Time for Playroom Ideas? Behold, This Checklist Has Everything You'll Need

If you're reading this, congratulations: You've already pulled off a beautiful nursery and gotten through those first months with a brand new baby. But now your baby is, well, not really a baby anymore, and it's time to make space for something else: playroom ideas.

The ideal playroom is a place of imagination and discovery, where little ones can play and grow. Here are a few of our favorite design ideas, and a handy list of essential must-haves, so you can create a whimsical wonderland for your little one.

Furniture

Bookcase

No kids' playroom idea is complete without a tiny library's worth of books to learn from and read again and again — plus a bookcase to hold them all. Look for an option that's low to the ground and perfectly sized for kiddos, so that they can reach with ease (Pro tip: Make sure all furniture is secured to the wall to prevent things from tipping over).

Table and Chairs

A table and chairs — in kid proportions — will become a hot spot for games, puzzles, and crafts. Stock with coloring supplies, construction paper, kid-friendly scissors, and stickers.

Comfy Seating

Equally important for afternoons curled up with chapter books is kid-friendly furniture, like a couch, sectional, daybed, or an armchair or two. Stock with plenty of throw blankets and pillows for maximum comfort (and for fort-making, of course).

Lighting

Reading or Standing Light

All playroom ideas need a reading lamp or two, for what else? Reading, coloring, working on projects, building things ... the list goes on and on.

Hanging Light

As with any room, a playroom needs layers of lighting. An overhead or ceiling fixture casts all-over light — so there's plenty of illumination for playtime at all hours of the day and night (until bedtime, of course.)

Play

Pick and choose a few playthings that kids can use their imagination with and make their own. Here are a few ideas:

Train Set

Because every playroom needs a train set.

Fort

There's nothing better than building a pillow-and-blanket fort on a rainy day. Or, get one you can leave up rain or shine. No grown-ups allowed.

Play Kitchen

A playroom idea must? Tiny kitchens. This essential is a fun addition for any and all genders to make-believe culinary masterpieces.

Blocks

Classic wooden blocks last forever, and they encourage free thinking and strengthen building skills. With some imagination, blocks can become anything: a tall tower, a dollhouse, a road, a boat, you name it. Watch out Frank Lloyd Wright!

Storage

Hooks in Playroom
credit: Amber Thrane

Baskets and Bins

Keep toys in order with plenty of baskets and bins. To make cleanup (and finding things) easy, label the front of each one clearly according to type — such as stuffed animals, board games, sports stuff, etc.

Toy Chest

A sturdy wooden toy chest provides good-looking, out-of-sight storage for bulkier toys — and a good-quality version can grow with your kids. When they're older, use it in their bedroom as a blanket chest or a spot for keepsakes.

Hooks and Pegs

Make tidying up easier for your tiny tots by hanging rows of wall hooks or pegs at their height for storing jump ropes, jackets, bags, and other hangable items. That way, when the kids come in, it's easy for them to hang things up and take them down for playtime.

Decor

Playroom in Pacific Palisades House by Chango & Co.
credit: Chango & Co.

Curtains

Fit playroom windows with curtains for privacy and in case there are any unplanned midday naps or movie nights. If you'd rather have blinds or shades, make sure they're cordless — hanging cords are a safety hazard for kids and toddlers.

Area Rug

An area rug might seem like a purely decorative item, and in most rooms, it is. But in the playroom, it's also where kiddos will spend most of their time, playing and lounging on the floor with books and games. Opt for something attractive in a kid-friendly pattern that is easy to clean — and make sure it's soft and comfortable, too. (Optional: Layer with a faux sheepskin.)

Floor Pillows

Don't forget a handful of oversize cushions, which make playing or reading on the floor so much more comfortable.

Garlands

Playroom ideas looks extra friendly with a garland or two — the more colorful and cheerful, the better.

Chalkboard or Bulletin Board

Paint a wall in chalkboard paint or hang an oversize bulletin board to allow kids to draw their own murals or hang art and decor to their heart's content. After all, the playroom should be a space where kids can arrange the decor themselves.

Artwork

Last but not least, hang some kid-friendly prints throughout, with their own creations peppered in the mix, too.


Annie Quigley

Annie Quigley is a freelance writer, editor, and poet whose work has appeared in Remodelista, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.