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Thursday, June 2, 2022

10 Ikea Playroom Essentials: Clever Ikea Playroom Storage Solutions and Hacks

If you want to set up a functional playroom that has lots of storage and is also aesthetically pleasing, then you can't go past Ikea. The Swedish giant are masters at storage for small spaces and famous for beautiful neutral scandi designs that will suit any decorating style. I've put together a list of clever Ikea playroom storage solutions and how to hack each one to make the playroom of your dreams.

These Ikea items are great for creating open ended Montessori style play spaces and each piece can be hacked for multiple storage or display uses. Only 3 of the 10 items are actually toys or traditional toy storage, but they all work amazingly in a playroom {or childcare centre}. You just have to think outside the box and see the play potential.

ikea kallax shelf in playroom


No matter what playroom aesthetic you're going for, or if you're fitting out a childcare centre, all of these items can be made to match the design you want. You can hack the appearance and functionality of each item to fit in with the interests and needs of your children.

KALLAX Shelving Unit

When we first set up our play area downstairs {aka the loungeroom} the first piece of furniture I added was a Kallax cube shelf. I turned the 8 cube shelf on its side to create a Montessori style play shelf for the girls, which allowed for storage of toy categories in baskets along the bottom and also little invitations to be set up in the open cubes. 

Once my oldest daughter was tall enough I also turned the very top of the shelf into a small world play area for her, which was a great way for her to play without her sister destroying her imaginary worlds. I recommend you secure the shelves to the wall if you have younger children who may be tempted to climb them.

ikea kallax shelves used as toy shelves in playroom

Every few weeks as the girls interests change, or they start growing bored of the toys on display, I do a toy rotation and change the items in the open cubes and the small world set up above. Some small world set ups are more intricate and elaborate than others, such as the under the sea world below. You can also get play mat sticker decals from Lilly Magazinche designed to fit the top of the Kallax.

ikea kallax shelves under the sea theme

If you don't want to use wicker baskets with the shelves, you can mix and match with fabric boxes or the many different door panels Ikea sell to fit. You can also decorate the doors with custom decals like these. We now have an entire row of Kallax cubes from one side of the loungeroom to the other and use them as both toy shelves and as school bag/shoe storage. 

TROFAST Toy Storage

If you don't want to use cube shelves, the Trofast toy storage shelves are a great alternative. They come in numerous designs and can be used as open shelves with the wooden shelf inserts, or as drawers with the plastic tubs in various sizes and colours. They also have a wall storage option to take advantage of vertical space.

trofast units in playroom

Andrea has utilised 4 different Trofast units, including wall storage, in her playroom above {see her full playroom reveal here}. Using tubs is a great way to store toys by category and each individual tub can be pulled out when children want to play with those items. It also makes pack up easy as they just need to put everything back into the tub.

The tubs come in bright colours or white and aren't see through so you can't see all the toys inside. If you want to label each tub there are many different customised vinyl and wood Trofast toy labels available on Etsy. The top of the Trofast unit can also be used as a small world play space similar to how we use the top of our Kallax shelves. You can get custom Trofast play mat decals made to fit the top of the units from Stickea, Lilly Magazinche and Hackea.

ikea trofast play mat decal
Image: Stickea

The Trofast unit can also be used to make a DIY rotating bookshelf to provide ample book storage within a reading nook. Follow the Trofast bookshelf hack instructions here. For even more creative ways to use Trofast units have a look at these easy Trofast hacks.

RÅSKOG Trolley

Initially designed for kitchen storage, the RÅSKOG trolley is also the perfect portable art trolley. The three tiers provide ample storage space for art and craft materials like coloured paper, paints, colouring pencils, crayons, glue, scissors, pom poms, craft sticks, stickers etc. The trolley can be left in a permanent art space so children have unlimited access to all the materials, or it can be wheeled out when needed and stored away from little hands when they're not crafting.

ikea raskog trolley as an art and craft trolley

Kim from The Best Ideas For Kids has a blog post about how she set up her art cart here. If you use a lot of containers and want matching labels you can get customised RÅSKOG labels from Madame Labelle. The cart is also great for sorting and storing magnetic tiles as they stick to the baskets. If you're having trouble getting the RÅSKOG cart from Ikea there's a similar 3 tier trolley on Amazon.


Probably the most popular Ikea playroom item, that almost has a cult like following, is the Flisat table. I have to admit I went out and bought one as soon as they were released because they're such a genius design. The Flisat table has two removable top panels so it can be used as a normal table top, or you can combine it with different sized Trofast tubs to create a sensory table.

flisat table plus trofast tub

It's the perfect solution for indoor sensory play as the mess can be contained within the tubs and when the kids are done playing the lids can be put back on so the tubs are hidden away. If you have toddlers you can also convert it into a lower sensory table by buying the Flisat stools and putting the stool legs onto the table, so it's a great height for younger children, then put the table legs back on as they grow.

Because the Trofast tubs are plastic they're great to use with wet or dry sensory materials, just remember to wipe the wood over if it gets wet. The table can also be taken outside for more messy play, however it should be stored indoors to avoid weather damage. 

flisat table being used for sensory play
Image: Learning For Littles

There's so many ways to use the Flisat table for play, check out these 18 Flisat play ideas from Learning For Littles. We use our table as an art space, playdough table, sensory table and small world table. The tubs are a great way to store colouring books, art materials and playdough tools when you don't have a sensory invitation set up.

ikea flisat table with trofast colour sorting insert
Image: Cali Collections Co

Lots of creative makers have designed different educational lid inserts that can be used with the Trofast tubs to create invitations to play. You can convert the tubs into colour sorting activities, mirrored surfaces, posting activities, literacy and numeracy activities and many more ideas. Have a look at the many fabulous designs available at Sass and Spunk Styles, Unique Gifts Australia, Cali Collections Co, Family Dot, Peach Montessori, Wonder Years Toy Shop, The Creative Learning Co and Little Curious Co. If you want to decorate your Flisat table you can also get custom decals for the wooden top from Toddle Way.

DUKTIG Play Kitchen

There's no doubt that we love our Ikea play kitchen, in fact it was the first proper Ikea toy we bought for the girls. The Ikea Duktig kitchen is the perfect play kitchen for so many families because of it's compact and minimalist design. It's the perfect size for us being in a small townhouse. 

The neutral design also makes it the perfect base for an awesome Ikea hack. I put together a post of 13 easy ways to hack the Ikea Duktig kitchen showing how easy it is to transform the play kitchen into any style whether you're going for a retro, modern, farmhouse or vintage vibe. It also includes the details of Molly's kitchen transformation {below} from Almost Makes Perfect.

almost makes perfect duktig kitchen hack

Having their own miniature kitchen provides children with opportunities to role play, learn new skills, gain confidence and independence and improve their emotional wellbeing and social communication. A play kitchen can also be transformed during play to a market stand, shop, café, restaurant, or anything else kids can think of. You can also use custom Duktig decals from shops like Hackea, Stickea and STCKRS Online to transform the kitchen into different shops.

FLISAT Dollhouse

The Flisat Dollhouse is a great starter dollhouse as it's simple, neutral design means it's great for both boys and girls and it creates a blank canvas for hours of open ended imaginary play. Engaging in imaginary play with a dolls house helps children foster their social and emotional skills as well as developing language through role playing. The basic design of the Ikea dollhouse means it easily blends into any room and it can also be used as a wall or floor storage shelf once the kids outgrow playing with dolls.

It can be used with the Ikea dollhouse furniture or many other brands such as Sylvanian Families, Maileg, Le Toy Van and even the Kmart furniture. If you want to decorate the house and save space you can use custom stickers designed for the Flisat dollhouse from shops like Travelling Doll House. You can also get specialised decals from Stickea to transform the dollhouse into a different space like a police station, fire station, barn or car garage.

OSTBIT Plate Holder

Why do you need a plate holder for the playroom? I'm glad you asked because there's so many ways to use one in a playroom.

It seems like a bit of an odd choice, but the Ostbit plate holders are one of the most versatile Ikea items for the playroom. I love thinking outside the box and using items in ways they weren't designed for. Our favourite way to use the plate holder is as a stylish book stand. It's a great way to group themed books and it fits perfectly into the Kallax cube shelves. You can find more Ikea book storage ideas for kids here.

ostbit ikea plate holder as a book stand

board books on Ikea plate stand

In addition to being used as a book stand, the plate holder also makes a great geoboard for some fine motor work stretching bands over the sticks. We also used it for a colour sorting activity here and to sort wooden rings when my daughter was a toddler. It can also be wall mounted and used to store play silks and dress up accessories.

STÖDJA Cutlery Tray

Yep it's another kitchen item we use for play! If your kids love small world play, sensory play or loose parts play then you need a STÖDJA cutlery tray too. Cutlery trays are perfect for play that requires lots of little spaces because each compartment is a ready made predefined space where you can contain different materials. The STÖDJA trays are great because they're plastic so can be used with wet or dry items and they come in a few different sizes.

zoo small world in an ikea cutlery tray

Our favourite way to use them is for themed small world set ups like a zoo, farm, aquarium or construction site. You can read all the details about our epic zoo cutlery tray small world here. We've also used the smaller cutlery tray for our Dig, Dump Roll bookish play tray.

dig dump roll small world in ikea cutlery tray

GLIS Box with Lid

One of the best storage solutions for small items like figurines, loose parts, game pieces, puzzles and sensory items is the Glis container. It's an 8 compartment container with a snap lock lid that's perfect for storing categories of toys that are out of rotation, or for making portable play kits to take to grandparents or appointments.

glis box used as small world storage
natural loose parts stored in a glis box

We have a few Glis containers that we use to store natural loose parts, safari toob sets and one that we keep to use as a portable small world kit that I change up regularly. They're also great if you want to make playdough kits for party favours or birthday presents like these ones from Infinity Dough or Ava and Coco.

FISKBO Photo Frames

If you want to add a bit of wow factor to your playroom walls, and create a cute display area for your kids artwork, then grab a few Fiskbo frames. For just a few dollars you can transform a blank space into a beautiful art gallery for your children to show off their special creations. When your kids create more artwork just switch out the pictures on display and upcycle the old artwork.

ikea fiskbo photo display wall

You can use a range of different sized frames positioned vertically and horizontally like Casey from Little Lifelong Learners did above {see the whole playroom here}. You can also mix and match photo frame colours as Fiskbo frames come in white, pink, aqua or black. They're also really lightweight and the clear panel is plastic not glass, so they're safer around young kids.

ikea playroom essentials and how to hack them


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