Decorating a playhouse can often look like a tough task when you first step up to do it. For most of us, it’s not the decorating itself that is difficult – painting and sprucing up your kids’ play area can be a bit of fun. The hard part comes before this: choosing how to decorate it.
Even if you just want to give your children’s playhouse a lick of paint, picking a colour combination can leave you in a spot. That’s why we’ve created this quick and helpful guide of imaginative themes and ways that you can decorate your playhouse.
What’s better is that all these ideas have been chosen to help motivate and propel your child’s development, education, and passions.
If you’ve got any playhouse questions, or simply want to know more about them, visit our Playhouse FAQ Centre for all information you’ll ever need.
Let’s start off by learning about how giving your playhouse some simple decorations can do this. Scroll on!
How The Imagination Is Helpful
All these outdoor playhouse themes have been chosen to encourage and facilitate imaginary play. If you’ve read our recent article on how a playhouse can help your child’s development, then you’ll know that imaginary and outdoor play helps the brain form problem-solving skills, develop socially, form a desire to learn – and so much more.
Ensuring your child is able to participate in imaginary play can be a big help to their development, and decorating your playhouse in a way that encourages their imagination is a great way to do this.
Imaginative play can help your child develop passions, hobbies, and curiosities that they will come to build their life around. If your child already has a favourite imaginary theme or toy, it’s a great idea to decorate your playhouse as close to that theme as possible. Alternatively, choose a theme below that fits closest to what they enjoy playing with or about.
Now we’ve covered that, let’s take a look at these decorations!
1. Animal sanctuary
If you have children who love animals, this theme will be perfect for them! Set up the playhouse as an animal sanctuary with all their soft toys, some comfy pet beds, and maybe even a small check-up table. Paint the building a white or light blue and hang a little customised sign up to let nearby animals know this is a safe spot to stay!
2. Pirate ship
It’s time to walk the plank – or decorate it instead! Pirate ship decorations are a classic and one that kids always love. Maritime bunting, black paint, and a skull and crossbones flag can get your playhouse feeling pirate-y. For inspiration, take a look at how Josie decorated her son’s playhouse in a pirate theme!
3. “The office”
Strangely enough, kids just love pretending to be adults – even copying the parts that we might not like so much ourselves! If you have children who love pretending that they’re “going to work” then why not play along: give them an old computer screen or telephone, and turn their playhouse into a pretend office.
4. Jungle outpost
Time to make your playhouse an exotic hideaway deep in the jungle! Paint the playhouse a leafy green, stash some plants in and around the playhouse and window boxes, and add some toy snakes! Go the extra mile and play ambient jungle sounds out of a nearby speaker. You might even convince yourself!
This works best with tower playhouses, where you can make the balcony feel like you’re high up in the trees. Perfect for kids who love the jungle or other exotic environments.
5. Witch or fairy cottage
Playing make-believe is an important part of the imagination, so let your kids’ fantasies run wild by turning it into a home for a fairy or a witch. Lather on some bright pink paint with white details, then drape flowers and fairy lights over the roof edge for a sparkly, floral look.
Before your kids go inside, give them a wand and ask them to open the door with a spell. Tie some string to the bottom and pull it when they cast it – they’ll start to believe in magic!
6. Knight’s Castle
When it comes to make-believe, you can either go for fairies as we’ve seen above – or you can go for Knights, castles, and dragons. While this is typically aimed at boys, if you have a little girl who loves this kind of stuff then don’t be afraid to fulfil her wishes!
For a classic castle look, paint the playhouse grey. For added effect, print out some cardboard in the shape of castle towers, adding the distinctive “crenelation” shape at the top. This will make your playhouse look just like an imposing fortress.
7. A busy Kitchen
If your kids love to bake cakes or cook meals, then why not encourage their love of the kitchen by giving them their very own one! Yellow paint inside and out is great for an authentic kitchen look. You can buy them kitchen toys, or you can recycle your own pots and pans by giving them to the kids to play with. They’ll be rustling up treats in no time!
8. Haunted house
This kind of decoration is ideal for Halloween…but if your kids love horror movies, ghouls, and scary stuff in general, then why not put these spooky decorations up permanently?
Check out our guide on spooky Halloween playhouse decorations for a good starting point, but don’t feel like you have to stick to it. Do what it takes to turn that playhouse into a certifiably-scary haunted house!
9. Research station
A scientific research station is a theme aimed at those kids who have already a keen interest in science and learning. There’s a lot of diversity when it comes to the decorations themselves, and they should be oriented to support the interest your kid has shown.
For example, if they love the arctic and the cold polar conditions then turn it into a research station at the north pole with blue paint and blacked-out windows. You can then build some replica laboratory or research equipment. If your kid has science aspirations of a different kind, try to find a research station or hub of that kind!
10. A small shop, hotel, or restaurant
Just as with the office example, kids love to pretend to be adults and do adult jobs. This includes being a shopkeeper at a shop, being a waiter at a restaurant, or a concierge at a hotel. If you have a kid who just can’t stop wanting to play pretend with one of these jobs, then give them some encouragement by turning your playhouse into their workspace!
11. Art den
With this idea, you won’t have to spend time decorating…your kids will be decorating for you! If you have artistic children who just love getting messy and creative, then let those passions flow freely and let them decorate the playhouse in their own style.
Once it’s done encourage them to paint, draw, and create in the playhouse without worrying about making a mess!
12. An extravagant theatre
If you have kids who love acting instead of art, then this idea is for them! With some bold exterior paint, a pair of red curtains, and even some lights, turn your playhouse into a theatre. If you have a tower playhouse, use the balcony as the stage, and ask your kids to put on a show!
13. Hospital or vet’s surgery
Does your kid consider themselves a doctor or vet in the waiting? Then entertain their dreams and spark a passion by turning their playhouse into a hospital or doctor’s surgery! Paint the outside white, and fix a big red medical cross the roof. Take it to the next level by fixing a Doctor’s sign with their name on the door.
14. High-flying aeroplane
Come fly with me – from the comfort of your own playhouse. Ideal for children who want to be pilots, air stewards, or just like travelling. You can decorate the outside with a splash of white paint and a design for the kids’ own airline. Inside, go wild by making your own pilots’ console and aeroplane seats.
15. Time machine
This idea is my favourite, because of how diverse it can be. A time machine means that, with the power of the imagination, you can go anywhere and anywhere. It’s for kids who love history, or nature, or space – and especially for kids who don’t know what they love yet!
What’s better is that a time machine can look any way you want it to. There’s no limit to the decorations you can make or the paint colours you can splash on. Paint it grey, or green, or every colour that you can find. Just add some dials, a few buttons, and you’ll be in possession of a time machine and thousands of hours of imagination and fun.
16. A library
Got a bookworm or two in the house? Give their craving for books space to breathe by transforming the playhouse into a mini-library. A darker wood finish to the exterior will make it look old and grand, while bookshelves, chairs, and a table will turn the inside into a book lover’s heaven!
17. Police station
Are your kids future crime-stoppers? Turning your playhouse into a small police station will give their imagination all the food it needs to transform them into future police officers. A blue coat of paint and a “Your House Police Department” sign will work wonders. Just don’t break any rules around them, or you’ll be in cuffs!
18. Repair garage
Fixing and fiddling with tools can be many kids gateways into repairing bigger and better things. If you have a child or grandchild on this path, give them a push in the right direction. Turn the wooden playhouse into a garage with its very own tools. If you have an old, spare bike laying around you can even ask them to fix it!
19. Spaceship or satellite
A love of space and dreams of being an astronaut is a favourite with the children of the 21st century. Turning your playhouse into a space station or interstellar ship will let their imagination go wild.
If you want to make it look “real”, covering the outside with tin-foil gives it an authentic appearance. Inside, add control panels and chairs for your little astronauts to sit down in. Make some cardboard astronaut helmets, and tell them not to go outside without wearing them. Who knows, you could be inspiring a future space pioneer!
20. Under the sea
The ocean is a fascinating place, especially for kids who are just starting to learn about the world. Why not give the inside and outside of the playhouse a few coats of deep blue paint, string some paper-made seaweed from the roof edge, and fill it with cut-outs of some awesome marine creature. Add in a mystical blue light for greater effect.
A Playhouse Full Of Endless Fun
The best thing about these decorations is that they don’t have to be permanent – in fact, it’s better if they’re not! You could choose a paint colour that could easily fit loads of imaginary play ideas, then chop and change decorations depending on the mood or desires of the kids using it. Better still, get the kids involved when you decorate – it’s a fun activity they’ll love!
Imaginary play is great for children. Giving them a space where they can feel free to play and enjoy themselves freely while doing it will be something they cherish. Not to mention, of course, how great it is for their development.
If you don’t have a playhouse but like what you’re reading about their great benefits, here’s an expert’s guide to choosing the perfect playhouse for you!