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How to turn a log cabin into a playroom

23 November 2016

A log cabin is a great space to set up a playroom for your kids. If you’re looking for extra space for them to play, or a den for older children to hang out in, we’ve got plenty of inspiration to help you get started.

Here are some handy cost-effective ideas to transform your log cabin into the perfect playroom.

First things first!

As the saying goes, a building must sit on solid foundations if it’s going to last. The same theory applies for your cabin. You need a base that will support the structure and the contents of your playroom.

Once you’re sure where your cabin is going to go (if it’s not there already), the perfect base is a long, solid concrete slab. You can build this yourself from readily available materials from a builders’ merchants, or hire a local builder to lay it for you. This will support the cabin’s weight and lift it away from the soil, helping to keep damp at bay. Then you’re ready for the fun stuff!

Decor

A female hand painting a wooden shed
Image: Shutterstock
Make it your own...

Painting your log cabin will not only transform the look of the building but it will help protect the wood. Get creative and pick a colour to choose your taste. You can always try different combinations to enhance the look and feel of your shed.

When you decide on a colour, test it on any leftover wood from the cabin build first. If that’s not available, try an unobtrusive spot on the cabin that you can 

Be careful to choose a colour scheme that will endure. Younger children may want a bright pink cabin now, but will they when they start to hit their teens? 

When you come to decorate the inside, consider turning part of a wall into a blackboard as part of your art station. Laura from Thoughts By Lolly offers a useful guide on how to make your own chalkboard paint from tile grout, acrylic paint and water.

Remember to get your children involved, too. Let their imaginations run free; it’s a space for them, after all.

Kit out a playroom without blowing your budget

Kids playhouse inspiration
Image: Waltons Pinterest
Watch it all come together

Upcycling is the new buzzword for breathing new life into redundant, unwanted pieces of furniture – and it is perfect for playrooms as Caz from Cheltenham Maman explains:

Upcycling for a playroom is so much fun because a lot of the time people want something a bit different. There is nothing like seeing a piece totally transform once it is painted.”

 We all love a good bargain, so rummage through charity shops and car boot sales for tables, sofas and chairs.

Keep a particular eye out for furniture covered with durable fabric - you want something that will last. Alternatively, go for the bean bag approach – they’re cheap, and easy to replace.

Flooring

wood effect lino flooring
Image: Shutterstock
Lino offers endless patterns and textures

When renovating an old cabin, new flooring is a must. Wall-to-wall carpet may be a popular choice, but sheds are prone to moisture, and damp or accidental spills can damage the carpet.

A sheet of lino or some leftover laminate flooring is a handy solution. It’s easy to install, and cheap as chips!

But not all of us can afford to buy new flooring, so Kerry from Oh So Amelia offers a thriftier solution:

“If purchasing new flooring isn't an option, adding a splash of new paint will make it look so much nicer.”

If you do paint the floor, mark out a checkerboard for draughts and chess. You can make it as big as you want (get the kids to make outsize draughts counters from old cardboard boxes). Larger log cabins can even have a Twister board on the floor! It’s easy and inexpensive to do, and provides hours of fun.

Insulation

rockwool insulation rolls
Image: Shutterstock
Don't let the cold spoil their fun

For a year-round fun space, you need to think about insulation. You’ll get the best results from insulating the walls, floor and ceiling of your log cabin. Double glazed windows will provide even more defence against the cold.

Adding insulation keeps a playroom warm and, and can save you money on heating in the colder months. Foil and bubble wrap are the cheapest solution, but aren't the most effective. Consider investing in rockwool or fibreglass that you can put on your walls and ceiling.

Electricity

Desk in shed full of crafts materials and computer
Image: Reader Sheds
Keep connected in there

TVs, games consoles, tablets, smartphones – some kids have it all these days. It makes sense to install some power points to keep their gadgets (and perhaps a heater) running.

You must get a qualified electrician to install an electricity supply. This will ensure that your connections and – more importantly – your children are safe.

It’s worth mapping out exactly what you need before contacting an electrician for a quote so that you’re prepared when they come. You could also consider socket extensions to cut down on cost.

Keep it safe and secure

Infant with a dangerous cable in their mouth
Image: UK Health Radio
Is your cabin kid-proof?

Your child’s safety is obviously the most important issue, so it’s vital to make sure your playroom is as child-friendly as possible, especially for younger sheddies.

Tie up any dangling electrical cords, fix freestanding furniture to the walls and use socket covers to keep power supplies safe from probing fingers.

Remember to secure your doors with sturdy bolts and locks. Amanda from UK Health Radio has a good tip for your windows, too:

“Windows in children’s bedrooms and playrooms should have child locks on to stop them opening any wider than 10cm/4 inches.”

This will prevent any accidental falls from windows, and also help to stop unwanted visitors to your log cabin playroom taking your kids’ precious valuables.

Storage

Shoe storage made from wooden crates
Image: Simple Living Sherry
Get creative with storage

In the kingdom of playrooms, storage is king, and there are some wonderful thrifty ways to keep everything tidy.

Upcycling wooden crates or plastic baskets is a good start. Mount them to the wall or floor to make clever storage spaces.

You can turn tins into art material holders, unused plastic bins into toy containers, and dish racks into book holders. Best of all, they can be painted to match your colour scheme.

Toys, games and activities

Young girl playing on the floor
Image: Shutterstock
Use every inch of your playroom

What playroom would be complete without toys and games? As well as the painted floor games and an art station in the playroom, add in an old TV and DVD player for watching movies on rainy afternoons.

But it doesn’t all have to be about electronics. Paint a checkerboard or spots Twister on the floor so that there are easily accessible games whenever they’re wanted.

And remember those boot sales again - they’re a fantastic source of books, jigsaws, toys and board games that you can pick up for pennies.

It doesn’t have to cost the earth to turn a log cabin into a playroom. You may find you’ve got more room in the house now that your kids have a new place to play in. And, when they’ve grown out of it, you might even want to re-convert it to a grown-up play space!

Have you already converted a garden building into a playroom? Share your best tips on our Facebook page - we love to see what you do with your cabins!

Lead image: Sokolova Maryna

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