Recently I worked with an e-decor client to create a shared room for her kids. This was SUCH a fun challenge, as it was the first room design I’ve done for a boy and girl.
Here’s what Jessica wrote me…
“Help! We are merging the kids’ rooms, and I am at a loss as to what decor would work. Also we have LOTS of toys, and I don’t know how to combine all of their stuff without it looking crammed.”
After seeing pics of her kids’ current rooms, I knew we’d need some creative options to tame the toys, but I also wanted a plan to make it a “bright & happy” room that both kids would love. Here’s a peek into my process for this project and tips if you’re considering a shared room for your “littles”…
HOW TO DESIGN A SHARED KIDS ROOM
1. Use one color to distinguish each child’s space and things.
(We used red for Elsie & blue for Henry.)
-Frames for art (not pictured on the design board)
2. Use vertical space to store toys.
My client knew that two times the toys in one room would soon equal two times the mess. I came up with several options for toy storage using wall space to make sure everything has it’s place.
–Wire baskets for stuffed animals hung on the wall.
-Totes in square shelves
-Ladder with bins (from Bed, Bath & Beyond)
3. Create areas in the room for specific tasks.
We created nooks for three activities:
–Art zone (chalk board + bins with supplies + frames to display art)
-Reading nook (rockers + shelves for books)
-“Play pad” (rug in front of toy totes)
4. Bunk beds are a GREAT idea.
That is, if the kids are old enough. Obviously beds take up the bulk of a small room, so using vertical space in this project again saved us here. There are lots of great options in cute, affordable bunk beds online these days.
(If space is not an issue, twin beds with coordinating headboards is darling. Pushing the beds to the sides of the room allows for more “play space” in the middle.)
5. Purge the junk.
Maybe it’s just the phase of life I’m in, but I love the idea of getting rid of anything I don’t use on a daily basis or that has no sentimental value. Stuff can weigh us down and becomes more for us to take care of. This is especially true if you are combining clothes and toys for two kids into one room.
Involve the kids in the purging process (unless you foresee epic tantrums ensuing due to the loss of even one tiny toy. In this case, do it when they’re sleeping!) Donate, toss or store what is not in “high play rotation”.
6. Store unused items outside the room.
Basically this is freeing up “prime real estate” within the room. Be cautious to limit yourself here though. You don’t want to just displace items outside the room to cause clutter in other areas of the house. Maybe allow yourself one large Rubbermaid tote per child for off-season clothes. Perhaps another bin just for keepsake toys or ones that they might grow into later. Store in the attic or basement or op of a large closet.
THE SHARED ROOM DEBATE
This project brought back memories of when my brother and I briefly shared a room when we were kids. It lasted under a year, and then this pre-decorator begged and pleaded with dramatics and tears until my parents finally caved and let me have my own room again. (Apparently I saw a lilac bedroom in a magazine and was OBSESSED with painting my own room to match. The “sickness” started early.)
I think it’s nice for kids to have a small space to call their own, but I almost think that siblings who never share a room miss out on something special.
If you look at the span of our lives, most people rarely have a room to themselves anytime except in childhood. Our college years and 20’s are spent in dorms or apartments with as many roommates we can find to lower rent. If we partner up, we share a bedroom with our significant other. There are things you learn when you live and sleep in the same space as someone else…Stuff like compromise, restraint, respect, the appropriate amount of mess you can make or annoying things you can do before you set someone off.
Ya’ know, life skills.