We have this awesome little nook under the stairs in our apartment. The ceiling in the nook is really too low for an adult-sized human, but its perfect for a kiddo’s hideaway.
I think its really great for kids to have a space that is all their own. Somewhere that they can feel comfortable and at home in. Its also really great to have a space where the toys can be assigned to that isn’t the main living area. My kids toys always migrate into the other rooms, but at the end of the day they are always put back into the little toy nook.
I loved putting this tiny little nook together for Jude and Avonlea. Everything in the space was either thrifted or repurposed, so it didn’t cost me very much to put together. I wanted to do something fun, colorful, and inspiring. And I wanted lots of storage for toys and books and a little space to relax.
I was able to fit an old crib mattress in the little space under the stairs, so there is a cozy spot to read or relax (Jude has asked multiple times to take a nap in this spot.) There is a great Ikea shelf that holds books and toys. A used toy box from Good Will blocks the low window (it goes all the way to the floor and I didn’t want anyone leaning on it.) I found an classic town and roads rug at Salvation Army when Jude was a baby, and it fits perfectly in the space. And a stack of colorful pillows is perfect for sitting, jumping into, and fort making. I hung a string of patio lights on the ceiling because there wasn’t any light in the space after the sun went down, and some rainbow pompom garland add a fun flare. A simple washi tape sentiment encourages reading, or at least looking at the pictures. And old calendar pages add some color and fun drawings to an otherwise empty wall.
Here are my tips for setting up a playroom in a tiny space:
- Designate a space. You don’t need a ton of space, just a corner will do, but make it special and make it theirs. If kids feel a sense of ownership then they will be more inclined to play and hang-out in that space. It becomes their special spot. Their safe spot. If you are carving out a little nook within a larger room, curtains are a great way todo this.
- Be smart about storage. Baskets and buckets are really great catch-alls for balls, blocks, cars, and trains. Having assigned places for toys makes cleaning up so much easier for everyone!
- Create a special space. Hang some kid art, or some fairy lights to liven up a space.
- Add a rug for comfort and safety. I don’t know about you, but my kid is always falling and crashing into things, so a having a rug in his space is a must. He can’t slip on a run and he can’t ruin the hardwood floors.
- Make toys easily accessible. Kids live by the out-of-sight-out-of-mind rule. If they can’t see it they forget about it. To encourage creative play, make the toys visible and accessible. Have a step stool handy, or make sure everything is on a level that can be reached. That way there is not chance of kids trying to climb a bookshelf.
- Make cleaning up a daily routine, and make it fun. A small space can be a wonderfully cozy thing, but only if it is usable. And if there are toys everywhere it won’t be usable and said toys will be more likely to migrate into the other living spaces. Part of our bedtime routine is cleaning up ALL the toys in the house. Jude is perfectly able to clean up his toys by himself and sometimes he does, but other times I help him and we make a game out of it. These are the more pleasant evenings. If he is enjoying himself than the house gets picked up and everyone is happy.
- Purge, purge, purge! If there are toys that aren’t being played with or books that have been out grown, get rid of them. Same for broken toys, don’t keep things that your child doesn’t play with. It will just take up valuable real estate. If its something that has sentimental value, put it away in storage.
- It doesn’t have to be expensive. Everything in this room was either homemade, repurposed from another space, hand-me-downs, or thrifted. If its ugly paint it (I still think I might do that with the toy box.) The Dollar Store is a great place to find boxes, and plastic baskets. They break easier, but they are only a dollar so it’s not a big deal.
I got this room set up while Jude was out with the Hubby one morning. When he came home and saw the space his face lit up and he said, “Mommy, what you make for me?” It’s those moments, folks! Thats what makes being a crazy mama all worth it.
My kiddos love this playroom. Its a tiny space, but its all theirs. I love that the toys have a home that isn’t in my living room.
Here are a few more pictures just for fun
Do you have a playroom? What makes it work for your family?