How to Design a Gender-Neutral Playroom

A gender-neutral playroom sparks your child's imagination and creativity rather than defining their gender and setting expectations.

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gender-neutral playroom LeManna/Getty Images

We reached out to Ayla Lefkowitz, Co-Executive Director at CANVAS Arts Action, a non-profit that offers interactive training programs on gender equity, for some general guidelines on gender-neutral playrooms for kids. Lefkowitz, a new mom, says the concept of gender-neutral is often misunderstood. “It isn’t about having no colors, but celebrating all the colors in the rainbow.” It’s also about giving kids as many choices as possible so they can experience all kinds of wonder in the world around them.

What Are Some Benefits of a Gender-Neutral Playroom?

Gender-neutral playrooms should inspire freedom of expression and free play. This not only helps kids discover their innate interests, it also builds flexible thinking, problem-solving skills, the bravery to try new things and more. Providing a safe, inspiring and well-rounded environment to explore their full range of interests, preferences and talents is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. “We should make our playroom as unique as our children,” says Lefkowitz.

What Colors Should I Paint a Gender-Neutral Playroom?

Scrap the idea of blue for boys and pink for girls, and instead choose a playroom color because it creates joy and sparks imagination—whatever that means to you and your child. “I painted our nursery yellow as it makes me feel hopeful. Someone else may opt to paint their spaces blue as they relate to the color of the sky,” says Lefkowitz. A friend painted her child’s playroom khaki and white and let the toys and books add color to the room—a smart option that lets you adapt decor as color preferences change. Classic Blue, Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year, is a timeless color that would add a sophisticated vibe to a playroom for any gender.

What Are Some Appropriate Toys for the Playroom?

“Take gender out of toy choices,” says Lefkowitz. Think beyond buying trucks for boys and dolls for girls, and instead stock the playroom with lots of creative choices, including puzzles, rolls of paper, paint, Legos, crayons, musical instruments and blocks, perhaps on top of those trucks and dolls. Did you know that Mattel introduced its first gender-neutral doll last year? It comes with the ability to swap out clothes and hairstyles as a way to promote inclusivity and freedom of play, making it a perfect fit in any space looking to do the same.

When your kids no longer play with their Legos, here’s how to donate them so other kids can continue to build!

If you’ll be painting your gender-neutral playroom, watch this video first for some great tips from professional painters.

Stacey Marcus
Freelance lifestyle and travel writer for over 20 top regional and national outlets including Boston magazine, Boston Common Magazine, Bride & Groom Magazine, Destination I Do, Northshore Magazine, Ocean Home Magazine, Playboy.com , Southern Bride Magazine and others