A friend of mine recently mentioned that she was looking for garden playhouse ideas to get her two little daughters outside more often. I realised that, thanks to my previous research into treehouse ideas and kids play area ideas, I had already seen some cracking playhouses online and offered to send her some.
Well, as with all good internet-inspiration hunts, I ended up down an incredible rabbit hole of some of the most beautiful and elaborate garden playhouse ideas I’ve ever seen… So I thought I’d share my favourites here!
Simple Garden Playhouse Ideas with Cute Decorations
One of the best things about kids is that their imaginations are TERRIFIC. That means you can sometimes get away with doing very little and still inspiring them. This first collection of garden playhouse ideas embraces that goal.
1. A jolly (roger) paint scheme
Take a simple kid-sized shed, give it a lick of paint and a jolly roger flag, and what have you created? An awesome pirate headquarters! The blue and orange are an unexpected combination, but work really well with the black window and door to create a cool cabin that avoids looking remotely princess-y. The simple props are all that’s needed to carry the theme through – just don’t upset the captain or you’ll be swabbing the deck!
2. Cosy, homely touches
This mini home is actually one of my favourites, because it has a really simple base that’s just been accessorised well. All of the chic touches add up – from the painted door, window box and picket fence to the smaller details like the house number, outside light and the doorbell. If your kids are starting to feel too old for their garden playhouse, these grown-up details might provide another year or two of enjoyment.
3. A playhouse in pretty pastel pink
Even if you only have a simple playhouse, a consistent colour scheme can make it seem much more magical to a child. The various shades of pink on the roof, door, walls, windows and even curtains and flowers make this playhouse picture-perfect. The little sign above the door is so sweet too!
4. Fun, festive playhouse decor
I admit, this playhouse isn’t exactly simple – it’s stunning. However, you can easily give your own wintery facelift with some well-chosen decor. Double rugs out the front will make the available play area seem bigger, while fairy lights and string lights are always a hit.
The leafy garland and baubles combined with the log basket are super tasteful, but you might find your kids prefer to make their own decorative choices. Let them go wild!
5. Playful patterned curtains
Here’s another simple garden playhouse this time with just a few welcoming touches, like these fun, butterfly-print curtains. The nature-themed wreath and the chalkboard-style house number are also really cute – perfect for a pint-sized property!
6. Open-faced “playhouse”
Not all kids actually want a playhouse, but it can still be practical to have a sheltered place for them to play outside. This cosy cubby can be used as a shady place for your little one to read, play or draw outside.
Plus, once they’re bored, there’s nothing stopping you from using it yourself! The wallpaper backdrop is a beautiful touch, and the raised flooring actually conceals a sand pit – such a cute idea! Check out more DIY kids’s stuff at hestershandmadehome.com.
7. Cabin with a sun deck
Is this a playhouse? The full-sized door makes me unsure, but the windows make me think that there’s a mezzanine level inside. Maybe it’s for slightly older kids? Well, even if it’s a cute little garden shed for adults, the main feature I’m loving is this small, sweet sun deck.
Weird and Wonderful Garden Playhouse Ideas
Okay, these playhouses maybe aren’t totally wild, but they do represent some out-of-the-box-thinking and creative design.
8. Platform playhouse
As if this adorable striped cabin wasn’t cute enough, the little raised platform makes it even more playful. Kids can survey their kingdom from deck height, and also burn off some energy clambering up and across to slide down.
9. Rocking horse stable
Okay, I apologise for not being able to find a nicer picture to illustrate this concept, but bear with me. As a kid, I had a friend that was deeply, deeply passionate about horses. There is always one child and, if it’s yours, a playhouse with a stable door could be the perfect present.
Paint it up like a miniature stable, add a hay bale outside and a horseshoe on the door, and your kid can act out their perfect little fantasy of mucking out their imaginary ponies. I should add, putting a rocking horse or hobby horse inside makes it a little bit less weird.
10. Beautiful bunny shed
Who says playhouses are only for children? A converted shed makes a wonderful home for outdoor pets, like rabbits or guinea pigs. Make sure there’s a sealed, insulated section for them to create a nest, and install a digging defense (like flagstones or chicken wire a few inches below the surface).
11. Asymmetrical playhouse
I LOVE this quirky wooden playhouse with an asymmetrical roof. It’s simple, but the unusual shape stops it from being mistaken for a garden shed. It also means you can give your kids a two-storey den experience without having a whole mini house in your garden.
My favourite touches are actually the Scandi-inspired colours and “shutters”, that look really sweet with their motifs that match the door.
12. Minimalist mini-mansion
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the sparse play-space – it looks very bare, but it’s definitely cool. Presumably it gets filled with seasonal toys, or only when it’s being used.
Well, regardless, I love the mid-century style and the super subtle fairy lights going around the window and doorway. Also, please excuse all the Christmassy decorations – you can tell I was already bookmarking some of these cute garden playhouse ideas back in December!
13. Gingerbread house
Just when I thought I was done looking at festive and wintery garden playhouse ideas, I stumbled (digitally) across this absolute beauty. Is there possibly a design that’s cuter than this little wendy house, all dolled up to look like a gingerbread house. The white outlines on the roof look like snowy icing, and the pops of colour resemble sweets and candy perfectly. It definitely looks good enough to eat!
14. Playhouse for playing shop
Another fairly specific inspiration for garden playhouse ideas: a shop! I was desperate to open a shop as a kid (but also a vet clinic and magician show), and this would have ticked all of the boxes. I’m in love with the colour! I’m in love with the toy fruit! And I’m SERIOUSLY in love with the interior – check out the post using the link in the caption!
Elaborate Playhouse Designs
Not all garden playhouses ideas are designed equal. There are some seriously incredible outdoor playhouses that are nicer (and possibly more spacious) than my own flat. So, if you’re feeling ambitious, take some inspiration from these insanely beautiful and elaborate garden playhouse ideas.
15. Dinosaur lookout hut
Don’t all kids have a dinosaur phase? I honestly can’t blame them. You can indulge this stage of childhood with a super cool dino-control cabin like this one. The grey colour makes it look official, and the ‘warning’ tape and ‘danger’ signs are a nice touch. Of course, the cherry on top (literally), is this “electrified” fence. Obviously, I’m not ignoring the inflatable dinosaurs… but wouldn’t they make a fun surprise for when your little one is feeling immersed?
16. Playhouse with a red-tiled roof
Yup, this playhouse has a red-tiled roof, with flashing, with a porch, WITH A POSTBOX. And, if you click on the caption, you’ll see it even has an upstairs. This playhouse is absolutely gorgeous, and I would have just died for that pretend kitchen as a kid. Personally, I think the best ideas to steal from this one are the realistic roof, the subtle colour combination and… just about everything inside.
17. Diminutive dreamhouse
Without being too specific, there is a certain doll that has, among many other accessories, an intensely pink mansion. Am I the only one getting dream house vibes from this playhouse? The little heart on the gate is just killing me. IT EVEN HAS A SUN ROOM. Mind you, the council tax must be daft…
18. A garden duplex
Have you got two kids that don’t get along? This is the playhouse equivalent of bunk beds, where they can have their own unique spaces, as long as they can agree on who gets the top and who stays on the bottom. Plus, the external stairs means that your little ones will have to settle neighbour disputes outdoors, where they can be supervised.
19. Picture-perfect beach home
Perfect for a beach themed garden, this white playhouse looks so pretty with its blue accents and succulent window display (plants may have to be artificial in the UK). It’s almost as if the creators have been reading this blog and incorporated literally all of my favourite garden ideas. Pergola? Check. Hanging basket? Check. String lights? Check!
20. All-bases-covered playhouse
What if your child is constantly changing their mind about their favourite outdoor games? Well, this extensive play area seems to have every eventuality covered, thanks to its upper viewing deck, climbing wall section, big-kid slide and what looks like a mulch or bark play area. It’s cool if you can build this kind of playhouse in one go, but it’s also possible to do it in stages if you’re planning a DIY project.
21. Ice-cream parlour playhouse
Here’s another all-singing, all-dancing playhouse idea, with a top deck, ground-floor deck and swings. The crisp, black and white colour scheme looks seriously sharp, and the awning and picnic bench are just adorably perfect for kids that like to play shop. Honestly, it looks sophisticated enough for adults to hang out there – which brings me to my final idea…
22. A playhouse for grown-ups
I do actually have my priorities in order, so I’m going to end this post on a playhouse for adults! You’re never too old to have an outdoor retreat, and I love the cinematic feel this one has, thanks to the booth-style window, the fairy lights and the gloss black exterior!