How to build the ultimate fort (HINT: it’s based on a real motte-and-bailey castle!)

Think you know how to build the best play fort? You might want to think again.

Had a full on-week and feel like you need to retreat to a hideaway, pronto? Don't have the option of jetting off to a country spa hotel or out into ca cabin in the woods? We have the perfect solution; be a big kid and build a fort! Come on, we all know how fun fort-building is. But if you're feeling shy about it and actually have kids or grandchildren, you can use them as the perfect excuse for this activity (...although, we know this is all an elaborate cover-up).

pillow fort with black stool and white flooring

(Image credit: TBC)

Now, before you get to work dragging the cushions off the sofa, sheets off beds and generally reconfiguring the living room to recreate your go-to childhood hideout, you might want to check out this fort that Wayfair are describing as the 'ultimate pillow fort' a little more closely. None of this amateur nonsense for them, no. This is a serious business and, as such, they've gone and got some expert advice from architectural practice Artform Architects. There are scale drawings and everything!

pillow fort architecture drawing

(Image credit: TBC)

This fort is based on historical fort architecture - the near-impossible-to-attack  motte-and-bailey fort - although, in this case, the structure is less about thick solid stone walls that withhold enemy arrows and more about soft comforting cushions and blankets. Better still, it takes less hard labour (and time) to build and, the architects have included some Ikea-style step-by-step directions to show you how to build it.

pillow fort with blanket and chairs

(Image credit: TBC)

All that's missing from this picture is a campfire and the accompanying snacks but, as we don't want any forts to catch fire, we've found you a fab alternative from Etsy maker, LiveDreamCreate1. They have hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks, too!

soft toy bonfire

(Image credit: LiveDreamCreate1)

You might find that your fort proves pretty popular with the family; much like the motte-and-bailey, it might draw a crowd who are vying to take it over (ie the kids). The original purpose of the 11th century fortresses 'was to act as a fortified tower or residence that would act as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the motte-and- bailey castle be overtaken,' says architect Jason Eccles. Here's hoping you get to hang on to your ultimate hideout though... there's always the teepee if not.

Will you be buying a teepee?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.