Create a Garden Den or Garden Playroom
It’s probably the dream for many of us; no more gaggles of giggling teenagers in the house, no more navigating around rogue toy cars or, worse, stepping on long-forgotten Lego! Having a space in the garden for your young children or teenagers to call their own allows you to keep all those toys out of your living space, but what things should you consider when creating an outdoor playroom or den?
It might be tempting to lay down some plush hardwearing carpet across the entire playroom or den; however, spilt drinks and the outdoor environment mean this won’t be the wisest choice. You are best off laying lino or laminate flooring. It’s hardwearing, simple to install, easy to clean and best of all, it’s cheap as chips!
We recommend good quality wipeable paint if you decide to decorate the interior. You might even want to consider making one wall a blackboard or installing a large whiteboard to allow your children full creative license on one area.
If you don’t already have plug sockets or electricity running in your garden room, you will need to consider whether these are necessary. A playroom for younger children may not need power points; however, if it’s a teenager’s haven you are attempting to create, they are likely to want games consoles, a television and definitely a way to charge the smartphone they never seem to put down! You will need a qualified electrician to install this electrical supply. Make sure you think about what you really need and where it will be best placed before you start getting quotes so that you are ready when they come to look at your garden room.
Heating and Insulation
Outdoor structures will get cold in the winter, so if you want the space to be used year-round, you’ll need to consider insulation. Combining this and double glazed windows will really help, especially as having a space heater running in a children’s space isn’t ideal. An added bonus of sound insulation is an element of noise reduction which we’re sure you’re neighbours will appreciate!
Safety & Security
Of course, we do not recommend leaving young children to their own devices for the whole day; but if your garden room is placed where you can see it from the house, you will want to ensure some basic safety measures are in place so that you can step away confidently. If you do install power points, these should be covered when not in use. Tie up any loose or dangling electrical cords. All free-standing furniture or storage units should be secured to the walls to prevent them from toppling. Child locks can be laced on any window. A lock will stop them from opening further than 4 inches, preventing accidental falls.
For teenagers, you shouldn’t need to use socket covers, but we would still recommend securing the furniture and any loose wires so that roughhousing doesn’t take a turn for the worse.
Of course, now you’ve taken all the gadgets and toys and placed them in your garden building, sturdy bolts and locks are even more critical. You want to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to prevent unwanted intruders from stealing your children’s prized possessions. Consider curtains or blinds for any windows and French doors to prevent being able to see what’s inside when you’re not around. If you have a security alarm on your main property, you may be able to get additional sensors added to the playroom or den.
Good storage is crucial in a children’s playroom. User-friendly storage, which your children can easily access, will be a critical element for a good playroom. Consider cube storage units with labelling on the front so your children can recognise their toys and tidy them up quickly. You can upcycle wooden crates or plastic baskets as well and even mount these to the wall!
Even a teenagers’ den will still benefit from some storage. If they have a games console, a safe place to store controllers, remotes and games will be essential. They may also want somewhere to keep snacks!
You might opt for bean bags or floor cushions with removable covers for easy washing. Perhaps you’re upgrading the sofa in the family room, and your old one can go to the playroom or den. Whatever you choose, we recommend the covers are removable, and it’s not your favourite white leather sofa!
Remember, charity shops are an excellent place to pick up second-hand furniture, often in great condition, and it won’t cost you a fortune!