A play room isn’t simply a space to stash the toys you want to keep out of sight from visitors. With a little thought, it can become a stimulating environment where your little ones can learn and grow. Follow these tips to get it right.

Keep it colourful.

Luciana Lewis of Mokki says bright colours strike a chord with children, so don’t be afraid of going bold. You can introduce bright shades not only in soft furnishings, scatters, curtains and rugs, but also with accessories like colourful cubes (ideal for storing Lego pieces) or multicoloured drawers, also great for storage, lining the walls.

Be practical.

Lewis recommends installing a blackboard wall where kids can scribble away. Also, opt for flooring options that are easy to clean – wood definitely trumps carpeting here, although if you’re absolutely determined to carpet the room, choose a medium to dark colour or a busy pattern that can camouflage stains. Lee-Ann Bell of Mezzanine Interiors adds that any furnishings should be durable, washable and stain-resistant. It’s a good idea to use a washable sheen paint that can protect walls for finger prints and crayons. Choose dark tones for couches and chairs. “Remember that flat tones show colours more easily than patterns,” Bell advises.

Keep furniture functional.

Look for pieces that can do double duty, says Bell – sofas with hidden drawers, for example, of bookshelves that can also serve as display cabinets for treasured items.

Remove clutter.

Kids are, by nature, busy. They want to be able to move around, but they won’t be able to if there’s lots of “stuff” in the way, so keep furnishings to a minimum. Try to keep the centre of the room clear and uncluttered, and create separate nooks for different activities (dress-up, crafting and painting, for example).

Be flexible.

Kids grow up quickly, and their interests change just as quickly. It’s a good idea to avoid “trends” and keep furnishings inexpensive so they can be updated easily.

Get the kids involved.

A play room isn’t just about playing – it’s also about teaching kids how to take responsibility for their possessions, encouraging them to pack away and keep their space tidy. One way you can win this ongoing battle, Bell suggests, is by allowing them some choice when it comes to decorating the room. That way, they’ll be more keen to take ownership of the room.

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