Playrooms are designed with children in mind, but with a little outside-of-the-toy- box thinking they also can have a splash of style that suits the needs of adults.

"You don't always have to use primary colors," said Holly Polgreen, co-founder of Carlyn and Company Interiors and Design. "You can mix kiddie colors with neutrals."

Striking a balance between kid-friendly and adult-appealing spaces means meshing the sensibilities of child and parent. It also means avoiding a tendency to think teeny-tiny when it comes to decorating a playroom.

To avoid the preschool feel, Polgreen recommends choosing casual and comfy furniture. This could include an oversized sofa or sectional large enough for mom dad to curl up with the kids.

RESOURCES Designing Solutions
Carlyn and Co. Interiors and Design

"You don't want to put a futon in there. You want something with the right scale," she said. "Sometimes people go with all white furniture. It's important to have warm woods."

Debbie Wiener of Designing Solutions suggests using furniture that can be repurposed as the child grows.

"The key to longevity in play room furniture is to start low and build up," said Wiener.

One of Wiener's favorite furniture pieces for a playroom is Ikea's Expedit shelving unit.

"In toddler times, one or two rows of cubbies on the floor are enough. It's just low enough for the toddler to reach all the toys," Wiener said. "As toddler grows up, you can stack the shelving."

Designing different zones is another way to make a playroom fun for the entire family. Polgreen used that method to transform a Bethesda basement into a playroom.

"We created a dry bar for kids with snacks on one side and on the other side we created a bar for adults," she said.

Although basements traditionally have been used, "any space where there are toys and a parent makes a good playroom," Wiener added. "Most toddlers make play spaces wherever there's a parent; in the kitchen, in the master bedroom, in the tub."

All that is needed are open-minded parents to transform a seldom-used dining room into a wall-climbing space for rambunctious boys using padded wall pieces.

"There's nothing complicated to turning a space like this into a climbing room or basketball court," said Wiener, who designed the project. "All the components and rubber floor mats are available online. Without an open-mind and a kid-friendly philosophy this never would have happened."

The biggest obstacle for most parents is dealing with the clutter and figuring out what to do with the toys.

"Use multipurpose furniture and find as many places as you can to store things," Polgreen said. "Even under a sofa with legs. The Container Store sells thin little baskets you can slide under a sofa. Even little kids can put things away."