What Are the Best Tips for Building a Playhouse?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Two young boys
Two young boys

Perhaps the most important tip for building a playhouse is determining how large the structure should be. In order to make this determination, you will first need to measure the space in which you intend to build the structure, and then to determine how the playhouse is likely to be used. This will affect the design used when building a playhouse, and it will give the builder a sense of how much the project will end up costing. A playhouse kit may be the best option for some builders, as this will make the construction process far easier and quicker.

A kit is useful for anyone building a playhouse who has little or no carpentry experience. The kit will usually come with all the materials necessary to complete the structure, as well as detailed plans to walk the builder through the construction process. The builder will need to buy his or her own tools, however, and the building plans will generally outline which tools are necessary for the job. If this will be the only building project the builder will take on, he or she may be better off renting tools instead of purchasing them.

Alternatively, the experienced carpenter or hobbyist will need to have the proper tools on hand when building a playhouse. A circular saw, miter saw, drill, appropriate drill bits, and a router are all common tools used during the construction process. A plumb bob and tape measure will also help the process of building a playhouse. The structure is likely to be fairly small, so the builder may be able to construct the playhouse on his or her own, but the presence of an assistant will speed the process along and ensure safety, especially when raising walls and the roof of the structure.

Choose materials carefully. The wood used for building a playhouse should be resistant in some way to water damage and bug infestations. Pressure-treated wood will accomplish this, though it can be expensive. Woods that are naturally resistant to water damage, such as cedar, are quite beautiful and long-lasting, though again, the cost of such wood can be higher than other options. Pine can be used to build most of the structure, and this wood is inexpensive and easy to work with. If it is used, however, it should be treated in some way to resist water damage, and it should be covered with other materials if possible to protect it from the elements.

Discussion Comments


I definitely think girls get more use out of a playhouse than boys do. My boys liked to scare the girls when they were in there, but they didn't spend much time in there themselves.

I have a friend who builds playhouses as a side job. He has some of the most elaborate and beautiful playhouses I have ever seen.

Once he started building up a good reputation, he began getting orders for custom playhouses. You would be surprised how much money some parents spend on something like this.

One of the biggest things I would consider when building a playhouse is where it will be located.

You want it close enough to the house that you can keep an eye on it, yet far enough away from the house so it feels like a special place away from home.


As a kid I always dreamed of having a playhouse in my yard. When my kids came along, I figured this would be something they would love too.

Since I am not very handy when it comes to building something like this, I hired a neighbor who told me he could build the playhouse for me.

We kept the design simple and I let the kids choose the color of paint. I think I was more excited about this playhouse than they were.

This must have been the case, because after the initial excitement wore off, none of them spent much time in the playhouse.

I ended up using it to store my garden supplies in. At least I ended up getting some good out of it. I felt bad because my neighbor spent quite a bit of time on the project.

If you are looking at building a playhouse, one thing to consider is how much it will actually get used.


One big tip that I would give anyone thinking about building a playhouse is not to take on the project if you do not have the expertise. This takes a little bit of self awareness and modesty. I should know. I tried to build my son a playhouse and it was a disaster.

We got a kit from one of the big box home stores. It required a lot of assembly but I figured I could handle it. If worst came to worst I could always consult the instructions right?

Well, long story short, the playhouse never got beyond a single wall. I tinkered with it for hours, cut boards that I shouldn't have, lost hardware, used the wrong tools and smashed my thumb with a hammer about five times. I am just not a handy guy and this project was beyond my capabilities. Luckily my brother is a whiz with this stuff and was able to finish the project in about 2 hours. I should have asked him for help from the start.


The article is right that the logistics are the most important thing to consider when starting a playhouse construction project. But it is also important to consider the child. This will be their own private space so it should reflect your child's interests.

It you have a little girl who wants a princess palace try to tailor your design to reflect that. If you have a little boy who is a military buff think about adding some camouflage. If you child loves animals think about making a little zoo or vets office. It doesn't have to be a huge piece of interior design, children are very forgiving. But if the space reflects a place your child wants to be the playhouse will be a more useful toy for their growing imaginations.

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    • Two young boys
      Two young boys