One of the questions I hear all the time is "Can I set up a bounce house inside?" or "Can I use a bounce house indoors?" The short answer is, it depends. It comes down to several factors that determine whether your particular bouncer will work in your particular space. I'll walk you through all the factors and help you figure out which bounce houses can be set up inside.
Factor I: Available Indoor Space
In order to even ask this question, you have to ask yourself whether you have enough room in your home to try to fit one of these things inside. Most units approach ten feet in length and width, and usually stand from about five to eight feet high.
Another critical factor that parents often forget is that each unit also has an air supply tube that is usually another six to eight feet in length. Adding that on top of the initial size of the unit, and the amount of space that you’ll need starts to add up quickly.
Equally as critical is the amount of height you’ll require for your unit. Again, most of them stand five to eight feet tall, but you also need to consider how high the kids will be jumping. A typical unit’s bouncing surface is about eighteen inches to two feet off the ground, and kids will usually jump another foot or two off of the surface. Even if the unit itself fits, make sure nobody will be hitting their heads on the ceiling when they jump.
Factor II: The Size of Your Bounce House
A typical small bounce house is usually about 8’W x 8’L x 5’H, and a typical large unit is usually around 10’W x 10’L x 8’H. You’ll want to measure your bounce house before you decide to try it indoors, or refer to your manufacturer’s website for size information. This information will be the second most important factor in determining whether it can be used inside.
Once you have the dimensions of your bouncer, go ahead and take measurements of the room. Again, keep in mind the extra six to eight feet you’ll need for the supply tube. Also, pay attention to the location of outlets so you know where the blower will need to be. This can be a nasty surprise if you don’t check it out first.
Factor III: Anchoring Techniques
A lot of parents assume that you don’t have to anchor a bounce house when you use it indoors. This is far from the truth. One or two kids hitting the mesh sides can rock one of these units way more than you’d expect, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
When it comes to anchoring inside, the primary option involves using a sandbags, rope, and some optional carabiners. The idea is pretty simple - tie rope tightly around four sandbags and then clip them to the anchor points on your bounce house. Most bounce houses will have four to six anchor points on them. When you’re using this route to anchor it down, securing sandbags to the four corners should be sufficient to keep your kids safe.
Now, strictly speaking, you can go wild with this one and build custom anchor points into the framing of your home, but most people won’t go that far. The sandbag route is simple and straightforward enough yet it provides plenty of weight to hold the unit in place for as many kids as you want to let use it.
If you decide that you really can’t or don’t want to go the route of using sandbags, then you will probably be unable to properly secure your bouncer in place indoors. As always, use your best judgement, but I strongly discourage you from trying to use it without securing it down first.
Factor IV: Noise Level
I see about a 50-50 split when it comes to parents’ opinions on blower noise with their bounce houses set up indoors. Some don’t seem to mind, often even saying that it helps drown out the noise of the kids themselves, while others think it’s just too loud.
You’ll have to ask yourself how you deal with noise. The blower will be loud enough where you’ll have to raise your voice to speak, and so if you don’t handle those situations well, using the bouncer indoors is probably not for you.
The size and finishings of the room will also make a difference here. Larger, carpeted rooms do better in this category, so your mileage may vary. You can try covering bare hard surfaces with rugs or towels to temporarily help while the blower is in operation.
Now, with all those factors taken into consideration I can tell you that the answer to the question is, usually, "yes, you can use a bounce house indoors." I've seen it pulled off many times and it has worked well. Sometimes on a hot summer day or cold winter night, being able to set up your bounce house can be the difference between sanity and losing your mind.
There you have it. There’s plenty to consider when deciding if you can use your inflatable bounce house indoors. Hopefully these factors can serve as a guide and help you make the right decision for your family. Until next time, keep bouncing!
For more information on bouncers that will fit in a small space, check out my guide on the best bounce house for your basement.