh” and updated at all times without much extra effort or expense.

Another pro tip? If you can afford the higher prices of higher-quality furniture and have the space, invest in some solid base pieces that could be painted and rearranged to get a completely different look and feel when the time comes. Solid wood stools, chests, and bookshelves are items made to last that are also relatively easy to sand and refinish, so they’re a good option if you’re open to some future updates that may require some work but will, in exchange, help you avoid the need to repurchase an existing item.

. . . don’t forget that a nice rug will very easily help you divide spaces inside of a home . . .

How do you build a playroom in a small space?

So what do you do if you have very limited space? Simply marry some creativity with practicality, and you’ll be surprised at how many small playroom ideas you can come up with!

In the section above, we wrote down that time-proofing a playroom is a great idea if you have the space. But if you don’t, now is the time to take advantage of how compact children’s furniture can be. It’s understandably hard to resist the urge, but this is not the time to go big or go home if you’re dealing with a room the size of a closet.

When it comes to playroom ideas for small spaces, it’s also crucial to look for effective toy storage ideas and other storage solutions for items that can create physical and visual clutter. Make sure to check out our storage hacks for small spaces for all those things that are better put away when not in use.

Likewise, take all the previous tips and “shrink” them, and don’t forget that a nice rug will very easily help you divide spaces inside of a home if the small space you’re working with is just a corner somewhere.

Playroom pro now? It’s time to tackle another space! Make sure to visit the PODS Blog for even more guides for everything related to making the most of your home or making the move to a new one!

Ivonne Spinoza is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. Her work has appeared in Matador Network, PBS’ Independent Lens, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. When she’s not snuggling her cats, she’s either Kondo-ing someone’s life or fighting jet lag at some airport.

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