I've always loved the idea of play rooms that are centrally located in a house. It creates a sense of togetherness, while maintaining boundaries between the kid space and adult space.
The only trouble with centrally located playrooms is that you have to look at them all day. So I wanted something that would be fun for the adults too.
Our play area makes use of an otherwise dead space behind the stairs in our 1980s split-level home. It's adjacent to the kitchen and "grown-up" seating area in our family room, but also tucked out of sight from the main living spaces upstairs.
We defined the space as separate from the rest of the family room with carpet tiles from Flor and some fabric bunting that I made. The table is an activity table we had from Pottery Barn Kids (it's actually a chalk board surface, and it has drawers for stashing puzzles and toys). The toy bins/cabinet are from IKEA, and the art easel was a gift from Grandma (not sure who makes it). But the biggest "indulgence" in the whole space is the 6-inch felt play cake that I got from an artist on Etsy. It looks so delicious, and B has used it to throw birthday parties for her dolls every day this week. At $28, it was more than I spent building the play kitchen, but worth every penny.
I love that the kids can entertain themselves down there while I'm preparing dinner....I can hear them, but they're not underfoot.