Use decorating ideas that inspire the imagination.

How to Make a Playhouse Under the Stairs

by Lisa McQuerrey

If you have a spacious cubbyhole underneath your stairs, you can turn it into a child's dream playhouse or clubhouse. This alcove hideaway is perfectly child-sized and can provide hours of imaginative play and entertainment. Include your kids in the decorating process so they feel it is truly theirs.


If you've already got carpeting under the stairs, you're good to go. If you have concrete flooring, clean it well and install plush carpet remnants or inexpensive linoleum tiles that you can then cover with fluffy throws and beanbag chairs. You can even use oversized floor pillows or sleeping bags as soft, comfortable flooring.


One of the great things about decorating a playhouse under the stairs is that the cozy hideout will be hidden from view, so it doesn't matter if the decor matches your own home decorations. Let your child pick a paint color, or go for something jazzy like a neon hue, glow-in-the-dark paint or chalkboard paint that lets kids leave secret messages for each other.


Hang an inexpensive fabric-covered bulletin board in the playhouse for kids to display their favorite pictures and artwork. Leave them personal notes on the board as a special surprise. Think of little pick-me-ups, like “Good luck on your test today!” or, “Great teamwork during your soccer game!”


Even if the under-the-stairs alcove already has a light, your kids will enjoy “fun” lighting. String miniature twinkle lights or install inexpensive, battery-operated touch lights that can be mounted in any location. You can also use paper lanterns found at party supply stores or mini flashlights. Make sure whatever you use is cool to the touch and doesn't present a fire hazard.


If your child has a favorite character, television show, movie, book or hobby, make a theme playhouse. For example, a little girl might enjoy a fairy castle theme with delicate rosebud wallpaper, pink carpet and white tulle draped from the ceiling. A boy may favor a jungle theme with palm trees painted on the walls, plush green shag carpet on the floors, and framed pictures of jungle animals.


Install a small, wall-mounted bookshelf to store your child's favorite games and books. Add plush storage cubes for hiding favorite toys and keeping the play house neat. These cubes can double as seating. If there's room, include a small table and chairs so kids can enjoy favorite clubhouse snacks. Encourage them to outfit the space with their own favorite knick-knacks, like pictures, collectibles or posters.


About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

Photo Credits

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