Small Playroom Organization Ideas

Want a few small playroom organization ideas? This post gives tips on toy bins to use, how to divide play spaces, and using DIY methods to create a fun and clean space.

organizing a small playroom.

I think everybody who has ever built a house has one or two things they'd go back and change if they could.

I don't want this to be taken as complaining – because I absolutely LOVE our house and would definitely go through the building process again to get it. But, if I could time travel and change something about the house, it would be the playroom.

brightly colored bins, books, decor on white shelves, with a tv.

It's the area where we cut square footage when needed. It was originally supposed to be about double the size it ended up being. I had so many big plans for tons of wall space and storage in this area – but, ultimately, something had to go, and this is where we cut it.

gray striped couch with brightly colored pillows.

So, we ended up with a playroom that's on the smaller side. It's more of a landing area – it's at the top of the stairs and leads to bedrooms/bathrooms in the back of the second story. In our last home, we had a ton of (almost too much) space in the playroom, so going from that one to this one was initially a little bit of a challenge. We've kind of worked it out now…we used a few key rules to really get (and keep) our playroom from being a mess all the time.

1. Organize a small playroom with vertical storage.

I talked a little bit about this in my post from Tuesday…we put in a huge set of built-ins that really took advantage of the vertical storage space in the room. Instead of these toys taking up valuable real estate on the floor, they all have their place in bins on the built ins.

brightly colored bins, books, decor on white shelves, with a tv.

We used these colorful fabric bins to organize all of the toys. With a little metal label holder and some E6000, they were ready for organized storage!

brightly colored bins on a white shelf.

I also have a reading area for my kids that has shelves of vertical books. These shelves were so inexpensive – they're actually made from cheap spice racks from Ikea. The whole set-up was around $30.

gray shelves holding books in a corner.

2. Take advantage of wall (and door) space.

This is a similar thought to #1…walls in a playroom are valuable. We don't have a ton of wall space – between the area being at the top of the stairs and having a large hall connected to it, there just simply isn't a lot of square footage for decor.

chalkboard hanging on a door.

So, we used doors too! I originally made this chalkboard out of an auto drip pan and homemade chalk paint (just one cup of black paint to 2 tbsp of unsanded grout, available at home improvement stores). It's been one of my kids' favorite things about their playroom ever since. When there wasn't an obvious wall space for it, I thought, “why not use the door?” And it's been the perfect place for it. We rarely use this door (it leads to attic space), so it really just blends in as part of the wall.

blue pocket calendar hanging on a wall.

We also have my beloved calendar from my teaching days close by. It takes up a lot of the wall space we do have, but it's worth it – my kids use this all the time. When allotting your wall space, just make sure that what you are using it for is valuable to you and your kids.

photos, kids\' art, play letters on a shelf.

Above that, we have a shelf and art hanger (c/o Minted) that really utilizes space for decor and function too. I love this for displaying the kids' art projects.

3. Have a place for absolutely everything.

labeled plastic bins on a playroom shelf.

Every single thing in our playroom has a place. If it doesn't, I either make a new bin/container for it or it doesn't really belong in the playroom. This is a must when organizing a small space – all of those little toys get disorganized quickly if you don't get some kind of system.

4. Then, label.

Once you find a place for everything in the playroom, make sure everyone knows what it is! I've tried to have a playroom organization system without labeling before, and it just doesn't seem to work – it helps so much to make it clear what goes where.

The bins you see above are just cheap Dollar Tree shoe boxes (I use these everywhere in our home) that I labeled with my vinyl cutting machine.

brightly colored bins, books, decor on white shelves, with a tv.
label on a yellow fabric bin.
screenshot of playroom bin labels.

I mentioned above that I used metal label holders attached with E6000 to label our colorful bins. Then, I just printed the labels on card stock for them – no need to get fussy!

I saved the labels I used when I originally did this, so I thought I'd share them with you too! Click here for the first page and click here for the second page. The font is the the bold version of Archistico if you need to edit them in any way. These fit perfectly in the label holders I linked above!

5. Divide your playroom into departments.

This is a method I adopted in our last playroom that's worked so well in this one too.

bean bag seat, calendar, art in a playroom.

Coming up the stairs, you'll see our reading area. The book corner is over to the right (using those Ikea spice shelves I talked about earlier) and I have a little bean bag (that doubles as stuffed animal storage – similar here) next to that. It's a cozy little place that the kids can read, and it gives them easy access to books – something I really wanted in our playroom.

chalkboard hanging on a door.
gray metal cart holding art supplies.

Back towards the stairs, the art area is a little smaller than it was in the last playroom, but still just as used. I love this little rolling cart for art supplies organization – another great use of vertical storage space.

gray striped couch with brightly colored pillows.

The couch area is right in front of the TV for when kids want to chill out. They honestly don't use this a whole lot yet, but I can see it being used when they're older. We just covered an old couch (I honestly don't love the cover, but we're living with it for now).

play kitchen in a playroom.

Finally, past the couch, both of my kids still love to play with the kitchen, so that's definitely something I wanted to keep in this space. I made sure the fabric bins on the built-ins with the food and utensils were close to this area for easy access.

6. Play up the coziness.

You have a small room…they have their advantages too! The coziness of the space is definitely one of the big plusses. Small playrooms are the perfect space to cozy up and watch a movie.

brightly colored pillows on a couch.
yellow pillow on a gray striped couch.

Pretty, colorful pillows on the couch (these are c/o Minted) make a big design impact in the space.

blue glass lamp on an end table.

Because this space can also be on the dark side with no direct light, I like to keep these lamps on pretty much all the time. They definitely make the space feel homey and cozy.

7. Utilize other (hidden) areas of your home for toys too.

brown leather ottoman in a living room.

While this technically isn't about playroom organization, this makes a big impact on how organized my playroom stays. I like to use hidden toy storage throughout our home (like the ottoman pictured above [no longer available, similar here]). This keeps the toys out of sight but still allows the kids to have little play areas throughout our home. This also takes away from the congestion of the playroom. No need to cram every single kid item in the playroom – spread those toys out!

8. Don't forget the whimsy.

Don't get too caught up in simply organizing your playroom – make it fun too!

letter board, stuffed animal, books on a shelf.
letter board, stuffed animal on a shelf.

My daughter has had so much fun thinking of things to put on our letter board. It's a really fun piece of decor for kids.

letter blocks, art, stuffed animal on a white shelf.

I found these little prints at an antique sale recently – aren't they sweet?

letter blocks spelling play on a shelf.
flowers, books on a white shelf.
alphabet letters hanging on a wall.

This alphabet letter wall was one of the first big projects I did in the house. I still love it!

Is the playroom absolutely perfect? No. But I love what we've done with it – it's been a fun little journey to make it ours!

Click here to see more peeks at our forever home!

xo, Leslie - blog post signature at the end of post.

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