School holidays are important for parents and kids alike. Parents enjoy a welcome break from the morning school rush and often chaotic routine, while the kids have a chance to reconnect with their imaginations, hang with BFFs and develop their own individuality.
As parents, the team at Designbx understand the importance of having a ‘kids zone’ in the home, especially at this time of year when the weather is unpredictable. Here are their top tips for creating an area where the kids can run amok without taking over the whole house.
1. Define the parameters
Whether it’s a cordoned section of an existing room or a completely separate space, ideally you can close the door and forget about what lies behind. Being able to leave it ‘as is’ allows the kids to pick up where they left off tomorrow. But not everyone has the luxury of that amount of extra space.
A great alternative is to incorporate an activities area into an existing living room. This is easily done by painting a wall or corner of the room in a different, but complementary colour that makes the kids feel like the space is theirs to enjoy.
You could also get hold of some butchers paper, markers, old magazines, scissors and some glue, and the kids can create some collages that can be stuck up with Blu-Tack to personalise their space.
2. Make it fun, but functional
Designbx’s Elise Finnerty loves the challenge of creating practical but enjoyable spaces that suit kids and grown-ups alike. The popular designer has a knack for transforming existing spaces and giving them a new lease on life. “A fabulous play area will only work if your children actually love to play in it!’ Elise says. ‘It should be functional, fun and inviting to accommodate a variety of different tasks. This will spark their little imaginations and ensure the play area is a designated happy and creative space.
Storage boxes and drawers are for storing toys, lego and paints. If you’re lucky, the kids will pack up before bed and let mum and dad enjoy their space again for the evening (until the madness starts again in the morning).
3. Use your walls
For a permanent kids space, consider painting a wall with chalkboard paint so the kids can get creative with chalk (you can source some dustless chalk for less clean up). Chalkboard paint comes in an array of colours these days, so you don’t have to be limited to black either.
Wallpaper can also be a fun and colourful addition, and something like the world map or dinousaurs can be educational at the same time. Or for something small-scale, wall stickers are a great option.
4. Add some furniture
Furniture wise, a small table and chairs where they can sit to draw, do craft, mould Play-Doh or play a board game will be useful. Make sure you have a well stocked bookshelf to feed those growing minds, and add some colourful beanbags in the perfect spot for reading and quiet contemplation. With their bright colours and patterns, cushions always add a fun vibe, and a soft low-pile rug is the ideal place to sit, read or get busy creating a Lego world.
5. Handy extras
Music will help keep kids focussed on activities within the room. There’s no need to panic about this investment – there are music players available to suit all budgets.
A TV with media streaming capabilities or an Apple TV will be an inevitable requirement so kids young and old can snuggle in for some quiet time with a movie or two.
Final touches might include some lighting such as a floor lamp, a hardy indoor plant to bring some of the outdoors in, and why not finish off with a pet fish?
6. Embrace change
According to Elise, the art of transforming our rooms to reflect seasonal changes is something we’ll all need to get used to. “Having multi-functional spaces in the home has become increasingly more popular due to our ever changing lifestyles,’ she says. ‘If you don’t have the extra space in your home to have an actual separate area, you can easily create a temporary room-within-a-room using existing furniture to section off areas (such as your sofa or side table) or even by using a screen or curtain. Keeping the space simple and uncluttered will allow flexibility on how to use the space on a day-to-day basis. If using existing furniture to separate an area, remember to always consider your children’s safety.”
Special offer: Use the promo code INSIDEOUT25 to receive 25% off kids and nursery design packages from Designbx. Valid for April 2017 only.
All images showcase a playroom designed by Elise Finnerty, Designbx.