Budget playroom ideas – 10 designs that inspire creativity

These budget playroom ideas prove that style and functional doesn't need to cost the earth

Budget playroom ideas triptych
(Image credit: Future)

Great budget playroom ideas that win in terms of creativity and entertainment but that are also practical and functional can be tricky to get right, especially if you are working to a limited budget. 

How do you satisfy your decor requirements with budget constraints? Creating a beautiful and functional playroom that will cater to your child's needs is no easy feat, but it is not impossible. Thankfully, that's where we come in: our team has a big brood of kids between us, so the playroom ideas below are written from experience. And we know that playrooms don't just have to be for play – like the best playroom ideas and kids' room ideas, they can be lovely calming spaces where kids can wind down, hang out with you and, eventually, do their homework.

Budget playroom ideas

A playroom is the one space in the home where you can cut-loose and indulge your sense of fun when choosing a decorating scheme – even if you are on a relatively tight budget.

While it is essential to set an interior design budget and stick to it, it is also important to design a home playroom that you and your child will love. So, if you're forever organizing your playroom, take note: there are plenty of inspirational tips, playroom storage ideas and toy storage ideas that don't skimp on style. And if you're looking for beautiful girls' bedroom ideas or bedroom ideas for boys too, these budget playroom ideas will work for everyone.

1. Use a combination of modular storage

playroom with shelving for books, wall light, desk for toys, white floor, rug, toys, lego

(Image credit: IKEA)

shelving is a great way to add extra storage space to a playroom, as well as wow factor, and it doesn't need to cost the earth.

The right freestanding shelving unit can transform a whole room. It’s a place to store your toys, books, as well as display your child's treasures. Whether you want a striking statement unit that will provide a focal point or a more discreet design that will blend in effortlessly, there’s a model out there to suit your space and style. 

2. Combine the playroom with the bedroom

neutral children's bedroom with wooden beds, ladder, coir rug, bunting, black, white and gray bedding, mini table and chairs

(Image credit: Urbanology/Norman Young)

'When either space or budget constraints don't allow for a separate playroom/bedroom, combine these rooms into one,' says Ginger Curtis, owner and principal designer at Urbanology Design

'For these budget playroom, we designed a floating bunk bed on the top bunk and a movable platform bed on casters for the lower bunk. This, not only saves space but creates flexibility for plenty of play space and room to sprawl.'

3. Encourage creativity with a chalkboard wall

kids room with Lucy Tifney mural, kids chairs , easel and storage unit

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

'A chalkboard wall in your kids' playroom will give them hours of fun,' says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief, Homes & Gardens. 'Creativity is invaluable and having that large space to draw and write on will be worth it. As well as traditional chalks you can buy chalk pens which are less messy and have a wider color range ideal for getting those creative juices flowing for the whole family.'

4. Choose a monochromatic canvas

teen bedroom/playroom with sofa, shelving, chair, red coffee table, red chair, floor lamp, shelving unit

(Image credit: Ikea)

When it comes to designing a gender-neutral playroom, it pays to keep color palettes predominantly neutral. 

'If you're going for a predominantly single colored scheme then keep it interesting by using textures and pattern in the same shade,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens.

Choose a plain backdrop for displaying colorful artwork and unusual furniture. Keep your child stimulated with a plenty of textures and and keep color to key pieces of furniture. This creative little hideaway will provide a cozy retreat to while away the day, and can be fitted into even small bedroom ideas for kids.

5. Choose furniture that has a double use 

playroom with toy storage that doubles as a seat, artwork, toys, wooden train

(Image credit: Noa & Nani)

'Multi-purpose furniture is perfect for a playroom, especially if it offers additional storage,' say Alex and Kris Tolofson, directors & co-founders of Nöa & Nani. 'A toy box that doubles as a seat is a perfect example, not only does it provide a comfortable place to sit and read a book but it also provides helpful storage space for toys, books and games.'

'Extremely versatile, these dual-purpose pieces will evolve with you, perhaps transitioning from the playroom to a hallway or study – offering enhanced longevity whilst also ensuring you always have somewhere to tidy away your little one’s belongings.'

6. Choose neutral flooring

playroom with tree house, cushions, pouffes, low table, carpet, pink drapes

(Image credit: Mel Bean Interior Design/Laurey Glenn)

'Keep your options open with neutral flooring, that way it will work with most color schemes and bright rugs can be layered on top without color clashing,' says Melanie Griffiths, editor, Period Living. 'A subtle pattern can look great as you can see in this charming playroom designed by Mel Bean Interiors.

7. Paint stripes instead of papering 

playroom with candy stripe style walls, white floor tiles, pastel chair and table, two rugs, kitchen play area, toys, shiplap ceiling

(Image credit: Etch Design Group/Cate Black)

Paint is a brilliant way to update a playroom on a budget. When it comes to kids room paint ideas there are lots of different approaches you can take.

A budget playroom is the ideal place to be bold with color. Asking for their input when choosing paint colors will create a design that truly reflects their personality, and will ultimately see them enjoy and use the space more. 

The bright colors used on this horizontal painted wall creates an uplifting, playful feature wall that makes the space look bigger than it actually is.

8. Create a memory wall

playroom with day bed, cushions and toys, gray rug, artwork on walls, tiled style wallpaper

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway Studio+Shop/)

Gallery wall ideas aren't just for living rooms or bedrooms. A bare wall can become the main feature in a playroom by adding a gallery wall – not a standard one – create one that's full of memories instead. Artworks from nursery, those lovely little cards they make on special days and paintings created at home, pop a date on them and hang them in this space.

9. Invest in a versatile storage system 

girls bedroom storage idea with String modular system, white modern chair

(Image credit: Utility Design)

Be clever with your storage ideas, especially in a room that is used for play. 

'One of the best budget playroom ideas is to invest in a storage unit that will last for years – a design that will see you from toddler to teen,' says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief, Homes & Gardens. 'Choose a design that flexible, practical and stylish, white's a good option as it will go with any scheme and look out for options that allow you to create a desk space for homework.'

10. Think ahead with key design features 

teen kids/bedroom ideas with wallpaper, desk, multicolored rug, green armchair, storage units

(Image credit: Lisa Le Duc Design/Seth Smoot/Kendra Smoot)

'We designed this space with growth and development in mind,' says Lisa Le Duc, lead interior designer at Lisa Le Duc. 'It has plenty of floor space for all kinds of activities, it has flexible wall storage for toys, books and display items that all evolve over time as the child grows.'

'We designed a built in desk area with a comfy seating nook, for parents to either work or relax at while small children play and still need supervision. The area also doubles as a den for smaller children to play under. As the child grows older, the desk area can be used for homework, computers and reading.'

How do I create a playroom on a budget?

To create a playroom on a budget, it's all about creating an area for – you've guessed it – play. Focus on just a few key pieces to start with; we recommend good, sturdy bedroom storage ideas that will last forever. Source second-hand furniture from flea markets, antique fairs and online auctions.

Think about smaller pieces of furniture and accessories that will make your life easier when it comes to organization. A soft, washable rug, shelves, baskets and cubbies will ensure this room stays neat and tidy when not in use. 

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.