Posted by Dan O'Malley in Home Design

​Have you heard the saying, less is more? Well it’s easier said than done. Our lives are all busy and sometimes striving for order isn’t always easy.

​Are you looking for ideas to make the most out of your home layout without the high standards of having to strive for perfection 24/7? The idea here is to create a functional family-friendly layout that your children can enjoy and value. Kids love a space that is uniquely their own.

​New home plan layouts often provide a number of rooms that can be converted into the perfect play room paradise. What kids’ room ideas to mind? Does your room have a rec room, basement, or attic that could be transformed into the perfect play room? What would life be like if these spaces could fit in with the mainstream layout of the home and be functional?

Kiddie Corners: Easy Kids’ Areas to Monitor for Toddlers

​The younger kiddos need a space of their own, too. Parents highly skilled in the art of multitasking know that dinner won’t cook itself while they make sure the kids aren’t getting into dad’s tools or mom’s lipstick!

​Create the perfect kids’ play area for your tiny tots by designating a corner of your first-floor living area as a play space to keep an eye on from the kitchen. Preparing dinner is less stressful when you can hear what the little ones are doing and watch them navigate around furniture or valuables.

​Create a comfy corner right in your family room with plush rugs (ones that can withstand the occasional juice spill), cozy pillows or bean bags, and stuffed animals or their favorite toys. For the youngest members of your family still in diapers, set up a soft barrier for them, too.

Inspiring Homework Hangouts

Your students work hard, and you want to encourage good grades. What better way to feed creative, studious minds than the perfect homework spot?

​If backpacks, papers, textbooks, and an ever-uncapped collection of pens and pencils tend to clutter up your dining room table, rethink a space in your loft or finished basement for the kids to focus on those tough algebra equations. A reading nook, shelves labeled with each kid’s name, and containers for every writing utensil they’d ever need help kids put everything back in its place once they’re finished for the evening.

​Besides making sure this space has bright enough lighting and comfortable chairs, you’ll want to avoid any and all other distractions that could easily tempt a wandering mind. Keep these kids’ room accessories in the game room:

  • Game consoles (especially the handheld ones)
  • Tablets and phones (older kids may need to use computers for research or paper-writing)
  • Toys
  • Basketballs, soccer balls, tennis balls, etc.

​On the other hand, some additions can be welcomed and helpful in this space:

  • Bagged snacks (with a trashcan nearby once they’re emptied)
  • Bluetooth speaker with music to help them focus
  • Essential oil diffuser filled with a recipe to help keep them on-task
  • Wall art with an inspirational quote or homework completion decal

Don’t have a whole room you can devote to a homework hangout? Invest in floor cushions and a large ottoman you can tuck under a TV stand or coffee table. Your kids can take over the living room and be within earshot of the proverbial (or literal!) dinner bell while they plug away at that spelling homework.

Shared Spaces Adults and Kids Can Both Use

Speaking of rooms that need to be re-converted back into an area acceptable for guests to see, sometimes the best solution is an easily collapsible kids’ play area in your living room. This way, parents can still watch the evening news or America’s Got Talent while an entire lego empire or magic Barbie kingdom is being set up right behind the couch. Once the show’s over and it’s bedtime, at the click of the power button on the remote and a quick cleanup session, before you know it the toys are back in their storage container and little teeth are being brushed for bedtime. You can even find stylish storage containers that will make it so no one would’ve even guessed toys were just sprawled out everywhere!

Game Rooms Stocked with Something for Everyone

Do you have video gamers in your house? What about kids who enjoy art more than games? How about the rare breed who still enjoys a good board game? One kids’ game room can incorporate a little something for everyone.

Game Tables

Did you know a card table for your Friday night poker games can also function as a kids’ board game area? Some tables even include storage underneath the surface so a tablecloth can easily turn a game space into a spot to put out pizza and snacks for movie night!

Bonus Rooms With Bonus Features

We often hear of our homeowners using their home plans’ bonus rooms as kids’ game or media rooms. You can find plenty of inspiration from parents who have discovered how to decorate their kids room spaces so that kids feel that this space is their own.

Secluded lofts or upstairs bonus rooms help minimize noise of TVs while parents finish up some work on the main floor. One single bonus room can even be a space to draw, play video games, watch a movie, or read comics. Consider adding a cute kids room sign that communicates that this area is just for them.

Keeping Adult and Kid Games Separate

If you can get away with keeping your pool table, game day essentials, or other more expensive game room features in the same space as your kids’ game accessories, consider sectioning off part of the room for your stuff and providing enough space for kids’ items on the other half of the room.

This way, crayons and markers don’t make their way to your felt billiard table, and guests still feel like they’re in the right place to watch the game or play pool. Just remember, there’s no perfect decorating formula, so you can still make a space uniquely your family’s own even with kids’ room decorating ideas. Whatever suits your family’s needs is what will work best in this space!

Mud Rooms: Organize the Chaos

Mud rooms are a paramount requirement in some households. Cold weather brings along with it extra layers of clothing and soaking wet boots, so make things easier on your cleaning routine and make sure your mud room has all the essential areas to tuck away the outdoor wear:

  1. Coat hooks
  2. Shoe cubbies
  3. Backpack storage
  4. Lockers with names
  5. Scarf, hat, and mitten compartments

Before putting those wet shoes away, make sure they go on a drying mat first!

Mess is going to happen--that’s part of what you signed up with when kids entered your world! Even though your house might not always look perfect, you can take measures to make cleanup easier with these kid-friendly spaces and must-haves for parents on-the-go. What room do your kids gravitate to in your home?


Dan O'Malley
Dan O'Malley


Dan O’Malley is the Vice President of Product Development for M/I Homes.With over 30 years of expertise in residential architecture and design, Dan has been overseeing the product needs of the company's 16 divisions located throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Nashville and Texas for the past 12 years. Before joining M/I Homes, he was a partner in the Chicago office of BSB Design, a national residential architectural firm, for 14 years. Dan is an expert in all aspects of single-family and multifamily design and has received several awards for his successful projects. He is also a popular speaker at various industry events, including the International Builder’s Show, Midwest Builder’s Show, and Multi-Housing World.

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