A Guide to Building the Perfect Playhouse for Your Kids

What do you do when your kids will not stop demanding that perfect, playhouse they saw in the movies? If you are good at carpentry, pleasing your kids should not be a problem because you can indeed build them the playhouse of their dreams.

Sure, it will not be easy because they have a million ideas of what their playhouse should look like. But you certainly want to consider your kids’ ideas and needs when building one; so in spite of the excitement, don’t be afraid to include them right from the beginning and have some fun while you are at it.

Lat but not least: Playhouses are not just cute getaways for kids; they actually offer several benefits. Providing a playhouse for your children allows them to be independent early, teaches them the value of caring for their own things and the best part is that once in a while the kids can get off your back!​

If you are looking to set up a playhouse, you have two options—call in a professional carpenter or go the DIY route. A professional carpenter will certainly save you loads of time and effort but the cost of hiring one can quickly add up. The DIY option is more time consuming but it could be surprisingly rewarding to build a playhouse down from scratch with the help of your Munchkins.

Going It On Your Own​

How do you get started building a playhouse on your own?

A quick online search will bring up plenty of excellent and free playhouse plans that you can use as a guide to set up a kiddie house.

The plans, most of which are downloadable, will include actual sketches, advice on best materials and equipment to use, step-by-step instructions on setting up the playhouse as well as pro tips that will help you build a great playhouse that your kids will appreciate.​

A smart idea is to download free playhouse plans that are detailed so you can build a sturdy and professional-quality structure. Preferably, the instructions should not only be easy to read, they should include colored images of each step of the construction process.

Most playhouse plans will advise that you set aside at least a week to complete the project depending on the amount of time you have. It is also best to work in consecutive stages so you are not rushing the construction.

The Nuts And Bolts Of Building A Playhouse​

There are a couple of things you need to pay attention to when laying out a plan for the playhouse.

First, the playhouse needs to be absolutely safe for the kids to play in. Without a doubt, they will be spending a lot of time in there and so you want them to be as safe as possible. It is advisable to build the kiddie house with sturdy materials that the can support the structure. If necessary, give it additional reinforcement to ensure absolute stability. Another way to ensure that the house remains stable is to face it away from the direction of the wind.

Safety Tips For Playhouse Construction Projects:

Your safety and that of the children should be a top priority as you embark on building a playhouse. Some precautions to take include:

  1. Using high quality materials that do not have adverse health hazards
  2. Having adequate ventilation when doing carpentry work
  3. Attaching a dust bag to your circular saw
  4. Wearing a dust mask​

Before getting started with building the playhouse, you want to purchase all the materials you need according to the recommendations offered on the free playhouse plans. Having everything you need gathered in one place will make it easier for you to build the house step-by-step as illustrated in the plan.​

Next, choose the right spot to locate the playhouse. A good idea is setting it up away from the main house unless you do not mind the noise that is sure to come from in there during playtime.

The spot you choose should ideally be levelled – otherwise you will need to level it manually by removing debris and pebbles. The kids will definitely not enjoy playing in a lopsided house. 


Now, you are all set for the big project. Generally, the recommended size for playhouse beams is 2×6; the beams should ideally be made of treated lumber and accurately measured.

The posts should be made of water resistant and high quality timber to avoid rot, which will no doubt weaken the playhouse and cause it to collapse.

If you are unsure about the best type of timber to use for embedded posts, consult with your local timber merchant; he is best placed to advice you on the appropriate timber to buy based on climatic conditions and type of soil in your area.

Other than timber rot, you also want to avoid rust, so make sure that the bolts and nuts are made of galvanized metal or steel.

Before nailing the joists together, you want to lay them out the right way. Placing sheets of plywood over the beams can make for a great and stable floor and the kids will surely appreciate the smooth walking surface.


Once you have the joists and the floor surface all set up, the next step is building the wall. As you might expect, building the walls for a kiddie house is quite similar to building the walls of a regular, adult house, if you may. 

It is always a good idea to put up the rear wall last and to support it with small pieces of wood nailed in between two beams. The wall studs supporting the rear wall should ideally be fixed halfway up the wall in a horizontal position.​

As you cut out the walls, be sure to leave space for windows. The front wall should have space for a door. Do not be shy about putting in more windows to let in natural light and ventilation.​


After building the walls, the next step in the playhouse plan is structuring the roof. You need to consider several things before building the roof—first, what are the climatic conditions of area where you live?

Second, your kids’ safety should be a priority and this has already been emphasized. As such, you want to construct a roof that is stable enough to support the children’s weight because they will definitely climb the roof as part of their adventure at playtime.

Usually, it is recommended that to use gabbled roof for playhouses.The final step in setting up the playhouse structure is decking the roof and sheathing the walls with plywood panels. For the final touches on the roof, you have the option of installing a vinyl roof, tin roof, asphalt or roof felt.

Get Creative

Decorating the playhouse is certainly the cherry on the cake—the options are literally limitless and your children could really put their creativity to use here. Paint the playhouse with their favorite colors and spruce up with cute mementos.The kids will thank you a million times for the gift of a cozy space where they can create cherished memories.

There are plenty of ways to structure a playhouse but some features are almost always compulsory.

For example, you should definitely create a storage area where your kids can keep their toys and books. You also need to make space for a working table and chairs for the children to use for their various activities.

Other fun seating options include beanbags or benches. Sectioning out a cozy reading nook would not be a bad idea either.The floor does not need expensive carpeting but you want to ensure that it is durable and childproof.

Cement fiberboard is a more affordable and long-lasting material to use for the roof and exterior walls. Cement fiberboard offers several advantages including affordability, availability, ease of use, resistance against fire, rot and insects, and the best part is that it looks beautiful. However, before using this material, conduct some research to find out about any potential health risks.

Raised Playhouses: Tips For Building A Playhouse Above Ground

raised playhouse

Building a playhouse above the ground is pretty much similar to building one on the ground. However, a raised playhouse will have its floor suspended a little bit higher from the ground and so you will need a staircase for the kids to easily access their house.

Before starting the construction work, you want to level out the ground by removing all debris that could potentially cause the house to tilt. It is a good idea to locate the house at a spot that receives a good amount of natural light.

The playhouse should also not interfere with the main house.

Once you have located and prepared the ideal spot, you can begin digging holes where the timber joists will be embedded. After inserting the joists, hold them in place by pouring concrete into the holes and allowing it to dry for two or three days. Such a setup is necessary to ensure that the foundation is completely sturdy and safe.

With your solid foundation, you should be good to go with construction of the actual playhouse structure. For the best results, be sure to select good quality materials that will last for years to come—your kids will thank you for the unforgettable memories even when they outgrow their little getaway.​

Constructing A Castle Playhouse

a castle playhouse

Most castle playhouse plans recommend using plywood for building the playhouse.

Plywood is not only durable; it is also easy to work with. To really bring out the castle look, paint the plywood in castle grey using at least two coats while allowing each coat to dry completely. To give the walls the classic stone-effect, use a pencil to draw the blocks and then paint these blocks with a darker shade of grey.

Finish the paint job with a coat of waterproof sealer and allow it to dry.The next step is constructing the frame and waterproofing it with a sealant. Once the frame is dry, paint and waterproof the walls before nailing them to the frame. Pay close attention to the doorframe as this will largely effect the overall look of the castle—this requires that you carefully follow the instruction on the plan.

When fixing the drawbridge ropes, they should be at a height that is good enough for a kid to pull on when they want to bring the drawbridge down or take it up. Painting the drawbridge and roof the same color gives the castle some uniformity but do not be shy to try different color combinations. Just be sure to waterproof them and allow the paint to dry.

As you build the castle, involve the kids as much as possible. A good time to let them jump in is at decorating and painting time. Get them to help with adding brightly colored pennants to the walls.

Now that the kids have an entire castle of their own, there is no better way to create wonderful childhood memories with them!

Designing A Girl’s Playhouse

a girl's dream playhouse

Once you build the structure including the walls, floor and roof, be sure to involve your girl in the interior design and decorative process. Involving her in the project can actually teach her positive values such as independence, teamwork, critical thinking and the need to protect her own property.

One of the most important aspects of the décor is the girl’s name, which should be hang or stuck at the front of the house. Try out bright colors and flowery decorations to embellish the playhouse.

Furniture is another vital interior décor consideration. While a playhouse does not require expensive furniture, you want to furnish the house in a way that reflects your child’s personality. Add a table and chairs to create a workspace, thrown in brightly colored beanbags and cozy reading nook and your girl will have the loveliest hideaway she could possibly ask for.​