by Lindsay Cook, interior designer, Cook Homes

Indoor play areaWhether you have an entire room to devote to an indoor play area or just a small corner or side of a room, you can create a fun place for your kids. An indoor play area can be an outlet for their imagination and creativity as well as a place for them to use up all the extra energy they always seem to have. As you create your play area, remember that it’s not just about the “cool factor” —  it’s also important to keep safety in mind.

Organization is key to keeping the space fun and safe. Get creative with storage solutions that encourage your kids to clean up when they’re done playing for the day. Color-coding your storage containers can make cleaning up an educational opportunity for little ones. Cars and trucks go in the yellow bin: Now they are learning to recognize the color and identify which toys are which at the same time. Having a dedicated play area is a great way to keep kid’s toys and books in one area and can help keep the rest of the house more organized. Plus, kids love feeling like they have their own space.

Get creative with this fun space! Filling a large basement? Maybe you want to add an indoor trampoline or a foam pit. If you’re using a smaller space for your play area, consider adding multiple levels — an indoor treehouse is a fun idea. Installing a fire pole can provide fun access between the two levels and fits well in a small space. Other ideas I love are chalkboard paint walls, slides and swings. If your child likes having a space of their own, a “secret passageway” under the stairs or a teepee might be the perfect addition for him. Use your creativity and think of the way your child likes to play.

game room interior designLet modern interior design trends be your guide — clean, well-defined lines help to create a simple, minimalistic feel. Use color, but don’t go too bold. Make the play area a fun space, but keep it classy so you don’t get a headache from being in the room.

Seating is another important part of your planning. Fun, child-sized chairs, bean bags or hammocks are fun for the kids, but make sure to include a window seat or colorful armchair allows you to play in their space with them — nobody likes reading “Goodnight Moon” on a plastic chair that is two sizes too small.

Making an indoor play area is a great creative outlet for both you and your children. Let them be involved with some of the color decisions and purchases. If you have a smaller budget for this project, try adding one new element a month. There are a lot of fun play area ideas that you can DIY — Pinterest is a great resource for play area inspiration. Most importantly, have fun! Involving your kids can create fun memories and make the space memorable beyond their younger years.