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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Plan A Shared Kids Bedrooms

Whether they are bunking up because they like the company or there are simply no more rooms in the house, many siblings share a bedroom for at least some of their childhoods. Sometimes a source of much hilarity, sharing this personal space also has the potential for violent discord, so take care to create a room that both will find relaxing, welcoming and fun.

Buy The Right Bed

Bunk Beds

The main question here is to bunk bed or not to bunk bed. It may be that you simply have no space for two separate beds, but even if you do, bunk beds have a lot going for them. Great space savers, they leave more floor area for play, and children get a real thrill out of climbing up those little ladders.

You are not confined to a simple double-decker design, either - bunk beds come in a variety of styles, including a double bed with a single bunk above, stacked beds at right angles to each other and bunks that incorporate storage and/or a desk (see our children's bed feature for ideas). 

Plus, once you've moved to a bigger house and the kids have got a room each, they can usually be split into two single beds, so should last for years and years.

On the downside, bunks are not ideal for very young ones (they should be at least six years old before they can safely use a top bunk) or bigger children (who may get a bit cramped) and Granny will not appreciate being put up in them. They can be asking for trouble if your darlings like leaping from high platforms and you will bump your head every time you make the bed.

Twin Beds

Separate beds are perfect in a larger room if your children hanker after their personal space and when there is a larger age gap. You can position them as far apart as space allows and create distinct bedroom areas for each child.

If you invest in decent-quality full-size singles in a classic style, a pair of beds should see you all the way from toddler years to use in the guest room when your chicks have flown the nest (scribbles/bedwetting permitting). 

Two little beds side by side look incredibly cute and you have plenty of flexibility should they decide not to share a room any more. However, trying to fit any more furniture or indeed anything else into the room could prove a problem. 

Alternatively you could invest in a pair of cabin-style beds, so each child has a high bed with storage and/or a desk below - this would be fun for them and an efficient use of space but could work out expensive for a fairly short-term solution.

Plan A Shared Kids Bedrooms

Create Defined Zones

With more than one person using the room daily for work, rest and play, making the space work effectively is vital. The older your children are, the more they will benefit from an area of the room that is theirs alone, and a separation of work/play areas will help concentration on homework. Ideally you should aim for a private area around each child's bed, with a shared play area and a quiet corner for study, whether it's one each or shared. 

In large rooms with children who crave their own space you could physically divide the room with a screen, a set of freestanding bookshelves, or even a desk. It doesn't have to run the length of the room or be solid, but offer a little privacy as well as a clear line where one territory starts and the other ends. Alternatively, create a sense of demarcation with the décor - you could literally paint the two halves different colors for example, or stick to a common background color and let each child select their own wall stickers. 

Children also love personalized stuff and there are loads of gorgeous bedroom accessories available online that you can have made with their names on, from bunting to bookends, to make it very plain whose side of the room you are on.

Give Each A Study Space

Cabin beds have the advantage of a ready-made nook for study, but you can reproduce the same effect by placing the desk in an alcove, for example, or by fencing off one corner with a bookshelf or chest of drawers. Good lighting is important for study and will also help to define the work area.

Get The Lighting Right

Lighting is another way of creating zones within the room - a low pendant on each side of the room rather than one central light source for example, or wall lights above each bed.

Solve Decorating Clashes

You may be one of those fortunate types whose children will leave all the decorating decisions to you, or who share the same passion for pink and ponies, but with two (or more) in a room you may well be one of the many who have two (or more) obstinate opinions to work with as well as your own ideas. Where you have a large age gap or a boy/girl mix, this is almost guaranteed. Nevertheless, there is always a compromise somewhere. 

If they can't agree on a theme (and their theme choices are incompatible), choose an abstract design they both like instead, such as spots or stripes. Take an executive decision with a neutral backdrop and give them some freedom to personalize their own areas with posters, home-made canvasses, photographs, accessories, stencils or stickers. 

If you can unify the opposing areas with a common element - an accent color or similar layout - all to the good. If all else fails, give them free rein and allow the room to be an eclectic mixture of styles - it might just look fantastic.

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