Shana’s Playroom Reveal: Hanging Bars, Swings, And Plenty of Organization


It’s no secret that we LOVE to PLAY!!! At least as much as the kids do…sometimes more! And one of my favorite ways to play is with home design!

I also love Montessori principled homes. It’s such a mind-blowingly magnificent base, and super-easy to work into kid play spaces. The basic tenet is that everything has its place, all set at ‘kid-level’ so that they can manage their own play (and clean-up) independently. And S, especially, has focused on stocking her playroom with open-ended, multi-use, toys, so I doubled-down and also created a space with plenty of open-ended, multi-use materials, as well.

This room wasn’t so much a challenge as it was an opportunity for fun! S said, “A, our playroom lacks soul. It’s a great space with great light and great stuff in it, it’s mostly organized, but it’s just not…I don’t know…fun, warm, cozy enough??? And we need an active space where these city kids can get their energy out.”

So we added some warm, comfy, cozy elements, as well as lots and lots of active ways to have fun!

An Active City Kids’ Playroom: Swings, Climbing Walls, Hanging Bars…& Plenty of Organization

These are city kids. We created a playroom that gives 'em plenty of activities: (climb, swing, hang or fly,) plus Montessori-style organization.

We live in a city. And our kids aren’t yet old enough to take a basketball to the park or to go to the playground by themselves. So we created a space that gives them plenty of ways to work their physical energy out: climb the rocks, swing from the bars (or swings), climb the rope, or fly onto the sofa and stools!!! 

The kids drape fabric from the bars to make forts, they have contests and races up the rock wall, and they design Parkour ‘courses’. They encourage one another and teach each other ‘tricks,’ and they feel secure trying all sorts of new things because they’re landing on a soft, thick, extra-padded carpet or sofa. 

The Benefits Of Barn Doors & Mirrors

The room also had two not-so-pretty hinged-doors that were just obstacles. We replaced those two doors with barn door sliders to maximize space and painted them a fun color! We also added a full length mirror on the wall between them. The kids have fun seeing themselves playing on the jungle gym, and they love checking themselves out in the mirror in dress-up clothes. The effect of opening and closing the sliders for the kids is basically creating a theatrical stage. The mirror and sliders also help the room feel bigger and maximize the light.

These are city kids. We created a playroom that gives 'em plenty of activities: (climb, swing, hang or fly,) plus Montessori-style organization.

Add Seating For The Practical Things

The sofa is a comfy space to cuddle for movies (and to play video games), but it’s actually a futon, so flattens to a bed for extra sleepover space. It’s also a great landing pad for kids who fly off or drop from the indoor jungle gym!

The stools can be used as launch pads (drag ’em over to the bars), or reconfigured for all different kinds of seating arrangements. Or, ya know, used as stools.

We also went with a small table and chairs as an alternative to a desk. It’s more collaborative, less serious, and more fun…while still providing a calm, dedicated space for R to retreat and work through the craziness of 4th grade homework! This style of setup is also excellent for chess and board game playing…or even playing with LEGOS.

Shelving & Crates For Self-Organization (Montessori-Style)

The room includes a ‘retired’ chimney. We needed to work around that, and used the space to add some built-in, reclaimed wood and white shelves for additional storage. 

We used wood crates to store light, bulky pieces like stuffed animals and fort-building blankets, and translucent stacking bins for toys with many pieces. Translucent bins make it super-easy for kids to play and restore order.

These are city kids. We created a playroom that gives 'em plenty of activities: (climb, swing, hang or fly,) plus Montessori-style organization.

Who cares if the kids put things back in exactly the right bin? The idea is: return all like items to a bin. Blocks here, Magna-Tiles here, LEGOs here, people in this one, vehicles in this one, dress-up clothes in this one. Voilà! Room restored to peace!

These are city kids. We created a playroom that gives 'em plenty of activities: (climb, swing, hang or fly,) plus Montessori-style organization.

Shop Our Active Kids’ Playroom Essentials

If nothing else, we hope this room inspires you to say YES to FUN and PLAY!!! Go big! Make good use of every inch and then enjoy every bit of it!

For more fun ideas for kids, check out our kid articles.




  1. my daughter is now 25 and I am pretty sure she would still have a blast in this room. Thanks for sharing. Your kids are fortunate to have such generous parents who are working hard to help them have a childhood to remember.

    • Sweetest appreciation note ever, thank you! And yes, the kids absolutely appreciate each other, their folks, their friends, their space and their lives-for sure! And truth be told, I’m 43 and have as much fun in there as they do! xo A

  2. My biggest question is, how hard was it to install that stuff on the ceiling? How do you know it’s sturdy? And is it going to leave big ugly holes when you take it out? Same for the climbing wall. Are those screwed directly into the sheetrock or did you cover the sheet rock with something? I’ve imagined something like this in our house, but we are just so DIY illiterate that it scares me off.

    • As a DIYer and climber, I’d say the holds go into plywood – 5/8″ is probably fine but 3/4″ would be better (as for most things. :). You use T-nuts from the backside of the plywood, so you can screw the holds in from the front – use plenty of randomly placed T-nuts so you can switch up the holds! Then the plywood gets screwed into the wall studs, and painted. Annmarie can probably clarify if I’m wrong! As for the ceiling bar, it looks like it goes into regularly spaced ceiling joists, but the trick is finding those darn joists. I am in the middle of a renovation, and just did pull-ups (well, one pull-up) on a 2×2 piece of framing (that’s small!) that was held to the wall by only two framing nails. So joists (which are 2×8 or something akin) are super strong for hanging things.
      And yes, there will be holes, but a bit of patch compound does wonders.

      • You are hired! All true. The climbing wall is on plywood on masonry. The hanging bars are in the ceiling joists-so they actually determined where everything else in the room went. The room needed work on the walls and ceiling anyway, so we took full advantage of those being open in those two places!

  3. This is amazing!!! I absolutely love it. Thank you for giving me a template to send my husband. I wanted an indoor swing for the kids and he looked at me like I lost my mind. This post will show him how doabe and not-insane it is!

    • Sometimes we (and by we, I mean Shana) all need a visual. And we like to think of this as crazy good. We’re the good kinda crazy. And you are too! xoxo a

  4. This. Is. Amazing. Seriously amazing!!! You guys rock! And if you’re ever looking for a slightly older crowd of kids to hang with, you know where to find me! ? Haha!

  5. Could you source the ceiling pull up bars? We are getting ready to replace the old knob and tube electrical wiring in our 1920 house- which means basically ripping out our plaster ceiling. Turning lemons into lemonade if we could add some playroom panache!!

  6. Amazing playroom! Cam you please share how to make the indoor climbing wall
    And where you purchased the monkey bars and other accessories. I would love to create something similar for my girls. Thank you.

  7. I have had this article saved since the day it was posted, knowing we had a playroom project coming up … and it’s finally time to do ours! Thank you for the inspiration!!! Can you tell me how the couch is holding up? My son (6) is a jumper and I worry he will destroy it quickly … thanks for any insight!

    • Plenty of jumpers in S’s house, many of them bigs, and sofa is doing A OK so far! Good luck with your playroom project! xo A

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