Laughing…crying…playing…fighting. A shared sibling bedroom is a beehive of activity and needs. And that means there’s a lot for parents to tackle when creating their kids’ shared bedroom. With twice the amount (or more) of evolving personalities and necessities, it’s often a daunting task for parents to accommodate storage, space and the individual style of each child.

Here are some helpful tips to overcome common design challenges and create a happy and functional room for your young roommates.

Creating a Boy and Girl Shared Room

Designing a room for a brother and a sister doesn’t have to be challenging. In fact, it’s probably the easiest challenge to overcome when planning a shared room.

Your first step is to select an underlying color palette for the main elements of the room (walls, rug, furniture) that is gender neutral…and, if they’re old enough to chime in, that each sibling gives the thumbs up. Color combos such as white and grey, turquoise and white or a mix of primary colors work well for both boys and girls.

To complement your underlying palette, layer complementary colors and patterns on top of that. For example in a grey and white room, try accenting with yellow accessories. For patterns, lean towards stripes, chevron or solids with large geometric shape(s).

When selecting furniture, opt for furniture with clean lines and that’s non-themed (steer clear of the race car or sleeping beauty beds) and pair with neutral colored essentials such as lamps and window treatments.

The exciting part of creating a super fun bedroom for your young brood is accessorizing and customizing design elements to match their budding personalities. Select design elements that make the room feel like it belongs to both of them. Personalize accessories throughout the room such as wall art or coat hooks. Marquee lights with their names or first initial add a pop of energy and excitement to any space. Likewise, subtly add gender specific themes in one or two accessories, but keep them color coordinated. For example when accessorizing with red, try a throw pillow with a red fire engine for him, and a pillow with a red flower or heart for her. Storage that is complementary to the design scheme but specific for each gender (think charcoal for boys and yellow for girls) can also seamlessly pull a room together.

Creating a Room For Different Ages

Sometimes its not just Jeremy and Sarah that you need to accommodate, but a 3-year-old Jeremy and a 4-month-old Sarah can definitely add another layer of design anxiety.

The first thing to tackle is the furniture layout. If you have a baby, chances are you’ll be in and out of the room at night to tend to the baby. If possible, place their beds in opposite corners or walls with the crib being most accessible to the door. Obviously structural elements such as windows and heaters can dictate otherwise but your design objective is to give each child the most comfortable night’s sleep without one waking the other.

Creating a play area that both siblings can enjoy, even simultaneously, is super helpful, especially for tired mommies and daddies. Floor mats, cushions and soft larger items like a rocking horse and tents are perfect to outline the area and fun for both to play in. Place your older child’s toys in accessible storage containers, but higher than the floor so your youngest can’t easily touch it.

For example, whether it’s a bookshelf, storage cube or wall unit, place baby friendly toys and items on the lower shelves. Your toddler or older child can stand and reach for the basket of Lego.

Incorporate elements that show your children their growing family. Photos of the kids together, framed handprints of when they each were newborns encourage them to appreciate their younger or older sibling while adding a warm family atmosphere to their bedroom.

Creating Ample Storage for Two or More

Finding the space in one room for twice as much furniture and storage is one of the most daunting tasks when designing a shared room. This is where your resourcefulness and editing eye need to kick into high gear. Less is definitely more in a shared bedroom, as is multifunctional and shared design.

As a baseline, selecting streamlined furniture is essential to keep the room feeling as spacious as possible and allow for storage and playing. If your kids are old enough, bunk beds are always an excellent choice. Whether L-shaped or vertical, a bunk bed is an efficient use of space and oftentimes has built-in storage underneath.

Speaking of…under the bed storage such as rollaway drawers is always helpful in creating more space and can hold seasonal or limited use items. Storage chests with cushions can be used as a seat to a play table as well as conceal a mountain of toys. A wall unit with drawers can pull double duty as a dresser and desk.

Shelving is super convenient for toy organization as it doesn’t take up a lot of space and can be placed above dressers, desks, even above the door for hardly used items. Similarly, placing a bookshelf at the foot of the bed doesn’t take up valuable wall space and may even give you another surface near the bed for a lamp or nighttime book.

For clothing, wall and door hooks are helpful for every-day go-to items. In the closet, install two rods (i.e. double hanging) so each child can have separate hanging space.

Regardless of your design challenge, when creating a shared room for your little ones if you stick to resourceful, efficient, fun and creative choices, you’ll no doubt create a bedroom your kids will love!

How are you going to design your kids’ bedroom?