Building A Play Area for Kids

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Renovation

Monday, August 10th, 2020 @ 11:00am

HOW to Build Your Kids’ Play Area

Building a playroom in your house for your kids can be a lot of fun. There are a ton of creative ideas that you can do, and it’s important to get your kids’ input. Climbing wall? Storage area? Movie theatre? There are so many options to consider when building a play area for kids. There are three main aspects that you will need to consider, and those are:

  • practicality,
  • performance,
  • and safety.
kids play area in basement

Photo from Holmes Family Rescue

Be Practical About the Play Area

Every kid is different, so when it comes to designing a proper playroom. Base it on what your kids will typically be doing. 

Will they be reading? Building? Doing arts and crafts, playing hockey, or playing instruments? This will tell you the design elements that you should include.

For example, you can build secret cubbies below stairs or within walls where your kids can store their books, crayons, and toys in, saving you important space. Having storage options to avoid clutter can also help prevent your kids (and you) from tripping over things.

You can also maybe add a craft table or a chalkboard where they can draw. Chalkboard paint is a good option; in fact, you can paint an entire wall area using chalkboard paint, so your kids can literally write on the walls in their playroom and no harm is done. Make sure it’s low enough for your kids to reach.

colorful paint for kids room

Bigger Renovation Projects for Kids

Are you looking to take on a bigger, more ambitious project? There are designers that specialize in creating kids’ playrooms, so if you have the budget, call a professional who can create a special space for your kids.

Here are some ideas:

#1 Basement Hockey Rink

On one job we built an artificial hockey rink in the basement. On the floor we installed hard, durable, white plastic tiles, which looked like ice. 

We also added protection boards up on the wall – before installing the floor – so the kids can slap their hockey sticks and use a real puck, without mom and dad worrying about the walls getting damaged. We even added a penalty box!

Here is a basement hockey rink by Wastell Homes. Play area for the kids, and bar area for the parents.

indoor hockey rink

Fun night hosting playdates, and keeps the kids active!

#2 Indoor Basketball Court

indoor basketball court

If the kids aren’t into hockey, you can build an indoor basketball court as well!


#3 Have Fun with the Tiling

This home is full of tiling-from the entryway to the bathroom to the laundry room. The whole family loves artist, Ray Lichtenstein’s work.

retro shower tiles

This shower is a pop art inspired fixture modelled after Lichtenstein’s pointillist art style.

You can check out more photos of this custom home here.

#4 Build a Movie Theatre Room

A movie theatre right in your home is a great way for families to spend time together. You’ll have to consider factors such as controlling outside light, sound proofing and a proper set up for your video and sound systems.


Sherry Holmes’s Décor Ideas for Kid’s Bedrooms

Flooring Options for Play Rooms

Scratch-resistant flooring is always a smart idea when dealing with kids. I would stay away from hardwood or engineered hardwood – it can scratch and it’s expensive, which means more expensive to replace too.

laminate flooring in white wash

Laminate flooring is a durable and inexpensive option, and once the kids grow up it can be easily replaced. You want to keep the space flexible for when the kids grow up.

Hypoallergenic carpeting is another option. Although carpeting isn’t typically spill-friendly, we now have carpet tiles that come in all sorts of designs and colours, so if a spill does happen the carpet tile can be removed and replaced.

For cost and performance, you can also go with rubber mats or tiles that can interlock together. They provide a soft surface kids can play on but that can also take a beating.

Safety First for The Play Room

Putting together a reading corner with some bookshelves is smart, but make sure to secure large furniture that can topple over, such as bookshelves, in case the kids decide to climb them. 

Bookshelves should be tied into (or secured) to the wall, as well as heavy pieces of furniture, such as desks or TV/computer screens.

Most importantly, cover all your unused electrical outlets. I don’t know why kids are so fascinated by electrical outlets, but I remember constantly telling my son, Mike Jr. that he should never poke objects into our outlets, and that only seemed to encourage him. It wasn’t until he gave himself a big shock that he learned from his mistake! This is a great article from Electrical Safety Authority about preventing shocks.


When I had my first grandchild, Wyatt, I found that I needed to childproof my home for the first time in years – boy did I forget how much work it was! I needed to childproof absolutely everything to keep him, and now my granddaughter, Emily, too, safe while they visit me.

mike holmes and mike holmes jr

Mike Holmes (top) and Michael Holmes (bottom) having fun building a kids payroom table on HGTV’s Holmes Family Rescue

Maintain Good Indoor Air Quality 

Air quality is very important when it comes to your kids’ health. Better furnace filters will prevent your kids from breathing in allergens, dust and mold spores, and in some cases even viruses. 

You can also get a portable air filtration system or air purifier that can boost the air quality in a specific area, such as your kids’ room or playroom.

Low VOC (volatile organic compound) Paint has no toxic biocides. VOCs are known to cause headaches, dizziness, and in some cases can be toxic. 

Younger kids and babies can be especially sensitive to VOCs, so try to keep them down to a minimum in your home, especially in areas where the kids will be spending most of their time, like their rooms, basement or playroom.

I always recommend testing your home for radon. Breathing in radon for a long period of time can lead to severe health issues. Some provinces across Canada are having their schools tested for radon.

mike holmes testing for radon

As a parent, you should also get your home tested.

Whether you go big or small, building a proper playroom for your kids starts with making sure their health and safety are top priority. Once that’s covered the design of the area itself should work with their interests because providing them a proper space to play gives them room to grow.

Here are Sherry’s tips for baby proofing your home.

READ NEXT: Painting Tips for Your Room

Ideas for Your Kids Play Room

Make It Right®