From Dingy to Bright and Functional
From the floors and ceiling to the walls and lighting, what was a dingy playhouse is now a bright place all about toys, crafting and reading. Get our tips to create your own cheerful and functional playhouse.
The Playhouse, Before
After years of neglect, this playhouse was unappealing to kids and parents alike. On a modest budget with a timeline of two weeks, it was reinvented as a classic, colorful place designed for pint-sized playmates.
Create Nearly Instant Architecture
Some ready-made playhouses are sold with plastic panel walls while others simply come with bare studs. For a quick and affordable wall upgrade, add 4X8' tongue-and-groove sheets of beadboard. Cut to size with a table saw, then attach each sheet directly to the studs using a nail gun. Then, sand the surface until smooth and add paint. Once installed, maintenance is a breeze, too: It's easy to clean and more durable than drywall.
Use Play-Proof Fabrics
Indoor-outdoor fabrics are ideal for playspaces designed for active kids. Add privacy and help control harsh sun rays with durable window coverings made from indoor-outdoor fabric. Although intended mostly for upholstery use, this graphic fabric works equally well for custom, kid-proof designer drapes.
Add Style on the Ceiling
Just because a playhouse is made for kids doesn't mean all of its design features must be 100 percent juvenile. Stylish ceiling fixtures are a great way to add parent-friendly sophistication since they’re typically out of reach of small hands. This indoor-outdoor chandelier made with shatterproof glass holds up to active kids since it’s made to withstand the elements.
Try Salvaged Style
Kids’ playhouses are the ideal spot to experiment with design elements that might seem too daring to attempt inside your home. Here, reclaimed wood floors installed as ceiling cladding add color, texture and pattern. To tie into the made-for-play vibe of this space, this ceiling is covered with gym floors salvaged from an Alabama middle school gymnasium.
Add a Reading Nook
Give kids a place to lay back and read books with basic bench seating. Pick up a bench from a retail store and place it below a window, or take the do-it-yourself approach and build a custom piece using 2x4' lumber and MDF (medium density fiberboard.) Take it one step further by adding a cushion made from stain- and water-resistant indoor-outdoor fabric.
Don't Forget Storage
Put the space below bench seating to good use with industrial wire baskets. These hardy organizers will allow your kids easy access to their favorite toys while keeping them concealed and neatly grouped together.
Choose Durable, Affordable Flooring
Since playhouses are meant for playing, they're not the place to splurge on fancy flooring. Instead, get playful with the basics by installing vinyl sheet flooring in a graphic pattern such as checkerboard or stripe.
Create a Crafting Spot
Give your kids a designated crafting area by repurposing an old coffee table as a kid-sized workstation. Stick with tables no taller than 19 inches high. Round tables are safest since they’re free of sharp edges. Add chalkboard paint on top of the table to create a built-in drawing surface.
Use Space-Saving Stackable Chairs
Space is at a premium inside playhouses, so it's important that every inch is used wisely. When choosing chairs for a craft table, stick with stackable styles that can be placed to the side when not in use.
Feature Budding Artists' Work
Let your kids be the inspiration for their playhouse’s art! Hold onto children’s school art projects, editing them down to a grouping that works well together. Frame the pieces with coordinating hues and display in groups on the wall.