Can I tell you a little secret? Closets make killer play spaces. There is something magical about a hidden, tucked away space just for your little one. These small spaces are the epitome of childhood, and they are also a great way to keep the toy and baby gear situation under control.
Designing a charming closet playroom comes with its fair share of challenges. From poor lighting, to awkwardly sized walls, to strangely shaped areas, it can be tough to figure out the logistics. But with a bit of creative planning, we transformed our long, narrow, under-the-stairs storage closet into a fun, toddler-friendly space for Brody. Here are five tips to overcome some of the challenges you might face when transforming a small space in your home into a magical play area.
Think high. Closets and nooks are typically small in square footage. What they may lack in square footage, they make up for in wall height. Try to keep the floor area as open as possible to make the space feel larger. Think high. Hang shelves on the wall to store toys rather than using containers that sit on the floor. Consider the mobility of the items in the room. Rather than placing a small desk in our play closet, we chose a wall-mounted folding table. When Brody is playing with cars or trains on the rug, we can fold the table down so it is nearly flush with the wall. The more open floor space, the better!
Create a focal point. Small spaces are a great opportunity to create an impact or take a design risk. Whether you decide to use a bold wallpaper or an eye-catching piece of art, make sure there is something that draws the eye in immediately. Our focal point is the large giraffe print that is centered on the back wall of the closet. It is a little playful and a little magical—everything a playroom needs!
Make the space multi-purpose. One of the best parts of closets is their ability to be multi-functional spaces. They can be part storage, part open play area and part workspace. We created an art area at the front of our play closet with the drop down table. To keep the table from being an eyesore when it is folded up, we made a small gallery wall above it. We mixed a zebra print, a decorative animal head, a you are my sunshine print and a couple of pieces of Brody’s artwork to create the gallery wall. Mixing professional art with toddler art in a gallery wall is a great way to intermingle style and functionality.
Keep the storage decorative. Living in a small home, storage space is of the upmost importance. Before we transformed our closet into a play area, it was filled with holiday decorations and plastic storage tubs. We knew we needed to maintain some of the storage space for Brody’s toys that were not in his current toy rotation. To maintain a careful balance of storage and play, we used decorative storage containers and shelves that added to the playfulness of the room. The circular shelf has been one of our favorite additions.
Bring in the light. One downside of closets is typically the poor lighting. Think creatively when it comes to lighting. Lamps and battery-powered lights are great options. Our closet only had one small light near the door. Since the light hardly reached the back of our play closet, we decided to add LED twinkle lights to the ceiling. They help set a kid-friendly mood in the closet, while also bringing in some light.
I hope these tips inspire you to think outside of the box and create your own magical play space for your little ones!
You can find more pictures of our closet playroom, detailed product sources and how we built the acrylic ball pit on Momma Society.