How to turn a log cabin into a playroom
A log cabin is a great place to set up as a unique 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 cost-effective ideas to transform your log cabin into the perfect playroom.
Create a strong base
Once you’re sure where your cabin is going to go (if it’s not there already), the perfect base is a 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.
Playrooms are a great place for toys, games, puzzles and art equipment. But they’ll also need to stand up to rambunctious play from time to time. A strong base will preserve the life of your cabin and give your children years of fun.
Decorating your log cabin playroom
Painting your log cabin will completely transform the look of the building and protect the wood from decay. Pick a muted block colour or get creative and try something brighter for a bit of fun.
When you’ve chosen your paint, test it on a leftover piece of wood first. If that’s not available, find an unobtrusive spot on the back of the cabin to make sure it’s what you were hoping for. Think about a colour scheme that will endure. Younger children might want a bright pink cabin now, but may change their minds when they 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. Catherine from Growing Family says:
“Your child can then draw to their heart's content, and once they are bored with their masterpieces, they can simply wipe the chalk away and start again.”
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
Upcycling is the process of breathing new life into redundant or unwanted pieces of furniture. Upcycled furniture is perfect for personalising your playhouse and the process is fun too, as Kara from Chelsea Mamma says:
“Upcycling furniture is always hugely satisfying, so if you are someone that loves to take on a project, why not buy something second hand and give it a makeover.”
We all love a good bargain, so rummage through charity shops and car boot sales for cheap tables, sofas, and chairs to spruce up. Check out online buy and sell pages for your local area and keep an eye out for deals or free items.
Keep a particular eye out for wooden furniture that can be transformed with a lick of chalk paint, as it will stand up to wear and tear better than fabric. Alternatively, opt for bean bags – they’re cheap, colourful, and easy to replace.
Flooring in your log cabin playhouse
When renovating an old cabin, new flooring is a must. Wall-to-wall carpet may be a popular choice, but garden buildings 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!
If you don’t fancy new flooring in your playhouse or want a more durable option, check out this thrifty solution from Fiona at Savvy in Somerset:
“Painted floors are a brilliant budget option. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get creative with different colours, patterns and artwork.”
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 painted onto the floor! It’s easy and inexpensive to do, and provides hours of fun.
Insulate your log cabin
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 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 come with the added bonus of noise reduction to keep the neighbours happy!
Hooking your playroom up to electrics
TVs, games consoles, tablets, smartphones — some kids have it all these days. Install some power points to keep their gadgets (and perhaps a heater) running.
You must get a qualified electrician to install an electricity supply in your cabin. Map out exactly what you want before getting quotes so that you’re prepared when they come. Consider investing in socket extensions to cut down on cost.
Keep it safe and secure
Your child’s safety is the biggest priority when building a playhouse, 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 securely to the walls and use socket covers to keep power supplies safe from probing fingers.
Install child locks on windows to stop them opening any wider than 4inches to prevent any accidental falls. Secure your playhouse doors with sturdy bolts and locks to prevent unwanted visitors stealing your kids’ valuables.
Storage in your log cabin playhouse
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 old 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 for your playroom
No playroom is complete without toys and games. As well as the painted floor games and chalkboard wall, add an old TV and DVD player for watching snuggly movies on rainy afternoons.
It doesn’t all have to be about electronics. Remember to look out for books, jigsaws, toys, and board games that you can pick up for pennies from car boot sales and online sale sites.
Have fun creating an outdoor playhouse and give your kids their very own space in which to use their imaginations and hang out with friends. And when they grow up and fly the nest, you can look forward to reinventing the log cabin once again, turning it into a gym, home office, yoga studio or gin palace!
A log cabin is a strong and secure outdoor extension of your home. If you need help choosing the right building for your family, download our free log cabin buying guide now. Have you already converted a garden building into a playroom? Share your best tips on our Facebook page — we love to hear from you!
Lead image: Sokolova Maryna