After struggling to easily find the right items to furnish her own apartment, Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, was inspired to create an online platform to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible. Here, she talks about the top things to consider when planning a kids’ playroom that can usefully double up as a guest bedroom.
Hosting overnight guests is a great way to enjoy extra time with family and friends, but dedicating square footage solely to a spare guestroom that only gets used occasionally isn’t an option for many of us.
However, creating a functional and stylish dual-purpose room can provide a practical solution, and one of the most popular and effective combos is the mix of kid’s playroom and guestroom. With a bit of imagination the playroom/ guestroom set-up is easy to pull off on most occasions and a perfect fit for both kid’s sleepovers and visits from grown-ups at the weekends too.
Here are my top tips for creating a versatile room that will solve your hospitality headaches!
Top tip 1) Choose a multi-tasking bed
The most important piece in this multi-functional room is the bed as it is this item that provides the bulk of the versatility through offering additional sleeping space. Choosing one that offers both practicality and duality is a must as this will ensure the playroom offers ample space during the daytime, and that guests are comfortable and well accommodated when they stay.
The choice here depends on the size of the room. Foldaway beds are a great option if you want to completely free up the available space while the room is used by the kids. But if you want to include seating in the playroom setting as well, a daybed or sofabed will provide a lounging area for children to use in between playing.
If you go for a daybed, look for one with deep drawers which will be helpful for hiding toys or storing additional bedding. Alternatively, a trundle bed design means that you have an extra sleeping berth too, which is neatly stowed away when not in use but gives the option of creating a double bed when couples come to stay.
Top tip 2) Go for neutral colours and décor
Decorating a room that is both engaging for kids and pleasing for guests can be a challenge. It can be very hard to avoid leaning the décor more towards one purpose than another, but opting to keep the background as neutral as possible is a good way to strike a balance. Avoid overly childish décor, bright colours or highly personalised items – this will allow you to switch the kid’s room into a guest space with greater ease and keep the atmosphere within the room more balanced and inviting for visitors.
Using a neutral colour scheme as a base doesn’t have to be boring for kids though. Add a splash of colour, vibrancy and texture with a rug, cushions or throws to enhance the fun factor and add warmth and character. And you can still introduce a theme or consistent approach to the décor, perhaps favouring a particular motif or material for a stylised look. To punch the design up a bit, add prints to the walls in matching frames (keep them quite abstract, but inspiring or humorous), or use accessorises such as plants in coloured pots for quirky, friendly touches.
(Note, if very young children will be using the room, be sure to keep display items and accessories out of reach on high shelves).
Top tip 3) Pick dual-duty furniture
Once you have picked the colour scheme of the room and settled on the daybed or sofabed you want, the other items of furniture you choose will provide additional functionality and contribute to the overall visual effect.
Remember that any choice you make in terms of the furniture must meet both the kid-friendly demands of the playroom and those of a more sophisticated guestroom. The general rule of thumb here is that ‘less is more’! Don’t over clutter the room and make sure that the furniture you choose fits the space whilst providing ample room for play and for guests to move about easily. Also ensure you have clear manoeuvring space for when you need to convert the bed to its full size; having to move other furniture out of way every time you want to do this is likely to get very annoying!.
To ensure adaptability, pick double-duty furniture that can offer dual uses. An ottoman or toy chest positioned close to the bed can become a bedside table, and bookcases with additional room can also be turned into stylish displays when you want to transform the room into a grown-up space for the weekend.
A small workstation in the corner of the room could be a clever set-up to incorporate too. It needs only be a simple table and chair, or even fold-away bureau, but can be used by the kids for crafts or homework, or double up as a dressing table for guests.
Top tip 4) Supercharge your storage
When it comes to a playroom there can never be enough storage space! And, when the room is set to provide lodgings for guests too, ‘out of sight out of mind’ really does ring true, so closed cabinets are a must to keep toys, books and child-related paraphernalia neatly tucked away when needed.
A floor-to-ceiling built-in system with various shelves, drawers, cubes and doors provides visual contrast, adaptability and a touch of architectural interest to the room. Accessorise the shelves with contrasting doors, printed boxes or woven baskets to add colour and make tidying toys away quick and easy.
Try not to take up every drawer or cupboard though. Although they may not always be staying a long time, guests will most likely appreciate having a least one or two spare drawers or shelves for their clothes or personal items, and this will help them keep their belongings separate from the children’s. Designating these as ‘guest drawers’ also means you can leave useful items like towels, a spare phone charger or hairdryer permanently in place, preventing the need to empty toy-filled drawers every time someone comes to stay.
Top tip 5) Be flexible with lighting
Getting the lighting right in this dual purpose room is really important; as it will be used for playing during the day and for sleeping at night, the light fittings and window shades need to be appropriate for both.
Although the room is designed to be multifunctional, it is mainly a fun space so you can be playful here! There are many quirky, decorative table lamps available that may be aimed at children, but can still be appreciated by adults as a charming accessory; just don’t go too thematic or cartoon-character driven!
Overhead lighting in the form of spots or pendent lights are very much on-trend and will add general brightness and warmth to the room while suiting the tastes of both children and adults alike. Also ensure adequate focused task lighting is available. Place a reading lamp close to the bed or sofa for stories with the children or reading by guests, and on the desk for homework or applying make-up.
Think also about managing the natural light with suitable window dressings. Lined curtains, roman blinds and roller shades are functional options which can be opened wide to let daylight in during the day, as well as providing privacy and a blackout effect at night.
When furnishing children’s rooms, always think about safety. Low level furniture should ideally have a wide base for maximum stability. Ensure tall, freestanding items such as cupboards, drawers, book cases or wardrobes can be securely fastened to the wall or anchored to the floor. Always choose furniture made of appropriate materials and have non-slip pads underneath. Avoid sharp corners or edges, and ensure any painted furniture is non-toxic and conforms to present day safety standards. Make sure mattresses fit snugly around all four sides of the bed, and choose models with railings or barriers appropriate to the age of the child.
Kuldea makes creating a multifunctional playroom/guestroom even easier – browse a huge range of furniture and furnishings from the UK’s best retailers, all here in one place!