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14 Aug, Sunday
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Montreal Families

Kids who share a bedroom

Having siblings share a bedroom is often touted as a bonding and learning experience for the kids. But even two like-minded individuals are likely to crave their own little space from time to time. Since moving isn’t an option in many cases, families need to get creative in designing and decorating the shared bedroom to make it a haven for both children.

To kick start the process, Lucy Malagisi, a Montreal interior designer, suggests listing the various activities that will take place in the room. Consider if there is enough space for two separate beds or if you’ll need something more compact, such as bunk beds. There should also be zones for storage, a study area for homework and maybe a dressing area so children have some privacy. If possible, it is good to have a play area for younger kids.

Now you can make some decisions about the overall feel of the room. Consider if it will be modern and trendy or if you are going to go for a more classic style that will do for a number of years. And remember to get your kids involved with this process; after all, it is their room.

Since beds take up a huge portion of a room’s space, many people start their furniture shopping with that item. You’ll probably be amazed at what you can find, Malagisi says. “Sleeping options include bunk beds, sofa beds, loft beds, beds with storage, Murphy beds, ottomans that turn into beds, and chairs that fold out into beds.”

If the room is small, consider taking advantage of vertical space by using loft beds (especially popular with tweens and teens).  “You could have a sofa or desk underneath the loft bed — it’s a great way to use a good part of the room. Sofa beds provide a lot of seating and they give the room a double purpose.”

Malagisi also urges families to think carefully about storage solutions, especially if a room only has a small closet. “You have to have a place to store things, especially when there are two kids.” Bins and clear storage boxes tucked under beds or on closet shelves may be options, but think long-term too. Set aside time every year to swap clothes from one season to another, so closets and drawers aren’t bulging with wool items in the summer, for example. Limit the number of books and toys kids can keep in the room and provide space elsewhere in the house for the overflow.

Finally, you’ll need to pick a colour scheme or a theme. Malagisi suggests starting with the bedding or window treatments before selecting paint. “If you begin with a paint colour it may be more difficult to find products to match,” she warns.  If the children don’t like the same colours, you can always use a neutral colour for the walls and then each child can pick colours they would like for bedding, pillows, etc. However, if you want a room to feel unified, see if the children can agree on complementary colours like blue and orange or yellow and violet.

You can also decide to create two little mini-rooms within one space to satisfy siblings with very different tastes. “You can use partitions and double-sided shelves. Then the kids can decorate each space the way they really like it,” Malagisi says. However you will probably need a larger room to make this plan work.

You can personalize the room with name lettering on the walls or even more discreet monogrammed initials. Give the space character by adding something of personal interest to the children. “My son wanted a musical theme in black and white, so I used CDs on the wall,” Malagisi explains. “I just taped them up with masking tape and he created different designs.”

Whether siblings love sharing a room or merely tolerate it, there are plenty of ways to create a comfortable, welcoming space. With the proper design, furniture, and accessories, a room built for two can be doubly stylish. And maybe even reduce the bickering!

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