Transforming a closet into a hideout for kids gives them space to stretch their imaginations and have their own private getaway. Be sure to remove common storage items from the closet before you start with decorations, including tools, cleaning supplies and low wall hooks or storage shelves that could potentially become head bumpers.
Decorate the closet hideout by theme, such as a favorite character, book, movie or pasttime. For example, create a treasure-seekers cave, a castle tower, an ancient fort, Hobbit hole or fairy house. This encourages imaginative play as well as serves as a cozy, personalized retreat. Encourage your kids to help with key decorating elements, drawing out decorating plans together, selecting paint colors and allowing them to help create the personality of the hideout.
Paint the walls or install wallpaper to differentiate the closet hideout from the other household space. For example, a princess-themed hideout might have pale pink walls, sponge painted with silver highlights. A pirate ship could have midnight blue painted walls adorned with glow-in-the-dark stars. You could also line the inside walls with corkboard tiles so kids can display their own artwork, pictures and change out decor as they see fit.
Kids will spending a lot of time on the floor of the closet hideout, so make sure it's both comfortable and easy to clean. If the closet has an existing linoleum or tile floor, consider installing inexpensive low pile carpet remnants. If the closet already has carpeting, clean it well and allow it to dry and air out. Cover the floor with cozy seating, like oversized pillows, bean bag chairs and soft throw blankets, blankets, as space allows.
While most large closets are outfitted with an overhead light, you can add to the hideout fun by replacing the existing light fixture with a colored bulb or black light. Consider stringing twinkle lights along the wall, or line the perimeter of the closet floor with rope lighting. You can also install battery-operated touch lights that easily attach to just about any surface inside the hideout.
Use soft-sided or fabric cubbies to house toys and dress up clothes. Avoid sharp edges or breakables in the small space, as it’s sure to see a lot of active playing. Let your kids decorate the inside of the hideout door with craft paint handprints and drawings, or attach a measuring stick and use it to gauge growth. If the closet has a locking doorknob, consider replacing that with a non-locking version to ensure no one gets stuck or locked in, and that you have access whenever you need it.
Decorate the Entrance
If you’re creating a hideout in a closet in a common living area, you may want the outside of the closet to maintain a uniform look with the rest of your home decor. If the closet is in a hallway, under the stairs or in a child’s room, have fun with the exterior as well. Paint a hideout or house facade around the door, place a welcome mat in front, and install a mailbox where you can leave special notes and treats.