Low-Cost, High-Impact Ways to Dress Up a Playhouse

Add big style to a kids' backyard playhouse with budget-friendly do-it-yourself updates.

A Playhouse Makeover

Thanks to pressure-washing, fresh paint, simple planter boxes and a small entry deck, what was once considered an embarrassment is now the star of this backyard.

The Playhouse, Before

Weather, leaves, dust, dirt and grime can take their toll on playhouse exteriors, rendering them unsafe or in need of major repair. After nearly five years of neglect, this cottage-style playhouse had become dingy, unattractive and more of an eyesore than a focal point. Rather than tearing it down, the homeowners decided to update it with simple do-it-yourself tricks.

Clean It Up

Pressure-washing is quick, easy and inexpensive thanks to rental models at home improvement stores. Hook up the pressure washer to the home's exterior water supply. Steadily press down the handle of the pressure washer, keeping the nozzle at least 8 inches from the wall's surface, until the layers of dust, dirt and grime are gone. Allow all exterior surfaces to thoroughly dry before updating with paint.

Rejuvenate the Roof

Pressure-washing the roof of a playhouse will instantly make it feel years newer. Anytime you're pressure-washing a roof, it's important to have a friend or helper assist in holding the ladder.

Spray On a New Hue

An excellent, cost-effective way to speed up the painting process of a playhouse exterior is with an HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) paint sprayer. This not only ensures a shorter project timeline, but also results in a better end result. Paint sprayers have fine misting tips which dispense paint in controlled, even layers — something much harder to accomplish with brushes and rollers.

Color-Coordinate Your Playhouse

Playhouse interiors are all about the kids, but the exterior palette should be grown-up enough for the whole family to enjoy. Consider painting the exterior of a playhouse in the same palette as the main house, or try classic hues ultra white, dove gray, blue-gray and earthy green.

Add an Accent Color

Exterior trim is an excellent way to play with color and contrast while keeping a playhouse sophisticated and well-coordinated with an adjacent main house. Here, black trim highlights the playhouse windows.

Don't Forget the Flowers

Cheerful window boxes planted with colorful tulips add color and life to this backyard playhouse.

Choose a Playful Door Hue

While exterior and trim colors should hint toward the sophisticated, the door is the perfect place to go bold. Red, navy blue, black, charcoal and olive green are all playful enough for kids, yet chic enough for adults.

Upgrade the Roof

This playhouse's existing shingled roof looked dingy and dated. Replacing it with an affordable, easy-to-maintain tin roof provided added color and style. Once installed, tin can be changed to the color of your choice using DTM (direct to metal) paint applied with a paint sprayer.

Add an Outdoor Space

Add instant square footage to a teensy-weensy playhouse with a child-sized entry deck. An outdoor space ensures year-round use, and helps a child bring more playmates into the fun. Instead of staining the decking boards, use paint to carry on the color scheme of the playhouse directly onto the deck.

Pint-Sized Seating

Outdoor seating adds sweet style to the playhouse, while providing a reading perch or a spot for Mom and Dad to keep a watchful eye on backyard play.

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