DIY: Create Your Little One’s Dream Playroom

One of the most precious parts of childhood is the time spent immersed in a world of imagination. Play time these days can involve a lot of flashing lights and computer screens, but there’s still nothing as wonderful as time spent with toys, games and friends really learning to play.

And what better place to do that than a dedicated playroom?

You can make your child or grandchild’s time in your home a memorable one by creating the ultimate playroom in your home. All it takes is a little imagination on your part, and you can provide a safe, creative space for fun. You’ll also put your house at the top of the list of wonderful places to spend play time. These decorating ideas work equally well for parents and grandparents alike, so consider what your child’s interests and choose one of these great themes for a playroom they’ll remember forever.

Choose Your Theme

Every great playroom has a theme. Sure, you could just choose a favorite color for the walls, add a toy chest and be done with it, but the way to really ignite your child’s imagination is to create a whole world of favorite things. If you make the room feel like it’s a separate, cozy spot away from it all, you’ll encourage more independent thinking — and a whole lot of fun. Here are three of our favorite themes for kids, plus ways to turn your playroom into something truly special.

The Great Outdoors


When in doubt, every kid loves to be outside, so this theme is always a winner. No matter how you choose to bring the outdoors inside, you’ll create some space for active play — even on a rainy day.

  • Go for the Green: Suggesting an outdoor scene can be as easy as painting the walls green and the ceiling an unexpected sky blue. Add glow-in-the-dark star stickers to the ceiling for a little extra magic at sleepovers, too. Once your paint has dried, try creating an accent wall with tree or flower decals. These are so easy to use: they’re just giant stickers for your room, so peel and place a wonderful mural to really set the scene.
  • Create a Hideaway: A cozy spot to read a book is always welcome. A small play tent designed to work indoors can be tucked into a corner — outfit the inside with a basket of books and a flashlight, and your child can pretend to be on a camping trip or jungle safari. If your room is smaller, a simple cushion or bean bag chair will do the trick. Add a leaf canopy or two from Ikea to create the sense of sitting under a shady tree.
  • Get Active: It’s easier than you think to add an indoor swing to your playroom. You’ll need a couple of eye bolts and a stud in the ceiling to secure the swing before use. You can also encourage play by adding a loft platform with a ladder or climbing wall to get to the top: An indoor tree house is a cute way to add levels and keep kids moving.

The Music Room


If your little ones love to play music, give them a place to practice and to pretend to be the rock stars that they are.

  • Build a Stage: Set the scene for impromptu concerts by adding a raised platform to a corner of the playroom. This can be simple plywood, or you can paint it their favorite color and outfit the area with drapes and a curtain rod to encourage puppet shows and home movies. Don’t forget to add comfortable, plush cushions for the audience!
  • Decorate with Musical Instruments: Instead of keeping instruments in their cases, invest in the right stand for each and keep them on full display. This will encourage budding musicians to experiment whenever the mood strikes. And don’t worry if you haven’t invested in heirloom-quality violins and trumpets just yet, this idea works just as well for toy instruments.
  • Add a Kid-Friendly Sound System: An old radio will work, but most kids keep their music on an iPod or smartphone these days. You can choose a colorful — and durable — speaker and docking station setup for kids to play their favorite tunes in the playroom. For singers, try the Disney Spotlight Karaoke app to get the party started.

The Great Beyond


If your kids are out of this world, send them there! An outer space theme for a playroom is sure to fire up the imagination and lead to loads of imaginative adventures exploring far-off galaxies.

  • Reach for the Stars: Paint this playroom a dark blue — ceiling, too! — and get a whole lot more of those glow-in-the-dark star stickers we mentioned before, because this time you need to decorate the ceiling and all four walls. If you alternate between glow-in-the-dark stars and metallic star decals, you’ll have the perfect look during the day and at night.
  • Ride a Rocket Ship: To help your child get into all those imaginative adventures, build a rocket ship for them to climb into. If you’re really handy, this could be built with wood and topped off with a ladder to the cockpit. If you’re looking for something that requires a little less handiwork, go for the cardboard version. Don’t forget to decorate the inside with some fun buttons and a radar screen!

These are just a few ideas to turn a playroom into an amazing retreat that’s guaranteed to become a favorite hideaway for your kids or grandkids. You can paint the room in a weekend and outfit it with toys and accessories the following weekend — if you’re in a rush to reveal your big surprise sooner, it’s possible to bang this project out in a long weekend of work if you start painting on Friday evening to get a head start. No matter which theme you choose or how elaborate you decide to make your playroom, every child appreciates a space that’s just for him or her in the middle of a busy adult world. So what are you waiting for? Grab that can of paint and get started!