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How to create a space to play when you don’t have kids

Play is not typically brought up in conversation unless you have kids. But, really we all have passions and hobbies that bring us the same feelings that play once did – joy, relaxation, creativity, and imagination. Whatever you enjoy doing in your free time, it’s play! The trick to allowing this idea into your life is to create spaces to play at home, with kids or without.

DEFINE HOW YOU “PLAY” AT HOME

Some activities that come to mind are game nights, having friends over for cocktails and The Bachelor, crafting, and even working out! Thanks to my husband, we also watch a lot of sports and like spending time outside. All these things contribute to happiness and fulfillment in our day to day lives, and it all goes back to our basic need to play. What space in your home do you gravitate toward when you want to unwind? What activities do you look forward to during your evenings? Asking yourself these kinds of questions can help define what your own version of play is.

Teen Game Room / The Waterford Project

CREATE HYBRID SPACES

My strategy for creating space to play is to create spaces that have multiple functions. It’s unrealistic that the home is always put together and perfectly styled. The secret formula here is having a space that feels grown up and set up just how you like it, but not too sacred to discourage movement and playfulness.

Here are some ideas for several different hybrid spaces that can bounce between formal and fun in an instant:

  • Coffee Table / Card Table: When we’re ready to play a game I simply clear off my coffee table books & trinkets, and voila! A game table. Now, I’m getting too old to be sitting on the floor with no cushion or back support, so this is a great opportunity to invest in some poufs that are set aside during the day, but can easily be pulled up to the table for a game night so everyone is comfortable.
  • Conversation Pit / Sports lounge: TV is often the main attraction when hosting people in the home, (think the Super Bowl or The Bachelor Finale). While we are focused on one thing in the room, it’s also important to be able to have conversation and maybe chat about something other than football. This is where it becomes important to make more of a conversation pit rather than a typical living room setup with a single couch facing the TV. Sectionals are great for this, but you can take it a step further with a few occasional chairs facing away from the TV, or even better, chairs that swivel so you can do both! This scenario gives you the perfect opportunity to create a cute bar cart in the corner, or cheese board on the coffee table for easy snacking.
  • Home Office / Workout Room: If you have an entire room dedicated to office space, make it a hybrid workout/wellness room. Set up a yoga mat, stationary bike, or a few dumbbells and you’ll have a space at home for a quick sweat sesh when you need to decompress. This actually sounds great for a 10 minute brain break if you work from home!
  • Dining Room / Craft Table: Being a maker (of anything!) gets messy really fast, especially if you don’t have a dedicated space for your supplies to live. For an easy solution to the mess when you want to get the creative juices flowing, give a home to your supplies in the form of a rolling cart. Simply roll it up to your dining table for easy access to a large surface to work and when you’re done, everything can roll right back into a closet.
Family Room / The Inwood Project

SET THE MOOD

I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but before I get into a headspace to lounge, cook, or have guests over, I always do three things to set the tone.

First, I pay attention to light. During the day I will open all the windows and turn off all overhead lights. In the evening, I’ll turn on lamps and soft lighting, but the point is to always create an appropriate mood with the light that feels comfortable and happy.

Second, I turn on music. Music is so important to set the tone, and is a pillar for entertaining. We use our Google Home system to play music throughout the house. My favorite Spotify Playlists for these moments are Hanging out and Relaxing, Everyday Favorites, and Home Sweet Home.

Lastly, I always light a candle or start a diffuser with something uplifting.

Here’s to creating more space in our lives to play!

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