10 Tips For Creating Fun And Functional Play Spaces For Kids


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Between the piles of toys, stacks of books and bags of sports equipment, it can be a challenge to keep children’s hangouts neat and tidy — let alone stylish. We sat down with Los Angeles-based designer Linda Hayslett (who has helped style celebrities like Hillary Swank, Sandra Oh and Charlize Theron in her fashion days — no big deal) about her secret recipe for creating fun and functional kids’ play spaces.


1. Embrace Bold Hues
“When creating a fun and functional play space for kids, always consider color” says Linda. “Children are playful, so having vibrant furniture pieces paired with fun paint colors on the wall or whimsical wallpaper can really help bring things into focus. Having a bright dresser for displaying books and toys can encourage little ones to put their things away, but still make the space playful in nature.”
Photographer:Amy Bartlam


2. Keep Toys Organized
“Kids often have way too many toys, so storage is always an issue,” she says. “Grouping similar sized items and having a designated area for them can help maintain order. You’ll know exactly where to look when the kids have a sudden crisis and can’t find that bear they all of a sudden need. If you can picture the size of the item (small, medium or large), then you’ll know where to look instead of spinning your wheels.”
Photographer:Amy Bartlam


3. Get Crafty
“Let’s face it, any space is a play space for a kid,” says Linda. “Their bedroom can suddenly become a fort one day or a princess castle the next, so adding their own artwork/crafts to the walls with cheerful and whimsical bedding can help with their imagination, while also making the room a haven for nap time. Who wouldn’t want to sleep in a room with all of their own original art? And then, dream of the elephants and zebras on their bedsheets? I know I would, and I’m not even a kid!”
Photographer:Amy Bartlam


4. Try Vertical Storage
“Many people forget that walls are a space saver,” says the designer. “To help get things off the floors — such as sports equipment, games, toys and crafts — use the walls by adding floating shelves, bins or baskets. It also helps with keeping certain things out of arm’s length for children (think: sharp skates or baseball bats), so they don’t get a hold of them unless you want them to.”
Photographer:Amy Bartlam


5. Choose Timeless Furniture
“Having kids’ furniture that looks like adult furnishings helps a space feel more organized and stylish at the same time,” she says. “Kids feel more grown up when sitting and coloring on items that look like what mom and dad have. Then, spaces don’t have random pieces that look like toys, which can make a room more chaotic looking and messy.”
Photographer:Amy Bartlam


6. Encourage Them To Draw On The Walls
“Put in a giant chalk-board for the kids to draw on, and then frame it out to make it look like a painting,” says Linda. “When the kids are done with their chalk drawing, you’ll have an original piece of work for display.”
Photographer:Amy Bartlam


7. Personalize Their Space
“Displaying special toys that a child adores next to their name can help make a kid feel special and excited to show off their favorite items during playdates,” says Linda. “It also helps parents keep track of each child’s beloved items, so there aren’t any meltdowns either.”
Photographer:Amy Bartlam


8. Create A Quiet Corner
“Hide-and-seek is always a fun game that children love to play along with peekaboo,” says the designer. “Having a cute teepee in a corner of the room is a great place for them to play these games. It can also be a great reading corner or a quick place to hide toys when guests come over, too.”
Photographer:Amy Bartlam


9. Invest In Custom Storage
“There’s always those awkward items, like equipment or toys, that kids have,” she says. “Creating custom storage units to house them can help keep them out of sight. That way, you have a designated space for them, so everything is easy to find.”
Photographer:Amy Bartlam


10. Or Save Money With Bookshelves
“If customized storage is too expensive, then just use tall bookshelves to house toys and display games,” says Linda. “It can help keep things organized and out of the way, so little ones can come and grab something safely on their own.”
Photographer:Christopher Lee Foto

Author:Victoria Christie

Photographer: Christopher Lee Foto (headshot)

Designer: Linda Hayslett, LH Designs


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