Milwaukee/NARI Members Offer Tips for Building Creative Playrooms for Kids

Jan. 2, 2014

Building creative playrooms for kids is popular among families with younger children according to members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 52 years.  Members say with proper planning, spaces dedicated to kids can be functional, creative, adaptable, and sturdy enough to handle whatever is thrown at them.

“Most times when homeowners request a design for a creative playroom for kids, they ask us to build them in a basement or attic space,” said Mike Wade, Wade Design & Construction, Inc. in Mequon.  “Often a key requirement is to develop a space that is flexible in style and function to meet the shifting use of the room as kids grow up and their activities and personal tastes change.”

“To ensure the room is built to last, we recommend darker colored ceilings that are less likely to reveal dirt that rubs off when balls are bounced around in play.  Drywall may not hold up to the pounding of kids games, so I recommend using durable materials for walls like corrugated steel panels, plywood, or tongue-and-groove paneling,” said Wade.  “Primary colors can be used on walls when kids are younger.  Changing to more muted colors are appropriate as they get older.”

“Homeowners can also be creative by installing games and activities directly into the room as part of their playroom remodeling projects,” said Wade.  “On one project for example, we used an old orchard ladder hung from the ceiling to create homemade indoor monkey bars.”

“Usually playrooms include a TV zone.  Here you would find comfortable furniture in durable, kid-proof fabrics,” said Susie Feia of Feia Construction, LLC in Waukesha.  “We like to have this area carpeted or use soft rugs to allow for the sleep-overs kids have.”

“Another area to incorporate in a playroom is a craft or activity area with an easy to clean hard surface floor,” Feia said.  “Including a place for a table in the design is important, so there is a place for putting together puzzles or playing board games.”

“Big is in as far as entertainment for kids and teens.  We design rooms with big screen TVs and sound systems for gaming as focal points of activity.  To add to the fun atmosphere, we sometimes build ticket booths and snack bars themed for kids,” said Nick Kerzner, CR, CKBR, of Kerzner Remodeling & Construction on Oconomowoc.  “For parents with younger children, we have created half walls to segment areas of a room for kids play, but because they are low walls, parents can see over them and monitor the activity.”

“For older kids that like to eat and drink while playing video games or watching a movie, we have built a wall with an opening in it, so kids will stay on the hard surface floors away from carpeting and couches that can be stained, but they still have an open line of sight to view the TV across the room,” said Kerzner.  “Game controllers can be built into the snack bar, so wires don’t need to be stretched across the open floor.”

“Some parents want to create a playroom that satisfies all their older kids' needs, because they would prefer they spend time with friends in their house, rather than hanging out at the mall,” said Kerzner.  “This can be accomplished by providing an entertainment center, a downstairs bathroom, and a kitchenette in the basement.  This also means the kids don’t have to keep going up and down the stairs for things, since all their needs are met in one level of the house.”

“Areas that encourage imagination are important, especially for younger children,” Feia said. “For example, for one client with young children, we are creating an activity area that includes a fun chalkboard wall.  This area within the room is designed so it can also be easily enclosed with a few curtains to create a make-believe stage for pretend play.”

Feia also said storage is key.  “Even if it is primarily the children's area, no one wants a room cluttered with toys,” she explained.  “Good design will include a variety of closed and open storage.  Built-in bookcases to display the most recent art projects or Lego creation, along with family photos, create a warm and inviting space.”

The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council.  In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry.  With over 740 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.

For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414- 771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at

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