Creative ways to turn part of any room into a play space

Jess Chamberlain,  – December 21, 2005

Not many kids can say they have a swing in their living room. Or a chalkboard wall in their kitchen. But for Tuuli and Tigerlily Snow, who are 11 and 3, playtime happens almost anywhere in the Seattle home built by their parents, Jenny Beedon Snow and Brett Snow. When Jenny, a painter and rug designer, and Brett, a contractor and shipwright, began decorating their new home, they decided to nix TVs and incorporate play space into all the rooms. Even the wall and fabric colors are energetic.

Child-friendly tips
The Snows are full of ideas for making the whole house fun for kids.

• Turn the dining table into project central. “Our dining table isn’t a very precious surface because it is also the art table, sewing table, and felting table,” Jenny says. “At most dinner parties, we cover it with white butcher paper and put a pile of markers in the middle. Then guests of all ages color.”

• Use tough floors and floor coverings. Concrete on the first floor and oak elsewhere stand up to indoor trikes and scooters. In addition, “Jenny designed a big rug for the living room that would be cushy while hiding dirt,” Brett says. All of their furniture is “jump-friendly” too.

• Keep music and books at hand. “A Mac in the living space is available for the kids to access all our music,” Jenny says. “And the cabinetry houses not only our library but the kids’ books as well.”