We all know how important play is for a child’s development. Although the concept of play is often sidelined for academic achievement, a child’s ability to use their imagination will shape their life from birth into adulthood. Besides, childhood is there to be enjoyed. Shouldn’t we be doing all we can to embrace the innocence and invention that accompanies the simple act of play? By creating a home environment that is both nurturing and fun, you’re already halfway there. The creation of a dedicated playroom or play area will only aid your child’s enjoyment and exploration of the world.
While they’re by no means exhaustive, the following five tips should help you on your way to creating the perfect playroom.
First thing’s first; it’s time to decide where your child’s dedicated play area is going to take shape. Older children will certainly benefit from having their own space and freedom, so consider converting a spare bedroom, or your conservatory, for such a purpose. Younger children, meanwhile, will want to be able to see you as they play – as you will want to keep an eye on them. Could you create a cubbyhole under your stairs, or dedicate a corner of your lounge or kitchen to play? With a little imagination and the right tools for the job, any space can become a play area. Now think about how that space is going to be used. Do you simply want to create a room for fun and play, or must this area also be used for study and family life? Your answer will help you to decide where to start and will form the basis of your perfect play area.
The first rule of the playroom is safety first, so investigate the various ways that you could be securing furniture, hiding electric wires, and protecting your children from hazards. Bookshelves and tall cupboards should be secured to the wall wherever possible, while wires should be contained within cable tidies, and breakables should be kept out of reach. Scour the room or play corner prior to letting your kids run riot, and ask yourself whether you’ve done enough to make the space safe. Are there electrical devices near to surfaces that tiny fingers will touch? Could a child become tangled in dangling fabrics or cables? Are tiny game pieces stored well away from little mouths? Now may also be a good time to investigate non-toxic paint, and to ensure that you’re decorating with materials that are child-safe.
Light it up!
Creating the right mood is easy when you know how to use light to your advantage, and designing a playroom is no different. Fairy lights, when hung out of reach, can invoke a magical, playful vibe, while coloured filters fixed over a lamp will help children to discover whole new worlds during sensory playtime. Natural light can be used in such a way, creating the illusion of space and freedom, and a feeling of peace and calm. It’s incredibly easy to control the flow of light into your play space and to add a whole new edge to the room. Solid panel window shutters, which are available in a range of colours, are effortlessly stylish and will complement an array of playroom themes. What’s more, they can be used to dim the brightest light of the day when your children wish to watch movies, and maintain a comfortable temperature within the playroom. Not bad for an accessory that many overlook.
Dream of themes
There are few interior design jobs quite as fun as decorating a playroom or dedicated play area, so allow your imagination to run wild wherever budget and time will allow it. Does your child have a favourite character or set of books? Are your children inspired by a particular environment, or in awe of a certain concept? Websites such as Pinterest and apps such as Instagram are filled to the brim with inspiration of every kind, enabling even the most daunted of parents to create an area that their children will cherish. The great thing about running with a theme is that your work can be as dazzling or subtle as you’d like; if you’ve got the space, go crazy, but if you’re limited to the corner of a room, choose colours and accessories that match the existing living space. There’s no reason why your children can’t claim that space for themselves.
Copyright: archidea / 123RF Stock Photo
Don’t forget storage solutions
When it comes to designing a play area, it’s so easy to forget storage, but you’re going to need a lot of it – particularly if your play area is nestled in the corner of a bigger room. Hanging baskets, under-the-stairs storage, and drawers that can be slotted into bigger cupboards are all useful to have, while your children may wish to have treasure chests, brightly coloured toy boxes, or shelving units of their very own. Your kids are never too young to learn about tidying away, after all. If you’re blessed with a spare room that you can transform into a playroom, invest in the kind of storage that features colourful boxes or baskets and hideyholes as this will create a fun game of clearing away. Otherwise, it’s time to get creative; pockets sewn into large pieces of fabric will make cute room tidies, and they can be hung almost anywhere.
You know your children better than anyone, and will be able to judge what they will and won’t enjoy; by all means, take inspiration from this blog and similar articles, but don’t allow your vision to be clouded by someone else’s dream for your playroom. Mess about with colour, accessorize, and think about the many hours of entertainment that are going to be had in that one dedicated space. Let your imagination run free and come up with something really special.