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Carla S - November 20, 2022

How to Build a Cubby House: From Finding the Right Cubby to Completing It

How to Make a Teepee Tent

Cubby houses are one of the most fun projects you can take on - for your kids and yourself! Whether you want to design a Cape Cod cottage or a mid-century modern cubby with a kid-friendly twist, finding the ideal cubby house for your kids can seem overwhelming. Read on for a guide on choosing the right cubby, the different options available, themes, and tips and tricks for building your cubby from scratch.

Table of Contents

  • Choosing the Right Cubby House: What to Consider
    • Size
    • Type
    • Height
    • What your child likes and theme of cubby
  • Building a Flat Pack & Tips

Choosing the Right Cubby House: What to Consider

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect cubby, you may want to consider the following before finalising your purchase. Below are some crucial aspects of finding the ideal cubby house.


Cubby houses don’t ever take up a ton of space, but you need one that fits your area, provides adequate room for non-cubby playtime and gives your dog enough yard to enjoy. Also of note is the age and height of your child(ren). A rapidly-growing little one may need a big cubby to account for future growth.

Next, consider your lawn (or wherever you plan to put the cubby house). If you live on a sprawling farm with multiple acres, you can invest in a substantially-sized cubby with various add-ons, like monkey bars or slides. 

That said, even if you have a flat or patio home, you can still find a cubby with plenty of room and fun additions, but you may have to be a bit more strategic about placement. Some cubby houses in Australia come in sizes as small as 1.7m x 1.8m, while others reach 2.4m x 2.4m.

For tiny yards, you may want to place your cubby house in a back corner, giving your child space to play and allowing you to put your favourite outdoor gear (like fire pits and grills) too.


Another vital part of choosing a cubby house is its material. Most cubby homes come in wood, plastic, and a blend of the two, but figuring out which works best depends on your dedication to maintenance, budget, and desired look. Below are some examples of the differing cubby home types.

Wooden Cubbies

If you want a classic, simple, and paint-able cubby house, you may want to find a wooden option. Wood is the most popular cubby house material and resembles a traditional full-size house. You can even build a wooden cubby that looks like your home!

Wood is a durable, versatile material and can withstand the extra weight of climbing walls and heavy slides. Using it for a cubby home is perfect for a playhouse that blends in with the rest of your property and lets your kids play freely.

However, wooden cubby houses have a few downsides. The most prominent is that wood eventually splinters. Maintenance is fundamental with wooden cubbies, especially if you have an unsealed model. Ensure you check it regularly for rotting or splitting wood, and if you live in a rainy climate, you may want to invest in a precipitation repellant.

Some companies only use treated timber for their cubbies, so they can withstand rough weather and will not rot when exposed to moisture.

Plastic Cubbies

When you hear plastic, you may associate it with cheap or unattractive primary-coloured toys, but a high-quality plastic cubby looks remarkably similar to wood. Plastic is less likely to rot and does not splinter like ageing wood.

Another plus to plastic cubby houses is that they’re almost always cheaper than their wooden counterparts. Sometimes, that price difference shows, but most of the time, you can find one that resembles wood or looks more expensive than it costs.

If you live in an area with unpredictable weather, or you have a small yard and want to be able to move the cubby house, a plastic variation will suit your needs best. Wooden houses are sturdy and often extremely heavy, making moving them nearly impossible. Plastic options are less cumbersome and disassemble relatively quickly.

The downside to plastic cubbies is that they are not as resilient as wood and warp in extreme heat. They may develop mould and fungus if left uncared for, so it’s not a bad idea to move your plastic cubby house to a covered location when your child isn’t using it - but this can be annoying if your child is impatient and wants to play.

Indoor Cubbies

While an indoor cubby is not as expansive as its outdoor counterparts, it can still encourage imagination and creativity from your kids - from the comfort of your home.

Indoor cubby houses usually resemble tents or play kitchens and work best in bonus rooms or spacious bedrooms. These cubbies may not be as stately as an outdoor model, but they offer the following:

  • No concerns about the elements
  • Easy to watch your children during play
  • Ideal for inner city units or apartments with limited backyards

Most kids will still enjoy an indoor cubby house, even if there’s no climbing wall. If you live in an urban area, these are excellent for getting your kids away from the screen and engaged.

The primary downside to an indoor cubby is the lack of add-ons, but again, most children won’t notice - they’re too busy imagining adventures in their new cubby house!


Height is crucial for practical, aesthetic, and safety reasons. The two principal cubby house heights are cottage and elevated. The one that suits your situation best depends on factors such as the age of your children, your desired look, and add-on options.

Cottage Cubby Houses

Cottages are excellent for young kids or children that do not show interest in slides or monkey bars. They sit at ground level and allow entry without steps, making it the more accessible option.

These cubby houses are adorable and often resemble accurate homes. Doors, mock driveways, and window boxes create an authentic look your children will love.

The negative side of a cottage cubby is that you may have to prepare your yard more extensively than with an elevated house. You’ll need a clear patch of dirt or grass without bumps, holes, or roots.

Elevated Cubby Houses

Elevated cubby house warrigal lifespan kids

Elevated cubby houses are ideal for active and older children and give you more customisation, add-on capabilities, and resiliency. 

The elevated cubby immediately drains rainwater - so no worries about your cubby house flooding after a summer rainstorm. Most children also prefer the raised style for its tree house feel, and you can install slides and rock-climbing walls easily.

However, elevated cubby houses are not as accessible as cottage models unless you build a ramp. They also intrinsically make it more likely that your child will fall off the cubby (although these cubbies are never extremely high).

What Your Child Likes & Themed Cubbies

Children are notorious for going through phases and changing their preferences almost daily, but they customarily have at least one or two things they enjoy for prolonged periods.

For example, if your child has always loved exploring and adventure, you can find a cubby house with a ropes course, a rock wall, and a sandbox. Kids that love their play kitchens may prefer a cottage-style cubby. 

These cubby houses are adorable and often resemble accurate homes. Doors, mock driveways, and window boxes create an authentic look your children will love.

The trick to a themed cubby is finding one that lasts through childhood and doesn’t lose its lustre. You can even find removable accessories to change the cubby house periodically if your child has indecisive tendencies.

Some theme ideas from other parents include:

  • Restaurant or Cafe aspects
  • Sandpit 
  • Reading Nook
  • Swings
  • Monkey Bars
  • Picnic Table

Whatever encourages your child to create and let their imagination run wild makes an excellent cubby house theme. Don’t overthink it! Remember to keep it simple so you can change it up later.

Building a Flat Pack & Construction Tips

If you’ve built IKEA furniture, you can construct a cubby house, although there’s no guarantee that the experience won’t be frustrating. Deciding to assemble your cubby house from a flat pack without professional installation saves money and time and usually leads to decent results.

Most DIY cubby houses arrive in flat packs - disassembled pieces for construction. Companies typically send an in-depth construction manual with pre-cut materials to ensure assembly goes as smoothly as possible.

When you’re ready to build your flat pack, follow these tips:

  • Place the flat pack in its intended location upon delivery, which makes it less likely you run into levelling issues or need to move it after completion.
  • Have your tools (usually a hammer and screwdriver) on hand.
  • Read the instructions thoroughly before you start building. If you know the basic steps, it’s a lot easier to construct the cubby quickly.
  • Get a friend or handy neighbour to help you build it. Don’t attempt to set up the structure solo!

Constructing a flat pack is relatively self-explanatory if you read the instructions. Begin with the bare bones of the cubby house, typically wooden beams. You may want to have each piece laid out to find what you need.

Plastic cubby houses are usually less intensive to construct, so if you want something that won’t take an entire day, you may want to go that route. Elevated cubbies take extra effort, as you have to build a deck and risers before building the house.

Final Thoughts

Constructing a flat pack is relatively self-explanatory if you read the instructions. Begin with the bare bones of the cubby house, typically wooden beams. You may want to have each piece laid out to find what you need.

Shop our extensive range of cubby houses, from diy flat pack cubbies to custom cubbies here