Room for Everyone: Creating the ideal playroom for both a teen and a toddler

By Giggle Magazine

By Lori Evans | Photos by Allison Raber

What do a toddler boy and teen girl have in common? Not much. So how do you create a playroom for them to share? Divide and conquer!

We needed to design a playroom that would accommodate both our 3-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter. Our playroom at the time was a mess, so we knew it would require substantial work. It was time to put our house on the client list and give the room a much-needed makeover.

My goal for the room was twofold. First, we needed lots of storage and a play area for my little guy. He has a ton of toys, crafts and such; we needed places to store them. I envisioned a bookcase (or two), a teepee, a soft rug and a play table for him.

For my teenager, I wanted to see a relaxing seating area orientated toward the TV. She already has a study space elsewhere in the house. The idea was for her to use this room to unwind and watch a few shows at the end of the day. It would also be a great spot for her and her friends to hang out with a little space away from mom and dad.

Visually, I divided the room diagonally. This gave them each their own space and distinguished each mini-room for their individual uses. I kept things cohesive by using the same rug in both areas and using the same neutral color palette for both sides of the room. We painted the bottom of the walls with chalkboard paint and the top in fun tone-on-tone horizontal stripes.

Although it is a kids’ playroom, I did not use much “kid furniture.” Other than my son’s little Lego table, everything is “normal” furniture. This is a better investment and keeps the room looking chic. Using more adult furniture also allows them grow with the room without it having to be redone in a few years. We added lots of fun kid-style accessories, such as a world map, cute papier-mâché animal heads and a porcupine lamp to keep the space looking young. The whole process took a few weeks.

The result is a room with which everyone is happy. My little man can play to his heart’s content, my teen can relax and have her own area, and I love how it all works. Triple win!

Are you looking to create a combined space for children of different ages/genders? Consider these tips for Lori!

  1. Give each child his or her own space, dedicated to what he or she will actually use it for.
  2. Create two mini rooms within one.
  3. Keep it cohesive with colors and fabrics throughout.
  4. Use multiples of the same rug to tie the two spaces together.
  5. Accept that there will be a mess and work with it. Storage is your friend!
  6. Do not be afraid to mix things up! Not everything has to be kid’s furniture!
  7. Enlist help from the kids. Show them a few options and let them have a say.
  8. Make a budget you are comfortable with and stick to it. Shop online for deals and repurpose old items from elsewhere in your house.

Lori Evans is the co-owner of both Evans Construction & Design, a home building/design firm and The Evans Edit, an Interior Design blog. She tackles projects like this on a day-to-day basis, offering in-person and online design consultations.  Find her online at and