How to Create the BEST Playroom in a Small Space
I knew that I wanted to have a great play space for my son, but we have a small house so I also knew that I wanted it to be something that fit in well with our decor. We don’t have a finished basement and only rent a two bedroom single level space. His bedroom could potentially be considered a play space, but I also knew this would be tricky once we moved him to a bed (would he stay up all night playing? probably, ha!). I decided that I could split our living room up into sections and easily make a office space, sitting space, and play space. Granted they would all be fairly small, but it was possible. Here’s how I did it…
Below is a view of how the space is split in half. Half sitting area, half play.
Buy Multipurpose Toys:
My first suggestion to getting a great play space in a small room is to buy toys that are open ended and multipurpose. Two of our absolute favourite items are the small rainbow rocker and climbing board by Wiwiurka Toys and the bobbin triple play centre by Thee Pears. Yes these are costly items but the quality is impeccable, they’re both created by small family owned companies, and they fit in so well with the rest of our decor. The Wiwiurka rocker can be used as a climbing arch, a slide, a balance board, a rocker, or even flipped on it’s side to be a pretend store front or anything else your child can imagine. We opted for the small rocker on purpose as it was pretty much the only size that could fit our space. I worried that it might be too small and not as useful, but honestly it’s the perfect size. The bobbin starts off as a baby play station with a seat in its center, then moves to a toddler table with a chalkboard insert, then to a child’s table with storage for art supplies. Both are extremely durable and have withstood a lot of rough play. Definitely pieces we will have for generations. Buying toys that can be used in multiple ways and cater to your child’s imagination means more entertainment and less space used.
Use Storage Baskets:
This one’s probably pretty obvious but using all of the space you’re given is key. We added storage bins underneath our bamboo couch so that we could have more floor space for play. The other important thing is that we have open bins. These may look messier (especially if they’re not organized or filled too much) but I find that open bins allows Theo to see his toys and thus he plays with them more. Also, making sure that they can be pulled out easily is key as toddlers often give up fast. At least mine does, ha!
Another suggestion that I really see everywhere is to rotate toys and this one is essential. Not only for a small space as rotating toys just brings things back to life for a child who might have gotten bored. However, from a small space perspective this is great because it means less toys can be on display at a time. I bet you have storage somewhere like under a bed, an unfinished basement, even hidden under your couch. Just find a container and store some of your child’s toys and rotate them every month or so. Trust me you’ll thank me later.
Use a Rug:
Something to help divide the space allows your child to see boundaries with where they can play and dump out their massive block bin. It also helps with pets as my dog knows that the blue rug is where Theo plays and he shouldn’t sleep there. You could use a rug or foam tiles, there are many different options from all price points. You can also accomplish this with a room divider, and I did add one to my space, however they can block a lot of light so exercise caution. I have mine not stretched out all the way and it has sheer curtains to help bring in light.
Don’t Forget the Adults:
The space is so small, and yes I have it sectioned off to be a play space, but this doesn’t mean I don’t want it to flow with the rest of my house. Because of this I added floating shelves on the large wall, but instead of placing toys I have it styled with items I find pleasing. Theo also can’t reach them, at least not yet, so there really isn’t much point to putting toys up there. The other part I love about the play space is that I added this bamboo couch. Yes, I could have gotten a bit more floor space for Theo if it wasn’t there, but it has been amazing when inviting over friends for play dates. We can easily sit, chat, drink a cup of coffee while our kids play on the floor in front of us. I’m sure as Theo and his friends get older they’ll get a bit rowdier and we will want to sit somewhere else, but I’m sure it will become a great addition to his imaginative play, which brings me to my final thought:
New studies have shown that flexible seating in classrooms is providing students with so many benefits. I even once heard someone say that modern classrooms look more like a Starbucks! If you want to read more into flexible seating benefits try this article. Having unique places for your child to sit, lay, climb, explore is crucial to a great play space. This is also why I love having the bamboo couch. I also like having my Mohr Living floor poufs integrated into the space (shameless plug). They are a great option for kids to sit and read on, jump on, and for us old people to comfortably sit on the floor.