Designing for Siblings Sharing a Bedroom

Sally Painter
IKEA STUVA kid's storage system
IKEA STUVA kid's storage system

Siblings don't always have the same likes and dislikes. When they share a room, this can quickly become a battleground. You can avoid this when you start a bedroom makeover by sitting down with your children to discuss your design plan.

Designing for Age Groups

The first thing you want to do is find elements that your children both like. This can be as simple as one color they both like or as complicated as furniture styles. Depending on your children's ages, you may want to limit their input in design choices.

Toddlers and Young Siblings

If your children are still toddlers or preschoolers, then keep the process simple. You don't want to overwhelm your children with too many choices. Just ask each child questions to help you determine what they may have in common.

If they don't have similar likes, narrow their choices by giving them the opportunity to select one element to use in the room. You may prefer to select the color and then allow your children to select one element from the following list to include on their side of the room.

Child's favorite:

  • Activity
  • Animal
  • Cartoon Character
  • Color
  • Flower
  • Vacation

Teenage Siblings

It may take more compromising to find a room design that will work for two teenagers. By this age, your children know what they like and what they don't like and they don't mind telling you.

You may find common ground with a color they can both agree on. The other elements that each teenager uses to decorate her or his side of the room should adhere to the color scheme.

If color isn't a common ground, you may need to keep the color theme neutral. Each child should be limited to one additional color they can introduce into the overall bedroom design. This approach allows your teenager to have some expression in color while keeping the basic color scheme a backdrop.

Containing Themes and Preventing Conflicting Designs

There are a few things you can do to keep the peace between your children when it comes to expressing their likes in their bedroom. While this is a special space just for them and they need to have a feeling of ownership through their decorations, you need to set limitations. Otherwise, you may be facing constant bickering.

Some ways to keep this aspect of the room design under control include:

  • Restrict poster usage to one large poster and three small ones per child.
  • Confine decorating space to one wall, typically where the bed is.
  • Using only the wall space just above the bed is another way of confining decorations.
  • Set parameters for subject matter.

Blending Two Themes into One

It's very difficult to mesh two themes, but if your children are older and have very specific ideas on the theme they wish for the room, you need to find a way to either blend the two themes or find a compromise with a neutral theme. You may want to paint or paste a mural on each child's side of the room that reflects each theme, but share the same color scheme.

  • Princess and Fairy Themes: If one child loves castles and fairy princesses and the other child prefers fairy magic and forests, these two themes can be blended through the use of color. Choose two colors such as pink and green, yellow and green, purple and green or blue and green for the bedroom color scheme. White, brown or black can be used as an accent color.
  • Robots and Cars Themes: A child that likes robots and a child that loves cars can be treated the same way by using color as your theme instead of subject matter. In this case, you can use silver gray and blue with accent pieces in red.
  • Plays With String Theory poster
    Plays With String Theory poster from Zazzle
    Space and Ecology Themes: One child is a star gazer and the other is a tree hugger. In this case, color will become your theme. This could be as simple as a white cloud ceiling mural, a forest mural on one wall and a space station or starry night mural on the other. A green rug and blue paint on the remaining walls and you have a happy universe within the confines of the bedroom.
  • Science and Music: One child is a science geek and the other is a budding rock star. One commonality they have is numbers. This can become the theme for their bedroom with perhaps a whimsical poster about string theory that plays on the science and guitar theme. In addition, each can add other elements specific to her or his interest.

Storage and Bed Solutions

Storage for younger children can be on a smaller scale, allowing you to have more types of storage options. Bins, boxes, shelves, chests and bookcases are just a few of the types of storage units that work for any age group.

Some great storage ideas can be found at a variety of retailers:

IKEA

IKEA offers some of the most innovative solutions at reasonable prices.

  • IKEA Small Storage solutions, IKEA (800) 434-IKEA (4532) www.IKEA.com
    IKEA Small Storage solutions
    IKEA Trofast Storage Series: Find the right bookshelf configuration and tubs and bins to match your children's bedroom décor.
  • IKEA Stuva Systems: These units can be placed however you like to create storage, closet and desk areas for your children.
  • IKEA Small Storage solutions: These ideas offer a wide range of small storage items and objects you can incorporate into the bedroom design.

Pottery Barn Teen

PB Teen has many stylish options that work well for dual-sibling bedrooms.

Two Beds and Two Desks

There are some cool furniture units that can give your children the space they need so their bedroom becomes a functional space for sleep, schoolwork and play.

  • Pottery Barn Kids: Twin beds and bunk beds are just some of the design solutions offered for kids' bedroom furniture.
  • Pottery Barn Treehouse Bed: You can create more floor space with this cool bed solution for young children. Styles for girls and boys.
  • PB Teen beds: Pottery Barn (PB) offers many bed configuration solutions for siblings. Whether you opt for bunk beds, loft and bunk with desk units, double beds with bookcase headboards or side bookcases, corner units with under bed storage cabinets, you are sure to find the right one for your children.
  • Chelsea Vanity Loft: This is a great solution for small floor space. Instead of simply placing two twin beds divided by a night stand, use two of these units and double your kids' space. Includes a loft bed, vanity, desk and cubby bookcase.
  • Corner Desks: A pair of corner desks gives each sibling a private corner of the room for school work.
  • Double Desk Unit: You can combine a corner desk unit with a regular desk unit to create your own design. Don't forget to add some shelves and a hutch or two.
  • Pottery Barn Schoolhouse Corner: Give ample desk space for both children with this adjustable configuration unit.

Room Dividers

Bead curtain from ShopWildThings.com
Bead curtain from Shop Wild Things

If you can't find any common design elements that both children like, consider dividing the room into two halves and allow each child to decorate her portion the way she wants.

  • Bead curtain from Shop Wild ThingsRoom Dividers: Plenty of folding screen choices for partitioning off part of the bedroom.
  • IKEA Expedit cubby shelving unit: A see through shelving unit provides storage and space division. Assign each child a section and use colorful bins and baskets for additional storage solutions.
  • Curtain-Tracks: If space doesn't allow for a shelving unit separation then install a ceiling track for curtains.
  • Shop Wild Things: Try one or two of these beaded curtains suspended from the ceiling.

Making Room

The biggest concern when doubling up siblings in one bedroom is having enough storage area for both children. These are just some of the very creative and innovative pieces of furniture that can help you to maximize and increase your storage space.

The key to a successful room design for more than one child is to create design ground rules. These rules should be ones that your older children help formulate. Include what can and cannot be used as room decorations and then be sure to enforce the rules. If your children have parameters for decorating, they will be happier and you will be pleased with the final results.

Designing for Siblings Sharing a Bedroom