How to Design a Shared Room for Your Kids

Two Kids, One Room, Five Solutions

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    Two Kids; One Room; Five Solutions

    If you're designing a shared space, you'll want to keep even the most reluctant roommates happy. Read on to discover some helpful ideas meant to inspire you in your quest to create a beautiful and functional room for two.

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  • 02 of 06

    Go Old School

    The symmetrical design has long been the go-to for shared spaces and with good reason: Symmetry provides a natural and appealing sense of balance. Things look good in pairs, and when you need two of everything anyway, a symmetrical approach makes sense. That being said, furniture tends to take center stage in traditional mirror-image design, filling up much of the room. If you’re already tight on space, or if your kids still spend most of their time playing on the floor, you might want to opt for a more open floor plan. 

    Liesl and Ariella’s Big Girl Room by Project Nursery

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    Think Outside the Box

    When siblings shack up, space is always at a premium — running a little short? Ditch the side-by-side twin set and go for a slightly less conventional arrangement. Installing narrow beds against a single wall opens up floor space, leaving plenty of room for play. Throw a few extra throw pillows along the back, and presto - your baby bunks transform into a comfy, wall-length day bench. You could also set the beds into a corner, arranging them head to head against a shared end table. Prefer something a touch more traditional? Go vertical! Good, old-fashioned bunk beds are an excellent way to save space.

    Narrow Beds Against a Single Wall by Tidbits

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    Incorporate Signature Colors

    Photo via DumpaDay.

    Are you having trouble settling on the perfect palette? If your kids can’t agree on a single color, try having each choose a signature shade to define their space. Colors that share a similar tone work well. Go with a pair of pastels, or choose two bright shades like hot pink and orange. To create a cohesive look, incorporate each child’s chosen color as an accent for the other. Toss a few of your baby girl’s coral-colored throw pillows onto your oldest daughter’s signature blue bedspread, and vice versa. If that’s not an option, consider introducing a third shade to serve as a standard accent, tying the two sides of the room together.

    To Each a Shade by Dump a Day

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    Provide a Little Privacy

    Photo 1 via Houzz and 2 via Vivi & Oli

    Everyone needs a little alone time every now and again. Cubbies allow kids to carve out a little personal space - a place where they can pull a curtain and be alone with their thoughts. If a built-in bed is beyond your means, try using ​a ceiling-mounted track to curtain off individual bunk beds (screw the track directly to the underside of the upper bed frame). Another tactic: Use plywood or wood paneling to enclose an inexpensive bunk bed frame.

    This beautiful bunkhouse by Vivi & Oli (shown on the left) was created using reclaimed barn wood and a pair of basic bunk beds (IKEA’s MYDAL, $159). Two separate units provide each child with her bunk and personal playhouse, which could easily be converted into a private workspace when needed. 

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    Divide and Conquer

    Photo 1 via Pepper & Buttons and Photo 2 via Apartment Therapy

    Designing a shared space can be tricky, especially when there’s a significant age gap or a difference in gender to contend with. Have an odd couple on your hands? When it comes to keeping the peace, a little “this-is-mine” and “that-is-yours” can be a serious sanity saver.

    By dividing the room in two, you’ll provide each child with a space of their own, which can be decorated to suit their individual needs and preferences. A physical boundary also helps little kids understand and respect the expectations of older siblings, who may require more privacy or a strict hands-off policy for breakable belongings. Think of it as a fashionable upgrade on the old, tape-on-the-floor trick!

    IKEA’s Expedite shelving units make for very stylish room dividers while providing functional storage. Choose storage baskets in two coordinating colors and assign shelves. You could also opt for ceiling-mounted curtains, which take up less space and allow kids the additional option of pulling back the curtain and opening up the room.