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Toddler Playroom Ideas

Toddler Playroom Ideas

Over the past few months it’s become clear that we need a playroom. For a while I thought we’d be fine with our setup in the living room. Then, as toys started to take over, we moved more of the play stuff to Liam’s bedroom which seemed like a good solution but unfortunately, it turns out that didn’t really work for us either. His bedroom is on the second floor which is a great play area when I’m trying to fold laundry or tidy up the bedrooms but it’s just not ideal for most parts of day-to-day life (particularly at the age he’s at where more than a few seconds out of sight is panic inducing). We needed a true playroom that was dedicated to all things toddler but still close enough to the heart of the house that it wasn’t too far from the action. With that, we’ve made the decision to turn our infrequently used first floor guest room into a true playroom. The space was just too valuable for how often someone actually slept in there and even in it’s current state, it had already sort of unofficially become Liam’s playroom.

Toddler Playroom Ideas

Image courtesy of I Heart Organizing

Designing a Toddler Playroom

My must-haves for the room include:

1. Storage: I would love for everything in the playroom to have a designated home. I swoon over pictures of organized playrooms like this or this. I’m not sure we’ll ever be quite that organized but I like the philosophy of everything having a home and making Liam a part of returning things to their home at the end of the day.

2. Kitchen area: Santa brought Liam this kitchen set for Christmas which will absolutely get a designated space in the room. I’d love to create an area around it like this chalkboard wall.

3. Art Gallery: The playroom seems like the perfect place to display the beautiful works of art Liam comes home from Bright Horizons with and the ones we create at home. I love the use of these curtain wires to create an easy way to display art and want to add something like that to walls of the playroom.

4. Reading Areas: We read a lot and I want to make sure there are several different places for reading in the playroom. I love the idea of some big floor pillows for easy lounging.

5. Table & Chairs: One of my favorite things about Bright Horizons is that starting in infants, children learn to sit in a chair at a table. I’m always amazed to see Liam and his toddler friends sitting and eating together so nicely at their tiny little table. We got a little table (a hand-me-down) which I’m hoping to jazz up with some paint and perhaps make one of these genius oil cloth covers for our messier projects.

7. Working with what we’ve got. I would love to recreate a page from the PB Kids catalog but the reality is the budget for this project is limited. It’s going to involve lots of creativity in terms how to use things we have to get what we need from the room. For example, we have futon from college days that I’ve contemplated using as seating in the playroom. It’s comfortable and would provide a great spot to cuddle up and read. But, it’s capital-U ugly. I really didn’t know if I could stand the sight of that thing on a daily basis. Then I saw how this mom revamped her futon for her daughter’s playroom. Maybe I’m only some paint and fun fabric away from a cute seating area.

Most of all, I want the room to be appropriate for him now but also flexible enough to grow with him so I don’t want to change the whole thing in another year. Any suggestions for what makes a great toddler playroom?



  1. Rachel March 8, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I want to see the futon revamp! But the link didn’t work for me.

  2. Bridget March 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Having had 4 different playrooms since having kids, I can say a table is key! So it’s great that you have one, already. Otherwise, I would say the most successful things have been the least complicated. 1. For us, two huge but cheap (Ikea) bookshelves (anchored to the wall) are still in heavy use. In early days, we had fabric baskets filled with little figurines, odd shaped toys, balls, etc.reachable on the lower shelves and we could put art supplies and other annoying things that people buy – like moon sand (why?!!) up high. But now, they can reach almost everything and the shelves are still great for holding board games, puzzles and stackable boxes of Barbies and Barbie clothes. 2. Open storage. Both my kids played with our play kitchen well into age 6 (Teagan still plays with it)and the best thing I ever did was to to buy a couple of those storage racks that hold open bins that you can literally toss stuff into. Over time you will find that you will get play pizza kits, play sandwich kits, play sushi kits, etc. The play food possibilities are endless!! Clean up was so easy when food went in a certain bin, plates and utensils went in others, etc. We had a three bin one right next to the play kitchen and it was great because the clean-up was so easy, the kids could do it, too. When you over-complicate it, you’ll be the only one who can clean up perfectly. I know that can be cathartic for some but after a while, in my opinon, it gets old when you have other stuff you want to do. 3. Hooks. You just can’t imagine how many awkward things just need to be hung up! We have an obscene amount of dress up stuff now but early on, hooks were ideal for the few costumes we had. But for bags, hats, art smocks, instruments with straps, you can never have enough hooks!! Have fun and if you want to splurge on anything PB, we got bean bag chairs for the loft, and they have been worth every penny for reading (and iPad using). The kids love them. I kind of do, too. 🙂

  3. Profile photo of Kate

    Kate March 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Rachel–I fixed the link so you should be able to view now.

    Bridget–thanks for your ideas! I’ll definitely add hooks, more food storage and a bean bag chair to the list!

  4. MediaMom March 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I agree with Bridget about open storage. It doesn’t seem it when your child is still in the “choking hazard stage,” but you will have more lego pieces, playmobils, and Match Box cars than you can count before you know it. Open bins that these can be tossed in to are key. In particular, bins that store in a tilted forward position so you can see the contents are so much better than those that have to be slid out. We have one of each, and out kids play with the stuff they can see 100 times more often than the stuff stored in the other bins. Also, one of the best investments we made was in the wooden Pottery Barn kids chairs. They are small enough to work for toddlers, but large enough for an adult to sit in — so they will certainly grow with the kids too.
    Personally, I can’t wait until my kids’ playroom is something other than a corner of our living room, so I wish you good luck and look forward to borrowing ideas down the road!

  5. Lilah July 18, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks so much for these cute playroom ideas. I just bought that Melissa&Doug kitchenette from and my daughter has absolutely loved it!

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  7. Neal Radford November 6, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Please bear in mind that all toddlers/children don’t understand the dangers so ensure you make a safer environment for the children

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    Within the confines of the Nursery, both internally (pillars/steps/furniture/other) and externally (sand pits/wooden pillars/other), there are many areas that are a hazard! We believe all kindergartens; nurseries; play centres; crèches, homes etc., should all ensure that there is NO chance a child could suffer injury or worse!

    We do a complete range of safety protective products, including an extensive range of zero maintenance artificial grass products for external play areas.

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