How to make a dining room playroom combo

This post may include affiliate links and I may earn commission if you make a purchase through these links.

A dining room playroom combo – If you're like me, you're always looking for ways to make the most of your space. And if you've got a small dining room, why not turn it into a playroom combo? It's the perfect way to keep the kiddos entertained without having to sacrifice precious square footage. So if you are looking to turn a dining room into a kid's playroom here are a few tips that will make it a truly functional space. 

8 tips for turning your dining room into a kids playroom

  1. Take out unnecessary or bulky furniture. Keeping furniture simple will help you maximize the space. Children are more likely to play when a space looks clean and organized
  2. Make sure everything in the space does double duty. A formal dining room table that also acts as an art studio or LEGO building space. Install built-in storage or add an open storage piece that can easily hold a few select toys on the bottom so they are reachable, but also dining space necessities up top. Use coordinating frames to showcase your child's artwork instead of store-bought wall art. An accent wall becomes a chalk or whiteboard for children to use for writing or drawing. Purchase open-ended and simple toys that look decent in the space so you don't end up with a dining room that looks like a Target toy aisle. 
  3. Purge a significant amount of toys. From my experience, most kids could stand to lose about 50% of their current toy stash. Not only does this make converting your dining room into a kid's playroom more manageable but it's also best for their quality of play (aka more independent play which means more time for you).
  4. Use wall space to hang shelves for book storage and tie a sheet over the table to create an under-the-table hammock for kids. This helps create a little book nook so your kiddos have a comfortable place to read.
  1. Consider adding a climbing ladder and simple swing or stepping stones for gross motor play. These are basic multi-age toys that are typically slim and easily stored but will add a serious level of sensory stimulation and gross motor play for active kiddos to a smaller space.
  2. Consider taking down window treatments and painting the space a white or SUPER light shade of blue or green as light paint color and more natural light is going to help make the space more inviting.
  3. Think about adding a rug to the space to make the floor more comfortable for kiddos to play. Keep in mind that floor time is important for children to develop skills like sitting, crawling, and walking. Keep in mind the type of rug that makes the most sense based on how often you eat in your dining room. If it's a formal dining room that's “only for holidays” then you'll have a little more flexibility since you won't have to worry about keeping food off it constantly. If it's where you eat all your meals you may want to consider a washable rug like the ones from Ruggable. 
  4. Reconsider the “storage bin.” You shouldn't have to have SO many storage bins because it just means you have too much stuff. If what you have in a storage bin hasn't been touched in years it should probably go…just saying.

Having a dining room space is important, especially if it's the only space you have to sit down together as a family–but having a play space for a child is also critical. This type of dining room playroom combo design is a great way to be able to have both types of spaces available to your family!

When thinking about turning your dining room into a kid's playroom there are a few things you should consider.

What's the focus of the space?

What type of play do you find your children gravitating towards. Once you figure that out it can help you determine what types of play areas you want to focus on having in your dining room playroom combo space. So for example, if they are super into small world play (dolls, animal figurines, houses) you may opt to have a dollhouse or barn over multiple sets of blocks. If they are interested in movement then finding ways to incorporate gross motor play is key.

How much space do you have?

Think about how much space do you have to work with. You don't want to overwhelm the space with too many toys or it will become cluttered very quickly. Which is what tends to happen! Try to stick to a few well-chosen pieces that are good for a variety of age groups. Choose quality over quantity, and stay away from toys with millions of small pieces (LEGO is my one exception!)

How often will you use the space for the dining room versus a playroom?

Another thing to consider is how often you use your dining room to eat as that will dictate where you set up the actual table and chairs for meals. If you only use the table for special occasions then can the table be pushed against the wall and then moved into the center when you are eating? If it's only once in a while, then you can get away with more open storage that might not be as visually appealing but is functional. However, if you plan on eating in the dining room on a regular basis then I would recommend incorporating a few more closed storage options to hide any excess or not so visually appealing toys when they're not in use.

Dining room playroom combo ideas for your unique family

It's important to understand that each family situation is so unique. When you are thinking about your space keep in mind that a space needs to work FOR YOU and the needs you have in this particular season of life. So consider your specific space (don't compare what you see on Instagram), your children's unique interests, and what your family needs in terms of an eating space are key to making a dining room playroom combo that really works for everyone.

3 Added benefits of a dining room playroom combo

  1. One thing I really love about turning your dining room into a kid's playroom is that typically the dining room in a house is located close by the kitchen (where adults tend to spend much of their time). Having adults close by gives kids more confidence to play in their play space–and it makes it easier for parents to introduce independent play because it's an easy distance from the kitchen to the playroom. This is especially important for children who are not used to playing alone.
  2. Having a dedicated play space is one of the easiest ways to get your kiddo to play independently. It's a designated place for them to go and explore, and it can help reduce the number of toys that are taking over your living room. A playroom doesn't have to be huge, it just needs to be well-organized with storage options so that everything has its place.
  3. Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that a dining room playroom combo can help to keep your sanity while living with young children. When everything has its place and there's an area designated for playing it helps reduce the amount of toy clutter throughout the house–so you're not stepping on toys while cooking and feeling overwhelmed by toy clutter when you go to watch a show after the kids are in bed.

Let's be honest, as parents, we could all use a little less chaos and a little more me-time. Turning your dining room into a kid's playroom can be a simple way to maximize your space and encourage tons of independent play!

Love this post? Check out some of the articles below.

child led learning

What is Child-Led Learning? (Explained + Examples)

This post may include affiliate links and I may earn commission if you make a purchase through these links. Letting your child lead their learning is not always easy, but it can benefit their development. It allows them to explore and create in their environment and base their learning on interesting things. I’ll explain more…

Mud play for kids: Yes, it’s worth the mess.

This post may include affiliate links and I may earn commission if you make a purchase through these links. When you think about your kids playing in the mud, your first thought is most likely how difficult it will be to clean them up afterward, but there are so many benefits to mud play for…

mouse, speaker, radio play-4850343.jpg

The Toniebox: The Screen-Free Toy For Kids That Will Transform Your Child's Playtime

This post may include affiliate links and I may earn commission if you make a purchase through these links. Today’s kids are growing up with technology as their go-to for entertainment which is NOT a good thing. The Toniebox allows children to have an engaging, relaxing, inspirational, screen-free alternative. Why Are Screen-Free Toys So Important?…

8 Best Subscription Boxes for Kids

This post may include affiliate links and I may earn commission if you make a purchase through these links. Subscription boxes can be fun and educational, encouraging play-based learning, which many of us are huge fans of. When we order subscription boxes, we usually do quarterly ones to rotate through them each month. For example,…

youth, children, wagon-640094.jpg

20 Must-Have Outdoor Toys for Kids [unique outdoor toys]

This post may include affiliate links and I may earn commission if you make a purchase through these links. Getting kids outside is so important for their physical, social, and emotional health. Unfortunately, many kids today spend too much time inside on screens (anywhere from 4-9 hours a day, yikes!) This can have negative consequences…