Once upon a time, your playroom was a perfect fit for your kids. But, things have changed. Whether you’ve welcomed a new addition to the family or your little ones have simply grown a bit bigger since the last update, the time has come to give it a refresh.
Before getting started, you want to put a plan in place to make sure your kids get the best possible playroom for your money. Here’s a look at 10 spending mistakes to avoid during this process.
Not Protecting Your Hardwood Floors
Kids are known to play rough and hardwood floors aren’t the most forgiving.
“I’m speaking from personal experience, as we just had our floors refinished and my five-year-old and almost two-year-old are absolutely destroying it — especially in the play area, before we had a chance to put down a rug or foam tiles,” said Dylan Murray, owner of Murray Craft Builders, a residential contracting company.
The average cost to refinish hardwood floors is around $3 to $5 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor. This equates to $675 to $1,125 for a 225-square foot room, so floor protection is vital.
Not Designing With Flexibility
Right now, your kids are young, but the playroom will be used differently when they’re older. Therefore, Murray said it’s important to ensure the room has as much flexibility as possible, which includes having enough electrical outlets.
“In a few years, the playroom will transform into more of a hangout space and they’re going to want outlets for computers, phone chargers, iPad chargers, etc.,” he said. “It can get pricy to add outlets later on so think about that during your initial renovation.”
On average, each new electrical outlet costs $214 to install, according to Angi.
Not Choosing Smart Furnishings
Sleek furniture might look nice, but it’s probably not the most appropriate for a playroom.
In addition to opting for a flexible design, Murray also advised investing in furniture that can do double duty and save space — i.e. a table with built-in storage.
“Smart storage solutions for toys can help with the clutter and help keep the room organized,” he said. “Spending a couple hundred now on smart furnishings that will grow with the kids can help save down the line so you don’t have to refresh [or] update every few years.”
Following the Trends
It might seem like a good idea to decorate your kids’ playroom with décor from the latest Disney movie or a cartoon character they can’t get enough of. However, Dustin Fox, a Realtor and owner of the Fox Homes Team, said it’s only a matter of time until they move on to something new.
“Following your kids’ current preference would be a lot like throwing your money straight out the window,” he said. “Doing so, you can end up wasting $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the updates.”
Not Choosing a Theme
As previously noted, you shouldn’t choose a theme that’s too trendy, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need one. With so much cute playroom décor to choose from, it’s easy to get carried away buying a little of this and that.
However, a mishmash of items won’t necessarily look great when put together in one room. Therefore, it’s best to choose a classic theme — i.e., a certain color scheme, wildlife, underwater, bohemian, outer space — that matches your kids’ interests.
Painting the Room a Stereotypical Color
“Most of the parents end up choosing blue for their kid’s playroom if their kid is a boy and pink if the kid is a girl,” said Ben Fisher, a luxury real estate agent with The Fisher Group in Salt Lake City. “However, you should not generalize your own motif or design while choosing the color of your kids’ playroom.”
Instead, he recommended painting the room a neutral color, so you kids can truly make the space their own.
The average cost to paint a room on your own is $200 to $300, according to HomeAdvisor. However, this rises to approximately $200 to $800 if you hire a professional, so you don’t want to have to take on this project too often.
Not Opting for Washable Wallpaper
Wallpaper that perfectly matches the theme of the playroom might look amazing at first, but Fisher said that might not last if it’s not washable.
“When your kids are too young, it’s normal for them to make a mess on the walls,” he said. “You will find dirty fingerprints, some ‘masterpiece’ drawings and even spills in the kids’ playroom.”
However, he said wallpaper installation can cost around $1,000 per room, so it’s important to choose a washable material.
Buying Too Many Toys
Having an entire room as a designated play area is pretty exciting. It’s easy to get carried away and buy tons of extra toys, but just because you have the space doesn’t mean it needs to be filled.
Chances are, your little ones get about as much — or even more — joy from playing with an empty box as an expensive toy. Even older kids tend to focus on their favorite items, instead of moving between dozens of toys in the room.
The average family spends $581 per year on toys, according to a 2021 study commissioned by the Toy Industry Association. Spending less will decrease clutter and give your kids more space to play with their favorite toys.
Not Choosing Durable Fabrics
Kids aren’t known for being the tidiest people. It’s safe to assume that any textiles in the playroom will come in contact with food, beverages, markers and paint — just to name a few messy substances.
Consequently, it’s important to choose rugs and upholstered furnishings made from washable fabrics. Alternately, you could opt to protect couches and arm chairs with slipcovers.
The average cost to reupholster a couch is $1,750, according to HomeAdvisor, so it pays not to skip this step.
Going Too Formal
You want your kids’ playroom to look nice, but remember, this is also a place to have fun. Instead of spending top dollar and inadvertently making it too nice to touch, focus on comfort.
For example, instead of spending money on pricey wall art, frame your little ones’ artwork and hang it up. Additionally, rather than carving out a huge furniture budget, you can opt for fun pieces like a Posh Creations Bean Pag Chair, with prices starting at $42.99 at Target. West Elm also has a Foamnasium Blocksy Kids Couch for $259.
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