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Playroom Ideas: Allow Creative Growth

Updated on February 28, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Creative playroom ideas allow creative growth in children. It is no secret that children love creative spaces and thrive in them. Bright colors, bold designs, and fantasy themes capture their imaginations and create whimsical spaces in which they can play, learn, and grow. Sometimes, when you are staring at four white walls, with a window and a door cut in them it can e difficult to envision the space of your child’s dreams.

Finances can certainly play a role in the ultimate design of your child’s play environment. Obviously a playroom that was created with a six figure budget will look much different from one that was put together on a shoestring but with some creativity even a very frugal makeover can be exciting, interesting, and fun. Paint is very inexpensive and will be the main ingredient to your playroom makeover. When you are creating an environment in which children will spend much of their time it is important to use as many earth friendly materials as possible.

  • Low or no VOC paints
  • Non toxic, sustainable flooring materials like reclaimed wood, linoleum, or certain installations of bamboo
  • Organic fabrics and rugs

Most people will have to work around what they already have so consider the room first.


The Foundation

The foundation of your new, creative play space will be the structure of the room itself.  Make notes of the positive aspects of the space. 

  • Is it sunny and spacious? 
  • Is there a beautiful view?
  • Are there interesting architectural features?
  • Is  there a closet or built in cabinets for storage?

Look carefully at what you have to work with.  No space is perfect and few spaces are so bad that they can’t be used.  If finances allow you may want to consider adding storage to a room that doesn’t have it, or a window (or skylight) to a  dark room. 

The next thing to consider is how the space will be used.

Allow for Play

You will need to plan for play when recording your playroom ideas. Allow creative growth with an open floor plan, lots of empty space, and surfaces which are easily cleaned. Spend some time talking to your child and observing how he plays, and what he play with. Ask about favorite colors and his ideas for decorating his space. A room that he has had a hand in creating will be more meaningful and more likely to be used.

  • Linoleum, marmoleum, or wood floors allow for easy clean up of play-do, spilled paint, or glue.
  • Vinyl covered furniture or slip covers make dirt disappear.
  • Low shelves and storage spaces mean children can organize their things easily.
  • Keep light switches at a child’s level if possible.
  • Create centers by keeping similar things with similar things.
  • Do not rely on overhead lighting. The better the lighting the more useable the space.
  • Use washable paints.

Once you have decided on what materials and colors you will use then it is time to start thinking about a theme. Although you may have a beautiful, historic Victorian home it is likely that your child will want something quite different.

Paint and Decoration

Paint can be used to create murals, graffiti, or geometric shapes on the walls. If you don’t feel up to channeling your inner Picasso you may want to consider hiring an artist to paint the walls. This is not as expensive as you might think. Check the art department at your local community college. These students are often talented and thrilled to make some money in their chosen field. It is also a help to them to add to their portfolio for future commissions.

You can, with the help of your child, actually create an interesting border around the room. Buy several pints of paint in different colors and have your child make handprints around the wall about three to four feet up from the floor. Have him use a variety of colors in a random design.

Paint Splattering

Paint splattering is another fun wall treatment. You will need to put your child in old clothes and cover the floor with painters canvas or plastic. You will also want to have a fresh pair of slippers outside the room so that paint does not get tracked through the rest of the house. You will probably want several colors for this as well. Thin the paint a little with some water. Dip the brush in the paint and swing the brush toward the wall, holding it tightly. The paint will splatter off the brush and on to the wall in random sized dots and drips.

Specialty Paints

Blackboard, magnetic paints, and glow in the dark paints are all great additions to a playroom. You can create a glow in the dark night sky or an entire space theme that will come alive when the lights go off. Magnetic paints have no color, but can be painted over with any latex paint. This will allow your child to stick anything to the wall with magnets. Blackboard paint allows creativity without ruining the walls and is a great solution for the child who writes on the walls.

Organization and Storage

Storage can be as simple as baskets that can be lined up on a set of shelves.  Label each with the items that should be inside:

  • Barbie clothes
  • Legos
  • Dinosaurs
  • Puzzles

It is also a good idea to make a tag to hang on the outside of the basket with a picture of what should go in it if you have nonreaders.   This helps them to categorize their toys and put them in the right places without help.

One of the most important things to add to the playroom is a book shelf and a comfy place to read.  Access to books  will help  foster a love of reading that  can last a lifetime.  Studies have shown that children who are read to and who have access to books and libraries learn to read more easily.  Place a bean bag chair or some floor pillows close by to create a reading nook.

Allow It to Grow

Create the space in such a way that it can grow with your child. Paint is inexpensive and can be changed but permanent structures are permanent. In other words, you might want to think twice before you build an indoor skateboard ramp in the playroom.

Having a versatile and creative space for your child to play, dream, and create is a great way to encourage his growth and creativity, while your expensive carpet is safe from felt tip and gue.


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