The living room should be a space for the whole family, but it can be difficult getting the balance right. You don’t want your lounge to be a minefield of toys, but at the same time you want your children to feel able to play and enjoy themselves there. A handy compromise could be adding a play area to your living room.
Adding a play area doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. If you live in a small house or flat, you can create a play area without taking over the whole living room. Start by choosing an area of your living room to dedicate to the play area. The area can easily be marked out by using a bright colourful rug. This is also useful for the children, as it gives them boundaries as to where they can and can’t make mess!
Before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, it pays to plan your budget for this project. Whether you plan to use savings or a small loan to help foot the bill, thinking of a budget up front is one way to make sure costs don’t spiral out of control as the project goes forward.
Getting organised and investing in some space saving storage is a good next step. In the long run, this storage will make a big difference, as it will be the defining factor from turning your room from day to night. By day, it will be a colourful play room, while in the evening it can be a space for the adults to relax and unwind or entertain guests. Investing in storage tubs, bookcases and cupboards with doors will that help you hide everything away. Choose your storage furniture in bright colours so that the children feel it is their space too.
Furniture can also help divide the play area from the rest of the room. Large, brightly coloured storage units can help separate the play room from the living room. You can face the unit inwards so the children can display their toys and books, or use the storage space to display your own items, utilising the back of the unit as a visual space for the kids. Adding a pinboard or a chalk board to the back means the children can make the space their own by showcasing their drawings and favourite pictures.
You may wish to invest in a small table and chair to encourage quiet play and creativity. Choose furniture that matches the décor of the rest of the living space but also try and incorporate your children’s tastes too so they take ownership of the space.
To keep the harmony of the play area being situated within the main living space, it’s ideal for your children to learn to tidy away their toys. This can be incorporated into other routines involved in the space, such as snack time. Create a routine that toys need to be tidied before they can move on to the next task. Getting your children into this habit from a young age will help you maintain the balance between play room and living room.
If you have more space to play with, then you can start getting really inventive. You can create zones within the play area dedicated to different tasks. You might have a soft area with a beanbag and cushions next to a small bookshelf to encourage reading and quiet time or a creative space with a table and easel for the children to paint and draw. Think about the activities your children like to engage in, and plan the play area around these.
This guest post was written by Fran Swaine on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog.