Create a Kid's Playroom
Does your entire home seem like big playhouse for your kids? Why not transform one of your rooms into a place where your children can play together, store their toys or simply have a fun, creative space to call their own?
Creating a playroom for your children is an exciting project that stirs the imagination and offers the opportunity for the whole family to get involved in do-it-yourself decorating and designing.
Look no further than your local True Value hardware store for all the tools, products and expert advice you need to get started and then complete the easy-to-follow steps below.
Step 1. Measure Your Space
Once you have chosen the new playroom, determine how much space you have to work with by measuring the room wall-to-wall with a tape measure. This will help you later when adding furniture, storage units, etc. Measure doors, closets and built-ins from the outside trim in. You also need to measure the width and height of the windows. Measure the window dimensions inside the trim in case you want to add any kind of drapes, shades or blinds. Measure the ceiling height too – you don't want to get storage units or other furniture pieces that are too tall or big for the room. Make sure you write down all measurements.
Step 2. Create a Theme or Design
This part is fun, easy and a great activity to do with your kids. What are their interests? Get their input and together you can decide how to paint and decorate. Whether it's sports, princesses, fantasy or cute animals, a common theme or design is essential to pulling everything in the room together. Remember, as much as it's a place to keep toys and activities centrally located, the room should be just as aesthetically pleasing as the other rooms in your house.
- Design the room with your child's age in mind and how the space can grow with them as they progress through their early growth stages. Babies and toddlers require specific needs that are different from pre-K and school-age children. Infants and toddlers enjoy soft, comfortable surfaces and like to explore their environments. In later stages, kids like more imaginative play and more challenging games and activities.
Step 3. Zone It Out
Using the measurements you took in the first step, decide how you can divide the room into different areas, or zones, each with its own activity. For example, if your child likes to draw or color, you can delegate a corner as an "art" area and set up an easel or table with crayons, markers, paints, chalk, etc. The same goes for a reading area with a bookcase and a cozy place to relax and read (or look at pictures), with a rug, beanbags or pillows. Set up a section for creative "pretend-play" where kids can use their imaginations, playing dress-up, "house" or "school" with kitchen and playhouse sets.
- Don't cram in too much stuff. Be sure to leave a good amount of open space in the room for them so they can move around and play with their toys. Keeping in mind, they're kids, so they don't need as much room as you do.
Step 4. Organize
While it might not seem like it at times, children desperately want order and routine. Knowing what goes where, and where a toy will be when they want it, provides structure and peace of mind for them — and you!
The types of storage solutions available to you are endless, but for them to serve their purpose, you must choose the ones that best fit your needs and the room itself. Common favorites for storing toys and other belongings include built-in cabinets, shelving (either bookshelf-type or wall-attached) and toy boxes. Plastic or wooden cube storage units have been gaining in popularity recently – think "cubby holes" like at kindergartens and elementary schools. These units are versatile because you can store toys and other items inside the cubes or on top of the unit for even more storage. They often are modular and can be shaped to fit the room any way desired. Another advantage is that the items they store remain visible so children can find what they want and put the items away easily.
- Children prefer to see and access all of their toys easily, so try to make sure your storage solutions are see-through and things are easy to reach. You can put large toys inside a toy chest, but action figures and dolls and their accompanying small parts and accessories should be in transparent plastic caddies/totes or buckets that are labeled and easily accessible on lower shelves. Zipper bags are another great solution for storage. Put small pieces in these and then store them in the plastic totes.
While looking for a place to stow their things and contain the clutter, keep in mind that the room is supposed to be a place for them to play. Don't overcrowd it just to get toys out of other rooms in your house. Have your kids help sort through the toys to see what they love, like and what they can do without. Put the toys they love in toy boxes, bins or caddies that will be placed in the storage units and on shelves. The toys they don't want any longer can be donated to a charity of your choice.
- If there are toys they like but don't play with as much as other toys and you don't want to overfill the playroom, try rotating toys in and out of the playroom every month or two to add variety to their playtime.
Step 5. Paint the Room
Once you've selected a theme, re-painting the walls is the next step to creating a play-haven for your little ones. Your choices for colors are limitless. Use a vibrant color to convey playfulness and spark imagination. Visit truevaluepaint.com or your local True Value hardware store for inspiration and ideas. Before you paint, cover furniture and the floor with drop cloths or tarps. Use painter's tape to cover woodwork, outlets and light switches. Using a sponge, clean wall surfaces with mild detergent and water.
Next, prime and paint the walls. Apply a coat of EasyCare latex primer so paint will adhere and wear better. Next, paint your base color with True Value EasyCare® paint using a 2½" brush. Paint around the ceiling fixtures and along the edge where the ceiling meets the walls. A quality paint tray and roller will make the rest easy. Paint in 6-ft. square sections, using a zigzag pattern or overlapping ''W'' strokes. Move from right to left, then left to right, spreading evenly with horizontal strokes. Use a brush to fill in any gaps. Apply two coats to ensure maximum coverage.
Consider adding texture and personality to the room by using paint stencils and stamps. Simple block letters can be used to create fun phrases that match the theme you've chosen. Purchase premade designs for stencils or, for a custom approach, make them yourself by tracing a design onto a sheet of acetate and cutting out the panels with a utility knife. To use the stencil, secure it to the wall with painters tape. Using a small amount of latex paint and a round brush, stipple or swirl on the color. Reposition the stencil as often as needed. If you're making a long border, measure and mark the stencil locations with chalk beforehand.
To make easy stamps, trace your desired design onto a mouse pad. Cut it out with a utility knife and glue the pieces fabric-side out onto a piece of Plexiglas®. Cover the bottom of a shallow pan with your chosen color of True Value EasyCare® latex paint and stamp away as you would with a rubber stamp.
You're done! You've created not only a playroom and place to keep toys out of your other rooms, but a fun room your kids can enjoy for years to come. Visit your local True Value hardware store for all the tools, products, and expert advice you need to start right.
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