Double trouble - shared bedrooms
When space is limited and children have to share a bedroom, there can often be disagreements about who gets what space, and whose stuff belongs where. You're also faced with decorating an individual space for each child that reflects each personality. Here are some ideas for dividing up a shared bedroom without limiting the space...
ABOVE: A structure of metal pipes equipped with shelves, a desk area, and a curtain function as a room divider in this shared space. You can now buy DIY systems from companies such as Pole-Cat. Kid-friendly cork flooring and walls add a modern touch and help to keep noise to a minimum.
BELOW: Although you don't have as many challenges in a larger bedroom, in a smaller room you will have to look at ways to divide the room without cutting down on space. Fastened to ceiling and floor, a room divider is an easy way to divide up a room and provide shared options for two children, and the added safety of fastening securely reduces the risk of accidents.
If you're handy with power tools, this is a quick and easy project to tackle yourself. Follow these basic guidelines for ideas.
One of the best ways to keep the peace in a shared space is to give children an opportunity to design the room themselves so that each child's personality is reflected in the color scheme and design. Whether you have two beds or one bunk bed, if you let each child choose their own bedding and comforter you will have happier children. The beds won’t match perfectly, but you may be able to paint the room in a neutral or common colour that unites them. If they are near the same age and they each choose character themed bedding, chances are that some shared colour will exist in each set. You may also consider painting two walls in one colour and the other two in another; or use a neutral colour and use a pin stripe or design in each child’s favorite colour.
Designing the room
To design a room with plenty of space for both children to play takes a fair amount of ingenuity. It is simpler to start with two identical sets of bedroom furniture, rather than letting each child pick out his own bedroom sets. This will help establish a sense of unity in the shared space, even when other design elements are different. Once the furniture has been selected then it's time to talk to each child individually about his or her vision for the room.
Dividing the room into three zones will give each child his own space as well as a shared space for them to play together when they are getting along. Because parents know that it's not always easy having children share a space. How you place the furniture in a bedroom depends greatly on the size of the bedroom and placement of windows and doors.
Regardless of how well siblings get along, there will always be conflicts between them – especially when they share a bedroom. By giving each child her own space, and taking the time to design the room around each child's personality, parents can make the living arrangements easier for everyone in the home.
A shared bedroom can be a positive experience. Learning to get along with others in a small space, collaborate on decorating and layout ideas, and sharing day-to-day moments can build a relationship.
ABOVE: Bedroom design by Diana Vinoly.
Get creative and enlist your kids' help in thinking up new solutions to old problems. Loft beds are great for freeing up floor space, especially when designed to combine sleep, study and relaxation. Help children personalize their own spaces to give them a sense of ownership by stencilling their names on their headboards or along the wall next to their bed.
If different bedtimes are an issue in a shared bedroom, put the youngest child in the bottom of a bunk bed and hang curtains for privacy around the lower bunk so that the older child is not disturbing the younger one with his or her reading light.
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