When it comes to our kids’ play, it’s so easy to get carried away by our own inspirations of natural tones or coordinated colors and themes. We’ll justify a pricey Montessori shelf, and then a matching table for a minimalist playroom – until we see the final cart total that is. No way! We’ll help you rein it in with plenty of playroom ideas on a budget that will cover everything you need – on the cheap.
We’ll show you where to find quality pieces for cheap playroom ideas, what exactly to look for, and give you some tips to get it even cheaper in the end.
You can still have that ultimate playroom that you and your kids have always wanted – you just have to get creative and keep your eyes peeled for high-quality steals.
Inexpensive Playroom Ideas On A Budget
We’ll cover cheap playroom must haves:
Inexpensive “centerpiece” toys
Seating and carpets
And tips to spend less
The most important factor in a minimal playroom is the toy storage. Why? Because you want to make it easy for your kids to tidy up by themselves. They should know exactly where everything goes, be able to fit it there, and be able to reach it by themselves. Otherwise you’ll have “floating toys” which will always feel cluttered. Shelves and bins are a worthwhile investment in your sanity, but luckily there are plenty of affordable playroom ideas on a budget.
1. Shelf With Bins.
A shelf with bins will let your kids organize smaller toys and pick everything up with ease. It’s also a little bit for you, because let’s face it – there’ll be days when you just tidy for them – so being able to quickly throw toys into bins, rather than arranging them will save everybody’s sanity.
- Humble Crew Extra Large Toy Organizer with 16 bins – from $68
- Delta Children’s Multi-bin Organizer available in 3 color options – from $45
- Delta Children’s 9-Bin Toy Organizer available in 5 color options – from $52
2. Shelf With Cubbies.
A shelf with cubbies is where kids will put away those toys that need their own space to stand and can’t be thrown in a bin. (Those toys are annoying, but necessary.)
Hosmat Adjustable Children’s Bookcase available in 3 colors – from $46
This shelf has plenty of storage space to organize and separate all your kid’s toys. It’s modular and lightweight so you can play around with where you put it and how it looks – making it one of the best minimalist playroom and small playroom ideas on a budget.
Furinno 5-cube bookcase – available in 4 colors – from $32-$80
We like this shelf because it has taller cubbies because some toys just can’t fit onto a standard shelf – no matter how hard we try.
We love this type of “sling” bookshelf because it makes it very easy for kids to choose a book, take it out, and put it back in.
Word of caution, the sling bookshelf isn’t ideal for smaller toddler books because they tend to sink down to a point where they can’t be easily seen, but it’s great for larger books and a fun addition to a minimal playroom.
Delta Children’s Sling Bookcase – available in 3 color options – from $30
While this isn’t a must-have, in a minimalist playroom, having a “centerpiece toy” can spark various types of play – both imaginative and gross motor – so they’re well-worth considering.
4. Play Tent
Can you imagine all the magical things your little one can get up to inside a space that’s just theirs? Is it a castle or a spaceship? Play, read, and go on an imagination adventure. If you have a very imaginative kid, you may not even need any other toys!
5. Big Soft Blocks
Big blocks make for a super-fun playroom! They can be set up into play furniture, play cities, and even playgrounds. Big blocks will promote your kids’ gross motor development, and make for great playroom ideas on a budget.
- Gray and white soft blocks for toddlers – from $146
- Radio Flyer Tumble Town Foam Blocks – in 2 color options – from $150
- Stack-a-block big foam blocks – from $65 – $80
6. Play Kitchen
A kitchen in a playroom? Thing is, having a tiny piece of home gives the playroom the feel that it’s made just for kids which will encourage play and imagination.
The funny thing is, a play kitchen can be used for so much more than pretending to cook. In our home it’s a fun storage space, a way to play with doors, and a hiding spot (for toys, not kids.)
KidsKraft Ultimate Corner Wooden Kitchen (from $135)
What’s on the floor
When it comes to small playroom ideas on a budget, what’s on the floor can be an effortless way to transform the way your kids play.
7. Modular or Convertible Couch
Your kids will feel so “grown up” if they have their own couch in their playroom which can also double as a playroom “centerpiece.”
We love that these kid couches can be rearranged for unexpected play ideas. These couches are the perfect size for kids, and they’re sturdy and comfy – so they’ll actually enjoy sitting on them.
Each of these modular couches are the same in construction and design, but vary in color options, price, and availability.
- Serta Convertible Sofa – in 3 color options – from $135 – $180
- Milliard Kids Couch – from $150 – $200
- Ulax Kids couch – 2 color options – from $100 – $120
A carpet in a minimal playroom does more than keep your kids’ feet warm. It can be a jump-off point for both play and learning which makes it one of the most worthwhile small playroom ideas on a budget.
Toyvelt Playmat Car Rug – 3 sizes – from $23
You could choose a little city playmat carpet which will absorb your kids into a world of imaginative play.
Large Solar System Carpet – 2 sizes – from $30
You could also go for a children’s carpet that will help them learn. We love that this carpet shows off the solar system which will make your kids feel one step ahead when they start learning about planets at school. (It’s also great for a space-themed playroom!)
Non-toxic interlocking cubes – set of 36 – from $40
Another fun way to cover a floor is with interlocking tiles – especially if you let your kids use them to make fun blocks and other shapes. This set covers 6’x6’ which is more than enough for a nice contained space.
9. A work area
Lastly, consider a nice, ample work area where your kids will paint, color, and play with dough. It’s nice to have a spot that’s just for them, instead of searching for a clear space when your kids are in the mood for arts and crafts.
Your best bet is to go with a kid table with matching chairs – because you’ll know that everything fits together perfectly, but you could also pick up a cheap Ikea side table and some children’s stools.
Delta Children’s Convertible Activity bench – from $50 – is a great option because it has built-in storage, doesn’t take up too much spae, and makes for nice seating as well.
Small accessories make for great small playroom ideas on a budget and can really maximize the room’s potential.
10. Mosquito net
A cheap mosquito net can transform a small minimal playroom into a magical kingdom, and it can serve the same purpose as a play tent.
Mosquito net – $24
11. Macrame hanger for stuffies
A plant hanger is a fun playroom idea to keep some toys off the floor. A macrame plant hanger can also be a fun DIY project with your kids as they get older.
Another idea is to find a pretty branch, spray paint it (or leave it as-is) and hang it as a little swing against the wall for stuffies.
Macrame hanging shelf – $27
If your kids like to draw, a whiteboard easel will save you so much paper! It’s also a fun way to practice printing and playing school.
At our home, we use a whiteboard to show our kids what we’re doing for the day so that they stay on track.
Wooden easel – from $58
Your wall space can take your kid’s playroom to the next level, and it can be done on the cheap.
13. Your child’s arts and crafts
Your child will probably produce a lot of arts and crafts – to the point where you won’t know where to put it all. One fun idea is to tie up some ribbons with decorative clothespins and display it right there in the playroom. It’s cute and it’s free.
14. Large coloring page
Bouncing off the arts and crafts on walls, you could buy your child an extra large coloring page (they’re sometimes sold as gift wrap) and let them color it right on the wall.
Large coloring page – $15 – available in: Dinosaurs, Dragons, and Zoo
15. Gallery wall shelving for books
An alternative to children’s bookshelf is to display your books on gallery wall shelving. It’s very pretty and decorative, and lets your kids easily choose their books. You could also place little knick knacks, (like Kinder Surprise toys) arts and crafts, and small stuffies.
Try to keep them low to the ground, so that your kids can actually reach these books, but don’t sweat it if you have to display them higher above the ground.
Floating shelves – set of 6 – in 4 colors – $26
16. Educational posters
What do planets, dinosaurs, and the periodic table of elements have in common? They’re all posters we’ve received from children’s books and magazines. No, they don’t really go together, but they have a home on our playroom walls because they came in as an unexpected surprise.
17. Chalk paint
Letting your kids draw on walls is for the brave-at-heart only! But chalkboard walls make for unique and minimal playroom ideas on a budget, especially if your kids love to draw, write, and express themselves.
18. Wall decals
Decorative wall decals can tie a theme together, create a magical mural that absorbs kids into play, or add pops of color if you don’t want to paint. They come in a huge price range, but you can definitely find some cute playroom ideas on a budget.
More Ways To Stay On Budget
19. Don’t get too specific
When it comes to playroom ideas on a budget, the very last thing you want to do is set yourself up for disappointment by being too specific. When you do that, anything that doesn’t match up to the picture you have in your head won’t be appealing to you. Naturally, this will make it even more difficult for you to find the budget-friendly items that you need.
The way I see it, you must be flexible to an extent. Be comfortable with the fact that you may end up with a mish-mash of colours – hopefully they’ll still be coordinated though. You can then balance things out with décor pieces and smaller items that you pick when you’re adding the finishing touches.
By not being too specific, you’re mentally preparing yourself and being open to not finding exactly what you had in mind. In that way, your expectations won’t be too high.
20. Try to DIY
If you’re a DIY (do it yourself) king or queen, then this was probably your first option. For a lot of other people, though, this can be a bit daunting. The first thought that comes to mind is probably, “What if I totally mess it up and end up with terrible furniture and décor pieces?!”
You probably won’t. The idea behind taking the DIY approach isn’t to make any items from scratch, it’s simply about making changes to existing pieces so that they fit in with what you have in mind. If you had to settle for an alternative piece because your focus is on playroom ideas on a budget, then you could alter it accordingly so that it matches your vision.
DIY is also great if you’re interested in cheap playroom ideas. You end up with more sentimental and personalized pieces.
21. Have a plan and don’t steer away from it
When you’re looking for playroom ideas on a budget, a very good way to approach it would be to decide on the big items or non-negotiables. That way, you won’t end up being swayed in every direction, and there’ll be less chance of you buying smaller items that you don’t really need or that won’t go with your staple pieces.
Oh, and this will definitely help you stick to your budget and avoid spontaneous purchases.
22. Give yourself ample time
Whatever your budget may be, the approach should actually be quite similar to if you were exploring cheap playroom ideas. How so? Well, the whole idea of having a budget is to make sure you don’t overspend, and so, you should give yourself enough time to weigh out your options and compare what’s available.
You’ll also avoid rushed purchases or buying things simply because they’re on sale! That can be one of the worst things you could ever do. That’s the quickest way to end up with a playroom full of things that you don’t want, need or like.
23. Shop online
Shopping on sites like Walmart, Amazon or Wayfair is extremely convenient. Also, you don’t have to worry too much about seeing the items in advance because let’s be honest, a playroom isn’t necessarily as important as your general décor. So, you can afford to have faith that the items you decide on will look good.
24. Shop second-hand
This one ties in quite well with giving yourself enough time to weigh out your options. You can either shop at garage sales or online marketplaces, such as Facebook or Craigslist. Have a look at what they have to offer and whether anything with your playroom ideas on a budget. Chances are, whatever you find will be more budget-friendly.
If you also happen to buy some items directly from someone, don’t shy away from asking if they are selling anything else. Playroom ideas on a budget require you to be strategic and tactful, and this is one way to go about it. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool, so you should spread the message in case there’s more that they’re looking to do away with.
Consignment stores are another awesome option. If you can’t immediately spot what you’re looking for, you could always approach them directly and tell them what you’re looking for. They can then keep an eye out for you, which will make your life a hundred times easier.
25. Skip the décor
Unpopular opinion – skip the décor and focus on the major items. Hear me out, your kids are growing anyway. So, instead of spending on things that they may not really think too much of, their toys or artwork could actually serve as décor.
Alternatively, you could opt for posters to put up, but there’s no need to get carried away with putting something up for them in advance. This is a good one for small playroom ideas on a budget.
26. Register in advance
If you’re super organized and forward-thinking, then you can register for some of the items on your baby registry. People will probably want to get you gifts anyway, so you might as well think ahead and note some of the furniture items that you’ll need.
27. Ask around
This also works pretty well for small playroom ideas on a budget because there are bound to be people looking to get rid of some playroom furniture. The best way to go about this is to connect with people who have older kids. They might have some other tips and tricks to share with you on how to furnish your playroom on a budget.
Even better, by merely mentioning it, you could spark an idea in their mind to declutter and give you some awesome pieces they no longer use.
You could also connect with grandparents in your area. They may still be holding on to playroom furniture or play sets that belong to their grandchildren (who’ve probably outgrown them by now). If you let them know that you’re on the lookout for furniture and playroom ideas, they might be more than willing to share what they have.
You may even find some cool one-of-a-kind pieces.
Playroom Ideas on a Budget – FAQ
How do you decorate a playroom on a budget?
Once you have your basics like storage and seating, decorating on a playroom on a budget is easy! Here are some ideas:
– Use your kids’ arts and crafts as décor – they’ll love it, and you’ll have a place for all that art.
– Buy inexpensive wall decals – they can really elevate a room on the cheap, and tie in a theme
– Use posters you get from magazines and books
– Consider a chalkboard wall
– Get a large coloring page for your kids to color right on the wall.
How do I get the most of a small playroom?
Get the most of a small playroom by maximizing your storage and focusing on wall space.
Maximizing your storage will mean that your room is not cluttered and your kids will tidy up by themselves.
You could use your walls with ledger shelves for books and small toys, or a chalkboard or coloring page so they can draw and not need paper or a desk.
You could also make use of a playmat, which is a fun, way to engage your kids that doesn’t take up additional space.
What should be in a playroom?
The most important thing for a playroom is storage so that your kids can put away their own toys without struggle or resistance. That means everything should fit in its own spot and there should be no floating toys.
A playroom can also have:
– Seating – like fun kid couches or a work area
– A “centerpiece” toy – like a play tent, a kitchen, or large foam blocks
– A playmat
What can I use if I don’t have a playroom?
Most families don’t have a playroom they can dedicate just for toys. That’s perfectly fine, you can carve out a nook in in your living room or basement, convert the dining area, or use the child’s room just for play. Letting your child have a play tent is a nice, fun way to create a play atmosphere where they can get lost in their imagination.