HOW TO

Design a Shared Space for Siblings

Berlett Design Group’s Jamila Scarlett gives us four tips for designing a shared bedroom for kids.

Jamila Says…

Being blessed with boy and girl twins, I was confronted with the obstacle of designing a shared bedroom for the two of them. It was a breeze to design their nursery and convert it to a room that accommodates them for several more years, but when they finally outgrew the bunk bed arrangement, it was time to create something functional that allowed them to show off their own unique style under a gender-neutral theme.

Here are my learnings from the process; I hope this helps create a shared space for your family.

Selecting a color palette

Using a gender-neutral palette is instrumental for children who have different likes and dislikes. Pick a theme that will translate and grow with them throughout the years, something mature but yet still kid friendly. For this project I chose black and white, but the kids picked pillows and decorative items that brought in some colors they wanted to see in their individual spaces without bombarding them with pinks and blues.

Storage, storage, and more storage

The bedroom is often a private sanctuary that kids can retreat to for comfort and relaxation, so throw pillows are always helpful when kids want to sprawl out on the floor. Besides comfort, storage is important with multiple children. Find a higher profile bed that allows room for boxes to fit neatly underneath, so storage bins can keep toys, books, shoes, and knick-knacks out of sight.

All articles of clothing can be kept in the closet. If a dresser fits in the closet, fold as many clothes as you can, then hang shirts, dresses and coats above it. Choose two different sets of colored hangers to give kids a sense of individuality.

Shared boys and girls room designed by Jamila Scarlett of Berlett Design Group
Design by Berlett Design Group

Meshing two identities: boys and girls

The room can be divided equally with two floor-to-ceiling curtain panels to give the illusion of separate rooms. I used similar cowhide rugs for each space that I tucked slightly under their twin beds in a dark color for the masculine side along with two geometric pendant lights that hang in the center of his space. A fluffy bean bag besides the throw pillows is just right for a reading corner, and the use of floating shelves and hooks helps minimize clutter.

The opposite side has a more feminine aesthetic, with a crystal chandelier hanging over another cowhide rug (this one has gold tones for that extra glam). Girls love miniature adult furniture in their space. I found a gorgeous French wingback chair with durable upholstery for a quaint reading corner.

Although the room is divided into two unique sections, a common area can come in handy so they can still interact with each other and enjoy each other’s company. I painted one of the longer walls with chalkboard black paint, creating a writing space for homework and art projects. Boys and girls can coexist in the same space by making separate parts of the room their own.

Meshing two identities: same gender of different ages

I created a space for two little girls, one 11-year-old and her 1-year-old sister. Being that they are both girls, the colors chosen could be used throughout the entire room. I picked teal and yellow with gold accents which complemented the white floral light fixture and Moroccan theme.

Dealing with smaller spaces means optimizing the height of the room. A higher top bunk was crucial in order to fit a full size convertible crib underneath, which allows head room for a rapidly growing toddler. This particular bunk bed has five dresser drawers, a desk with storage, and a fully functional bookcase. In the opposite corner you will find a small acrylic rocking chair with fluffy cushions that can be used to rock the baby to sleep or as a comfortable reading space for the older sister. I also picked a natural fiber throw rug as a resting place for big and little feet. By finding dual purpose furniture you will be able to facilitate the needs of both siblings.

Final thoughts

When designing a shared space for siblings, it’s important to find a common thread to create a cohesive space while incorporating their individuality and maximizing space. This seems like a tall order, but it’s all about finding middle ground!

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