If you’re looking for playhouse decorating ideas, you’ve come to the right place.
That’s why in this post, we’ve scoured the internet and our brains (as we so often do) to come up with a step-by-step guide of playhouse decorating ideas.
Below, we’ll walk you through playhouse interior ideas and painting and treatment tips for the outside.
Away we go!
Why build a playhouse?
We’ve said before that research shows playhouses can be beneficial for your kids.
They can help them to:
- Be healthy and active (and build their immune system)
- Have their own space
- Improve coordination, social skills, and even sleep quality
- Have an all-weather play area
- Instil a sense of confidence and responsibility
So if you want to get children out into the garden and give them a space to play…well, it’s not called a playhouse for nothing!
But isn’t that enough – just giving your kids an outdoor playhouse?
Why decorate a playhouse?
Of course, building a kid’s playhouse is a wonderful thing to do. And you could just leave it there. But then we wouldn’t have written this post, would we?
Giving your kid’s playhouse a lick of paint and a few decorative highlights can really transform it. For example, a painted and/or decorated playhouse can:
- Be styled and themed
- Serve a purpose – like a cafe, crafts room, or reading nook
- Be used year-round
- Build a sense of autonomy and trust with your kids
- Help to protect it against the elements
And those all sound like some pretty decent positives.
In fact, there aren’t really any downsides to decorating your playhouse. It’s just a question of whether you want to personalise your playhouse and have the time and budget to or not.
But don’t worry, below we’ve come up with budget-friendly but comprehensive ways in which to decorate your kid’s playhouse.
Check it out.
Part 1 – Painting a Playhouse
Depending on which children’s playhouse you’ve bought, it’ll either be made of plastic or timber.
A plastic playhouse is, by design, a lot harder to decorate or customise. You won’t really be able to paint it, and it’ll be hard to furnish it with things like shelves without breaking it. So for a plastic kid’s playhouse, you might want to skip ahead to our interior decorating ideas.
Because most kid’s playhouses are wooden, we’ll assume you’re looking at buying a wooden playhouse.
And painting or even wood staining a wooden playhouse can help to both improve its visual appeal and weather-treat it.
Painting or staining a wooden playhouse
Before you decide to paint or treat your wooden playhouse, you need to know how the timber has been treated.
It’ll either have been:
|DIP-TREATED||Dipped in a water-based treatment and allowed to soak and then dry to form a base coat. This protects against rot and insects for a time.|
|PRESSURE-TREATED||More effective than dip treatment. Treatment is applied under pressure to penetrate the timber’s surface. This offers enhanced protection from damage caused by moisture and UV rays for up to a few years.|
Whether your wooden playhouse has been dip- or pressure-treated, you’ll still need to apply a final wood treatment (at some stage). This will prolong your playhouse’s life and can be your first step in decorating it.
If your wooden playhouse is made from pressure-treated timber, there should be no need to apply treatment upon purchase. (You might consider doing it a year or so down the line).
Start by treating or ‘priming’ wood and cleaning off any dirt and/or grease. Check for splinters, cracks etc. (there shouldn’t be any, but it’s worth a look just in case). If there are, sand them down and clean with white spirit.
Then, you can either go about choosing from:
|WOOD STAIN||Wood primers and stains seal and protect wood from the elements. They can be used underneath paint.|
|WATER-BASED TREATMENT||WIll require annual re-application. Quick and straightforward to apply. Make sure to purchase a treatment suitable for smooth, planed playhouse timber. A water-based treatment would be best for your playhouse interior.|
|SPIRIT-BASED TREATMENT||For the exterior. Longer-lasting than water-based equivalents. Comes in clear or coloured treatments. If you’re planning to paint your playhouse, consider using a clear treatment.|
Once you’ve primed and treated your children’s playhouse, you can get on to the fun part of decorating – painting!
Painting your playhouse
Painting your playhouse can help to bring it to life. It can also be a fun project to undertake with your children.
Before you start, think about what paint, colour, and themes you want for your kid’s playhouse.
|COLOUR||Pick a manageable colour scheme! (I.e. ‘rainbow’ might end up costing a lot in money and sanity). We recommend bold block colours that contrast. Think classic blue or pink with white trim and window frames.|
|THEME||What does your colour scheme say about your playhouse? If you’re going for a classic Wendy house look, go for block colours. Or, try lighter tones if you want a beach-themed playhouse.|
|INTERIOR||Are you going to paint the interior? Will you have feature walls?|
|GET CREATIVE||Can you incorporate things like glitter paint for a splash of colour?|
By getting your children involved in the playhouse decorating process, they can start to make it truly their own.
Let them advise you (within reason) on the colours they want the inside and outside to be painted. Could you use stencils and let them paint a feature wall on the inside?
If not, think about painting the interior neutrals like white or cream to maximise on natural light. Just remember, a kid’s playhouse is for them – so let them have some input!
As for the practical side of things:
How to paint a playhouse
- Start by checking if your timber has been drip- or pressure-treated
- Check timber for splinters or cracks (sand where necessary)
- Clean wood of dirt/dust/grease and prime it
- Allow to dry and apply wood treatment (where applicable)
- Apply an undercoat of your chosen paint
- Following undercoat, sand smooth your timber – (Even a planed playhouse will become rough after initial painting)
- Apply one or two gloss or satin topcoats for a shiny finish
- Top tip: Paint the window frames and door last!
- Use EN71-compliant (or water-based) paint for your playhouse interior
- Paint your playhouse in parts before assembling
- Do it sooner rather than later! (Or it’ll never get done!)
And check out this post if you want an easy-to-follow guide on painting wooden garden buildings.
Technically, yes. Although, if the plastic of your children’s playhouse is glossy, you may need to buy specialist paint. Paint won’t bond as well to a plastic playhouse as to a matte surface without sanding.
However, using plastic primer and spray paint, you can paint a plastic playhouse.
Part 2 – Decorating a Playhouse
Once you’ve painted your wooden playhouse (outside and/or inside), you can move on to decorating it.
Below, we’ve broken down into sections a bunch of ideas for decorating a children’s playhouse and why they’re so important.
And just to give you a quick overview:
What should I put in my playhouse?
- A painted featurette wall or stencil designs
- Home-made curtains
- Shelves and storage
- Kid’s furniture
- Blankets, cushions, throws
- Fairy lights
- A blackboard
- Board games
- Bean bags or a bed for sleepovers!
Let’s have a look at how these playhouse decoration ideas can bring your garden building to life.
Putting curtains in your playhouse can give your children a sense of privacy and trust. It says, ‘we trust you to play on your own without mum and dad watching all the time’.
On a more practical note, curtains in your playhouse are great for keeping it (and occupants) cool in summer. They can also block out the sun for nap times.
To make your own homemade playhouse curtains:
- Find a piece of material and cut it to a size that is slightly longer than the height of your playhouse window, and twice the width of the window
- Cut small holes three inches apart along the width of the fabric at the top
- You can use iron-on hemming tape to stop the holes from fraying
- Find a piece of rope or thick string instead of a curtain pole
- Screw or drill in hooks on either side and just above the window frame
- Hang your curtains
Top Tip: Choosing a fabric is a fun activity to do with your kids. Make sure your little ones have as much input as possible in decorating their playhouse.
And check out the video below for a quick guide to making curtains for your playhouse:
Shelves and storage
Earlier, we said that decorating your wooden playhouse should be all about your kids. But that doesn’t mean you can’t trick them into helping you out in the meantime. Whilst you can find some playhouses with an internal bunk, putting more shelves in is never a bad idea.
Installing shelving and storage in your playhouse can have benefits for you and your kids like:
- Keeping it tidy
- Making toys easy to find
- Minimising the risk of trips and falls
- No more episodes when Mr Blanky goes missing!
So why not make a kid’s treasure chest to store their toys after playtime. You can give them space to create their own little world and encourage them to clean up after themselves. Win-win!
Note: Make sure to check shelving for rough edges and splinters. Sand if necessary.
Kids outdoor furniture
Remember that your wooden playhouse has a ‘world’ outside as well. If you’ve got a tower playhouse with a veranda, what can you do to spice up that area?
Well, one answer is ‘kids outdoor furniture’. Outdoor furniture will be weather-resistant and cheaper than alternatives (just remember to keep it covered). Things like plastic stackable chairs can also be used outside on a porch or balcony when the weather’s good and inside when it’s not.
Plus, by furnishing the inside of your playhouse, children can have friends around for tea parties. (You might even get an invite!).
If your playhouse is big enough and insulated sufficiently, you could even furnish it with a small bed for sleepovers (or just a nap).
Top Tip: If you do own a tower playhouse, you might consider adding other play accessories like a bell, binoculars, or a steering wheel for a ship theme.
Go with a theme
If you want a bit more guidance with colours for things like:
- Paint scheme
- Bunting colours
- Fairy light colours
- Kid’s furniture
Then why not come up with a theme? Dark blues and white work great for a playhouse space station. Or grey and white can turn your kid’s playhouse into a castle.
Check out this post we wrote for more interior ideas for a playhouse.
Boardgames and puzzles
Don’t forget – a playhouse is for play.
All this talk of painting and decorating might start to seem like you’ve created a piece of installation art. Don’t forget what’s at the heart of your playhouse decorating mission!
Invest in some fun board games and puzzles for the whole family. You can even scour the local charity shops. And why not add a blackboard feature to an interior wall? Give your children a chance to write and draw to their heart’s content.
See – the writing on the walls doesn’t have to be so bad!
Decorate the outside: Plants and flowers
If you haven’t bought a playhouse with planters, think about adding some.
Planters and flower boxes can give your kids another project to keep them busy. Plus, growing and caring for something can nurture a sense of responsibility and ownership.
Who knows, if you play your cards right, they might even offer to take care of the rest of the garden!
Part 3 – Finishing Touches
Now that you’ve followed steps 1 and 2 and painted and decorated your playhouse, you’re almost done.
At this stage, we’d just like to suggest a couple of final touches to get the best use out of your playhouse.
Cushions and blankets
Soft furnishings can help you get the most out of your wooden playhouse year-round. They can provide warmth in the cold weather and a comfortable place to sit.
They’re a great alternative if your playhouse doesn’t have enough space for chairs. If you can’t decorate your playhouse with furniture, go for blankets, cushion, rugs, and throws.
Top tip: Blankets and cushions can also be scooped up and taken indoors if the weather changes.
It’s pretty amazing what a bit of colour can do to any outdoor garden building. And fairy lights are nothing if not colourful.
You can even build them into your playhouse theme or swap them out at different times of the year. Think:
- Green and red for Christmas time or
- White fairy lights for a winter grotto, or even
- Red, white, and blue for the Platinum Jubilee (2022)
Either way, battery- or solar-powered fairy lights are a great get-around. Using fairy lights means you won’t have to run a power lead out to your playhouse. This is good news as an exposed wire and power point around your kids could cause all kinds of problems.
Plus, you won’t have to install any utilities to your playhouse. (If you’re sold on the idea, though, check out this guide to installing utilities in a garden building).
Speaking of adding a splash of colour to your wooden playhouse, bunting is a cheap and cheerful solution. Like fairy lights, you can change it with a theme or with the seasons.
Simply grab some old material and string and get decorating!
And last but not least, make your children’s (play)house a home. Make them feel at home with a fun little welcome man upon entry.
And don’t forget to wipe your feet!
How to Decorate a Kid’s Playhouse
Well, now you know. Choosing and buying or building a playhouse is a big step, but there’s still more to go.
That’s why here at Garden Buildings Direct, we want to be with you every step of the way! From choosing a tower playhouse or a two-storey playhouse to giving you ideas on how to decorate it.
And we hope you (and everyone else reading) have had some ideas sparked along the way. But just to recap:
- A playhouse is a developmental space for children
- It can give children a sense of autonomy and ownership
- Wooden playhouses may come either dip- or pressure-treated
- We suggest staining, undercoating, and top coating your playhouse (where applicable)
- Treat and paint your children’s playhouse in stages
- Come up with a theme and pick a colour scheme to match
- Fill your playhouse with shelves, storage, soft furnishings, and toys
If you do all of that, your children won’t just have a playhouse; they’ll have a playhome. (Ok, that one was a bit soppy!). Still, you can get the most out of your playhouse if you all get together and follow this guide to decorate it.
And if you haven’t bought a playhouse yet but you’re keen to create a castle or a space station in your backyard, check out this expert’s guide to choosing a playhouse.Shop Playhouses
Start before building it. For a children’s wooden playhouse, start by checking the timber and sanding where necessary. Depending on whether your playhouse uses dip- or pressure-treated timber, apply primer and wood treatment.
Then apply paint in an undercoat and a glossy or satin topcoat in your chosen colour scheme.
For the inside of your outdoor playhouse, use a water-based EN71 compliant treatment or paint or none at all. Instead, allow your children to decorate walls with things like stencils and glitter paint. Install a blackboard or create a feature wall.
Finish with stackable plastic children’s furniture, toys, bunting, fairy lights, and soft furnishings like cushions and blankets.
Adding shelves and storage to your playhouse can give children more usable space and keep your playhouse tidy. To brighten up the interior, consider hanging battery-powered fairy lights and bunting. For year-round use, lay down rugs or blankets and cushions. And don’t forget a healthy stock of board games and puzzles.
For a plastic playhouse, you will need a specialist plastic primer and spray paint. For a wooden playhouse, use a water-based or EN71 compliant paint suitable for timber exteriors.