Decorating shared spaces for children can be challenging, especially when the children are far apart in age, and/or different genders. Here are a few tips to help make the process of creating a stylish and cohesive environment for two, a little less intimidating.
1) Keep It Coordinated: Creating a coordinated room is made easier if you choose a manufacturer that designs “crib through twin” bedding (Some great options are DwellStudio, Annette Tatum, Doodlefish Kids, and Whistle & Wink. In the case of boys and girls sharing, I suggest picking a gender–neutral pattern as your basic backdrop and adding masculine or feminine accents to each bed, like pink and blue throw pillows. This will add a pop of color and style without compromising the continuity. Keep in mind that everything doesn’t need to match, as long as the underlying look is cohesive. That could mean mixing and matching patterns within a color family, or being more adventurous with color, while keeping the patterns constant.
2) Make it Personal: To foster a sense of ownership and belonging in a shared space, try personalizing each child’s sleeping or reading area with a wall initial, name or monogram. Hand painted wall letters or wall decals are a cool cost effective option, while personalized canvas art is a great higher-end alternative. Sharing a room is a wonderful way for children to learn about compromise and mutual respect but this sort of personal touch maintains a sense of individuality.
3) Control Clutter with Smart Storage: Organization is even more crucial in shared or smaller children’s spaces, and there are several creative ways to stay clutter-free. A mixture of shared and personal storage works best. Providing each child with some basic proprietary storage in the form of fun labeled crates for under the bed, rollout trundles or toy chests at the foot of the bed is a great beginning. I am a big fan of floating a bookshelf or storage unit to divide the space a bit while still keeping the room open. Along with providing some separation, it also functions as stylish and practical shared storage, which can be accessed by both children.
4) Maximize Space: More likely than not, you will need to get creative to make the best use of the space. Ideally it is best to have some designated individual space and shared space. If the children are sharing a bed, try to carve out separate areas with beanbags, comfy chairs or throw pillows where they can enjoy some downtime. The alternative works well, too, and loft or bunk beds make great space savers. It works well to keep one bunk down on the floor and one lofted up, to provide some nice separation for sleep, and then utilizing the space under the loft for a joint hangout area.