It only takes a few small tweaks to turn your living room into a spaceship, castle, or racetrack—and you don’t need to deconstruct the sofa or bring in baskets filled with tiny toys to help your kid create a mini world of their own. A handful of floor cushions and a touch of imagination will transform your space in a flash. Fortunately, beanbags and poufs have come a long way in the past few years, with under-the-radar brands designing child-friendly seating that’s both chic and modular (think: infinitely configurable couches that can be stored in a closet when not in use and plush ottomans that look like pears and people). Give your toddler a safe place to climb, carve out a reading nook for your book-loving teen, or set up a family movie-night spot with the clever ideas ahead.
Nugget Comfort’s couch doesn’t come with any special bells or whistles, just four foam building blocks. The flexible pieces can be arranged any which way. The triangular pillows make for great tumbling surfaces, but your little ones can also pretend they’re a column of a building or the hull of a pirate ship, while the sturdy base can be bent to create a cave. Then there’s the long, squishy cushion—a soft surface that can catch their fall when they’re in cannonball mode.
Large rectangles work great in big rooms, but if square footage is against you, think outside the box with cylindrical and half-moon building blocks. Danish brand ByKlipKlap’s pieces can be pushed around like wheels, ridden like a rocking horse, or stacked to form tunnels. Even a simple doughnut or tube (Bobles makes one out of phthalate-free rubber) can be used for countless activities, including practicing balancing skills.
Get their imagination going with poufs that aren’t what they appear. Pillows that look like boulders, a seat that resembles a tree stump, and a next-gen beanbag with bunny ears will transport them to a faraway forest.
For the preteen crowd, lean into colorful tufted mats that channel laid-back vibes. (Urban Outfitters’s oversize squares made out of washed corduroy bring the ’70s back in a good way, too.) Because this will be their home base for studying or hanging out with friends, pile on the pillows to ensure it’s super-comfortable or stock up on beanbags. Companies such as Kip & Co. have reimagined the teen-room staple in chic patterns, while Slim Pop has designed ones to look like jumbo pillows.
Unless swathed in outdoor Perennials fabric, most grown-up couches aren’t exactly made with kids in mind. So it’s worth investing in a child-size sofa like Nugget’s modular one, which is easy for them to climb onto and covered in machine washable fabric—and has no sharp corners or arms. The longer, the better: They can double as extra beds during sleepovers.
One back cushion, one base cushion, and—voilà!—you’ve got a reading nook. Take the setup a step further by installing a curtain with a ceiling track so they can crawl in and get totally lost in their book.
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