Children’s Bedrooms: Sharing Space

Cottage Living (Roger Davies)

Do your kids (or grandkids) share a bedroom either with a sibling or for sleepovers? One of my favorite memories is hearing my girls chattering about their day after I put them to bed in their shared room. I can still hear their sweet little voices laughing and exchanging stories after dark. Sometimes after I said goodnight I would just stand outside their door and listen to them talk to each other. I loved that.

While they did not always share a room, I think one of the reasons my daughters are close today is those special bonding moments at the end of each day during those “sharing a room” years. They might disagree, I know they sometimes they disliked sharing a room. One daughter was messy, and one preferred her own space. But for the most part, I think it was a good and healthy experience for them. I think it even taught them valuable lessons like sharing, cooperating, and being flexible and sensitive to someone else’s needs.

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Between all of my three kids, we’ve had various configurations of children in rooms over the years. In fact, right now my 9 year old son is temporarily sharing a room with his 18 year old sister because he ever so kindly gave up his room to a 21 year old friend we have living with us (bringing our grand total to five kids living with us right now). And my son truly does not mind sharing a room with his sister one bit. He loves togetherness! And I love hearing the two of them chattering away at night…so sweet.

My daughter would probably prefer to not have her brothers stuff strewn about her room, but she is heading off to college soon, so I think she is just savoring every moment with her little brother. Aw. Now I’m getting all teary.

Southern Accents

Even when my kids had their own rooms, we always made sure to have extra beds for sleepovers. Twin beds, trundle beds, bunk beds are all very useful for overnight guests. Whether at home or at a vacation home, having space for more than one in a room can be both charming and practical.

Cottage Living

Southern Accents

Coastal Living 2008 Idea House

House Beautiful

Some built in beds can seem pretty elaborate, but I bet if you are at all handy, you could find a way to build in beds without fancy skills.

Coastal Living

I thought this was clever use of a hallway or even a very small room! You really don’t need a huge room to hold more than one child. Let the kids sleep in one room and put all of their “stuff” somewhere else (or even under the bed in bins if you are really short on space)! Even when we had enough bedrooms, I often times had my kids keep their toys in one bedroom and had them in another room for sleeping. That way, much less mess in the bedroom.

Traditional Home

Coastal Living


Building in twin beds with closet walls as head boards and drawers underneath makes great use of space.

Coastal Living

Whether you have fancy built-ins, bunk beds or simple twin beds, sharing a room can be great for large families, small homes, creating more family togetherness or providing for those memorable sleepovers! Certainly there are pros and cons to sharing a room, but whatever your family decides, have fun designing your kids’ rooms!


Quick Tips for kids sharing rooms:

If you are going to have multiple beds, coordinate the bedding (if you want more individuality, perhaps choose the same bedding in different colors or coordinating patterns) — or simplify the look entirely with identical bedding. For a cohesive feel, paint bed frames to match.

If possible, let children have their own reading lights and personal space in drawers or closets.

Give each child a bulletin board to hang their own prized artwork and school papers.

Find ways to let children express their personality in their room without clashing with their siblings.
Perhaps buy matching frames and let children choose their own photos or artwork in coordinating colors.

Set rules such as lights out times and respecting personal space to avoid conflicts.

Let’s hear your children’s room sharing tips, memories and thoughts in the comments!

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Comments

  1. We are in the process of buying a new home and have found beautiful headboards for one room, chances are will build out like some of your photos in another but it really requires a much bigger room to start than one might guess. I love the idea of a bunk room style because we frequwntly have guests and need to maintain a room for them somehow without banishing them to a land of plastic fisher price toys and sticky-fingered night tables!

  2. Our boys shared a room for years. I don’t think they minded.
    It was fun to hear them talking and laughing, as you said about your children. As they grew older, we built in a shelving unit into the eves ( We were in a Cape Cod at that point) for more storage.

    However, finally Jonathan just grew too tall for the room. We moved and each got their own room. Now we just have to kick Jonathan out of Mikey’s room each night as they are together playing video games before bed. (Smile)

    Becky K.

  3. My boys have shared a room for the last 3 years, even though we have enough space for them both to have their own room. I really like listening to them at night, too. I think they’ve enjoyed it for the most part, but my oldest (he’s only 6) claims he’s ready for his own room when we move in a few weeks. I have his bed/bedding ready to go, but I won’t be surprised if they both end up sleeping together in one or the other room.

  4. Great post! We have two boys who share a room despite the fact that we live in a 6 bedroom house. I love having them together and hope they want to share for a long time. I think there is so much to gain from sharing a room with your siblings.
    Oh, and those beds are all gorgeous!!!

  5. I would have said yes kids together, but last week on vacation my almost-2 year old woke up at 4:30 and my 3 year old then woke up and no one went back to sleep until lunch time….Cute rooms above!

  6. The beds in the last picture… what are those type of beds called? I love them! Thanks, great pics and ideas.

  7. Those bedrooms are very inspirational. Theoretically, my seven-year-old and three-year-old share a room, messily. They love it and it gives us an extra room for longer-term guests (the price of living 2,000+ miles from all the grandparental units). I hope they want to stay together long-term because I have heard from more than a few people that kids who share rooms are often closest to that sibling later in life.

  8. I love this post! I do have children who share rooms and I completely agree that it has taught them those valuable lessons about getting along with others. Gorgeous photos you’ve posted here, and great tips at the end!
    ~Amber

    • I love the pictures posted, but I share a room with my sister. I hate my room. It’s small, and doesn’t express me or her in any way. I don’t mean to sound rude, but I’m a lot cleaner than her. She’s too cluttered. When people see our room, they see my nice and neat side, then see her messy side. I think I’m ready for my own room, but there are no other rooms available.

  9. I really love all of these ideas! My three boys shared a room up until this winter (by choice) then my oldest finally moved back into his own room. My two youngest still sleep together, sometimes in the same bed. We struggle with bed arrangements all the time and are constantly hauling them around the room. Thanks for the tips!

  10. martha bunch says:

    Lovely post. Sweet memories.

    ( I need to share something: See the pic from Coastal Living? I’ve slept in the larger bedroom in the back. A lovely Christian family owns that home. They are very generous. Brad Pitt knocked on their door one day, enquiring about the architecture. They ended up hosting him for a different weekend.)

    Where did you find the picture? Thanks.

  11. Love this post (and the pictures!) We have three girls in one room right now … with one set of bunk beds and a twin. I love that my girls share a room. All the toys stay in our family room, and they keep their special “friends” on their beds to personalize their space. It’s a tight fit, but I just recently told my husband that if/when we move to a little larger house as the girls grown, I still want them all in the same room because it has been so good for them!

  12. My girls don’t share a room. But, I’m hoping when they get older they might decide to make one room for sleeping. And turn their other room into a place for desk, music, entertaining. At the ages of 6 and 3 they don’t have a lot in common. And the oldest one thinks the younger one is annoying.

  13. Beautiful images in this post! My two kids have separate rooms, but I’ve toyed with the idea of having them share so we could turn the other room into a playroom.

  14. Hi Melissa,

    My kids are begging for a bunk bed, but for now they each have their own room. However, last night there was a T-storm, so the 4 yr old slept w/the 8 yr old because she was scared. And yes, I loved hearing them whisper after the lights are out! Very sweet!

  15. Thanks for the post – I’m currently pulling together one bedroom for my 2-year-old daughter and her4-mo baby brother…mixing genders makes it awfully difficult design-wise, but the pics you included have some great ideas for small things to do to personalize each child’s space within the room.

  16. We sisters not only shared a bedroom until the older ones got married…we shared a bed! Bunk beds of course, the only way you can fit 3 girls in one room & 3 boys in the other! We decorated the support boards that held up the top bunk, with nail polish drawings!
    Wow, I just remembered that…it was crowded but fun.

    m ^..^

  17. We have plenty of bedrooms in this old house, but I always hope my kids will want to share rooms, down the line. I didn’t have anyone close enough in age to share my room with, but I always loved the idea. (At least until I was a teenager…) :)

    I LOVE that aqua/red room!!

  18. Oh my goodness, I loved all the pictures! I love the color, the creativity, and closeness of sharing a bedroom with a sibling. I very much look forward to having children. It’s going to be a wonderful blessing :)

    GUSSY

  19. Our two little girls will be sharing a room in a few months and this post gave me GREAT ideas! Thanks for sharing the photos with us!

  20. Such inspiring photographs – thanks! I am a big chicken when it comes to bunk beds, but that would make my life so much easier. My 2 boys share and my 2 girls share – both funky 2nd floor Cape Cod rooms with crazy little closets, angles and dormer windows on every wall. Such a challenge.

    There was a great article in the Washington Post about this last week too with some really good photos and ideas.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/05/AR2009080501361.html?sid=ST2009080501560

  21. I love that pass through room with the bunkbeds – what a great idea!! I didn’t share a room growing up for the most part – I didn’t have any sisters – but on vacations with friends and cousins we bunked up and those are some of my best memories – it was a peek into what it would have been like having a sister and sharing a room, secrets, stories, and the magic only sisters can share — it still tugs at my heart!

    xo Isa

  22. Great post! I loved all the pictures, especially the built in beds, looks like it would be perfect for my kiddos! Now I need to find someone handy, lol!
    Toni

  23. Those are such beautiful photos! Our girls share a room, and I do love their little chatter at the end of the day-even though it keeps them up late sometimes! As they get older (they’re 4 and 3) I’m allowing them a bit more freedom in their own little corners, and we’re thinking of putting a little curtain around each of the beds so they can have a bit of privacy. Right now we have one toddler sized bed and a daybed with a trundle. I love the options we have with some extra beds in the house!

  24. I shared a bed with my sister until I was 13, even though we each had our own rooms! And my girls (ages 7 & 8) have shared a room since the beginning. We love it! My main goal is having the two of them be best friends later in life. Keeping a bedroom set aside for our many guests is a nice bonus! They each have a twin bed with matching bedding. I plan to put pictures and a shelf/bulletin board by each bed so they have a separate place to display their unique treasures. For us, this arrangement works beautifully!!

  25. Totally love this post and it inspires me as my #2 boy is due in 2 months and he will be sharing a room with my 2 year old boy… (lots of 2’s going on huh :) Anyhow, I have a pretty good LITTLE room for them and it is turning our pretty cute – these pictures are very helpful for additional ideas… your stories about your kids just about had me tearing up too – just thinking back about those gigglin’ nights with my sisters… precious!

  26. Great post! Those rooms are inspiring! Who says sharing rooms has to be messy and chaotic. Working on my daughters’ room now. Hopefully, will turn out as nicely as these!

  27. Great post! Brought back some wonderful memories of sharing a room with my sister when we were growing up. She is 7 years older than me, so I’m sure it must have been a pain for her to share with her little sister. But, I loved it! I thought she was the coolest!

  28. I think it is important for siblings to share space! It does teach valuable lessons!

    I love all the great photos and ideas for multiple sleep space in small areas!

  29. My 2 and 4 year old girls share a room and I hope that will continue for a long time, they have a baby brother who currently has his own room, but just moved out of our room. I do hope sharing teaches some of those lessons and brings them closer, but I’ve seen a few siblings who didn’t go that way … so we’ll see and decide what is wise as they grow.

  30. This has nothing to do with sharing rooms since I haven’t used bunk/loft beds since I was in college and I think it would be strange if my husband and I had them in our bedroom. I love all the pictures and ideas, though.

    I just wanted to say that I came across your site from some combination of blogs and I am hopelessly addicted! I just wanted to say you have a great site and I will be back often! Keep up the great work!

    Andi

  31. My girls, age 3 and 5, currently share a room and I’m in the process of a bedroom overhaul.
    I am going to be making matching quilts for their beds, but I’ve always let my kids pick out their own sheets. This way they can buy any ole theme they are into, without me having forked out the money for a whole bed set.
    These rooms are very inspiring. Thank you!

    Davinie

  32. What a timely post for me! I’m having a hard time getting inspiration for my boys’ room, so I will be back to savor these pictures when the boys go to bed! :)
    The rest of the house is coming together nicely though! I’d love to have you stop by my blog when you have time to see what we’ve done!
    Blessings,
    Shilo

  33. We have one child…a teen. We’ve been able to decorate his room without spending alot of money. His recliner was given to him, his desk and bed set was on sale.

  34. We’ve had both sets of grandkids live in our home the past two years and bedroom sharing is a given. Great post and ideas on combining the kiddos….I think I’ll just have to guest post this over at Simple Home Living…linking to you….

    xoxo lylah
    la maison et la jardin

  35. Nothing is as important as your castle (home). A place for the whole family to live together. I like the coastal living bunks, I have a boat but tricking out the house for my boys is way more fun. The boat has not the space for decor. I look forward to seeing more.
    Rhett out.

  36. I love this post! Great pictures! I have always wanted my boys to share a room and fight and scrap for their time, toys, side of the room, etc, like my sister and I did. Something about those times made me ready for college where I was forced to share a room with someone… and not physically fight with them. That does tend to look bad for a sorority house. :0)
    Great post!

  37. I love the hallway bunks. Genious!

  38. I have four bedrooms and 2 kids, but we choose to have our two boys ages 5 and 7 share a room for the last two years. It has worked out great! I love the bond it has created for them. We turned the other room into a play room. so, sleeping and clothes in one room and all the toys in the other. I love eavesdropping on all their going to bed conversations!

  39. Our oldest children, twins age 6, share a room. They have since birth. I love to listen to their conversations at night. Sometimes, they are amazingly funny and sometimes they are just nonsense. I hope they never ask for separate rooms.

  40. I shared, my daughters shared. Bunk beds were the beds of choice in both families. I remember the old black metal bunk bed my sisters and I shared. Very narrow and very squeaky! But Mom always let us choose the bedding theme and paint color. I agree: it built character in my sisters and myself, as well as in my girls. (I shared with my older sister until I was school age, then my younger sister until sometime in my teens).

  41. Thank you for this lovely article… I only wish I’d had this resource a few years back. When my youngest moved from crib to a big girl bed, we were not sure how we were going to arrange our daughters shared space. Inheriting my old bedroom set made for an even more fun challenge. After toying around with different ideas and scouring design mags, I put two and two together. A mix of flint gray and sage green have made their room a peaceful retreat. Simple and sweet. Under bed storage baskets house toys and books. Seashells line shelves and light fixtures… reminiscent of our family adventures along the SD shore. The end result is a room I hope will grow with them into their teen years.

  42. I do LOVE the images with the built-in beds. It seems so cozy….however…we have bunk beds in one of the rooms at our lake house and they are SOOO difficult to make and change the sheets. Every time I curse my aching back as I struggle to get the fitted sheet over the back corner of the mattress. So the morel of the story is…it all looks pretty and saves some space but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have to.

    Tricia – Avolli

  43. You are so right abut the lessons learned when sharing a room My sister and I (totally different personalities) shared a room and learned patience as well as tolerance. She said I was the messy one when I remember that trait about her! I loved all your pictures especially the built-in beds–so much cuter than the simple ones I grew up with but still the same idea of sharing is there.

  44. Thanks for the inspirational photos!
    Our two youngest boys (5 & 10) share a room and we are always talking about the next decorating phase. They want bunk beds!
    Our oldest is graduating college soon & his room will be “free” but I would like the younger boys to share for at least a few more years.

  45. Ahhh…Kids’ rooms are very near and dear to my heart! My very first decorating endeavors were started with kids’ rooms, and they are still my favorite jobs. What beautiful pictures here, Melissa!

    My boys actually camped out on our family room floor ALL SUMMER LONG, and they loved every minute of it. I did too. Like you, I loved being the fly-on-the-wall and listening to their conversations. Especially the night before school started.
    They have been back to school for a week now, and are back in their individuals rooms. I know they can’t wait for the weekends just to sleep back downstairs together once again.

    ~Misti

  46. Emily-Sarah says:

    Gorgeous photos! I have one child, so this doesn’t “apply” to us; however, I have always thought that sharing a room encourages a closer relationship and more bonding opportunities (and learning experiences). It’s interesting to note that the square footage of our houses has grown while our average family size has shrunk. I’m a firm believer in having a space of one’s own … but there’s danger in each member of the family inhabiting a “corner” and not participating in the collective experience. Being physically closer can increase our shared experiences and deepen our connection.

  47. this is a really timely post for me as we are soon moving into our new/ 100 year old family home. we have had to make so many choices about small spaces…and sharing rooms. i have been racking my brain trying to figure out ways to create guest spaces for our entirely out of town family, create shared spaces for our two boys, and to minimize and maximize our lives all at the same time. thanks for the great ideas today!

  48. I love my kids sharing rooms . . .good training for when they go off to college and share a room with a roommate. . and good training for when they get married. :) Having your own space is highly overrated. We have room for each kid to have their own room. . but prefer for them to share. My boys have bunkbeds in their room and my girls right now share a double bed. . we tried putting twin beds in their bed. .and they just ended up sleeping together in one bed. . start off each in own bed, but half way thru the night they would end up in one twin bed together. . sweet. But now they are getting a little older and want bunk beds. . .because the younger one is a bed hog :) I too love hearing them laugh and whisper at night. I also love when my boys want to bring mattresses into the girls’s room and all 4 of them sleep together in one room. .I mean how many more years will that last. . I have a 12, 10, 8 and almost 3 year old. Your post made me smile. . .

  49. Sharing is a necessity in our house as there are six children. Our two eldest have their own rooms, but the four younger ones share. Ironically, our eldest daughter who has her own room, hates to sleep by herself! More often than not, we find her in the morning, with two of her sisters in with her “Little House on the Prairie” style.

  50. I have enjoyed all of the stories and ideas. They are greatly appreciated. I’ve seen all of the storie about same gender room sharing, but I haven’t seen anything about boy/girl sharing. I have one boy and one girl 5 and 7 they are only one grade apart in school. We are trying for our third and we love our home but it is only a 3 bd. Does anyone have any decorating suggestions or opinions about boy/girl sharing? My logic is babies have so much stuff and I don’t want the baby waking up to affect the children’s sleeping so I think that it would be easier to put them in a room and make my daughter’s room the nursery. Thank You for any advice my family (mother/sister) thinks we should just move into a bigger home, but it just isn’t an option right now.

  51. Mrs C McDonald says:

    Lovely photos for a dream, not reality!
    We have 2 girls one is 7 one is 4, I have a constant battle with tidyness!
    We have brought them up to tidy up after themselves but it never works out that way.

    Call me cynical however, I feel that these are typical “magazine” photos and will NEVER work!

  52. Good food for thought. I love looking at floorplans and thinking about my ideal “forever” home, and for a while I thought we would need a minimum of five bedrooms since we want to have four children (we have two right now). Lately I’ve been thinking, however, that keeping bedrooms minimal in both size and number would be better (and free up more “living” space). Already I’ve had to take steps to make my 3-year-old daughter’s room basically a sleep-only space so she isn’t distracted by toys or books at naptime. So why not just put beds in bedrooms and have toys and reading areas in more open areas of the house?
    Megan L recently posted..Liveable Laundry GoalsMy Profile

  53. I borrowed one of these images! The navy and white is a favourite of mine! Hope you have a nice long weekend!

    xo Sara
    Sara Russell Interiors recently posted..nautical bunk bedsMy Profile

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