9 Fun Ideas to Transform Your Kids’ Rooms into Playgrounds
These fantastical kids’ rooms by Valley interior designers really put the “fun” in functional.
Interior Designer: Kristen Forgione
Installing an indoor slide was no easy feat, but a Scottsdale father knew it would be the perfect addition for his two little girls. “They love to read, play, hide and craft,” Forgione says. “The dad wanted a slide so that all kids from the neighborhood would feel welcome but also for the girls to feel feminine and at home when it was just them.” The Phoenix-based designer embraced the room’s high ceilings by adding a loft area accessible by ladder. To contrast the bright blue slide, she adorned the space with airy, modern appointments, paired with her signature aesthetic: crisp white and wood tones, layers of texture and patterns and fanciful notes of color. A Murphy bed and crafting area added an extra bit of utility. “I don’t know if the dad or the girls loved it more,” Forgione says. “But the space is still a neighborhood favorite—it brings kids of all ages together, especially during those hot summer months.”
Interior Designer: Joanna Gick
Karla Fishel knew she fancied a night sky motif for her forthcoming son, Logan. But it was actually a constellation wallcovering design by Ralph Lauren that launched this nursery into orbit. “She really fell in love with this particular wallpaper and that was my jumping-off point,” Gick says. Using birch plywood, watercolor paints and LED lights for backlighting, the designer handcrafted a large light-up moon to go above the crib. “The best part is that it doubles as a night light for late-night diaper changes,” she adds. “There is a dial on the edge where you can dim or brighten, as needed.” Gick limited the wallpaper to a single focal wall to keep the room bright and open and custom fashioned a constellation monogram artwork from yarn and finishing nails. “I love making things. So it was extra fun for me to dream up something like this and see it come to fruition.”
Interior Designer: Anita Lang, ASID
When it comes to nursery decor, nothing could be more classic than the beloved animal theme. Lang achieved this by selecting gender-neutral colors that would give the expecting parents flexibility as their child grew. Green wallpaper accented by graphic artwork of wild creatures keeps the room sophisticated and modern. A rocking chair and tree-shaped bookcase offer a place for reading time. For rooms like these, the Scottsdale-based interior designer says less is more. “You don’t need to overdo a kid’s space,” explains the Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner. “Just make it a beautiful background to their life—especially to launch their own little imaginations.”
Interior Designer: Jillian Bader
When it comes to designing kids’ hideaways, Bader says it’s more about function than fantasy. “Make sure there is somewhere for lounging, somewhere for playing and somewhere for creating,” she explains. In this Scottsdale playroom, Bader paired clever storage solutions with a modern aesthetic. “The thought behind designing this space was to create a fun and casual place for the kids to play, where toys could be organized, yet hidden, and a desk space for art projects and homework.” Graphic wallpaper adds a punch of personality without being over-the-top or childish, while warm wood tones and natural materials keep it cohesive with the rest of the house. “We made sure the space could grow with the family and evolve as their needs change,” Bader says.
PRETTY IN PINK
Interior Designer: Mary Meinz, ASID
When Meinz crafts spaces for kids, she makes sure to take into account the child’s lifestyle and dreams. For Matea, the then 5-year-old daughter of retired MLB pitcher Joe Saunders, it was all about candy, cupcakes and hearts. “The objective for this project was to delight Matea with images of things she loves,” says Meinz, a Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner. The designer added a wallcovering to the ceiling; soft, organic cotton bedding in the room’s anchoring bubblegum hue; and a crystal chandelier for sassy bit of elegance. In the end, Meinz says she embraced the dainty, cheerful aesthetic: “It seems like little girls love pink, so why not?” she quips. “This ‘cupcake’ enclave was a huge success, using images and colors that made for a happy and healthy little one.”
Interior Designer: Angelica Henry, ASID
In keeping with her pint-sized patrons’ love of sports, Henry designed a playroom that evokes the essence of baseball. An area rug depicts a birds-eye view of an outfield. “It actually has the boys’ names on the scoreboard, which made it so fun and personal,” she says of the floor covering. As with any space designed for children, storage and organization were fundamental. In addition to plenty of shelving and cabinets, the pair have their own lockers. A table and chairs provide ample space for homework, puzzles and crafting. And a TV allows for leisurely consumption of cartoons, video games and, of course, a little b-ball. Henry made sure to incorporate gritty elements to match the masculine theme: “We used rough-and-tumble finishes that can withstand additional scuffs—perfect for a space like this!”
Interior Designer: Amanda Thomas
The inspiration for this boy’s playroom came when Queen Creek mom Renee Temper began to characterize how her husband, Jon, would like his office to look. “She described a little bit of an old-soul, vintage gentleman aesthetic,” Thomas says. “From there, a ‘mini me’ version was born.” Thomas made sure to select pieces that were stylish but also durable and easy to clean. A chalkboard-painted wall provided a creative outlet for then 2-year-old Bentley, while a mural of a large whale lazily floating through a daytime sky added a touch of whimsy. “This playroom was definitely one-of-a-kind,” Thomas recalls. “I appreciated that the homeowners were willing to do something bold and not just trendy.”
Interior Designer: Denise LaVey
“The homeowners and their daughters were all looking for something that evoked ‘beach house’ with some glamour,” says LaVey of this 13-year-old girl’s bedroom. “I took it from there, channeling a sophisticated palette, and adding some flair with Lucite and Mongolian sheepskin.” As a child gets older, the designer says it is important to create a space that will grow with them as their taste develops. Though the teen had prototypical interests—she loved tennis and Justin Bieber—LaVey says she was relieved she did not favor the usual frilly girl’s room. “She was very thoughtful, opinionated, not afraid to really engage in the design process,” the designer recalls. “It was so fun working with her.”
Interior Designer: Kimberly Anderson
A Chicago-based couple wanted their second home to accommodate grandkids and adults alike. “This space needed to be both fun and functional, with lots of storage and trundle beds for slumber parties,” Anderson says. “But we also wanted the room to feel comfortable for adults if there was a need for extra room.” The choice of deep denim hues aligned with the rest of the house’s color palette. Painted wood bunks feature built-in storage compartments at the end of each bed, perfect for stowing secret treasures. Reading sconces and charging stations make each hideaway cozy and convenient. “For children’s rooms, we try to make the mix of patterns and colors interesting and stimulating, but not overwhelming,” Anderson adds. “There needs to be space in a child’s room; space to move around and play or spread out a project. It needs to feel uniquely theirs.”
- ELECTRIC SLIDE— Builder: Integrity Luxury Homes, Scottsdale, integrityluxuryhomes. Interior designer: Kristen Forgione, The Lifestyled Co., Phoenix and Gilbert, thelifestyledco.com. com.
- COSMIC CONNECTION—Interior designer: Joanna Gick, J&J Design Group, jandjdesigngroup.com. Crib: babyletto.com. Crib sheet and pouf: crateandbarrel.com/kids. Lamp: westelm.com.
- NEAT RETREAT—Builder: Brendan Bader, modernnesthomes.com. Interior designer: Jillian Bader, Modern Nest, Scottsdale, modernnesthomes.com. Organizing: NEAT Method, Scottsdale, neatmethod.com.
- CREATURE COMFORTS—Interior designer: Anita Lang, IMI Design Studio, Scottsdale, imidesignstudio.com. Wallpaper: phillipjeffries.com.
- PRETTY IN PINK—Interior designer: Mary Meinz, ASID, Mary Meinz Design, Scottsdale, marymeinzdesign.com. Carpet: Floor Styles, Scottsdale, floorstyles.com. Chandelier: Valley Light Gallery, Scottsdale, valleylights.com. Bunk beds: stanleyfurniture.com. Bedding, table and bench: serenaandlily.com. Ceiling wallcovering, art and chair: marymeinzdesign.com.
- STORYBOOK ENDING—Interior designer: Amanda Thomas, Amanda Thomas Design, Phoenix, amandathomas.design. Mural: miltonandking.com. Wallpaper: spoonflower.com. Sconces: wayfair.com. Play table, chairs and poufs: rhbabyandchild.com. Drawer toy chests and wall-mounted bookshelves: potterybarnkids.com.
- HOME RUN—Interior designer: Angelica Henry, ASID, Angelica Henry Design, Scottsdale, angelicahenrydesign.com. Millwork: Distinctive Custom Cabinetry, Phoenix, distinctivecc.com. Jute bins: containerstore.com. “Play Ball” sign (custom): geminisignletters.com. Kids’ chairs: John Brooks, Scottsdale, johnbrooksinc.com. Area rug (custom): Floor Styles, Scottsdale, floorstyles.com.
- BUNK ROCK—Architect: Dale Gardon, Dale Gardon Design, Scottsdale, dalegardondesign.com. Interior designer: Kimberly Anderson, Arcadia Design Group, Phoenix, adgphx.com. Millwork: Goodall Custom Cabinetry & Millwork, Glendale, goodallllc.com. Lighting: curreyandcompany.com. Hardware: Clyde Hardware, Phoenix, clydehardware.com. Bedding: annieselke.com/c/pineconehill.
- TEENAGE DREAM—Interior designer: Denise LaVey, Denise LaVey Interior Design, Phoenix, deniselavey.com. Pillow: Pierre Frey, John Brooks, Scottsdale, johnbrooksinc.com. Curtains: Zimmer & Rohde, Palavela Home, Scottsdale, palavelahome.com. Chairs: Alexander Sinclair, Scottsdale, alexandersinclairshowroom.com.