Most siblings benefit from sharing a bedroom, but these simple tips will help keep those inevitable territorial disputes to a minimum
Houzz UK Contributor. I am an experienced lifestyle journalist, interior stylist… More
Sharing a bedroom helps children to bond and to quickly learn to share and compromise. Siblings are bound to squabble, but if you put some thought into how you design their bedroom, you should reduce the tantrum quota. Here are 10 points to consider if you want to make family life in a compact home a little calmer.
Get your kids involved in the design
If you include your children in the design of their room right from the start, you’re much more likely to avoid complaints later.
Even young children can help pick out wall art and duvets, but if you still want the room to look stylish, steer them away from the section of the store or website where the football and character bed linen is on display!
Let each child inject their personality into the room
Give each child a section of the room to decorate. It could be a wall to cover with their own art; an area by their bed for their own rug, or a corner of the room each to dress with scatter cushions. Try to make sure everything they choose complements the other’s choice by giving them an edited selection from which to pick.
Browse wall decorations to delight your children
Give each child their own personal area
No matter how small the room is, try to ensure each child has a little part of it they can call their own. It could be their own desks, as seen in this room, with compartments in them for their own ‘special’ things; their own bookshelf, or just separate toy boxes. Everyone needs their own private space.
Set a few rules
There will be arguments, but to keep them to a minimum, set some ground rules. To help your kids learn to respect each other’s possessions, for example, teach them to ask before using anything that doesn’t belong to them.
So they learn they each have a right to privacy sometimes, ask them to always knock before entering if the door is closed. If you get the kids involved in creating the laws of the room, too, they may be more likely to adhere to them.
Allow even very young children to share
Parents who live in small homes often keep their youngest child in their bedroom far longer than they need to for fear of disrupting the older child’s routine.
In most cases, older children adapt very quickly and will be delighted to share with their little brother or sister. And if one wakes up crying in the night, the other will invariably sleep through the noise. Anyone doubting this should ask friends who’ve already doubled up their children; they’ll probably reassure you that this is normally the case.
Keep the younger child out of mischief
Allow the older child a place to keep their ‘special toys’ where the pesky younger sibling can’t reach them. Give them some storage that only they can reach – a few higher shelves or wall-hung storage buckets are all that’s required.
Create a great escape
Everyone needs some time on their own every now and then. It doesn’t have to be a bespoke hideaway like this – it could be a Wendy house or teepee, or even a home-made den created from bed sheets. It just needs to be somewhere your little ones can enjoy their own company from time to time and chill out.
Free up floor space
If your eldest child is older than six – the youngest recommended age for a top bunk – consider moving them into bunk beds. This will ensure there’s much more floor space for playing, plus most kids are thrilled at the prospect of having bunk beds.
If you’re planning to move or extend in the near future to give them each their own room, look for bunks that can later be separated into two single beds so they don’t go to waste.
Check out clever tricks for maximising space in a kid’s room
Have a place for everything
Children are messy creatures and, when you have two or more kids in the same room playing different games, you very quickly end up with stuff everywhere. It’s much easier to condition a child to be tidy if they know everything has its place, even those annoying little pocket money toys they bring home from birthday parties.
In this room there are shelves for books and games, drawers for larger toys and dressing-up clothes, and baskets for all those bitty little toys, such as Lego.
Discover ingenious ways to store children’s toys
Be creative with the space you have
To get the perfect configuration, it may well be worth employing a bespoke furniture designer to make the most of every square inch of the room.
In this space, an architect has designed a platform for two beds separated by the roof support. On either side of the beds there are storage cubbyholes, and within the platform there are drawers.
Have you created the perfect sibling co-sharing arrangement? Let us know and share your photos in the Comments below.