If you have a smaller home, it might mean fewer bedrooms—necessitating that your kids bunk up together. Or maybe they actually want to share a room and you’re trying to encourage tight sibling bonds! Either way, decorating shared children’s bedrooms definitely presents some challenges. How do you respect individual tastes in decor? Or make sure each child has their own space and some privacy? How can you arrange the furniture to fit 2 of everything while still leaving room to walk around? With a little creative planning, a shared kid’s bedroom can absolutely work for all parties involved.
Bunking up. Beds are probably the most important part of your children’s room (you do want them to sleep, right?), so getting this part right is pretty critical. Matching twin beds is an obvious choice, giving the room a cohesive look while also clearly delineating the room into two separate halves.
If your kids don’t mind a little extra face time with each other, you can arrange the beds in an L-shape, opening up more floor space. And if you have 3 kids in a room, twin beds arranged in a U-shape works great.
Another classic option is a bunk bed, which might remind you of summer camp but is a great space-saving option for having two kids in one room. This works well for younger children in particular who might require ample floor space for creative play. Similarly, loft beds are space-savers that still allow each child to have their own private retreat. Tweens and teens will have plenty of room for work space for homework and studying underneath their beds.
Divide and Conquer. If your kids really aren’t into the idea of sharing space, let alone having matching decor, physically dividing the room in half can be a sanity saver for all parties involved. A curtain hung for a track on the ceiling is a low-cost way of achieving this (think privacy curtains in a hospital room, though yours can be infinitely less utilitarian) and a great idea for boy-girl roommates who might demand a little more privacy. Folding screens also work, though possibly not a good choice for younger children prone to toppling things over. Furniture is another option; a set of IKEA Kallax shelves makes a great divider and is ideal for stashing books and toys. Either way, with a divider in place you can treat the room more like two completely separate spaces and decorate each half to please its resident.
Similar, but different. Of course, going matchy-matchy with the same dressers, beds, nightstands, and bedding is the easiest way to create a cohesive design in your children’s shared bedroom. But there’s a good chance your kids just aren’t going to make your life that easy, and they’ll have their own ideas about what they want on their side of the room. In that case, you’ll have to think a bit outside the box.
It still a good idea to have matching elements, like the same bed and dresser, for example. Allow your kid’s individualities come out when it’s time to select bedding. Play around with prints (one might choose a graphic bedspread while the other goes for stripes or polka dots in a complementary color palette) or different colorways.
This decorating philosophy can apply to wall coverings, as well. Rather than paint or wallpaper the entire room the same, focus on accent walls. Depending on the room’s shape, it might work best to tape off a smaller section of wall to be papered or painted. Go for complementary colors—just grab a color wheel and choose two colors that are across from one another.
Everything in its place. With two kids sharing a space, all of their “stuff” can quickly become overwhelming. If the closet’s already overflowing, look for opportunities to add attractive storage in the room itself. Under-the-bed baskets are obvious choices. Vintage lockers and canvas bins are great for tucking away toys that are considered “too girly” or “too babyish” by the room’s other occupant. Of course, the easiest way to manage clutter is to get rid of everything except the most beloved items and focus on toys that can be shared and played with together.
Think long term. Your children might not share a room forever, but it’s still important to consider how the furniture and design choices you make will grow with your children. Is the furniture versatile enough to last them until high school? Could you see yourself using the dresser elsewhere in your home? While not everything needs to make the transition, choosing pieces that will stand the test of time is the best use of your money and a good way to guarantee that your children won’t be begging for a room makeover in 6 months.