If you have an unfinished basement space that you want to renovate, one of the options you can consider is to create the perfect playroom for your children. This is an especially good choice if you have a large family and your kids don’t have a separate space for playing. How do you build a room that will be any kid’s dream while still sticking to a budget? Here are some tips you can use:
Tip #1: Turn to your children for inspiration.
Before you start planning, brainstorm a wish list with your children. Even three or four a child as young as three or four can tell you some of his or her biggest dreams when it comes to a playroom. Your child can also help you pick a theme or color scheme, but keep in mind that what is awesome today may be uncool tomorrow. So, unless you have the money to redo the décor every few years, stay away from themes that can’t grow as your child’s interests change, or as your family welcomes new babies into the home who may be of a different gender or have different interests.
Tip #2: Create a stage.
All children love to be stars, even if they’re shy. When no one’s watching, even the most stage-fright little girl will don a princess dress and some of Mommy’s high heels and pick up the hairbrush to use as a mic. Making a permanent stage in your playroom basement is a great way to inspire your children to be creative. You don’t need to do more than hang some simple curtains and build a raised platform, but if you really want it to get use, consider a half-curtain option as well for children who want to do puppet shows.
Tip #3: Think about tented spaces.
Kids love small spaces where they can crawl inside and feel like they’re away from the watchful eyes of grownups. Tents are always a big hit, and so a tented area in your playroom that can remain in place all the time is a great way to inexpensively create a fun space for children. If your budget is a bit larger, you can instead consider a small playhouse, castle, or fort build with wood and tented ceilings. You can design your own, or you can look at kits available for kid’s décor stores. Check out the options made for exteriors—there’s no rule that says they can’t be built inside instead.
Tip #4: Make clean-up easy.
No matter how careful your kids may be, accidents happen, and there’s bound to be spills and messes. You want to make your playroom as durable as possible so that these accidents aren’t major problems. This should be a place where you kids can have fun, so you don’t want to restrict foods, drinks, and craft supplies just because you’re afraid of cleaning. Look for products that are made for kids’ rooms or outdoor areas. For example, if you use a gloss paint made for children’s spaces, fingerprints will wipe clean with ease. Choose a carpet that’s easy to vacuum in a color that doesn’t stain easily, and consider chalkboard paint to make the walls (or at least, part of the walls) not only fun, but extremely easy to clean.
Tip #5: Have a place for every toy.
Along with durability, it is important to create a space that is organized. While you may put your playroom in the basement in order to keep your guests’ eyes away from a tornado of toys, your children should learn to put away their things before they go to bed every night. This is easier if every toy has a space. Instead of just having one big bin, create shelving with many smaller bins, and organize toys so that you can quickly find what you want in the future.
Tip #6: Soft surfaces are key.
With any child’s room, safety is important, and this starts with soft surfaces. It is tempting to put in tile that can be swept or washed easily, but a playroom is a place where a lot of falls will occur over the years. Put in the thickest padding you can afford and carpet the basement. This will also help as a sound buffer, whereas tile floor will make everything sound louder. You also want to provide soft surfaces for your children when they want to just lounge, read, watch a video, or slow down for a few moments. Beanbag chairs, giant floor pillows, and other soft options that are low-to-the ground work well, especially if your basement is on the small side.
Tip #7: Consider the space transitional.
Lastly, keep in mind that your children won’t be toddlers forever. Along with staying away from childish themes that won’t last as they grow, think about how the space can evolve to accommodate preteens, teenagers, and even young adults coming home from college for the weekend. If you plan for transition from the start, it will be a lot less expensive when your son or daughter finally decides that he or she is too old for toys.