How to Create an Awesome Shared Kids Bedroom

susanlerner Buyers , Sellers

Outside of NYC, a shared kids bedroom is basically an anomaly. Kids living outside the city are more likely to have their own bedrooms, since they tend to grow up in homes with tons more square footage than city apartments. But the picture looks a lot different for the average family looking for a place to call home in NYC.

Many NYC siblings have to share bedrooms due to the compact size of NYC apartments. It’s totally not an issue if you can create a space that your kids will love spending time in. A shared bedroom can be one of two things: a cluttered, conflict-generating space where kids attack each other with stunning regularity; or a beautiful, inspiring, imaginative space where kids can learn and dream. Before you think that your kids’ room needs to be massive in order to make it the latter, it doesn’t. Even the smallest spaces can be gorgeous, fun, and livable.

One Big Kid, One Little Baby

First there was just the three of you, traipsing around the city, going to kiddie concerts and farmers’ markets, baby slung adorably across your tummy. Pure bliss. You furnished the kiddo’s room with furnishings from Land of Nod, Restoration Hardware Baby & Child (psst … there’s an outlet in Queens!), and the Brooklyn Flea. Then much-wished-for Baby Number Two came along. Your two-bedroom apartment hasn’t gotten any bigger, so now you’ll have to figure out how to fit the two kids in the room. Some ideas:

  • You can have the traditional setup of a twin bed and a crib. If you go this route, it will help to give the older child a self-contained space around her sleeping area. This way, putting the baby in the room won’t take away the bigger child’s sense of ownership of her space.
  • Let your older child help with decorating the “big kid” side of the room, and encourage her assistance in decorating the baby’s side as well. This will allow your big kid to feel like she’s sharing in the process.
  • If your space is especially small, consider a combination bunk bed/crib. The bunk bed sits over the crib, making great use of rooms with limited square footage.

Two Big Kids

If you’ve got older kids sharing a bedroom, there are lots of fun ways to make the space really work. If they’re old enough, ask them for their input on furniture choices.

  • The side-by-side twin bed setup can be really beautiful if you’ve got enough floor space for the kids to move around. Choosing the same type of bed and bedding will make the space seem more streamlined.
  • Let the kids invidualize their own sections of the bedroom. Even if they don’t mind sharing, they’ll still want their own space.
  • Bunk beds are cool; built-in bunk beds are awesome. If you’ve got the budget and space (and it makes sense for your long-term goals), having bunk beds built into the room by a talented and reputable contractor can really turn it into the go-to party pad for your kids and their friends. Many built-in bunk bed units are completely self contained, with privacy drapes, lighting and storage space.
  • If you’ve really, really, really got no room for anything larger than a single bed, get a trundle bed, which you can keep tucked away throughout the day until it’s bedtime. In a super-tiny shared kids bedroom, this solution will leave room for important floor space.

Image Source: Flickr/Mandy Lackey

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