Interior Designing on a Theme: Playroom

The first rule in interior designing a playroom is to have fun. After all, it is a play room, not a work room.

Your home's playroom is where your family should be able to relax without worrying about scuffing the walls or soiling the furniture. It should be a sanctuary from the living room, where "don't touch this!" and "get your feet off that!" are the watchwords.

Start with the furniture. Big overstuffed sofas where you can pack a half-dozen kids in front of a video game or movie is a good start. Slipcovers in denim or other easy-care fabric will enable you to remove and wash them as needed.

Coffee tables are always a tempting place to put your feet up: a taboo in most rooms. Use an old, well-worn, rustic table of either distressed wood or topped with tile so feet don't only not damage it, but add to its distressed charm. Or try an old trunk that doubles as storage for toys, games or extra pillows and throws for those cozy afternoon naps.

Floors should be low-maintenance but inviting enough for play. Distressed hardwood that only looks better with wear is a good option. Or vinyl tile or sheet linoleum is low maintenance and can withstand almost any kind of spill. For the warmth of carpet without worrying about stains, use self-adhesive carpet tiles in a patchwork quilt of colors so you can replace pieces as needed without worrying about matching the rest.

For the walls, consider covering large areas with cork-board or dry-erase boards where your children can create and display their handiwork. Add shelves for displaying arts and crafts and yes, even the occasional book.

Or paint the walls blank-canvas white, bring in the neighborhood kids, throw in an assortment of paints and brushes, close the door, shake well and voila! You'll have wall murals that guests will mistake for Jackson Pollack!

Above all, keep it casual and whimsical. Remember: That's why it's called the playroom.

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