Creating Children’s Spaces in Every Corner of Your Home

This post is by regular contributor Tricia Hogbin of Little Eco Footprints.

We don’t have a single dedicated play space in our home. I prefer having little child-sized play spaces scattered throughout and aim to create a home where spaces appeal to adults and children alike. Sharing spaces make it easier for us to share time and connect. For example, my daughter enjoys drawing and paper crafting at her desk in the corner of our kitchen (shown above) while I cook or wash the dishes.

Keeping play spaces uncluttered and simple helps them to blend into our family space. The child-sized table and chairs in our lounge room has a magical ability to take on many forms. Sewing table, play dough space, supermarket check-out, doctor’s desk, jigsaw puzzle table, space to build with blocks, or a quiet space to read. It’s been them all at one time or another. This little table is one of my favourite spaces to strew.

I find that choosing vintage items helps me feel comfortable about having toys in our living area. This corner of our lounge room regularly changes form. At the moment it’s a dolls corner, complete with a mini kitchen hutch, cot and pram.

I keep the top of the adjacent entertainment unit clear, freeing it up to be incorporated into play. It’s regularly used as a doll change table.

Storing toys away when not in use helps to keep our living area uncluttered. Dolls clothes live neatly hidden away in a vintage suitcase.

Before it was a dolls corner, the space was a mini child-sized lounge room. Having child-sized furniture sends the message to children that they are welcome in this space.

One space that never changes is the painting table on our veranda. I like the idea of my daughter being able to paint whenever she likes. A basket of paint brushes and paints live on the table and her smock and paper are stored in an accessible space nearby. A dolls-clothes line provides a space to hang paintings to dry.

Inspired by Immy’s book corner, we recently set up a little library in a corner of our daughter’s bedroom.

Including two bookshelves creates a cosy child-size space. Our daughter loves this tiny space and promptly declared it a ‘kids-only area’.

How about your home? Are toys kept in one or two dedicated play spaces or scattered throughout the home?

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  1. I love this! I’ve been thinking of something like this in our home – we don’t have a ‘playroom’ either but there is space through the house for little areas like this. Thanks for sharing the ideas!

  2. This is absolutely wonderful – makes me want to re-organise some things…. Tell me – are there any ideas for 6 to 12 year olds? Would love to read about that!

    Rach x

    • I imagine 6 – 12 year olds would enjoy similar small spaces, but targeted more towards activities enjoy do at that age. A reading corner with a bean bag? A homework nook? A special space especially for one of their favourite hobbies?

  3. I love what you have done, these spaces are so special. I have tried to create little spaces throughout my home, but with a 23 month old around to “seek and destroy”, they just can’t stay together. The only successful one I have is the reading corner, which is simply a box of books (hubby is still building the bookshelf….may take years) a mat and a few scattered pillows. It’s in a sunny corner and we all love this spot.
    Very inspiring, one for the not so distant future.

    • I can so relate to the ‘seek and destroy’. I’m currently sitting amongst a pile of ‘rubbish’ after Little Eco tipped out the contents of our crafting recycle suit case while in a creating frenzie thisafternoon. The desk is strewn with pencils and surrounded by paper and the dolls corner has become the ‘dolls room’. Oh well, atleast she was easily occupied.

  4. I have to say, the Montessori & Design geek inside me is cheering :) I love the little nooks, it’s just what we strive for in my house! LOVE IT!

  5. oh our toys are definitely scattered throughout the house. Not quite as nicely as this though.

  6. Thanks for this inspiring post. Creating nooks like you have is something I find difficult to do. Our previous house was all small rooms so I LOVE that our new house is open plan and feel reluctant to compartmentalise the living space. But I can see how little ones love having their own little corners, and when I look around our living area I can’t see many places for my little girl to hide away in a cosy spot. The only space like that she does have is a little reading corner upstairs with a big comfy chair, her ‘reading quilt’, a view out the window and a basket of books – and now having thought about it, this is a space she often goes to by herself to just sit and look out the window.
    You have definitely given me something to think about, might need to rearrange some furniture this weekend!

    • Good luck with your rearranging Mel. Our living area is also open space and initially I struggled to see where the spaces could go. I found it easier if I just focussed in on a wall or a corner at a time.

  7. This is simply gorgeous. Just the furniture alone and the vintage style makes me smile!

  8. I would love to be a kid in your house right now- so many secret spaces! We only have one child-sized table and chairs but they are hauled between kitchen, courtyard and lounge several times daily in the alternating role of desktop, food prep area, canvas, cubby, reading zone and micro-cafe!

    • I used to do the same, moving one table and set of chairs around for the different uses. But then i discovered a love of vintage kids chairs and many of the spaces evolved out of me having to find space for yet another chair ;-)

  9. Fantastic ideas! We don’t have a play room either – I am working on a room to store the bulk of the toys though :-) I especially love the permanent painting area and the book nook. Loooove the book nook.

  10. So, so beautiful!!

    We have a playroom, but toys end up scattered throughout the living area. Like your home our playspace is located in the central living area off the kitchen. When children are young, I think it’s important for them to play near where their parents spend most of their time.

  11. Like you, we have spaces inside and out which are part of the fabric of our family home, but most definitely dedicated to child’s play. No “play room” here… we all live together.

    I adore the vintage vibe to the playspaces you create. xx

  12. I love this philosophy of family and children’s areas combined. Such beautiful shots above of a truly lovely home where there are plenty of child friendly spaces for playing and exploring and creating. Great post!

  13. I create little nooks throughout our house as well, but what I really love is that the furniture fits so beautifully in with your own! No horrid kiddy prints or garish toys to see!

  14. Oh wow! There are so many special little spaces there! I’m the same – we don’t have a playroom (no space in our cottage) and there are quite a few little spots just for Will.

  15. Hi. I love the spaces you have created. Do you have any tips on where to find the small furniture – particularly the vintage armchairs? Thanks

    • I found my first vintage kids arm chair at a local second hand furniture store. I then found two on ebay, and a fourth at another second hand shop. On ebay search for ‘vintage kids chair’. They are rare, and don’t stay long in shops so I tend to try and pop into my favourite second hand furniture shops regularly. I also get to know shop owners and let them know when i’m looking for somthing in particular. Good luck :-)

      • Oh, and garage sales. The dolls cot and painting table and chairs I got from a garage sale for a few dollars.

        I also browse antique shops so that I know what things are worth. I’ll see something I like at an antique shop, and then keep an eye out for the same thing at a cheaper second hand shop, op shop or garage sale.

  16. Although we have a playroom, our play happens all over the house. The playroom stores most of the toys. I like to change the play environment regularly to provide new and interesting play/ creative opportunites and the girls are free to take their play almost anywhere in the house. At the moment the drawing/ writing table is in the lounge room but in a few weeks it might be in the room we call “the quiet room”. Our easel, which always has something happening on it is currently in the playroom but can also be found outside or in another room on a different day.

    I absolutely love your play spaces and think the way they are incorporated into the home is beautiful. You have a wonderful eye for setting up inviting play. Thanks for sharing a snippet of your home with us.

  17. We just built an environmentally friendly green room and were lucky to be able to incorporate built-in kid-friendly areas, like a long window bench w/book storage beneath. We have a playroom in the basement, but most of the play takes place on the main level in the open great room/kitchen/breakfast nook. We use a lot of baskets tucked in the pantry (a PlayDoh basket, a crayons/art basket, a cars/trucks basket) and bring it out to the table, but I do feel like the main level has too many toys spilling out all over. Your post is absolutely inspiring! I love the ideas and am going to go grab the tiny kitchen from the playroom and bring it up to our main kitchen right now. You’ve given me so many great ideas to wrangle all my 2 year old’s “stuff” in a beautiful, seamless way. Just found your blog and have subscribed in my RSS reader. Love it!

  18. I love this! What fab ideas, I am going to try and make our own little outdoor painting area this week inspired by this.

  19. I turned my custom built bookcase (for Arch File Folders) over to miss 4 for her barbies. She has created a brilliant dollhouse by painting it herself, then we cut out furniture and windows from magazines and glued them on. She has a great time with it. The place it works best is in our kitchen. We’ve tried it in a few places, but she uses it most here. Now she applies renovations to it, painting it when she feels like it. Although we don’t have specific child areas, there are stash spots all aronud the house so the drawer under the coffee table has her bits and pieces and the desk drawers don’t hold anything belonging to me or hubby – the kids have their bits. When they were little we had spaces everywhere, but it would just form as they wanted it – I’m sure miss 12 is going to be an interior designer or something, I’ll come home and she’s talked Dad into changing the bedroom or loungeroom AGAIN! :) All good though, it means I get to clean under the furniture moew regularly!

  20. Lovely photos of your beautiful home. We’d love to come and play please!

    We don’t have a playroom – we live an extremely small house in London. So our whole house is our play space too. I was thinking about this a few weeks ago and wrote about how we use our space for play here.

    Julia x

  21. I love this. We don’t have a play room or any dedicated children space apart from their bedrooms but time spent in there is for sleeping and they don’t play in them at the moment instead everything is around the house. I would love to create a reading corner in the house and you have inspired me to go ahead and make it.

  22. Those are wonderful spaces! I love the first desk space. We have a childsize table sitting all alone in one area of our basement. I haven’t been sure what to do around it, so this gives me a great starting point. I also love the vintage items– especially the suitcases. What a great way to store away toys.

  23. I love this! Honestly, I had never considered making space for my toddler’s play in every area of our home but you have changed all of that. Thank you and a bigger thank you from my toddler too!

  24. Annya H says:

    I absolutely adore the little
    nooks you ve created. I am a Montessori and design fan ;-)
    and you have achieved their concepts beautifully!
    Thank you for sharing with us. I m still on the creation face of
    places like this in my home and you re inspiring me so much!
    I also wanted to ask you where did you got that beautiful doll?
    Is it a Waldorf inspired doll? My eldest daugther just welcomed her little sister,
    and she appears to be very keen on dolls now ;-)
    thankyou again :-)

  25. Beautiful spaces! I’ve been slowly incorporating a similar idea in our home. I have a preschool corner in our living room as well as an art space. We have a corner of our basement family room that changes up on occasion, but it’s usually reserved for pretend play. It’s currently an indoor campsite, complete with play grill, tent & cot. I haven’t decided what to do next, I’ve considered a grocery store, castle, farm, and beach. Thanks for all the ideas of creating these childlike spaces and keeping them adult-friendly as well!

  26. Christa says:

    Great article! Where did you get the bookshelves that have slanted shelves?

  27. We do have a playroom at our home but we will most likely not in in our next home. So glad to see some fun ideas! Thanks!

  28. What a lovely set up. Can I come live there and play? :> As parent, it is so nice that we can relive our childhood and have the opportunity to create our home to welcome our children and creativity. Lovely. Love your vintage collections.

  29. Great tutoiral, my kid lile it very much, thanks for sharing

  30. Alison Marhall says:

    LOL I have to admit that I am a grandma and still not organised and toys and little chairs and tables and little clothes etc are strewn throughout my house! I am getting somewhere with my garden though and have a secret fairy garden with a wendy house at the end, as well as a fenced in wildlife garden and pond, trampoline, bikes and cars etc with pond dipping platform. We also have an aviary, chickens and guinea pigs to care for and grow lots of fruit and veg. My grandchildren come every day and we are very busy collecting eggs and growing our food:)))

  31. This is brilliant. I absolutely agree that children need space to play in all room. I love the photo’s. I especially like the idea of two bookshelves opposite each other. Thanks for sharing.

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