Whether out of necessity or because they choose to, sometimes kids share a room. So how do you style one room to keep two little people happy? Here are lots of great tips to keep everyone happy.
Chances are your kids haven’t gone through the many experiences in life that teach them to share and be selfless. They haven’t learnt about socialism at uni or attended an eight-day yoga retreat on a commune in Lagos, so guess what’s going to happen when you tell them they’ll be sharing a bedroom? Yep, there may be tears.
Thankfully, interior design is like the cavalry coming to the rescue. Whether you have the magical (almost supernatural) ability to make your kids agree, or whether you need to create intimate spaces for each individual, here are the tips that that may help you avoid tantrums and sedatives.
What to do with walls?
Well, you could build one between the two kids, but that might be a little extreme so it might be easier to keep the little munchkins together and create a bond without ruining their sense of individuality.
If the little ones are like two peas in a pod, neutral colours like a cool grey, off white or a taupe are great options that will make styling easy and changeable. Vertically split the wall in half to help create a more cosy feel, painting the lower half (no higher than 1.2 metres), in the darker shade.
For a little boy or girl, great two-tone combinations for the bottom and top of the wall include cool grey and white, dark charcoal and off white, or dark forest green and grey white. All of these approaches will compliment a mix of pastels, primary or bold colours in accessories and bed linen.
Wallpaper is a major trend. If this makes you nervous, then you could always use magnetic wall paper. A leader in wallpaper, Scandinavian Wallpaper & Decor, has a few fab unisex options. Opt for a smaller pattern or a generic pattern like spots and stripes so you can change the decor over time without changing your walls.
Decals are also another great way to add character and divide spaces. A beautiful tree decal may create a halfway point between your room, allowing you to style either side for your individual little personalities. Pull the colours from your decal to create a harmonised scheme. You could use dark forest green for your little boy’s bed and a bright apple red for your little girl. Off white accents and some natural timber side tables and little wooden stools start to build a fun fantasy playground for fairies, dragons and knights!
Beds… where to start?
Beds are your key furniture investment from nursery through to teenage abodes. We’re big believers in purchasing cots that also revert to to junior beds. You get more bang for your buck and it gives you a fixed interior solution for a longer period. Should they match or not match? This is the big question for twins/siblings. With large investment items like beds, playing safe is always better. Let your decor and linens be the show-stopper as these can be changed easily at a lower cost.
Matching furniture makes styling a lot easier. A neutral bed is always wise as you can easily change your colour schemes and work with boys or girls colours and patterns with ease. A white, black, or mid-tone timber should work with any scheme.
Now, what style of bed? Although your children’s space is precious and most certainly a little haven of their own, it should also reflect the style of the rest of your home. If your style is Scandi then pull these elements into your children’s space. Light timbers paired with pastels and a drop of black screams Scandi. Prefer the modern styles? Why not metal beds? Incy Interiors are the masters in glam kids’ furniture. Remember to be playful but functional because, at the end of the day, our ideal kids rooms are ones that they love and want to sleep in at night, preferably until morning! Last but certainly not least, always put quality of mattress before design aesthetics. We promise you’ll thanks us!
Decorating – how to blend the loves of a little prince and princess
The key here is to avoid over-thinking. Remember to keep things fun! If you follow the general rules above you then have a great canvas to work with. One of the easiest design tricks is to maintain a similar colour palette across all decorative items. Select a key colour palette (e.g. off white, red, dark charcoal, black) and purchase only within that palette to ensure everything works. Your little princess can have lots of red and white while your little prince may have more grey and dabs of black.
Stay true to one style. If you like a coastal look, keep everything on theme: panelled wood (walls and furniture), white-washed timbers, stripes, natural hemp rugs and wall hangings, natural linens and cottons, plus oversized rattan baskets for toys. Consider a big hanging rope for your boy to climb and a little picket fence around the precious doll’s house.
Add personal touches. Although the space is to be shared, it’s warming to see items specific to each person. Don’t be afraid to add names to your decor via popular items like lightboxes. You can generally make up messages for each of your little ones ‘Harlow’s haven’ and ‘Sammie’s Space’, and lightboxes also act as great night lights. Matching artwork with names above the beds is a more traditional look that never goes out of style. The added bonus is that these can become keepsakes.
Lastly, you can keep your design very symmetrical when two kids are sharing a room. Use all the same items (artwork style, baskets, beds, bedside, lamps etc.) but use a colour scheme specific to each little person. This applies to kids of the same gender sharing a room. As long as you use complimentary colours (opposite each other on the colour wheel) or varying degrees of saturation (soft pink against a bright fuchsia) you can go wild!
Your children will grow into little beings that will certainly tell you how they want their rooms to be decorated, so often the ‘less is more’ policy will slowly allow for your children to add their unique touch as time passes. You may be house proud or a perfectionist (we feel your pain) but remember a little freedom and self expression for kids in their own spaces is extremely good for the soul!
Written by Kerena Berry, Interior Designer and Co-Founder of Designbx, Australia’s online interior design solution.