If you have kids, you know that they come with a lot of stuff and they need a place to play with it all. If toys have overtaken your living room and you can’t eat at the dining room table because of this week’s puzzle, it may be time to consider carving out an area in your home to use specifically as a playroom. But where? In many cases, using an area of the basement is ideal as there is generally the most unclaimed space in that part of the house. If you have had any foundation repairs or basement waterproofing done previously, this will make the addition of your playroom quicker and easier.
Safe and healthy
First of all, any basement renovation should start with being sure that the basement is dry and free of mold. If you have any concerns about this, talk to an expert who can advise you as to whether you’ll need to undertake basement waterproofing, foundation repairs or mold remediation.
When choosing finishes like paint and flooring, talk to your retailer about using low VOC (volatile organic compound) finishes so that there is little or no off-gassing from the materials.
You will also want your children’s play area to be child proofed by making sure electrical sockets are covered and that there are no locks on the door to avoid accidental lock-ins. Consider furniture with rounded corners for fewer bumped heads and toes.
Once the basics of the renovation are completed, you’ll have to choose finishes for the room. You will want durable, easy to clean and maintain flooring that is comfortable to play on. Consider laminate or vinyl flooring in the messy areas and use carpet tiles, area rugs or specialized foam floor tiles in the areas where your kids will be sitting and playing on the floor. Nobody wants to sit on a cold concrete basement floor to build their block towers.
A key element that is often overlooked in playrooms is lighting. Of course you want to offer your kids as much natural light as possible, but you will surely have to supplement it with overhead lighting. Chances are, the occasional beach ball will be lobbed around the room so you may want to avoid table lamps or pendant fixtures; recessed lighting provides lots of light while being tucked up and out of the way. Think about using light bulbs that mimic natural sunlight.
The playroom is a place to inspire creativity and learning: this is one room in the house where you can be bold with decorating, paint colors, etc. Of course, you don’t want to use every color in the rainbow or it may be overwhelming for your little ones. Using a glossy or semi-gloss paint will ensure that your walls are more easily washed than if you use a flat finish. To make it a place where your kids want to spend lots of time, add corkboards, chalkboards and inexpensive frames to display your little masters’ artwork or images that inspire them.
Set up Different Zones
Think of the activities that will take place in the room, for example, physical play, creative play, and reading. Kids need ample space to spread out and enjoy themselves and each of their activities. They need room to run around, build, tussle, and maybe even ride their tricycle down there in the wintertime. Another area should have a table and chairs for drawing, doing crafts and playing board games. It may even host a tea party or two. There could be a cozy reading corner, with a comfy chair, beanbag or pile of cushions and a bookshelf.
Organization and storage are key elements of any playroom otherwise the room will get so cluttered your children won’t be able to play in it. Set up the storage so that it is at “kid height”, that way it is accessible to them and they can take out and put away their own toys. There are lots of storage solutions out there; you’ll want bookshelves, small baskets for tiny toys and larger boxes, bins, baskets or toy boxes for the larger things. Each of the baskets or bins should be labeled so that things are easy to find and put away. If your kids aren’t old enough to read yet, you could put a picture of the toys that live in each basket.
However you set up your playroom, think long term and make it a versatile room that will grow with your kids. It should be easy to update in a few years with just a coat of paint, a desk to study at and probably a comfy hangout area.