Take a moment and think back to your five-year-old self. You probably had a secret wish for a playhouse or a treehouse or some kind of outdoor refuge where you could let your imagination run rampant. Now, look at your kids. They have the same secret wish. Summertime is the perfect opportunity to build a playhouse in the backyard. And I’m not just talking about a hut of nailed-together scrap boards.
Creating a really beautiful place for kids to play will keep your little ones happy and occupied while adding to the beauty of your yard. Check out these 35 pimped-out playhouses and you’ll be inspired to create a space for some real hard imaginative play this summer.
How to choose the right playhouse
As you’re about to realize soon enough, there’s a ton of different playhouse models out there, each with their own unique design and set of features. So how do you choose the one that’s best for you and your kids? Well, there’s a few things to consider:
The space available
First things first, figure out how much space is actually available for the playhouse. At the same time, this step also means you need to decide where exactly you want to place it. Go outside and find a flat spot that it can sit on. If there isn’t one you can put it on a pad or cover the area in some gravel for instance.
The location is quite important and you should look for a spot that is not only big enough and flat and so on but also in an area that you can keep an eye on when you yourself are outside or that you can see from inside the house.
Figure out a budget
In order to accurately dedicate a budget for something like this, you should first check out the market and see what’s available. This will give you an idea of what a playhouse goes for and lets you decide whether certain features are worth pursuing or not. Of course, the budget might change slightly once you actually start to compare models in order to make a final decision but it shouldn’t jump drastically.
Balance out the functional aspects and the aesthetics
It goes without saying that all playhouses should be durable and safe for the kids to use but some types put a bigger emphasis on this than others. Some are built out of wood and are designed to be strong and sturdy which is really great because they’ll last for years to come. Others put more emphasis on the aesthetics and are made of plastic which has its own advantages. It’s really a matter of taste and personal preference choosing between these types.
Consider the extras
By that we mean there’s a multitude of accessories and extra features that playhouses can have. In some cases these are included in the base design and in other cases they can be added upon request. Check out what some of these could look like, what they offer and decide whether or not you’d like to opt for some of them. This also has to do with your priorities, the elements that you wish to focus on and the goals that you want to achieve by adding a playhouse in your backyard.
Make a personal choice
Not everyone is the same. Some kids are very active and like to be kept busy with all sorts of toys and activities. Others enjoy creating their own stories and using the creativity so they don’t really need props for that. Some enjoy the company of friends and want to play together all day long while other enjoy being left alone. When choosing a playhouse you should take these details into consideration and pick something that suits the personality of your kid(s).
A few models that you might like
This playhouse from Backyard Discovery measures 55” H x 42” W x 46” D overall. It’s not too big but not tiny either. It has a few key features in its design such as a total of five windows, some bigger than others. It also comes with a little built-in kitchen inside and a play phone as well as little flower pot holders on the exterior. The whole structure is constructed out of cedar wood which has a natural resistance to rot and insects.
There are playhouses that can be placed both indoors and outdoors and this one from KidKraft is one of them. It’s quite compact and measures 62.24” H x 48.9” W x 70” D which is not really a lot of space. It also has a simple design which would look good indoors plus because it comes so plain and simple you can customize and personalize it by making it match your style or the color palette of your home. It has an asymmetric slanted roof, a front door that can open and close, a little mailbox attached to the front as well as a little grill setup on the side.
The Woodland Adventure playhouse transforms your backyard into a little park. It comes with features like a slide and a hidden pull-out storage drawer underneath. There’s also a little sandbox which is quite fun and the design as a whole is nice and open, meant to allow kids to enjoy the outdoors while using it. This playhouse is made from plastic and manufactured wood and measures 76” H x 70” W x 68” D overall.
If you’d like a design that’s a bit more old-school and traditional but still a lot of fun and kid-friendly, check out the Hillcrest playhouse. It’s made of solid wood so it’s super sturdy and durable and will last for years to come. It has a classic pitched roof with a shingle pattern on it and it’s weather-resistant. It has windows, a doorbell, a little mailbox and a play phone and more accessories can be added to it. It also includes two little chalkboards that frame the window.
The design of this Charming Cottage by Step2 is nice and open and very airy. This playhouse has 6 windows in total and a little half door that’s painted red and contrasts with the beige frame. It’s all made of plastic, with the lower walls designed to have a brick0like pattern on them. There are also quite a few cool features that come with this model like 2 planter boxes, a little table, a doorbell, storage shelves and more. It really is quite charming.
The colors of the Malibu playhouse are bold and exotic and that helps to give it a cheerful and fun look. The playhouse is quite big and tall, a bit like a mansion. It has two large window openings and an arched entryway. There’s also a window that has actual working shutters. It’s made of cedarwood and measures 83” H x 77” W x 47” D. There’s quite a bit of space inside for adding more accessories and personalizing it plus more things can be added to the exterior as well.
Can you believe this is a playhouse? It looks very realistic, like an actual cottage house with a deck, railings, windows and everything. The Pennfield playhouse is made of solid wood and has a covered front porch and either 2 or 3 dormers depending on the size. It doesn’t need a foundation but it does need to be assembled on site. Part of the process is to personalize it with whatever paint color you prefer.
The Mayfield cottage is super cute and lovely as well and it too has a little deck outside. It’s made of solid wood and it measures 66” H x 78” W x 72” D which allows to fit even in a tiny backyard. There’s a white picket fence going around the outside of the deck, with an opening on one side. The house has an asymmetrical roof, several windows and cute window planters. More accessories can be added to make this playhouse even more fun to use.
DIY playhouse design ideas
Don’t have room for your current swing set and a playhouse? Kill two birds with one stone and attach a slide to the side of the little playhouse. They won’t even miss the swings. (via The Little Design Corner)
Make your playhouse stand out in your neighborhood with a modern design. A slanted roof, linear designs, black trim, simple touches that can create a playhouse to match your modern styled home. (via Dirt Diggin Sisters)
Are your little ones set on having a treehouse fit for a king? Keep them safely within arms reach by elevating your playhouse only a few feet off the ground. You can build it around a tree to create the treehouse illusion without the falling hazard. (via Made With Happy)
Maybe your kids are always pretending to live in a fairy tale land. Make their dreams come true with a playhouse designed after their favorite story that they’re always imagining anyway. (via The WHOot)
Are your lacking carpenter skills keeping you from building the much longed for playhouse? Use what’s already there by thrifting a tiny trailer into a fun little home, just right for mini people. (via Baby Center)
If you live in the woods, you’re always cleaning up sticks. Why not start collecting them and weave together an outdoor nook taht will be the perfect place for reading books and having picnics and playing fairies among the trees. (via Judith Needham)
Playhouses don’t have to be houses. You can make a restaurant for your kids to play in or a grocery store or a school. Let their imaginations blow the limits of your own. (via That’s My Letter)
While we’re thinking past play houses, let’s think outside the box as well! Using some creativity and hard work, you can construct a pirate ship just like Captain Hook’s. Or maybe it will be a tiny home inside a tree for your little Lost Boys. (via Posh Tots)
When your kids grow old enough, summertime sleepovers are inevitable. It only makes sense that you would build them a playhouse where they can roll out their sleeping bags and tell scary stories with their flashlights. (via Life of an Architect)
I would hazard that your kids love to create as much as you do. So build them a playhouse as plain as possible and let them loose with paint and brushes. You can always paint over it once they’re old enough not to mind. (via The Marion House Book)
If you really want to involve your children, let them design the playhouse themselves. Take their hand-drawn picture and make it a reality in the backyard, crooked windows, wonky door and all. (via Imagine That Playhouses)
Is your backyard not really your own? Build a gypsy wagon that will serve is a portable playhouse so no matter where you move, your kids will be able to keep their outdoor play space. (via Momtastic)
Don’t think that your teenager kids should be without a playhouse of their own. They may call it something else, but providing a little house for the older ones is a great way to give them their own space to decorate and play loud music and read and have friends over without bothering you. (via Finding Home Farms)
Just like your real house has landscaping to make the exterior pretty, a playhouse deserves no less. Planting flowers and bushes around the tiny playhouse will help it to blend in with your yard. (via Baby Center)
If the kids have a place to play outdoors, you should have a space too. Hang hammocks underneath a treehouse or next to a playhouse so you can be ready and able to oversee all their imaginative shenanigans. (via All For The Boys)
Modern Playhouses Available on The Market
There are also a lot of adorable playhouses available for purchase, like this Charming Cottage for example. It doesn’t go overboard with all the crazy possible features and that’s part of its charm. Still, it does include plenty of cute details such as the little flower boxes hanging at the front, the red door and also the storage shelves and modules on the inside.
The Little Alexandra Cottage is also a very charming structure designed to look like a tiny cabin that you can fit in your backyard. It’s a playhouse made of cedar wood with three cute windows and a Dutch door. It also has flower boxes hanging at the front and shutters at each window. The interior is very simple and can be customized and accessorized in all sorts of cute ways.
When it’s all put together, this Gingerbread Playhouse is quite big, measuring 8’ x 10’ in total. It’s also quite tall, with a sloping gable roof, a tiny chimney and a cute little heart-shaped window centered above the door. There are two more rectangular windows with wavy white frames matching the door and the whole exterior is painted in a light shade of pink. It comes as a DIY kit and it can be personalized in a variety of cool and creative ways.
The Cape Cod Playhouse is quite the mansion. It has a traditional and quite detailed design with two dormer windows and a chimney up on the roof. There are also small windows with shutters on either side of the front door and flower boxes hanging beneath them. The colors of the exterior are muted and in tone with the overall architectural style of the house, giving it an authentic and extra charming look.
Going back to smaller designs, the Mayfield cottage has an interesting asymmetrical shape with a roof which extends more on one side and remains shorter on the other. As small as this structure is, it has 5 windows in total and they’re dark green to match the roof. There’s also a small wooden deck extending around the cottage and a white picker fence. This playhouse is made of solid cedar wood and comes with a few accessories such as the little counter, flower boxes and the play phone.
If the idea is to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors and to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight, this Outdoor Garden Center could be just what you need. It doesn’t have walls so it’s not an enclosed space. It does of course have a strong and sturdy frame which supports the trellis roof and all the corners have been rounded for added safety. It’s designed to serve as a sort of gardening station where kids can play with pots and plants and do various other outdoor projects.
Here’s another lovely backyard playhouse, measuring 3.5’ x 3.9’ and with an indoor-outdoor sort of feel to it. It has small windows and a Dutch door at the front but it’s also very open towards the back where it features this counter space with all sorts of kitchen accessories. There’s a play sink, a stove, a cordless phone and various other little details which add character to the playhouse and make it more fun and interesting for the kids.
The Timber Trail Playhouse is also really cute, looking like a miniature summer cottage with a tiny patio and a breezy design overall. The entrance is marked by a red door which contrasts with the light blue and white of the walls and windows. It’s framed by two matching planter boxes and inside there’s plenty of space thanks to the bay window insert. There’s a little kitchen space with a sink, a stove and utensils and access to the patio which is framed by white picked fencing.
With a 4.5’ x 4.5’ footprint the Hillcrest Playhouse has a simple square base and a diversified design meant to encourage creativity and imagination. It’s fun and exciting and it’s fitted with a few really cool details such as a working doorbell, a clock and even a tiny functional mailbox. The playhouse also has decorative windows, a little hanging canopy, two chalkboards and a little planter box.
The Magical Playhouse definitely stands out, being super colorful and bright. It’s made of plastic which makes more lightweight and low-maintenance compared to materials such as wood. At the same time, the color palette is very bold which may not appeal to everyone but is definitely eye-catching, especially for the kids. All the lines and edges are soft and safe and this little house also has two windows with shutters and a skylight.
The Columbus Playhouse is also compact, having a footprint of 3.75’ x 3.91’. It’s made of cedar wood and inside it has a little built-in kitchen that opens to the outdoors. There are also 2 tiny white windows at the front and two shelves which hold flower pots right below them.
With this pink exterior, the Meadow Cottage looks like a princess house. It features several different shades of pink for the gabled roof, the walls and the little door and they’re toned down and balanced out by a light beige tone. The playhouse is made of plastic which allows it to be lightweight and easy to move and reposition if needed. It’s also easy to clean and waterproof. The windows are open with no shutters and there’s also a little mouse hole next to the door.