If you grew up with a brother or sister—or 10—you know how rewarding, comforting, and sometimes frustrating sibling relationships can be. This may be especially true when siblings have to share a bedroom. There are many reasons why a shared room is necessary, be it a limited number of rooms in the home, a child who needs a roommate for comfort, or a family member has moved in with you.
Plato famously stated, “necessity is the mother of invention,” and this situation is no different, as it presents the opportunity to create a delightful space with your kids at minimal cost, and without needing to renovate. Let’s look at some ways to approach setting up a shared bedroom.
Get the kids involved
The best way to ensure your youngins are fully onboard with this transition is to involve them with every step, provided they’re old enough to help. Even if they are unhappy about the change, including them can help overcome any misgivings and get them excited about how their space is going to look.
Set them up for success
The biggest challenge will be dealing with small rooms. For clutter prevention, plan for ample storage options for each child’s toys, books, and craft supplies. Setting the kids up to maintain a tidy room easily will make a big difference. If space is looking really tight, don’t be shy about resorting to under-the-bed storage, or get creative with how you utilize wall space. Tall shelving units (secured to the wall), floating shelves, and strategically placed hooks can all help keep their space tidy.
If siblings with differing interests share a bedroom, give them a sense of their own territory by dividing the room in half. This is one case where choosing sides is OK! They’ll likely have widely differing décor preferences, so get their input on arrangement and accessories.
Have the kids choose their favourite colours or patterns and then team up to divide the room—they’ll love helping measure, paint, or apply wallpaper. Use different furniture styles and colours for each child to accentuate their uniqueness.
Placing dressers or a bookshelf where the room is divided helps delineate each zone. If you use a bookshelf for this, make sure to separate their books accordingly. Get the children to choose cushiony throw rugs to go next to their beds for a soft landing on chilly mornings.
Privacy can be a concern, so a bed tent or canopy can accomplish this for sleep, while a simple room divider in a corner can provide ample privacy for getting dressed.
Alternatively, put their beds close together in the middle of the room so they each have a dedicated space on opposite sides. Placing a night stand with their choice of lamp next to each bed allows quick access to a light when needed.
Siblings of the same or similar age
With twins, or children born only a few years apart, separating the space may not be as difficult, as their interests will very likely overlap in areas. This provides an opportunity to blend their shared and individual interests together for a bedroom bursting with personality.
Bunk beds are an excellent space-saver, especially for small rooms. Make sure your children are over the age of six, for safety purposes, though you can keep some bunks separated on the floor until the kids are old enough to stack them.
Decals related to their favourite movies, shows, and games are a perfect way to make the walls pop. Since they can be removed easily, you can update them as their interests change, keeping the décor fresh.
The wall across from a bunk makes a prime spot for artwork, while shelves above the dressers provide ideal display potential for books, models, or various forest walk discoveries.
Older and younger siblings
This can be the trickiest scenario, especially when your older child is a tween or teen. The younger brother or sister will most likely be thrilled at the prospect, given how much they look up to their senior counterpart, but the excitement may not be shared.
You’ll want to approach this one in a similar fashion as the siblings with differing interests scenario. Take this one step further by getting your older child to help develop and execute a plan to create a space they love—a wonderful DIY opportunity.
Consider a loft bed, or building a mini-loft so your tween or teen can have both a comfy space to sleep, and a private nook for homework or gaming.
It’s also advisable to place the younger sibling’s bed closest to the door as they usually wake earlier in the morning and can vacate the room without disturbing their older sister or brother too much.
Note: Double-up on the loft bed and desk option if you have two pre-teen or teenage children of similar age!
The baby of the house
If you wait a few years between children, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself with a school-age child needing to share with a baby sibling. This is a huge adjustment for them, and they’ll feel most included if they get to help with selecting décor for both their younger protégé’s portion of the room and their own, while also getting to assist with putting it all together.
No matter the age difference between your children, a shared kids room means opportunities to play and create together, building strong bonds—after all, they’ll be siblings for life.
While this kind of change can be difficult to accept for some children, it’s a great opportunity for the whole family to get involved with a fun project. Just be patient, don’t sweat the small stuff, and most of all, enjoy the journey.