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Our Kids Now Share a Room …With Layout Challenges and a New Gender-Neutral Theme

Today’s post really proves that I deserve to be an internet-famous PROFESSIONAL Interior designer. If you need to feel better about yourself and your home (and will keep judgement to yourself), then continue where you’ll enjoy a peek into my process, which is actually quite ugly and messy. I’m mid-re-design of FOUR of the rooms in our house. Here’s what is happening:

  1. The kids moved in together so Charlie’s room is going to be their shared room and I have to redesign it for function (two beds), which gives me the excuse to change it because I never felt it was right.
  2. Birdie’s room is now up for grabs. What should it be? It needs to be like four things—home office? Guest room? Yoga room? Craft/art room? Brian’s editing room?
  3. In the dining room, I found my dream dining chairs and changed out the light, but a few decisions have to be made (fabric, mostly).
  4. I’m FINALLY designing the downstairs playroom—YAY—which is actually coming along, although full of garbage because IT’S A PLAY ROOM.

See? It’s a lot. Almost every room, except the master bedroom and the bathrooms are in flux (the living room is always in flux) and if I carried the gene for embarrassment and shame, I would not let anyone into my house, let alone post it on the internet but lucky for you, I DON’T!

So here you go. Today you are going to see what is happening in Charlie’s old room which we’ll refer to as ‘the kids’ room for the immediate future.

Emily Henderson Modern English Cottage Tudor Charlies Room Reveal11 Edited

You might first be wondering WHY are the kids sharing a room when they have their own room?

Well, a few months ago, they both said they wanted to share a room. Both were waking up with nightmares or just generally feeling scared to be alone, and at one point Charlie even said, “but mama, you get to sleep with daddy, you aren’t alone, why do I have to be alone?” He was trying to convince me to stay in his bed, and it was a good point. Up at the mountain house over the holidays they shared their bedroom and they loved it and slept well. When your 3 and 5 year olds ask to share a room because they WANT to spend time together, you just say yes even if you technically have separate bedrooms for them. It’s painfully sweet.

Emily Henderson Modern English Cottage Tudor Charlies Room Reveal13 Edited

But nothing is easy in this house. The bedroom is a challenging shape for two beds.

Emily Henderson Kids Floor Plan With Text

It’s a rectangle with a niche into the closet making the windows not centered and one wall hard to use because the doors open into it.

Where do we put the kids’ beds??

Well, they begged for bunk beds after they had played at another kids’ house who had them and thought they were a blast. Great! But since the ceiling slopes where the bunk beds would go we couldn’t really have normal tall ones, nor did I want to invest too much in this, not totally convinced this would stick or that it was the right thing to do design-wise. So I did what any professional interior designer would do—I sent someone to IKEA and bought cheap bunk beds (save money!) where it took them like 6 hours to put together (whoops).

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Sorry. It’s the only photo I took probably because somewhere inside of me I didn’t want to show you this. They LOVED it during the day time, but come dark, they were both TERRIFIED. I think we didn’t fully realize that this isn’t really a bunk bed – it can be kinda hacked into it, but it’s not meant for someone, let alone with their mama, to sleep on the bottom. We tried but I ended up sleeping on the bottom with Birdie and Brian sleeping on the top with Charlie (both disoriented and therefore scared), so I basically laid there terrified that it was going to break and the weight would crush us. Birdie and I had severe claustrophobia and Charlie was really scared up high. We tried to give it enough time, not be those parents that pull the plug quickly after, allowing for enough adjustment time but after nines nights of HELL, all four of us up ALL NIGHT LONG, Brian disassembled it while I was out of town and we called it quits.

For weeks, they had two mattresses on the ground with Charlie strangely sleeping on a couch cushion in-between the mattresses.

Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Beadboard

We had put the couch cushion in between for us to read (and yes, for us to sleep when we get called in) but Charlie liked the comfort of being snuggled in between and they started sleeping through the night again so Brian did what any parent in this situation would do: INSISTED that we keep it this way.

It was painful for me. So I at least bought those really low beds to put the mattresses on (above), as if that looked any better.

So over spring break while the kids were out of town, we started the larger parts of the redesign, including removing the beadboard that I regretfully installed two years ago.

Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Beadboard Removal

I hired Spaulding Co to take care of it because we clicked really well, they are awesome people, know what they are doing and AREN’T FLAKY. We have other things we need to fix (severe water damage in kitchen cabinets, leaky roof in the playroom) so we are working on these things simultaneously in the house. They took down the beadboard and chair rail, which damaged the casing – but we knew that and it’s being replaced.

So when I came back from spring break, it looked like this (already so much cleaner, fresher, simpler and felt so much bigger):

Waverly Kids Rooms05161

The question is how do we arrange two beds in here?? Bunk beds are kinda out of the question as we are all scarred and Charlie and Birdie are still scared of the idea, and there really isn’t one good option. We played with different options and we THINK we have the best set up.

Option 1:

Emily Henderson Kids Floor Plan Option 1

Waverly Kids Rooms05261

We tried shoving them together in front of the window but they wouldn’t be centered (because of the niche) and it would definitely feel like a big, low king bed so design-wise I wasn’t psyched.

Waverly Kids Rooms05341

Option 2:

Emily Henderson Kids Floor Plan Option 2

We even tried putting them long-ways to help save some space (I had seen it on Pinterest).

Waverly Kids Rooms05611

While I think it can work, and certainly does open up the room, it didn’t feel ideal either. If you have a square room and if it also has to function as your playroom, I think this can be a great solution. I saw a few that were styled out a lot like a long daybed and it was cute and interesting.

Option 3:

Emily Henderson Kids Floor Plan Option 3

Ultimately, we are thinking that we are going to do this L-shaped configuration:

Waverly Kids Rooms05051

This layout allows the following for a lot of space in the middle, a cuddle or reading corner, plus it kinda mimics the architecture of the room.

Waverly Kids Rooms05211

If you think this is weird, know that I did, too, but I found a few online and thought, wait, that could work…

Dormitorio Juvenil Con Cama En L Y Techo Abuhardillado 00466702 2200b818 1500x2000
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Habitacion Infantil Con Paredes En Beige Y Camas Verdes Con Cajones En Angulo 6a199952
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Sure, they have a corner piece that separates the bed, but I think this could still work.

So now what? We have a potential layout, but what about the design?

Would there be a theme?

You betcha. The theme to the new kids’ room is…drumroll please…wait…be quiet because the theme is…


That’s right. It’s a super subtle hint to my two darling children to GO TO SLEEP and STAY IN BED. He wanted ninjas, she wanted unicorns but ultimately this isn’t a playroom, it’s their BEDroom and well, ninjas don’t say “sleep.”

So what does that look like? A tonal, blue calm-ass room.

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Yes, we might consider painting the window casings and the doors. This is a HUGE decision and I’m not sure why. I want to do it but I do fear that this is a trend that in five years I’ll regret but then what? Just paint back, right?

Emily Henderson Kids Shared Room
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Calm. Quiet. Cozy. And what about the ceiling? Our ceiling is coved so it would make sense to take the color up onto the ceiling. Would this be too cave-like? Possibly, but I hear people pass the hell out in caves, for even 12 hours at a time.

So “nighttime” or “bedtime” would be the theme, with elements of sky, clouds, stars with some whimsy but mostly calmness and softness.

Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Inspo 2
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We might keep the same paint or paint it darker. At night, I LOVE the blue that it is and then I think, well, would I love it more if it were darker? Probably.

Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Inspo 12
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Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Inspo 1
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Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Inspo 4
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I’m going to stay away from too much pattern or color, and lean into this direction, maybe there is some dark green or wood, but nothing busy.

Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Inspo 6
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I DO want to potentially do a ceiling treatment like this below, but in tonal blues instead of a bright color. This room still has to be interesting, just not busy.

Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Inspo 11
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In order to do a treatment like that, I might need to square off the room or at least give that niche (where the closet is) some purpose. Right now, I’m in the middle of trying to convince Brian to let me build some sort of corner secret fort that would visually make the room more of a square, but be less permanent.

Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Inspo 13
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You know I love a castle theme. This could also be made out of wood like the original doors are so it looks more purposeful. The only thing is that we wouldn’t be able to access the reach-in closet as well, but right now there is NOTHING that we put in there except the toys that are being rotated. No clothes actually hang in there. So we could make it more toy storage that they have access to and then when they are older and it’s likely just one of their room’s again we’ll take out the castle thing and restore it to the normal closet that it should be. I’m also wishing that we had just reconfigured it to be a larger reach-in closet instead of a niche and a tiny closet if that makes any sense.

Emily Henderson Waverly Kids Room Inspo 3
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But how wide could it be to have a big cut-out fort like that, above?

There are other elements we are playing with like a cloud-shaped upholstered headboard, a large cozy rug, new whimsical lighting, Roman shades…but right now, it looks like this and with all the projects that have actual deadlines (the mountain house, the Atlanta project), this room will likely look like this for a while…

And yes, it kills me. In case you are like Brian, confused why it bothers me so so much, I’d once again like to give you an analogy of a more “professional” career: it would be like me being a dentist, a pretty good one actually, and my kids walking around with disgusting dirty, neglected teeth. I really like looking at clean teeth in my house and it’s just hard to see the yellow plaque and say “we’ll get to you in June.”

But it’s not dental hygiene. It’s not even their first set of teeth (you parents know what I’m talking about, we care a bit less about their baby teeth than maybe we should because they’ll get new fresh ones around age 6). It’s just their bedroom and they are PERFECTLY FINE with how it is right now.

Here is the mountain house shared room, which actually IS done, if you actually came here for inspiration.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp for ehd

For now, we are working on our other more pressing projects while pinning and planning for this one. And just getting that beadboard down, having it all painted one color and moving the beds into what seems to be the best configuration is super helpful to keep going.

I do have a question for you, though. Up at the mountain house (see above) we’ve removed the trunk and shoved the twin mattresses together so we can all read together and because inevitably one of us is called in to cuddle in the middle of the night and there isn’t enough room in a twin bed. So at least temporarily we are going to buy one of those mattress joiners because all spring break (when Brian wasn’t there), I slept with the kids (because it’s a fun excuse to snuggle all night…gee I wonder why they call me in all the time….????) albeit HORRIBLY because I fell through the crack all night long. The question is, is the reason that more kids don’t share a king bed because it seems weird and potentially socially unacceptable? I’ve done some research (google) and most child psychologists say that it’s very bonding for, yes, even children of opposite genders when they are young. They say that it’s totally fine and healthy until they don’t want to anymore (usually around 8).

Looks like we’ll give it a whirl up at the mountain house, but I’d LOVE to know why this isn’t more of a thing. Have any of you ever shared a room OR bed with your opposite-gendered sibling while little OR are your kids sharing a room or large bed?

Very curious…

** and yes, feel free to weigh in on the whole shit storm of a design, too. 🙂


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223 thoughts on “Our Kids Now Share a Room …With Layout Challenges and a New Gender-Neutral Theme

  1. Yes-paint the trim the same color as the walls! We previously lived in a 1920’s home with amazing woodwork that I wanted to stand out. Our current home is 1950’s with woodwork that is not that special. We did a whole house remodel and my husband, who is a painter/finishing contractor and works with many designers, convinced me that matching the wall and trim (with the trim a different sheen than the wall), was the way to go. I love it and have no plans of changing it back. It makes the room feel more continuous and not so broken up. Again, if it was beautiful woodwork I wouldn’t do it, but in this case it was the right move.

    1. I wish I could see a pic of this. I think my house is the same. Trim that I don’t like..

    2. In my guest room/office I also recently painted the window trim the same color but in a different sheen as the walls and I swear, the room practically doubled in size! Instead of the high contrast trim around the windows grabbing attention in a jarring fashion, now my eye is drawn out the window and to the beautiful peek of spring going berserk in my yard. I’ve been contemplating doing the rest of the trim and ceiling as well but since all I thought while reading this post was “Go for it Emily Henderson! Swath the entire room in a deeper, calming-but-magically-transportive blue!”, I believe I might have take my own advice and go full-on ‘cave’ here at home. And when I think of @garancedore’s exquisite ‘sleeping den’ by Sarah Sherman Samuel, I am even more convinced you are headed in the right direction!

      ps. I strongly encourage you to listen to those child psychologists who say it is healthy rather than worrying about ‘cultural norms’ if that is your only concern about bed sharing. All one has to do is read Cup of Jo’s posts about parenting around the world to understand what is considered socially UNacceptable here, might be how parents in another culture raise happy and healthy children (I’m actually wondering right now why we don’t question the origins of societal norms more readily..? Understanding where -and from whom- some cultural pressures originated from might allow us to disregard them and instead trust our intuition about what is healthy for our own children. Mine is 20 now and I don’t have serious regrets about parenting decisions I made while trusting my gut, but I sure do have more than a few instances of looking back when I didn’t, and wondering why the heck I listened to someone else’s advice over my own intuition.!? If it works for your family Em, then have confidence in the sleeping solution you and Brian worked so hard to find -I mean, how funny is it that we’ll suffer thru night after night of bunk bed hell, just because it IS an ‘acceptable social norm’.!?!?).

      1. I totally agree. up at the mountain house we are sharing a bed. down here, the layout isn’t awesome anyway. Brian’s thing is that he’s down for us to try it but he doesn’t want me to invest in designing the room a certain way because its probably not long-lived which I agree. But yes, its mostly about societal norms which I don’t really care about – i just wanted personal stories to help me understand the pros and cons.

        1. I have a six year old and twin two year olds (mix of genders). Right now the toddlers are still in cribs, but I think that sometime soon they will all be old enough to share a bed and I am super excited for that time bc I am betting on 80% fewer midnight wake-ups! And what could be more sweet than seeing your little ones curled up sleeping together? Can’t wait!

        2. I recently moved my 3 and 5 year old into the same room for the same reasons (not wanting to sleep alone and having nightmares). They have a double and a twin bed and both sleep in the double together by choice. Everyone is sleeping better and happier. The sweet pictures of them asleep and snuggled up together is an added bonus. We used the vacated bedroom for a playroom and I love being able to shut the door on that mess! Would you consider making your daughter’s room their playroom and the current play room your office (w some baskets of a few toys for the ground floor)?

        3. Glad you asked folks as Christina’s personal story (a little further down) beautifully captures and reaffirms my ‘hindsight is 20/20’ parental philosophy. Even though my kid is 20, I’ve come to understand it is never too late to learn from my regrets (not trusting my intuition) and make different choices as I will thankfully, forever be his parent. On that note, I recently gussied up my garage -just in time for him to move home and into that newly created living space! Somewhere in your responses to comments you mentioned staying fluid, and I would just say “Yes, exactly…” as I sagely (ha!) nod my head up and down.

          (When you mentioned “long-lived” I saw Julia’s (of Chris Loves Julia) achingly come-by mantra of “don’t wait” flash in my head -not sure this actually applies here as despite his concern about the longevity of this room’s design and/or function, there is ALL kinds of evidence of Brian’s flexibility/fluidness/being down to try stuff : )

          ps. My therapist taught me that ‘when we give advice, the first person we are talking to, is ourselves’. So just in case I sound bossy in any of my comments, I’d like to acknowledge that first and foremost, I am talking to myself! (and possibly/quite likely over-sharing.!? Except, I try to trust my feelings whenever I can, soooooo I comment when I am inspired to share/connect and feel safe enough to do so… ahhh, spinning out a bit! taking a deep breath and hitting ‘post’…)

        4. I agree with Brian – don’t spend a bunch of money and make big decisions that are temporary.

      2. I was thinking of cup of Joe too as I think her boys share a bed. I think it’s beautiful.

        PS liked Charlie’s room before but love the room without the bead board.

  2. I guess you can’t remove the wall between their 2 rooms? Probably a bad idea as you’d have to restore the wall in their teen years.

    At any rate, my son and daughter each had their own room for their own stuff. But they slept together in my son’s room — which had a full sized bed in it — until my daughter went to kindergarten. By then my son was about 8. At that point, it just seemed the appropriate time to split them up, and I don’t recall them putting up a fuss or being at all stressed about it. We experienced no down sides to their sleeping together as little people. It was great and comforting for both of them.

    P.S. Just a warning based on experience: You will be dealing with these room issues for your kids until they move out of the house. It’s another joy of parenting. When my two were in 11th and 8th grades, we got them to switch rooms because she had a tiny room and spent all of her time in it and he had a large room and spent no time in it. Of course we had to bribe my son to take the smaller room but it was a small price to pay. 😉 It’s always something.

    1. I was just about to leave the same comment! We have 5 children and live in a big house…and are still constantly switching things, moving kids around etc. It never ends. And that’s okay! Especially for a designer…which I am not. My only advice is either plan on moving to a bigger house in about 3-4 years OR don’t do anything permanent in your daughters room, because you will eventually want that space back. As in 18-24 months. 🙂

      1. ha. that totally makes sense. we don’t have a plan because i LOVE THIS HOUSE, but if I had to guess i’d say by junior high (5 years) we’ll move into a bigger house. If our basement hadn’t flooded so badly that the mold is out of control (which was our guest room and brian’s office) then Birdie’s room would be an easy cute home office/DEn WITH A TV) but for now it has to function as all of those things which is hard. But we’ll fix it soon because we have to eventually anyway … anyway, YES i can get a sense that we’ll need to be fluid with this whole kid/room thing.

  3. My kids are happiest sharing a bed, they each have their own bed, but often I come in their room and they are sharing a twin bed! We have done so much rearranging trying to make bedtime work with different beds and it finally seems to be working. I think they would be happiest with a large bed to share. I did get comments from friends about why they had a queen bed in their room, which is probably why I changed it out. I wish I had just let it be and not cared what others thought. They like having their own bed though during the day, at night is a different story. This post makes me feel happy to know we are not alone! Their room was beautifully decorated and with all the rearranging, several times in the last three years, it does not look as good and I don’t even care! So sad! As kids grow though, their needs and whims seem to change frequently.

    1. Emily, this is the most hysterical post I’ve read from you yet! I don’t know if your wrote it that way but your mom-snark shines through wonderfully and I’m sitting here on my lunch break almost weepily reminiscing about my kids’ early years and how they didn’t sleep through the night and how miserable I was then but how much I miss them needing me now. 🙂

      I thought how nice it would be for you to open up the wall at least partly and give them one huge room but you would just have to replace it in a few years so that’s not too practical.

      What about leaving them each with their own room but giving each one of them a full or queen bed and then letting them sleep together in whichever room they wanted to each night? I like that idea because it gives them compete freedom to end the co-sleeping arrangement whenever it is developmentally appropriate for THEM without you having to scramble one night when one of them suddenly decides they want to be alone.

      1. Ooh I do like that. I suppose that’s what we are doing right now. All her stuff is still in her room (clothes and some toys) and if we didn’t need that room we’d probably do just that….. but maybe once we fix the basement we won’t need that room to be a guest room …

      2. This is exactly what we do in our house. A queen in each boys room ( 10 & 13) and they share at least 5 nights a week. They have been sleeping like this since they were babies and it works out tremendously well. My sister has a boy and a girl and the same scenarios happen in there home. It’s actually funny each night seeing which room they pick!!

  4. I like the true MOOD you’re going for in this shared room.

    My only suggestion is to not count on having Birdies room as permanently your own. You’re in a beautiful season where they are best buds and sleep well together but there may be a time a few years down the road where they want their own space and then suddenly you’re house shopping so you have enough rooms to accommodate your craft/yoga/editing room
    Thanks for sharing the process! I’m excited to see it! It will be great!

  5. My twin brother and I (and even my older sister, at one point) slept in a king size bed together until we moved into a new house at age 8. I got my own room for the first time and was terrified, but refused to tell anyone. I sneaked into his room to snuggle with him for several months! I think it’s only taboo to share one big bed because now we, especially in the US, almost insist on every child having their own room, a bit like a status symbol of sorts. Homes in the 1950s averaged 1,200 square feet with an average of four kids living there….you KNOW they were sharing rooms and beds! But I have heard many, many people insist they need a home with enough rooms for every kid to have their own room, as though there is no alternative.

    1. So true… my sister and I slep in the same bed until she was almost 10 because she just slept better when we were in the same bed. Also, its so true that its only taboo in America, in a lot of countries, sibilings and even cousin of opposite gender sleep together when they are younger. Its so cute that Birdie and Charlie want to be together!

    2. Yes! I was speaking to my father about this the other night. There were five kids, three bedrooms and one bathroom. He had to share a room and bed with his brother who was twelve years younger. His three sisters shared one room. He said it never was weird and completely normal for the time. Only now do we think it’s weird for siblings to share a room or *gasp* a bed.

    3. My brother used to come sleep in my bed with me when he was little; probably up until he was around 10, but only occasionally, if he had a bad dream or something. It never bothered me, or my parents.

      What got weird was when I had to share a full sized bed with him after my parents got divorced and my mom’s new house didn’t have a bedroom for me for about 6 months. I was 17, he was 13. That felt… not fun. Plus he kicked and thrashed like a crazy person and a full-sized bed is pretty small for two essentially adult sized people who aren’t a couple.

      1. that makes sense. 13 and 17 are teenagers / humans but i’m getting more and more convinced that when they are little its just so nice. 🙂

  6. Posting anonymously due to my shame. My boys got lice from their daycare. Because we co-sleep sometimes, my husband and I got lice. Therefore, I would not recommend a king bed for kids to share. Control the potential for outbreak, in my opinion. We went through three OTC lice treatments per person (4 people) plus repellant shampoo. Then an Rx from the doctor because apparently super lice are a thing. We washed all the bedding after each treatment, so four times. So. Much. Laundry. 🙁

    1. Not design related (at all), but my mom, sisters, and I all got treatment-resistance lice when we were younger. (Like, 20 years ago!) Ever since then, we tell everyone to skip the shampoo and go straight for the mayonnaise. It suffocates the lice and eggs, and while you smell weird for a few days, your hair is amazingly healthy once it’s all over with!

      And, side note: my sisters and I weren’t sharing beds, and my dad never got lice, despite sharing a bed with my mom. I think in our case, it had more to do with sharing hair brushes and ponytail holders than a bed. That said, I’m so sorry for your lice trauma… one day maybe you’ll laugh about it! (But I know that day isn’t today)

    2. I agree with everybody else about the bedsharing and that other room. Let the kids be together! We each had our own room when I was growing up, but I still slept with my sister in her queen sized bed often, at least through middle school. My son is in high school and is still cuddly. No, there is nothing weird going on—he just finds mama’s presence reassuring sometimes. High school is hard, so I’m glad he feels comforted.

      I think all the uses you listed for that other room go together fine—a desk in one corner for Brian to edit at, lots of floor space for playing or a yoga mat, a wall of shelves/cabinets for arts & crafts supplies, and a work table. Or have a super-sized work table with half of it reserved for Brian. If you want to add a double bed for it to be a guest room, that is trickier, but it would make the transition to having it be Birdie’s room again in a few years easier. You could just keep the bed made, so when she wants to sleep alone, she can drift over there.

    3. I just want to say that yes, super lice are definitely a thing and they’re no easy task to get rid of. I’m talking months. I feel your pain, anonymous friend!

      1. OMG. ok. I also had lice a few times as a kid but not super lice ( i just scratched my head unconciously… maniacally).
        Ok. we’ll be cautious. THANK YOU for the warning and no need to be anonymous but i get it (and thanks)

  7. I have ‘your family’ but in a six month delay–a five year old boy and a 3 year old girl (just had their birthdays). And they share a queen bed. I sort of grimaced when you asked about it because it’s not ‘socially acceptable” and thought oops…isn it? To be honest, I didn’t plan for it. Reading your post was like reading my own diary because I’ve gone through nearly all the same things. We have three bedrooms, but they aren’t large and we live far from families (other country) and having a guest room would be ideal after years of 2 week visits without a spare room. So a shared room it would be… I nearly did a built in bunk bed like you had planned for the mountain house, but I was worried it would cost a lot of money and then not be liked or used and there was some boring fireplace flue issue and so I scrapped it and found an ADORABLE. and affordable ‘treehouse’ lofted bed that meant the older kid didn’t have to climb too far, it was all secure up there and the little one could sleep underneath. Hah. Sure. MY little one started sleeping on the floor next to the bed. Straight on the carpet, so we gave her a sleeping bag. Anyway, they did for a little bit but then something happened, and well it all went to hell. There was lots of leaving the room, lots of getting upset basically everything you said. And yes whilst I didn’t feel claustrophobic I did have scary visions of collapse!

    So they ended up just going next door into the guest room queen bed as a way of diverting them from coming over to our room. It’s not the miracle you might think it would be but it’s better…I think? They still come over to our room, they still want us to sleep with them, but it’s reduced and they’ll have stretches where they sleep all night and don’t leave. But of course now I don’t know what to do whether to carry on, or get them back in their bedroom (which is of course abandoned and has cute wallpaper etc.) Do I take down the bunk bed like my mother and law insists, or will they suddenly realise it’s as cool as all their friends do. Will I buy little beds to put on the floor only for them to realise they want to do something else. They’ve had more beds in their short lives then I’ve had in all my life I think. I feel simultaneously horrible for letting them have options and creating some sort of monster because I HAD A BED in one room AND SLEPT IN IT WHAT IS THE PROBLEM!? and then equally worried that I’m torturing them by forcing them into something that’s traumatic. First world shit I know..and yet here we are!

    1. OMG. we need to get coffee, or a drink. That’s so comforting and awesome to read. I’m not saying that its socially unacceptable i’m just saying that its not socially as acceptable mostly because i don’t know aNYOne who does it + brian felt weird (and brian is really progressive so that is a good indicator of norms). I LOVE how much they want to hang out and find comfort in knowing that each other is near. I think its just old school thinking that boys and girls should be separated and its just not so.

      I will . say that if you have the space keep the bunk bed… assuming that they play in/on/around it? our kids beg for one and then when I say ‘to sleep in?’ they are like ‘uh, no, to play on like sammy’s’. thanks for relating. I suppose part of life is figuring it out and it is kinda fun, but part of me is just like ‘lets have two twin mattresses and rotate them around the house for the next 16 years, based on their whim and our needs, without making ANY permanent decisions’. but decisigning for them is VERY fun … 🙂

  8. The first time one kid pukes in the middle of the night you’ll want two separate beds! You can change sheets and clean up the sick one while the other kid sleeps on.

    You could always do a bigger bed in the other bedroom for guests and nights when they want a treat and get to sleep in the big bed.

      1. Couldn’t agree more. My boys, 3 and 4, have shared a room for about a year with our “hacked” version of the ikea bunkbeads you originally tried. Each boy has thrown up in bed a few times, and we’ve been able to change sheets a re-settle the sick boy without waking or disturbing the other sleeping brother. We tried sharing a larger bed, but they would each other up a lot.

        1. oh shit. i didn’t think about puke. First family lice via family bed and now family puke. Ok. so there is a ‘con’ to this sharing of beds thing …

          1. Lol. This reply made my day ? I didn’t think of lice when I posted about puke but my kids had the treatment resistant lice once. Did the Cetaphil treatment and it works but was a miserable two weeks. They are teens now and haven’t shared a room in years but they still love “sleepovers” on the weekends.

  9. I have three kiddos. The oldest, a boy and then two girls. They all three shared a room until my oldest was 12 and the girls were 7 and 5. The girls shared a full size bed and big brother had his own bed. We didn’t have to have them share but that’s what they wanted and how they all slept best. Right before my son turned 13 we moved him into his own room because well-teenager. He wasn’t asking to have his own room though. We switched the girls to two twin beds but just this week they’re saying they want their shared bed back so even though they’re 9 and 7 now I’m granting that request because it’s just the sweetest!! Love that Charlie and Birdie are sharing!!!

  10. Is there a reason you can’t put something in the corner between the beds? I like the configuration, but think something back there would make it more finished/intentional. Although I know it’s not styled and will probably look amazing with or without it. And, I love the idea of building out the nook as a play space/fort!

    1. I’m with Abby about putting something in the corner! I think the L is definitely the way to go, though.

    2. I agree 100% with you aesthetically, but as I debate the same layout I’m actually into Emily’s idea of using that corner where the mattresses meet to create a snuggly reading corner with pillows, which you couldn’t do if there were a piece of furniture dividing the two beds.

    3. Exactly what I was thinking – what about cool headboards on the L beds that form partial sides of the wooden castle/fort? I’m picturing entering in the corner between the two beds into a natural wood, softly lit wooden structure with a ton of floor pillows and some reading lights – maybe some stars cut out of the wood above standard headboard height so if the light inside is low it can act as a nightlight?

  11. I shared a king size bed (2 twins pushed together with a mattress joiner) with my older brother and younger sister for a couple years when we were little kids. We were all between 5 & 10. I remember loving it – it was so fun to be with each other!

  12. Sharing beds/rooms- We have a large family and both my husband and I come from large families. All our children have shared a room. In fact, we had 4 kids ages 7 years to 5 months (B -G-B-B) in one room in our two bedroom married, student, family housing as we finished the last semester of my husband in Veterinary school. It was great. We looked like refugees, style-wise. We had boxes and bins lining the walls, but we left school with little debt and a boatload of memories and a very close-knit family.

    We built our home 3 years ago. We do have a basement guest room/bath, a master suite on the main floor, and b/c the kids are older, we put them upstairs (something my hormones would never have allowed while they were young/I was nursing….I was a bit cra-cra at times, but whatev.) We have a boys’ room (FIVE!) and a girls’ room (2). Both are far larger rooms than anything my husband or I grew up with, and while the girls’ room is sweet, simple and perfect, the boys have single beds lining the walls….I never got around to building their own cubby beds (pinterest!). We could have afforded bigger/more rooms, but A) We want them to share. If they can learn to live with their siblings who are all TOTALLY different, they can learn to work with, live with, and appreciate anyone. B) We have more money now than we ever thought we would have and we don’t want our kids to have everyone…especially everything that most in society think is necessary or normal. We do have A LOT! They want for no necessity, so it is fine for them not to get all their desires full-filled while living in our home. C) We don’t do sleepovers with friends. I’m of the mindset that nothing good happens after midnight (especially the older the teen gets), but lots of great stuff can happen with siblings, especially consoling during the nightmares, telling stories, creating forts when they ought to be sleeping, etc.

    I am all for shared rooms. Maybe I am skewed, b/c what worked best for me/us was nursing on demand which meant my babies slept with me or right beside me…until around age 2. I have never told a child they couldn’t sleep with me. I had many nightmares as a child, so I am empathetic to how crippling they can be. I feel weird about sharing a room after a certain age between the sexes, but not sure what that age is. Maybe it is more a stage than an age??? But that was never an issue b/c by the time the oldest two were 7 and 5 (B-G), they had siblings of the same sex and we had moved to a home with a bedroom for each gender of kids. If I had 1 boy and 1 girl, I think they probably would have shared a room longer.

    My third is a boy and he is 16….and most nights he climbs into bed with my husband and me after studying, or to finish studying, and just asks us to snuggle. He is highly stressed and tightly wound, and I think this is his chance to sub-consciously intuit that all is okay. B/c he is a man-child and that is all kind of weird, I do end up kicking him out after maybe 30 minutes. Prior to having children now ages 20-13, I would have thought that was some seriously weird sh*t, but I am learning to adapt my perceptions of what is normal or acceptable to what each child may need from me. I don’t have 30 minutes during the day to rub his back, but I do have it at night to wrap my arms around him and assure him that he is wonderful and we don’t care about his grades as long as he tries, etc. My oldest, a boy, was the same way…maybe their love language is physical touch or words of affirmation (I do verbally build them up during this time) or quality time, but he is fine and normal (internship in Chicago after freshman year of college and Boston U. this summer so able to leave home/secure/etc.) and so is my 16 year old so I don’t worry. My #2 (girl) is NOT in need of snuggling beyond a hug in the morning and one at night. Snuggling would stress her out!

    So yeah, I think it is normal and great that your kids are sharing a room. I also have had enough time as a mom to enough kids to know that there really is no ‘right’ or ‘normal,’ so do what works best for them (sleep, peace, relationship) and for your marriage (peace, sleep, relationship). If something is good for one person in a family, I just don’t think it can be bad for another….it just doesn’t work that way. So if/when the arrangement is no longer good for one child, it really is probably best for both to change it up. Until then, relish the beauty of their desire to be together!

    1. I love this comment, your love leaks out of all these words, LOVE the word picture of your student housing days. (and I’m SO with you on sleepovers!)

    2. I agree. SUCH a great insightful comment. Thanks, Christina. I’m totally with on the just because we can afford to give them each their own space doesn’t mean we want to. Building camaraderie, adaptability and community are all at the front of my mind when I think of my kids sharing a room and helping them grow into people I admire.

      I grew up in the house my mom grew up in. It was 1200 sq feet for her with five kids (2 g 8 years apart and 3 boys) and 3 bedrooms. They have such great stories now of their room sharing. I love listening to them.

      I’m the third of four and until my parents put on an addition of one more room, we all lived in those same 3 bedrooms. As the third, I’ve shared a room with every sibling. My older sis is 6 years older, my brother a year and my younger sis is 8 years younger than me.

      I’ve had cribs, bunk beds, double beds, a Murphy bed, and twin beds with each of them. Crazy to think! I shared a room and Murphy bed with my brother when we wer riddlers then a full sized bed with my brother when we were 5 through 8/9 when he moved out and I started sharing with my little sis. I loved sharing and find that I easily adapt to sleeping situations perhaps BC of my history growing up. My oldest sister who had her own room the longest is the least adaptable. Whether this is a result of nature or exposure I’m not sure. But I cherish the memories of each of my siblings during our room sharing time. And we were always switching rooms – when my sister went to college, I moved her out of her own room and in with my super messy little sis who was 5 at the time. Which means an 18 year old and five year old were sharing a room. Totally okay!

      Em, a big bed will be fine as will twins. I bet they’ll sleep with their heads at the same end so they can feel super close. Such sibling magic!

    3. Thank you for this description, esp about your 16 year old, which is SO sweet. I have three under five and sleep has been an issue generally, but we though we were getting there when in last few days needed to switch two year old twins to beds due to climbing out so Emily’s post is timely as they share and trying to work out their room. BUT while my boy twin hasn’t really noticed my girl twin didn’t sleep AT ALL for two nights. They really get impacted emotionally by such different things and your post reminded me it’s ok to need to support them in different ways x

  13. I have three kids (girl-7, girl-5, boy-2) and they love sleeping together. They all have their own rooms but we always have some kind of musical beds going on in our house. They definitely prefer snuggling up together. Most of the time the two girls sleep in the same queen bed. But most recently, my 5 yr old girl has decided she wants to sleep in her 2 yr old brother’s toddler bed with him. The 2 yr old begs for her during naps and nightime. They all sleep so much better when they sleep together!!!

  14. My boys had their own rooms originally then asked to share a room at 3 and 8yrs old! It’s been 3 years and they still love it! My sis and I loved sharing a room and were sad when my parents built a new house and we had our own. We were 12 and 15 at the time. I’m all for shared rooms. My husband says it’s weird they don’t want their own. I say the children decide what makes them most comfortable. If they want to share a bed go for it! 🙂

  15. I always has dreams of using one room for all three kids’ beds and the other room for their dressers and some books/toys. A sleeping room and a dressing/playing room. Would’ve been dreamy. But I think I mentioned it once, husband looked at me like I was nuts and with a 2,4,6 year old I didn’t have the energy to persuade. 🙂

  16. I have never commented previously, but felt the need to chime in! I am 32 and still remember how scared I was of my bedroom when I was 8 because it was on the darker side. I started sleeping on the couch in the bright, sunny room down the hall until one day it just became my bedroom. I love it design-wise, but something to consider!

  17. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for showing us the chaos and “undoneness” of this room. I don’t mean that in a negative way — it’s extremely relatable. We have so many projects we want to do in our home and it’s so nice to see that even a professional has to prioritize and live with a weird space for a while. Makes me feel better about the ugly peeling wallpaper in our bathroom — we’ll get to it eventually 🙂 Thank you!!

  18. We had a bedroom for each of our the children and two sat empty because they all wanted to sleep together in the same room. Now granted this is when they were young and now they are all about their own space, but why not take advantage of it when they really want to, and yes it was a mix of genders – one boy and two girls. Bedtime was a little more chaotic. One time they giggle whispered long past bedtime when I heard a cry, “Mom, I peed in the bed!” Another voice, “Me too!” It seems they were making each other laugh so hard they both made each other wet the bed. You can’t tell me that’s not only a great memory but a terrific bonding experience. Memories are usually built on “imperfections” that are made perfect, like wonky bed placement coupled with nightly snuggles, whispered dreams, and a never ending sibling slumber party.

  19. My two boys, now 14 and 15, have shared a room their whole lives (and we have 2 extra bedrooms:). We have moved several times and they both look at us like we are crazy when we offer them to split up. I can not say enough what it has done for their sibling bond.
    When my boys were toddlers we had a neighbor from Lebanon, she commented how strange she thought it was in America how only same sex siblings seem to share rooms. She and her brother (2 years apart) shared a room until she left for college. She said they learned to respect each other’s privacy, give courtesy to one another and she appreciated having a different perspective on all matters. I have never forgotten this and count it as wisdom. #mericacanbeweird

  20. I love everything about this post. My boys share a room, also in an “L” configuration. In terms of the King matress – you could always get a long cylindrical pillow to be the divider….

  21. My kiddos (two boys) also 5 and 3 asked to share a room when we moved to our new house last summer, and they love it. We bought a 5 bedroom house and people think I’m nuts for them sharing a room when we have so many bedrooms, but they don’t like sleeping alone. We have the same ikea kura “bunk” bed that you tried, and they both love it. I was actually considering trying the two twin bed approach, because my 5yo likes to cuddle and getting down and up that ladder as an adult is annoying, but I don’t want to take away his bunk he loves so much. Can’t wait to see how your room evolves!

  22. OK, growing up I was supposed to share a queen bed with my older sister, while my younger brother and sister were in bunk beds. Separate rooms. But for a reason unknown to all, my brother and I shared the queen and my two sisters cuddled in just the bottom bunk. DID NOT CARE EVER. Barely remember it. This stopped when I was about 10 and my brother was 8 because we moved into a bigger home.

    STARS on the ceiling, staaaarrrrrssss!!!!!! Or something more aurora borealis than circus tent. (This is my room, right?)

    1. I love stars on the ceiling, too. And, better than actual stars are PROJECTED stars. Oddly, this turtle puts on a great show: He does such a phenomenal job that we travel with it because there’s nothing worse than a kid being too wound up to sleep in a hotel room or guest room. The stars really help with that.

      1. Thanks for the link! I too have a star projector for my kid’s room but I don’t like that at certain angles you get a bright LED right in the eye. So thanks again!

  23. It’s only weird if you make it weird. We have always had ‘slumber parties’ with our kids and my boys chose to share a room for 10 years. When we travel neither kid has a problem sharing a bed with each other or one of us, they are now 13 and 16. I know families whose kids insist on separate rooms when they travel because it’s how they were raised : separate rooms, separate toys, separate everything. Your kids will eventually want their own spaces, and won’t need you at night, so enjoy all the snuggle/room sharing/family slumber party time you can!! It goes by so fast!!!!

  24. My boys are 8 & 4 y.o. In my 3 bedroom house we have a one kid’s room as the sleeping room with a queen size bed and the other as a play room. They love it this way, they sleep better at night, bedtime stories are comfy for us, and if I have to go sleep in there during the night/part of the night I actually can sleep. The only things in this room are bed and books. No toys at all. This also helps them stay out of the room except for bedtime, and when they have friends over to play the books are tucked away and I can just close off this room.

    I love the glowing, floating clouds!

  25. My boy and girl (3.5 years apart in age) shared a queen-sized bed for several years, at their insistence. It was sweet and like you said, made bedtime book reading way easier for us. Then as my son started reading more and more he would read books to his sister every night while cozied up in the bed. Now we are in a new house and they share a long narrow bedroom with two twin beds. He’s 9 and she just turned 6. And I would say they are great friends with a really strong bond. Which is so thrilling.

    1. So sweet! I have a boy and girl exact same age difference (though younger) and they happily share a room. Would love them to continue a few more years!

  26. First, I agree that making a bigger closet with no niche would make more sense. Could you put up a wall without removing flooring, and then remove it if you ever change your mind?

    Second, I have a 4 year old boy who makes the exact same argument as Charlie – why does he have to sleep alone when I get to sleep with Daddy? And since he’s an only child it kinda breaks my heart. If it were me I’d put a king size bed in Charlie’s room and just let them sleep together for now. We bought an awesome Ikea bed for my son which has 2 twin size mattresses that sit on top of each other, unless you pull out the full-height trundle and lay them side by side. With an egg crate mattress topper on top I can’t even feel the crack. You could pull the bed out for daily use, then push it into the single daybed for pictures or visitors, and never have to answer questions. You could even use this concept and have something cute custom made…

    A little word on sleeping. As a mom I am always struggling with exhaustion and am very sensitive to lack of sleep. Thus I’ve worked with a sleep consultant and behavioral therapist to get my son to sleep as well as possible. It makes me a MUCH better parent during the day when he can sleep independently. Though it sucks in the moment we have started walking him back to his room if he gets up. (He does not have nightmares.) And we have a ready to wake clock that turns green when it’s 7am. If he sleeps until the green light without getting up he earns a sticker on the sleep chart, which translates into a small prize after 5 stickers. Teaching him and his body to create this habit is yielding dividends – and my exhaustion and thus parenting is improving!

    1. I never liked sharing a room or a bed when I was a child, whether it was with friends or family. I even hated it in a lot of cases, even on those occasions when I was ill or afraid. Might have stemmed from the feeling of not having control over anything (difficult family situation), but I always wanted my own room.

      I still don’t like sharing a room now with anyone but my partner.

      I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong, but it does feel weird. If it’s their choice then go with it.

      It’s not just the US, the U.K. Is the same. What can influence it is that the government has to set rules about numbers of bedrooms when looking at homelessness applications and similar. There are standards of the age/gender when siblings have to be considered as needing separate rooms. So in your case you’d be assessed as needing two bedrooms (one for grown ups and one for kids), but in a couple of years you’d be assessed as needing three, so the kids can be separate.

  27. I love that you are putting them together even when the “norm” says they should have their own rooms. I am in the midst of a similar but totally different situation. My kids are 11, 10 and 6 (g,b,g) and a few years ago we moved to a house with enough rooms for all to have their own. My youngest (g, 6) HATES being alone at night and gets in our bed every night. She says the same thing Charlie said about it not being fair that dad and I get to share a room but she can’t. I think my struggle has always been that our ages and genders are weird for room sharing. My 11 yr old girl adores her own room, keeps it immaculate and loves alone time. But then I would be having the boy(10 ) and girl(6) share instead, BUT they love playing together and are much more alike than the 2 girls. The main reason I want to make a change is they are all so freakin entitled. They don’t want for any basics in life but I don’t want them to grow up thinking they are owed the world at their fingertips and not know how to live together. My biggest hang up is the gender mixing because social norms tell us not to, especially as the boy hits tween years. But what do I know, that may not matter at all. That, and sleepovers. They are both okay with sharing but worried about what happens when their friends come over. I mean talk about first world problems.

    1. If it makes you feel better, I shared a room with my sister – 2.5 years younger – when I was a child, which I enjoyed. However, I always ended next door in my brother’s room. I was 5, and he was 18. I liked his big water bed. It was never strange for me to be in there since, well, he was my brother. I was so sad when he graduated and left for the Army. I even slept in there afterward until we moved.

  28. Yes, shared a bed with my brother at times when little, no scars. Also, Charlie’s point is a good one—why should little kids be stuck sleeping alone? A friend of mine’s 3-year old boy and 7-year old girl also share a bed—she has her own loft bed but usually chooses to sleep on a double with brother. We have three little boys and while they technically have their own beds , there is a lot of bed sharing and it just seems to make nights work better (less monster-ghost problems…).

  29. My son (10) and daughter (7) beg to sleep together all the time! However, they wake each other up too early so I don’t let them during school. But breaks we sure do! Why not? I do make them wear PJs, though.

    As for the niche between two beds – we have those same Ikea beds (saw them here first!) and if you turn them sideways the gap falls around your knees or so and you don’t feel it as much. It works for those beds since they don’t have headboards.

  30. Possibility for joining the twin mattresses: instead of the expense of a king mattress, why not put a king latex (nontoxic!) mattress topper on top of the twins? Then when they want to be separate again, it’s easy to remove and separate the twins.

    Love your posts and design ideas and especially love your mountain house kitchen.

  31. Our parents were lucky enough to have two houses, kind-of like your situation. We had our own rooms in one house and then a shared room in the weekend house.

    The shared room was really fun! It always kinda felt like camping. I really like how you fully went with the camping theme in the mountain house kids’ room! We never had separate rooms in the weekend house, and it was never an issue. I would have hated to have to share a room throughout my entire childhood & teenage years in our day-to-day house, though.

    For some reason, having kids share a bed does seem… weird. Also, why won’t you let Charlie sleep on the floor on a sofa cushion? When I was a kid, I loved shoving cushions in my closet and sleeping on the closet floor. It was really cozy and I liked the closed-in feeling of the space.

  32. We have a four year old boy and two year old girl, and they currently share a queen bed (that used to be mine). They used to have a toddler bed and twin in their room, and every night they slept on the twin together. The toddler bed was never used. Reading them books was getting more and more uncomfortable with all of us squished on the twin. We were upgrading to a king, so we offered them the queen, and they share it in their room now. We considered bunk beds, but we figured they would probably sleep together on the bottom twin anyway, and it didn’t really help us for now. I know it won’t last forever, but them sharing a queen has been such a great decision for us all. We have an extra room if/when they want their own rooms, but so far, they’ve wanted to be in the same room.

  33. Have you considered a trundle bed? It’s probably impractical to think you’ll close it up every morning, but it would be a space saver when necessary. And for what it’s worth, I think if your kids want to share a bed let them do it for as long as it’s working.

  34. Our kids (boy and girl, 2 years apart like yours), with separate rooms, ended up sharing a full-size bed in my daughter’s room for years. They just liked it and slept better that way. One day, about the time he turned 7, my son announced that he was going to sleep in his room, and he’s done it ever since. I wondered if it was weird when they slept together for so long, and what we would do to get them to separate when it was time, but it turned out to be completely effortless.

    Most humans over the history of time haven’t slept alone. It’s a weird modern thing. Wouldn’t worry about it.

  35. I totally have plans for my kids (now 1 and 3) to share a room AND a bed. Once we’re done with the crib, we can hopefully make that transition. They get pretty snuggly already when in our bed.

  36. I was one of 5 kids, and there were many times I slept with a sibling! When I was 4-6 I (female) slept with my little brother (2-4) on little cot/mattress pad things right next to each other. Then I shared a full sized daybed with my older sister, we just put our heads at opposite ends. We shared again when rooms rearranged in High school with a queen, and finally, in college when she moved to NYC to live with me. Okay, now I’m realizing this all sounds odd. But when you have to, you make it work. And while you don’t HAVE to, your kids want to, and I think that is really sweet.

  37. Many cultures don’t expect their young children to be shuttered away by themselves at night. When I stayed in India for a month my sweet friend was horrified by the idea. It’s called the family bed and it’s a huge bigger than king mattress. The kids decide when they want their own space. And yes I shared a bed with my sister until I was 8 or so I I loved it. I got scared at night.

  38. What jumps out to me is the fact that they slept so well with the twin beds and sofa cushion situation. I would put the beds back in that configuration immediately! The sofa cushions need to be replaced, of course. I just discovered (on Amazon) that they make memory foam mattresses that fold up so you can store them easily. They come in different sizes and heights and have to be at least as comfortable as sofa cushions (ha). They could also be used when your kids start having sleep overs with friends. As a matter of fact we bought them for our mountain cabin when we had a lot of guests and they worked out great. Also, have you thought about putting a comfortable chair and lamp in that nook? I feel like you could make that a really cozy reading area. Last thing, do you have a noise machine in their room? Best thing ever for sleep!

  39. There’s 7 year gap between my brother and I so we always had our own rooms, but I used to sleep in his room a lot when he was little. He had bunk beds and I’d get in the top bunk when Mom would go in there and sing to him and tell stories and sometimes I’d just fall asleep.

    I’m pregnant with my first right now and I’m 38 so if I do have a second they will be pretty close together in age and I am firmly in the share a room camp. If sharing a bed works for them I’ll be all over that too! It’s kinda crazy when you think about it that in a lot of houses the only people sharing a room are the adults. I think when kids wake up in the night if they are sharing a room they are more likely to feel secure enough to fall back to sleep.

  40. I remember “moving” into my younger brothers room when I was around 9. I had my own room but slept on his top bunk for at least a year. My 11 and 7 yr. old boys share a room and have their own beds but usually sleep together in one. The 11 yr. old is kinda over it but the 7 yr. old still LOVES it. Sharing a room is great for kids!

  41. My brother and I shared a room until I was 8 and he was 9, when we moved to a home that had more bedrooms. It was great! We had bunkbeds. He had the upper bunk and if I was feeling bratty I could kick him through the bottom of his mattress. 😉 My husband grew up in a large family and shared a queen bed with his brother until he went to college. I don’t understand the American insistence on young children each having their own room. The Bradys didn’t live that way, and their dad was an architect and they could afford an Alice!

    Your plan is great and the room will be fantastic. And most of all, your kids will be happy! Thanks for sharing your life and thoughts on this topic. You are amazing and a true internet gem.

  42. I have three kids, ages 12 (boy), 9 (girl) and 6 (boy). In our old house my two oldest shared a room for a long time, with the l-shaped bed configuration you are considering, so until they were 8 and 6. They had their own beds, but my middle child would always climb into my oldest’s bed at some point in the night. Then we moved and they each have their own bedroom. However, my daughter has the largest room, with our old queen size bed in it, and I frequently find all three of them in her bed when I go to wake them up in the morning. That’s not how I put them to bed, but at some point they wake up and go to her bed. All I can say about that is that it’s better than them all climbing into my bed! In my experience, kids LOVE to share a bed, especially when they are little like yours. I would fully embrace it if it helps all of you sleep. Why not put a full size or queen bed in their shared room? I’m sure at some point down the line they will want their own beds or own rooms, but if it works for now I would go for it. I remember those days of terrible, interrupted sleep–do whatever it takes to improve that for your family! 🙂

  43. My youngest two shared a twin bed until recently (my son is 5 and my daughter is 3). She had her own bed, but they always want to sleep together (both are very cuddly). All 3 of my kids currently share a room (8, 5, and 3). My oldest wants her own room, but we decided a guest room/office was really important for the 3rd bedroom. It works. It is tight, but they all sleep great.

  44. “it can be kinda hacked into it, but it’s not meant for someone, let alone with their mama, to sleep on the bottom.”

    Please forward the above memo to my 2 year old, with whom I share the bottom of a KURA bed-cave for MANY HOURS a night. I wanted to do the perpendicular queen mattress hack under the loft bed but everyone else thought the twin would be fine. It’s ok, the ladder against the back of my head is SUPER FINE.

    I think joining the twins to a king is totally fine. It’s easy to undo and totally not a big deal if they want to share!

    I’m not sure why you’d put in a play/fort area if the room is specifically not for playing, but if it was more of a reading nook/“cozy corner” for when someone wants some alone time, that would make more sense I think.

    1. Oh Lashley, your poor back and head. SUPER FINE.

      Before we had our second child, my older son had a Lightning McQueen car bed. And also insisted on my presence for MANY HOURS a night. I was not sorry when we decided a double mattress right on the floor made a lot more sense and sold that uncomfortable bed whose cold plastic sides I always ended up squeezed against. Eventually we switched to the single-over-double bunk but the double mattress on the floor was amazing for peace of mind and maternal comfort when soothing middle-of-the-night nightmares. The super low beds at the mountain house look good to me too, though possibly a bit narrow.

  45. very important practical matter – I have had beds in an ‘l-configuration’ in an odd-shaped bedroom – it looked adorable, was cozy for sleeping and made the shape of the room ‘make sense’ – but if you go with that, put your beds on casters so that you can move them around for easy bed making or to retrieve crap that falls behind them!

    and sigh. I never anticipated how much thought and effort would go into children’s sleeping arrangements. I have 2 girls, 8 and 3. they share a room bc they need too. I would love for them to want to sleep in the same bed! but alas they have very different sleep patterns and it’s difficult to get them aligned even in separate beds. Thus my 8 year old goes to sleep in our bed and we have to move her every night. Currently working with an architect to figure out how to create 2 bedrooms out of their existing room. What do you want to bet that the second I do this, they all of a sudden will only be able to sleep together????

    Good luck, and I love seeing the chaos – i do feel like kids needs have thrown us into a constant state of re-inventing the way we use different spaces in the house, it’s kind of dizzy-making, nice to see we’re not alone in the struggle.

  46. My brother and I used to ‘camp’ out on his bedroom floor, in sleeping bags and fall asleep while watching Alladin together. there’s nothing weird about it, we were best buds!

  47. I shared a bed with my sister until she moved out. I never had a problem with it although, I didn’t know anything different. My boys love sharing a room. When they are fighting I threaten them that they’ll have to have their own bedrooms. Straightens them up right away! One day it’s going to backfire.

  48. Nix the fort idea. You’ve got a fort outside and great weather nearly year round. You’ve got a play room. You’ve got a fort/play area at the mountain house. If you must make the room square–though I have no idea why–redo the closet the way you wish you had in the first place. You said this was a BED-room that will be focused on sleep above all.

    My brother and I shared a room for a while when we were little even though we had our own rooms. We had beds that could be either separate twins or stacked as bunk beds so we were constantly switching it around. I think while we shared rooms we still had both rooms setup as bedrooms. When we weren’t sharing bedrooms we were always switching whose room was whose. One room was blue and one was yellow and that’s how we differentiated them. It wasn’t until I was older (like 10+) that I realized bedrooms could be personalized.

    There’s nothing wrong with the kids sharing a big bed and that sounds like what you ultimately want anyway at least in the mountain house. The L seems like it would work in this house. Tell them to first try crawling in with one another (both kids should easily fit together in a twin or full) before calling you or Brian in. And good luck

  49. Personally don’t think it’s at all weird to share. I shared a bed with my sister until I was 5 and then a room until she left for college. She was closest in age to me and so it made sense to share with her. But once when I was in University I took my, then 13 year old, brother to the movie Signs. We had a cornfield behind our house at the time. He came in at 2am and asked if he could sleep with me as he was beyond terrified. So I shared a single bed with him that night as an 18 year old! Haha. That’s true sibling love for you!

    Also have always loved the curtains in Charlie’s room. I’ve now ordered the same pair of curtains TWICE from anthro for my daughters room and they’ve CANCELLED my order both times because of insufficient stock. If you want to sell those curtains (and they’re long enough for my needs) I’d be more than interested in buying them!

  50. I really like the dreamland plan for the room. Any bit of light bothers me at night so I’m one who would have loved a dim blue cave-room to relax into. Agree with previous commenters that the L shape is your best idea and might be improved with a piece in the corner at the heads.

    I have two girls, just turned 3 and 6 last month, and our 1500 sq ft house that we moved into 18 months ago is 2 bed/2 bath. So naturally they share 🙂 They are of a personality that it was a no brainer and they love it. Especially since I don’t let them come out until about an hour after they wake up (I need my own time to get going in the mornings!!) they play together and it’s totally good. Possibly as they get older there may be some tension but again maybe not, and it’s many years down the road. If all else fails we do have a bonus room off the detached garage and things could be adjusted. Or we might move by that time! But yeah, I think it’s really good for a lot of kids to be close with their siblings this way.

  51. I’d make Birdie’s room a guest room. In a couple of years, they’re going to want their own rooms again. If there’s already a bed in there, you just have to redecorate to her taste.

  52. Get a king size bed! As a mom of three, kindergarten teacher and someone who has taken care of children since I was nine, there is absolutely nothing wrong with siblings sleeping in a bed together. It’s our Puritan last that would even make you think it might be weird. I feel strongly that young children should not sleep alone. We expect kids to be so independent at nighttime yet we have this problem with allowing them to actually BE independent like playing on their own, helping put dishes away, walking to the neighbors house by themselves to ask for a cup of sugar. Think about our own childhoods.. we were out all day exploring and came in by dinner time. This is how it’s always been and the reason why all the previous generations are so capable of handling on our owns. We do no favors to our kids by coddling them, helicoptering over them but then at night- suddenly expecting them to be brave and deal with all their fears alone. My two youngest, I have zero problem with them getting in bed with us at night if they wake up and are afraid. It’s a time to be close and bind. You’re not damaging your kids, you are connecting with them, when you let them sleep with you when they need you. They do this in other countries like Japan, and these are fiercely independent people.. the kids walk to school alone at five years old! My six and eight year old share a room. I lay in my youngest’s bed every night and sing until both kids fall asleep. They fall asleep in 30 seconds. They never fight bedtime. Bedtime is calm, happy and relaxing because I do what feels natural (and always have) not what I think society expects me to do. (these are my kids). After I know they are asleep and cozy, I go to bed with my husband. My six year old comes in still every night around 1. Hops into bed and is asleep in less than 10 seconds. My 8 year old sleeps in her bed through the night but occasionally if she has a bad dream or just feels scared comes into bed too. This has been our routine for years except when the kids were little-babies and toddlers- they always slept in the bed with us. I have never ever had any issues with bedtime- ever. Don’t fight what you know intuitively is right. Allow your kids to sleep together. Get in bed with them if they need you.. you work hard and are busy.. bedtime is the perfect time to get those snuggles in and connect with your kids. I PROMISE you are not damaging them, you’re doing something healthy. Of course, don’t forget to allow them independence during the day. Give them responsibility and trust. Let them climb trees and help you chop vegetables. Kids are way more capable then we give them credit for.

  53. OMG this is the exact same thing I went through with my two oldest. They are 18 months apart and probably when they were 3/5.5 (boy/girl) did we attempt to have them share a room. Not because of necessity, but because it’s what I grew up with and loved it. But ultimately it did not work. If one was sick and coughing it would keep the other one up. Or they would just talk and take like 3 hours to fall asleep. When I tried putting them in the same bed (a queen), they were constantly up because one woke the other with their crazy sleeping. My daughter just spreads out and my son complained that she kicked her and something. so ultimately I gave up on the idea. My belief is that in order for mine to have been able to sleep in the same room, I needed to have started very very very early…even sharing when they were like 1 and 2. That way it would be their norm. Because we tried a little later I think they saw it as “slumber party” and would always struggle to go to sleep. Good luck, I really do hope it works for you as I loved sharing a room with my brother…He’s 2 years younger. Even now at age 46 and 44, we tell stories to our kids of the things we used to do and just laugh until we cry. PS- I think the L configuration works great. I too have seen some cute ones on Pinterest.

  54. I looove this post! I have a 7 year old girl and 9 year old boy who want to share a room. I have no idea how to make it work but this post gives a few ideas. I thought they would be too old to “move in’ together, but they keep insisting they want this. They want bunk beds but it seems a little crammed for 8 foot ceilings. CIe la vie! I think we can make it work now that I have some inspiration.

  55. I have 3 kids (2 boys and a girl), all of whom are now in college or early twenties now. I would highly recommend keeping separate bedrooms. Put two beds in each room (we had bunk beds in one room, a trundle bed in another, and a full bed in the third room). Let them sleep in a room together, but keep their own rooms for their toys, clothes, and stuff. Although this phase is sweet and wonderful, it won’t last. They will need their own space and alone time, and it will make family life more peaceful. But by all means, while they are little, let them sleep in the same room (whichever room it is!). Love your blog, by the way!! xoxo

  56. Shared a bed with my little brother for 2 years (full size bed), and with my little sister for 4 years (two side by side twins, then one trundle bed). I HIGHLY recommend a trundle bed. Charlie could sleep on the bottom pulled out (it seems like he likes being lower to the ground/cozy based on what you’ve written about him?). You save space, it looks cute and camp-like when it’s pulled out. Is it highly bloggable? Probably not, so maybe you won’t think twice about it, but I think it would work for that room and your space constraints.

  57. I say let them sleep together but leave Birdie’s room as Birdie’s room. With kids as soon as you adapt to a “new normal,” it all goes out the window again. Before too long they will want (or need) to sleep separately again. Best thing you can do is keep the space flexible.

  58. Love the L shaped beds- would be cool if you could build a castle piece to in between. I really like the room without the beadboard but I also like the lighter color…..I personally
    Wouldn’t paint it dark but obviously that’s just me;) Can’t wait to see what you do.

  59. Thank you so much for your openness and honesty! It is much appreciated by this mom.

  60. My two boys shared a room from ages 2 and 4 to about 13 and 15. My youngest always hated to be by himself, it was too scary. We tried so many things to get him to feel comfortable by himself, but ultimately what always worked was having his older brother there to keep him “safe”. I am sure the eldest liked it to some extent too, otherwise he wouldn’t have stuck around for so long. On their own terms, they made the choice to have separate rooms and are now (surprise!) lovely, well-adjusted almost 17 and 19 yr old young men who enjoy a very close relationship with one another. And now they sleep so well! 😉 I wish someone had told me back when they were little that all of my worry wouldn’t amount to anything 🙂 Also, thank-you so much for sharing your kids’ in-process-messy-not-done room. It makes me feel so much more normal. And I love some of your inspiration pics for their future room. Can’t wait to see how it will turn out, even if that doesn’t happen for another six months.

  61. Our kids – one boy, one girl, two years apart – recently started sharing a room. At first we just had both twin beds in there – it was ridiculously tight – and then we went with bunk beds. It worked, although my daughter sobbed for DAYS about having the bottom bunk (I didn’t know it was going to be a big deal??…)
    Their room is a design disaster, but for right now its okay. I figure before too long they’ll get tired of sharing a space anyway.
    In the meantime we adopted a kitten and the extra bedroom is currently the kitten’s room…

    Our kids share a bed when we travel. They are getting older, though, so I’m not sure how much longer that will work for us.

  62. I’m in my 50s and I don’t think I ever shared a bed with a boy until, well, you know. Don’t know anyone who slept as a young kid with opposite sex. (Heck, I don’t think my father ever even laid down in bed with us.) I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but I don’t think it will be long at all until Birdie needs her own room again. So I wouldn’t do much with her room in the meantime.

  63. I have six children (28 down to 16 years of age), and we had many different room-sharing configurations throughout the years. I can’t tell you what is best design-wise for your current room. But what I can tell you is that time flies, and your little ones will be big ones in the blink of an eye. Whatever you decide for the room will be fine. They will not remember how the room was styled, but will remember you reading to them, laying beside them listening to how their day went, or just cuddling with them silently, letting them know how much you love them. The rest is mere decoration.

    I realize this is probably blasphemy on a design blog, ha, but I only say this knowing it will look adorable whatever you choose… I just want you to enjoy your kiddos and not waste any precious time stressing out : )

    1. Angelina, I totally agree with you (mother of 3, ages 26, 24, and 17).

  64. You cover all of my questions and concerns in this blog post. Though I have 2 girls, but layout concerns and whether to separate or join their beds is always a questions. I too was wondering if I should have them share a big bed. Btw, would love to see your lived in living room! Ever time I visit friends whose living room with kids is clean, I wonder what it really looks like and wish they would leave it that way. It would just make me feel more connected and less worried about having to constantly tidy and/or tell the girls for the 10th time to clean up.
    Love your work and designs!!

  65. We don’t have mixed genders, but my girls (now 8 and 5) have been sharing a room for a few years now and it has been the best thing. Just like your kids, they both asked to share a room and made the same arguments as Charlie. We have their beds in a corner with a hutch in the middle. I think I bought it from Pottery Barn Teen and it is perfect because (a) they have tons of room to play and (b) the corner piece has built in cubbies that give them both their own space to keep their stuff/decorate and also a nice sense of privacy.

  66. Girl. I get it. But, it’s also a phase. If only we all could design for each phase of life…in the meantime, trundles. You get your own twin bed, and in the next phase of life, they get to have a place for sleepovers. The end.

  67. My boys share a room and their beds are in an L configuration like you propose. It works great! It isn’t as cute as two identical twin beds next to each other, but it sure is cozy!

  68. My mom grew up in India with 10 siblings — they all had enormous beds and 3-4 kids were piled into the biggest one, which was basically a bigger-than-king-sized bed with crib-ish sides, when they were little, I think graduating to individual beds when they got to be old enough to want it. This was super normal and probably wonderful for them. They are all really close and very healthy, normal people.

  69. I can relate to this all too well. My older two boy 6 and girl 4 share a room by choice and we started with the same ikea bunk beds because he’s i didn’t want to invest a lot. And they both ended up always on the top bunk together so now they currently sleep together in my daughters room in a queen bed. I wonder too if it was strange but they sleep well and for now like it so until my older one requests his on room again I think we will continue. But it does make decorating hard. Excited to see how your comes together.

  70. As the parent of a 4 and 6 year old I am laughing so hard at “go to sleep” and “stay in bed.”

  71. We’re just about to move our kids into one queen bed, but long-ways! We’ve recently moved them into the same room (they are 5 and 2) but they originally wanted bunk beds. We realized after a recent trip to Europe that they actually sleep super well in the same bed together! And the 2 year old currently sleeps either on the floor between the beds OR climbs into the twin with her sister who sleeps well. So we’re going to use a queen bed we have, turn it sideways, and they can each have a section (at what is the normal ‘head’ and ‘foot’ of the bed) – plus we can cuddle in well between them! I’m excited to see how it goes. Good luck and will be following!

  72. I was wondering right up to the end why you didn’t just let them share the double bed! I have friends whose son and daughter share a double bed. I think it isn’t more of a common thing because we have some strange cultural quirks in the US. So many cultures co-sleep, sometimes due to low space, granted. But, we are fundamentally animals, and physical closeness and bonding are important.

    Most people I know who are not from the States find it so strange that it is so common and expected for Americans to push to get their infants sleeping in a room alone all night as quickly as possible. It really is very odd when you think about it from an anthropological and biological perspective. Anyhoo…long exposition.

    If they feel safe and secure together, listen to that. If they want to share one bed, let them. If sleeping in an ‘L’ shape with their heads close together works, let them. That is how I would approach it.

    I think a dreamy, moon-y, cozy room sounds amazing.

    also…..Thanks always for sharing. These ‘process’ posts are some of the most fun.

  73. Growing up, my brother (two years younger than me) had bunk beds in his room and I had a double bed. Most nights, I either slept in the top bunk in his room or he slept with me in my double bed. I can’t remember how long this went on for, but I do remember specifically that when I was 16 (my brother 14) my mom got very sick and was hospitalized for over a month and my brother slept in my bed the whole time and for a few months after she got home. I think its totally fine, it was comforting for both of us as little kids, and during a time of stress when we were older. At the end of the day (night?) as long as everyone’s sleeping well, that’s all that matters!

  74. Would you consider using a full size bed for both kids? Either parent can fit in there to read stories or cuddle when scaries come. And if this is just a temporary solution (a year or two) then Charlie or Birdie can inherit the big bed for the room altogether. It also comes in handy when you have extra guests. Kids can sleep in your room or couch or playroom or what have you and guests can sleep in an adult sized bed 🙂

  75. My nieces and nephew (7, 5, 3) all sleep in the same room even though they have their own bedrooms. My oldest niece’s bedroom is bigger than mine with a queen bed, but they all like to sleep in my nephew’s room (the smallest room) with bunk beds and a mattress they pull out on the floor. It works for them, so each kid still has a room to keep their things. I wouldn’t change your daughter’s room because she’ll likely want to go back to it in a year or two. I like the idea of darker blue walls and wood accents. Seems calming and could easily transition back to a boy room.

  76. I shared a bed with my twin brother until we were about 6!! Honestly don’t think it has as much of an impact on me as it did him… we were in seperate roomies until we were about 2 but when my youngest brother came, my parents just shoved my twin brother in my room for the time being.

    We ended up loving sharing a room (and bed) and he didn’t even think about it until he had a friend over and they were playing in our room and he said “so where is your room?” And my twin answered “this is my room!” And the friend asked “why is your room pink and flowery?”

    Yep, my parents literally just put him in my room and we lived in a baby pink room covered in fairies and flowers for about 4 years, until that day. Then he hated it and my parents moved him in with my little brother again. My brother and I have a great relationship and there are so many funny, precious videos of our parents tucking us into bed together and reading stories. I say go for it!!

  77. My kids made the same arguments when they were little and it was much easier to just let them sleep in the same room, even though they each had separate rooms, than it was to make them stay in their own bed in the middle of the night. They slept that way for a few years, and then my older decided he wanted his own space. It was hard on my youngest, but he’s replaced the snuggles from his brother with snuggles from his dog. Win win, we used a king bed and while it did feel a little odd to me it never did to them. Love the blue, can’t wait to see how you finish it up.

  78. I think it’s weird on design shows when people insist on their kids having their own room. It’s SO good for kids to share rooms. It teaches them a lot, and yes maybe they fight more, but that’s part of growing up too–learning how to get along with people. Maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better about my own childhood. LOL. When I was a toddler, I had to share a big bed with my two older sisters. My brothers shared another bedroom. Then my parents finished the basement with two extra bedrooms, and the oldest kids got those. Which meant my middle sister and I still shared a bedroom until she went to college (I was 11 then). My two boys did not have to share a room, but they wanted to and they did for a couple years. We turned one of their rooms into toyland and the other was for sleeping. They had a bunkbed. Even though they don’t share anymore as teenagers, sometimes on the weekend they have a “brother sleepover” and spend half the night playing PS4. If your kids want to share and sleep better that way, go for it!!!

  79. Can you explain what’s so bad about the beadboard? Why do you regret installing it? I personally think it’s adorable.

  80. Emily, this is the most hysterical post I’ve read from you yet! I don’t know if your wrote it that way but your mom-snark shines through wonderfully and I’m sitting here on my lunch break almost weepily reminiscing about my kids’ early years and how they didn’t sleep through the night and how miserable I was then but how much I miss them needing me now. 🙂

    I thought how nice it would be for you to open up the wall at least partly and give them one huge room but you would just have to replace it in a few years so that’s not too practical.

    What about leaving them each with their own room but giving each one of them a full or queen bed and then letting them sleep together in whichever room they wanted to each night? I like that idea because it gives them compete freedom to end the co-sleeping arrangement whenever it is developmentally appropriate for THEM without you having to scramble one night when one of them suddenly decides they want to be alone.

  81. Hi, Emily–My sister and I shared a room growing up and our beds were in a L-arrangement with a large table (as wide as the beds) built into the corner. However, one side of the table was OPEN, so that one bed could be pushed inside for more play space when we were not sleeping. The twin beds were on wheels. This was a custom-made piece of furniture, but topped with Formica (the countertop of choice at the time).

    For your other bedroom, you might consider installing a Murphy bed for guests, when needed, or for your daughter if she reclaims her room a few years hence.

  82. What happens if you tuck a full bed into the alcove and a twin bed on the wall next to it? (where there is/was a bench). Could look a little more “built in” like your inspo pics.

  83. You have just described my current dilemma! I can’t wait to see how your room ends up. My 2.5 y.old son and 3.5 year old daughter share a mattress on the floor in her room even tho she has a bed because they both get scared, need water, scream and wake each other up every night – and sleep better together. I was thinking about the bunk beds but maybe the bed situation is just better being a dark boho kid room with a bed on the floor. Good luck!

  84. I agree – sharing a room is great! We have two little girls – 3 and almost 2 – and they share a room now and will until they leave for college if my husband and I have our way. We moved into a much bigger house about a year ago, with enough bedrooms for them to each have their own. Instead we set up a master, a playroom, a shared bedroom for them, and a guest bedroom. My SIL thinks we’re crazy for making them share but we both shared rooms with our siblings as kids and don’t see why they need their own space. My husband actually shared with his twin brother when they grew up and even into their college years when they shared a tiny rented apartment together. Our girls’ current room is a bit on the small side, so the plan when they get to about middle school is to finish our partially-finished attic third floor into a fun shared bedroom/hangout space for them. We actually plan to add a fun canopy like you have at the mountain house to their current room once our younger daughter loves from her crib to a “big girl” bed! 🙂

  85. On sharing beds: I was in a restaurant with a friend and she was telling me about her sleep dramas with three kids. They are in and out of her bed all night and the whole family ends up playing musical beds. The woman at the table next to us apologized for interrupting and said she’d overheard our conversation. She is a pediatrician and gave my friend the advice to buy a queen mattress, turn it sideways, and put it in the kids room – or better in the parents room – and have all kids sleep there together. (Sideways to fit more kids and their short bodies but take up less space) She had done it for her kids and it worked like a charm and everyone slept peacefully. So there you go – doctor approved bed sharing!

  86. I’m with Julia. Get trundle beds. Room & Board makes great ones that can be beds but can also be rolling storage once you’re no longer on nightly call!

    1. Trundle beds only work for emily in the middle of it’s a pop up trundle, and those with a decent mattress need a decent height bed to fit under, which blows the “low to the floor” design.
      Also, you have to leave that space open and available….no bedside table with a lamp between beds. Shove the beds together and buy the king joiner strip.

  87. I know you’ve found your layout solution, but I grew up in LA and was taught to NEVER put a bed (esp a kids bed) under a window because it can shatter in an earthquake. You can get safety film/ specialty glass if moving beds isn’t an option. Just something to think about .

    1. Exactly what I was going to say. The Big One is coming. Not be all debbie downer.

  88. I shared a room (bunk beds, I loved the top bunk) with my brother until I was 8 or 9, by which time I was ready to move to the 3rd bedroom way at the other end of the house. I remember the shared bedtimes as being great, and I think the first few nights in my own room I was a bit freaked out by being alone in the dark, but I was fine after that and not scarred for life. My brother and I fought a lot as teens but love each other now, and not in a weird Angelina Jolie at the 2000 Oscars way.

    My two sons have each technically had their own rooms all along but have slept in the same room with very few exceptions since the youngest (now 7) was a few months old. The oldest (age 11) is prone to nightmares and sleeps better with someone else near him, though I do expect them to choose to sleep in their own rooms in the next year or two. The younger one’s room has a single-over-double bunk and the older one has a high double bed with a pull out single trundle. Sometimes they choose to sleep on different beds on the trundle, but usually they’re both in one of the double beds. At first we encouraged more bedtime independence but as long as they’re both happy with the setup we’re going with it. I don’t know why it isn’t more of a thing — I think Kristin’s onto something about it being a status symbol. It’s nice reading all these examples of bed/room-sharing kids. And kids usually share a bed in hotel rooms on vacation, right?

    And yes, when one of them brought home lice they both got it (as did I, probably from lying down to read to them at bedtime) but it’s still the right thing for us. If one kid has a stomach bug, one parent sleeps with them and the other sleeps with the other parent. And we have tons of sleep surfaces for sleepovers/guests.

    I’m loving all the shared room/bed anecdata.

  89. I shared a bed with my cousin when visiting grandma for 2 weeks every summer, until I was 10 or so. It was a necessity. Later we switched things up and he slept with my aunt, while I slept in a bed with his sister. I honestly don’t know what’s good or not. I’ve seen two things though. My friend shared a room with her brother until they went to college (out of necessity, their parents were cheap). They bonded so much, and shared friends, that it was difficult for them to find and form relationships with others for quite a while. Second example is more common (regardless of gender p pari) where they are not independent enough and can’t be alone by themselves, therefore they form relationships with whomever. They are not picky enough, they have a new serious boyfriend each year, they get engaged a few times with different people, etc. I for one prefer my kids to be independent, sure of themselves, and not needy like that. At the same time, I do want them to feel safe, and loved. It’s just a balance. It may be fine until middle school or so, but I’d encourage my kids to be independent, have their own interests, and not share all their friends. There are benefits to all that as well. I’m just suggesting to be mindful of that and try to balance it one way or the other.

  90. Love the sleep theme!! My girls shared a room for 2 years for the same reason- the older one was scared. One was 5-7, the younger one 2-4. Alas, we bought a bigger house and they demanded their own room and haven’t looked back. The BEST thing I did was make the ‘extra’ bedroom where all the clothes were stored; it also served as a play room, which was great. Putting a dresser for each in the extra room allowed me to fold laundry at night and put it all away so easily!!! Now I have to sneak into their rooms and risk waking them.

    Also, the only thing in their sleep room were beds, stuffies, and lots of books. No distracting toys!! I will say, we bought those fun over bed ‘tents’ from Target’s pillowfort collection, and they just kinda get in the way. Dying to see if you do floating clouds- so cute!

  91. I have a 10 year-old who still prefers to sleep on the crack of two twin-size mattresses on the floor, preferably with one of his parents. Rather than add it to the list of parenting “fails”, my wise friend told me that we should do whatever allows us all to get the most sleep. Amen to that! As for sharing a room/co-sleeping, it may not be the cultural norm in the west but it is EVERYWHERE ELSE. You and your kids will know when it’s time to make the next transition. In the meantime, get as much sleep as you can.

    1. Yes. My philosophy when it comes to sleep is “whatever works” even if it looks weird, as long as it’s working for the whole family. Having a design blog adds an extra layer to what works though, it seems. I love the cave vibe you’re looking for, though, Emily, and how you’re making what works for your kids’ sleep into a design challenge.

  92. We live in NYC so our kids share a room. My daughter is 6, my sons are 4 and 9 months. The baby isn’t quite in there yet but the other two can’t sleep apart. They often crawl into bed with each other in the morning and have shared beds while traveling and love it. I like individual beds from a practical (when one is sick or goes to bed earlier) but I think it is totally a personal thing. I shared a bed with my little brother when I was 7 to about 9 and he was 2-4. He had a bed in my older brothers room but he liked sleeping with me and I liked sleeping with him. My philosophy is whatever keeps the kids asleep! Also I love the dentist analogy and am totally using it. I am an interior designer and it is hard to make people understand sometimes why I can’t just not have stuff on my walls for months on end.

  93. so many comments!! Let them sleep together!! Everyone will sleep better. My kids are now in their 20’s and 30’s, but I remember that exhaustion from sleep upheaval. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES. (Our children will pretty much be who they will be…every little thing doesn’t matter all that much!!) In the current arrangement, I agree with the comments about the square low table in that corner. Good for a light, and a cup of water. ALSOO, if there is vomiting, there would be a much better chance of having the other kid escape the “flow”, sorry.

  94. My kids are about the same age as yours…boy 7 and girl 6. We had them share a room over the last 2 years out of necessity. Bunk beds were the only option but it has worked out nicely. (And they would have played/talked too long at bedtime to share!) He got to decorate the top bunk how he wanted (race cars) and she decorated the bottom (polka dots). They have artwork and decor that reflects each of them but ties in together ok. Since they didn’t get a choice about sharing it was the best option to give them some ownership of their space. It’s worked out well for the time. When one of them is having a tough night, I’ll usually find them in the same bed. It’s kept them out of our room for the most part. And, now my son can read to my daughter which has been a fun change too! All in all it ended up working out nicely and I hope it contributes to a long friendship between the two of them.

  95. “Calm-ass room” – amazing! (insert cry laughing emoji) Cannot wait to see what you do – will be pinning the heck out of it as inspiration for when my two (teeny) boys may eventually share a room. Love all the moody blue walls and those fluffy cloud lights are magic 🙂

  96. I believe that it was totally socially acceptable until the ‘burbs came along. I think about the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder and how she and Mary always shared a bed. People all used to live in one big room. And my son gave the same argument one night, “Why do you and daddy get to sleep together and I have to sleep all alone.” I don’t see why they shouldn’t share a bed and or a room until they don’t want to anymore.

  97. I like the trim painted the same color as the walls look. It’s kinda trendy? But I say if you love it go with it.

    I thought I liked the beds lined up under the window, but when I saw the L shaped configuration, I said “That’s it!”

  98. I have 3 boys, when I had my 3rd, we bought a 2nd king bed that the baby and I shared. Now that the baby is 4, he shares that king bed with his 7 & 10 year old brothers. All 3 in the bed. They are happy, and don’t like sleeping alone. It works for them and for us.

  99. Have you considered a trundle bed?

    I shared a bedroom with my little brother for years. My parents had planned on my sister and I sharing, but she kept throwing all my stuff out and locking me out. We each had a bed, but often ended up in one bed. I think it’s fine to share a bed, but it’s nice to have the option of your own bed, especially if one kid is sick or something.

    My two boys now share a room. They have the Ikea Kura bed thing, the 3 year old sleeps on top, the 7 year old on bottom (their preference.) My nieces have the same bed. There have never been any issues with it, no one has found it even slightly terrifying. I think this hack is pretty popular.

    We stagger bedtimes to get them to both sleep. If they go to bed at the same time, it’s a disaster. We do not have the space for separate bedrooms, but I would totally give them separate rooms if I could. They share a room really well. But my older son just needs a lot more sleep than his little brother seems to. I think everyone would get more sleep if they had separate rooms, and I would do a lot for extra sleep.

    Right now, it seems like they will be sharing for quite some time, and I think it’s really fine. My husband shared a bunk bed in the living room with his brother. My mom shared not just a room but a bed with her two sisters. My dad shared with his 3 brothers.

  100. When my kids were toddlers they definitely wanted to share a room for a time. They are 18 moths apart. Not being a designer I just threw both twin mattresses on the floor close to one another and waited it out. At some point I sensed that my son was getting a little tired of having his little sister sleep in his room so I got my daughter excited about a small (not terribly high off the ground) loft bed and we made a bedroom for her American Girl doll underneath so she wasn’t sleeping alone. That did the trick. They were probably in the same room for about a year.

  101. your ideas are all great! the only comment i have is: I wouldn’t rush to change Birdie’s room into anything just yet… she will definitely want her own room back eventually, maybe sooner than later! If, in the meantime you want to make it useful, just make it a guest room that can easily transition back to her private space when she asks for it back.

  102. I shared a queen bed with my sister and loved it. Don’t remember the age, but under 8 probably. We would play scratch back night and take turns scratching each other’s backs for 30-60 seconds. (We’d count!) And we always wanted to be the one to have our back scratched last, so we could fall asleep. I love the idea of it, but I don’t know what age is safe to start. Because I know the big caution with bed sharing is that some young children are oblivious and would roll on top of the younger one and smother them. Three seems old enough. I’d love to know if you read anything on that issue!

  103. Paint it all that wonderful shade of moody thunder blue. I too was like ‘whaaaa’ when I saw the third layout, but it does mimic the architecture and is my favorite option after letting it marinate. Also – if you come across those amazing cloud pendants, would love to see the source!

    PS – the design process is important for people/clients to see. Everyone likes to see the ‘pretty’ stuff but forgets HOW MUCH THOUGHT goes into every detail. That said, I thoroughly appreciate seeing your thought process!

  104. Why not do the L the other way? Pull the bed that’s all the way in the corner back to the door, then push the other bed up into the corner. That will free up the walk space to the closet.
    I see you’ve got a bookshelf in the niche; when I saw the floor plan, I immediately thought “reading corner”. Why not put a big chair or small loveseat there for you to read to the kids? They say it’s good for them to be read to even after they can read by themselves.


  106. I love that you share your kids’ dirty teeth, Dr Designer Emily, very grounding to keep it real. Out of chaos come….the opus! Sharing a room for our daughter (9) and son (7) has been a big bonding experience. They also shared a queen bed when they were smaller, and it was so sweet to see how they felt safe with the other close. 9yo is now angling for her own room, which she gets – after our basement renovation is finished and Daddy’s office moves back downstairs! We think it’s been a good thing for the two of them, and has totally normalizing for opposite gender bodies, very natural, very European.

  107. My brother and I shared a bedroom with bunk beds when my aunt moved in with us right after law school because my grandmom had died. She was my mom’s baby sister by 11 years and my parents kind of became her surrogate parents. She babysat us often and my brother and I had such a wonderful time in our room ( we were 6,3). I had the top bunk and I loved reading up there. When my aunt moved out, we turned her room into a playroom. I think when I was in fifth grade or so I got my own room. If they want to sleep in the same bed, let them! I don’t think it is weird at all. I’m curious to see what my boys want to do (3.5 and 11 months)

  108. Hi Emily
    Funny as soon as you mentioned kids bunks and IKEA I thought the Kura would be awesome. But we had the same scenario when our kids were little, went away for a weekend place with bunks and kids didn’t sleep at all. My kids are now older (12 yr old twins) and have their own rooms, but still sneak into each other’s rooms and drag couch cushions in the middle of the night to not be lonely, when they don’t crawl into our king bed.
    Speaking of king beds, we had two twin XL‘s to make the king size bed and the crack bothered me to no end. We finally got a mattress topper, thick one, and it made all the difference. Mattresses are an investment and might not even fit through staircases. It might come in a box, but how are you going to get it out one day?
    I did look into lots of different bunk options and sleeping arrangements at the time, and one that stood out was a wooden slider window between two rooms. They had the beds right by the wall, so they opened the slider window at night for the beds/kids to be close to each other, and then could close it for privacy or daytime.
    Don’t ask what happens when one wants it open and the other one not…squished fingertips maybe? But thought it was worth mentioning. I did google it but could not find the picture. I remember seeing it years ago in an architectural book, thinking it was a really interesting idea, but it might not work with your door alignment.
    I do like the L shape or aligned lengthwise into the nook. You could do a custom size mattress (bigger) so you could comfortably fit and sleep there as well
    Best of luck from Canada!

  109. My brother (three years younger) and I had separate rooms, but slept together a lot (I had two twin beds in my room, but we always shared the same twin bed, either in my room or in his. This started when he was 3 and I was 6 and probably lasted 4 or 5 years. It wasn’t every night, and sometimes he’d just walk across the hall in the middle of the night. But it was sweet and comforting—even though I was the older one, I had a very active imagination and anytime i felt scared I liked having him there to snuggle.

  110. So I’m thinking the picture with the doll houde on the ground and the bed centered under the window is the right idea but I would slide the bed to the lest of the window into the alcove and the slide the other bed up to the right of the window. To me, it utilizes the space best. Put up a cute set of shelves or something long on the big wall where the doll house is. Could be so cute. Love the room size. Totally doable if you utilize each book and cranny.

  111. My 2 girls had the last example L shape with a square end table that fit over one of the beds. So one bed was much shorter than the other. Just like the girls! You could always pull out the bed as they grow.

  112. My boy/girl twins shared a room until they were 8 or 9. They liked it and got along well. They each had their own bed. We figured we would wait until they asked for their own room before moving them, and my daughter did when she was 8 or 9. Of course it just so happened that about a year before they wanted to split into separate rooms, we moved them from their small nursery into the room next door that was twice the size and completely redecorated it. We made sure, before we did that, to ask them if they were sure they wanted to stay together and they both said yes. Then about a year later (or less!) my daughter changed her mind and wanted to move back into the small room on her own! Then we had to redecorate that room! But I like redecorating so I didn’t mind too much!

  113. After struggling with sleep and bedtime dramas for years we decided it was time to get the three kids out of our king bed. Well three separate beds didn’t go well so we gave them one big bed – they all share it and LOVE it! They are a girl and two boys ages 3, 5 and 7. They sleep through the night. We sleep through the night. Socially acceptable be damned – I see nothing wrong with it!

  114. I got such a laugh out of your bunk bed experience. We tried bunkbeds no less than 4 times with my sons and I hated every single one of them. Your description of the evening when your family realized that they couldn’t sleep alone in the bunks brought back so many bad memories! I felt so claustrophobic on the bottom bunk and couldn’t crawl in there even to read a book! Unfortunately your kids didn’t stay in there long enough for you to write about laundry day! Changing sheets is also a nightmare. Looks like you don’t need it in your kids bedroom but one of my tricks was to take the closet door off to get rid of the swing room, so we could have two singles in a small room. My oldest son dismantled the bunkbeds a couple months ago and I couldn’t get it on VarageSale fast enough!

  115. Option 3. Get one of the beds a trundle so you can pull it out and lay between them to read

  116. Mine kids are both boys, so no story there. However, my neighbors’ boy and girl are 16 months apart, and have shared a room all thru MIDDLE school because they wanted to. I think people just stopped asking when the older one started High School, but I know they were given the choice to have their own rooms in elementary school, and they didn’t want to.
    And a friend has a boy (18) and girl (16) and they have always had their own bedrooms, but neither one complains about sharing a Queen bed on vacation, even at this older age. My boys really grumbled about sharing a bed on vacation after age 10.
    Do what works for your family.

  117. As the mother of three (boy/girl twins, boy two years younger – now grown), my advice is don’t do it!! The twins shared a room until the younger brother came around, then they shared a room. It was a nightmare. Trying to get them to settle and sleep was a fight nearly every night. They would play and talk when I needed them to sleep. As a divorced mom with little money, I didn’t have any other options. And I’m prepared to admit that maybe it was me and my inability to get them to stop playing. Your children seem adorable and probably listen way better than mine did. And there are two of you to parent two of them. Good luck! I hope it works out!

  118. I used to babysit two kids (boy and girl, 3 years apart). They each had their own room, and in each room there was a trundle bed. They hated sleeping apart, so they took turns sleeping in one another’s rooms.

    As someone who shared a tiny bedroom with my sister until I moved out when I was 19, (13 mos. apart; we had beds in L configuration for most the time, but constantly rearranged furniture to maximize space in our 9’x11’ bedroom), I think it is invaluable for a child to have his/her own space for personal growth and independence. This was more of an issue the older we got, but it was still an issue when we were small children. I remember wanting to play imaginatively with stuffed animals, but feeling embarrassed if my sister was there listening to me. I also remember feeling overwhelmed when my sister didn’t clean up her toys/clothes.

  119. My kids shared a queen for a while- and because they both spin like a helicopter all night- they woke each other up a ton. So now, we have TWO QUEENS shoved next to each other with a mountain of pillows we put between them once they have fallen asleep. But the sleep- mostly.

  120. I know a family of 5, and they have all shared a room, wait for it……always. One bedroom in their house is for their parents, one for the kids, one for the clothes, and that’s it. They are the most functional family you’ve ever met in your life (they babysit for my kid now), and if they have any weird secrets, I’ve yet to uncover them in 13 years of knowing them. Family goals.

  121. Oh, please let them sleep together. It is totally normal, natural, and healthy. I’d just do a bigger bed (double or queen) in each room, so that when they are older and want to separate, Birdie’s room is still a functioning bedroom, plus guests can use it in the meantime.

    I’m almost 60 years old. In my childhood, I slept in the same double bed with first my slightly younger brother, then an older half-sister, then back with the brother during our elementary school years, then back with a different older half-sister when she came to live with us. All of those configurations were normal and happy for all of us, even though they were mainly caused by a small house and frugality. I have many happy memories of times talking and arguing together as we fell asleep.

    And it should help with the go-to-sleep carousel! I didn’t let our kids sleep in our bed, after infancy and breastfeeding time, but I would go to them in their rooms for comforting. When the sibling is already in the room, they will need less parent comforting and will more readily return to their own bedroom. Don’t worry about what people think–when they get older, they will naturally find a time to separate and want their own rooms again.

  122. My kids are 2.5 (girl) and 4 (boy) and share a room. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I read a Cup of Jo post about kids sharing a room and loved the idea. For one year, they had to share a room when we lived in a 2 BR apartment in LA. Now we have plenty of rooms, but they still share. I think they love it and have a different bond because of it. I’ll keep them in a same room until they no longer want to be. My daughter is still in a crib, but I’d let them sleep in the same bed if they wanted to. I can’t wait to see the finished result of their shared room – when I was searching for boy/girl shared room inspiration, it was so hard to find anything!

  123. I was wondering the same, what not have the kids just share a king bed?? I didn’t know it’s kinda “socially unacceptable”… But if child psychologists say it’s okay, if that’s what the kids want and it’s also going to be more convenient for you and Brian, then go for it, I think. I grew up with a twin brother and we shared a room when we were little (I don’t think we shared a bed, will have to double check) and it was the best thing ever! 🙂

  124. Let them make the decisions! If they have ownership they will be happier. If they want to share a bed let them share they are so young!! Hopefully you will all be sleeping peacefully very soon…

  125. Out kids are 10, 7, 5, 3 (bggb) and we just switched the bed up so the girls and boys each share a Queen. My oldest has a twin in his own room that is used exclusively for clothes and Lego. They were sharing a twin, or pushing twins together and sleeping three or four in a puppy pile. They still often sleep like that in one queen. 8 seems to be the age that privacy becomes somewhat of an issue but that does not mean they don’t still want to sleep in the same spot.
    It’s so nice to have a big bed for putting them to sleep and even nicer putting them back to sleep.

    The bedtime/sleep theme is brilliant.

  126. My 5 and 8 year old girls have been sharing a room for last year and they love it. We did it out of necessity (temporary two bedroom city condo while house being renovated) but it’s worked out very nicely!

  127. When my oldest daughter was little, I painted her bedroom walls an ombré of violet sunset colors, leading up to a deep blue “night sky” ceiling. Then I stuck those little glow in the dark stars all over the ceiling. We made a crescent moon-shaped headboard for her twin bed. I know it sounds cheesy, but it was really rather relaxing and romantic, and she loved it. Nowadays, the stars could probably be done with glow in the dark paint.

    Also, my brother (who is only 15 months older than me) and I shared a room and a double-bed until he entered first grade. I remember it was circus-themed and seemed very safe and cozy to me at the time. When we were told we would have separate rooms, we were given the chance to choose the decor and this made it very exciting to be on our own.

    I was never a fan of parent/child co-sleeping because my friends who did it had a difficult time getting their kids to sleep well in other situations (on vacation, with friends, etc.). My kids were allowed to come in our bed when scared, but only for about 15-30 minutes. Then back to their own rooms they went. We really never slept with them in their beds.

    1. yes! i’m not opposed to letting my kids climb in bed with me, but found that it created a chain reaction of other sleep/life issues that were hard to address (like getting them to sleep when we had a sitter, or me feeling like I never had any alone time which I need as an introvert). so i had to get tough with my now 8 year old when she was 6 and not allow it, ever. Now my 3 year old is out of a crib and loves to climb in with us, nooooo make it stop!

      best parenting advice i ever got: you’ll do whatever works for you, until it doesn’t, then you’ll do something else.

  128. I had some good giggles reading this post! As I sit here in a twin bed, with my two kids. My daughter is on the opposite end of the bed and my son and I on the other end, giving my son a back to help him get to sleep. The struggle is so real. I swear if we had a king bed we would all just sleep in one bed. I don’t think it’s weird at all to have opposite sex siblings sleep in the same bed. Sharing a room has so many positive benefits. Only in America this topic would be consider controversial. I say do what YOU feel is right/best for you family.

    And keep up in the loop. Love ya Mrs Henderson!

  129. Kind of exciting to get to redecorate a room! My sister and I shared a room when we were young, and I loved it. We had separate beds, but I used to push my bed right up against hers because it made me feel safer. Now I have a 4-yr-old who crawls in my bed most nights, and I always let her because I remember that feeling of being alone in the dark. We might get a king size bed so we can all sleep together more comfortably when she does this.

  130. My brother and I shared a room. We had two separate twin beds and often times ended up in the same one. Once my baby brother got old enough we traded and they shared a room and I got my own. We would all sleep in the same bed sideways every Christmas for years and years and years. We’d also do the same on family vacations. It warms my heart that your little loves find such love and security with each other. Definitely embrace that! So it looks ‘engh’ for a while. I think honoring your children’s needs is beautiful and that love will radiate in that room no matter what it looks like.

    Soon they will want to decorate their own rooms… 🙂

  131. I like option 1 but with a side table in between both beds. It seems like you are limited with options bc of a need for a cuddle book to read so why not add Birdie’s big chair in this room?

  132. I love that they want to share a room! If that’s what makes them happy, that’s all that matters.

    One note re going darker on the walls, caves can be scary for kids (and adults) so I would be mindful of that. Maybe ask the kids what (besides you and Brian) makes them feel peaceful and happy at night.

  133. My son has a bunk bed and when my kids were as young as yours they wanted to sleep together too but also had a hard time settling in. We would do conditional weekend sleep overs. My daughter would sleep in my sons room, with her pick of bunk because he got it the rest of the week, and if they didn’t settle she would have to move back to her room. I know you’d really like them to share a room all the time but sleep is so precious and this is what worked for us. They are now teens and I miss the excitement that they had for these sleepovers, they are way too cool for that now.

  134. What will you do with the wallpaper in Birdie’s room? I love it so much and was thinking about hanging it in my toddler’s room, but if it’s going to be short lived at your house I’m wondering if I should reconsider. What would you recommend if I’m on the fence now? Thank you!

  135. Hi Emily, I totally sympathize. I have 4 children. Having terrified children not sleeping is miserable. Since you used the dentist analogy I thought I’d share this anecdote. A couple of weeks ago I took my kids to their dental check up. My six year needs to stop sucking his thumb. My dentist suggested installing an appliance in his mouth to help since the other options we’ve tried haven’t worked. When I asked the dentist more questions about the appliance he admitted it didn’t always work- his own son figured out a work around and still sucked his thumb. All parents understand how frustrating kids can be. Kids are very strong minded individuals. Try not to take their room situation personally. The right room design for them is whatever will get them to sleep and whatever they like best. But thanks for giving me some more eye candy & inspiration. I’m so very glad your kids get along so well and want to share a room. Good job mama!

  136. 5 and 3 year olds are much too old to need mommy sleeping with them all night. Imagine your 5 year old’s kindergartener classroom finding out!! They would be teased and laughed at mercilessly!

  137. My brother and I shared a queen or king (I was a kid and it felt huge, but could have been a queen) when he was 2-3 and I was 6-7. Our baby sister slept in a crib in our room too! Our family (3 kids, two parents) moved into a 2 bedroom apt (that felt small even as a kid) while our house was built. Sharing a bed was practical and functional and we loved it. We are both super normal! Ha! And I am a psychologist!
    Quick note: I think you know this…but the color you paint the room, whether they share a bed or a room, the calm/sleep theme—-all of that will have zero impact on if they sleep through the night. The only thing that will change their sleep is the parents reactions to their night waking and the habits you help them form. What you are doing is NOT wrong or damaging, and setting expectations/limits that you are not going into their room from 8pm-6am is ALSO not wrong or damaging. It sounds like YOU want their sleep habits to change, and if that’s the case, it will only happen with you and B changing your habits to shape theirs. (

  138. Also, 5 and 3 year mixed gender siblings should absolutely not sleep together in the same bed!

  139. Christina – a 16 year old? Eewww!!! That IS WEIRD, CREEPY, DANGEROUS and just plain WRONG!!!!!!!! The age when most are driving and many are having sex is absolutely without question too old to crawl in the bed with his mother and have his back rubbed! Just wrong!

  140. Christina, this also warrants a call to the Police Department and Child and Family Services.

  141. I grew up sharing a queen size bed with my sister and my two brothers shared as well, mostly due to space issues but it definitely helped us bond. Albeit it also got my brothers to be more rowdy while trying to wind down. We did this until I was about 10 my sister demanded her own bed as a preteen.

  142. Why don’t you make Birdie’s room the playroom, and the playroom into the office? That’d keep all the kid stuff wrangled upstairs and give you another beautiful room downstairs. It could even have a pull-out couch to double as a guest room.

  143. I’m so excited about this project!! It’s looking lovely already. Currently pregnant and planning to switch rooms with our daughter and convert our current large master bedroom into a shared children’s room. I’m leaning toward the L-shape configuration like you (first with a crib, then later with the Ikea beds unstacked). Such a boring, pragmatic question, but did you go with the low-profile twin mattresses that Ikea recommends for stacking those beds? If so, where did you find comfortable twin mattresses??

  144. My kids (also an older boy and younger girl) slept together on a queen for a few years when they were around the age of yours. They still occasionally like to do this. It seemed totally normal to me and seemed to help them sleep when they were in that “scared to sleep alone” stage.

  145. This always makes me think of the movie Away We Go when Maggie Gyllenhaals’s character talks about “practicing family bed” it literally always makes me laugh. Seriously, that movie is a treasure and her character is insane.

    But in reality world, I can totally remember sharing my bedroom with my little brother until I was probably 8 or 9 and he was 6 or 7. We had bunk beds (and had a very organized schedule of who got the top bunk every other week lol.) The only thing that that my parents said was that we were terrible about talking all night long instead of sleeping. It doesn’t sound like that’s as problematic for y’all, which is fantastic. I personally love the L shape with the square in between the beds, somehow it seems more visually appealing to me and still gives the kiddos togetherness without rolling over into the headboard of one bed. Love these process posts!

  146. Where is the geometric rug from that is in Charlie’s current room?

  147. I love the idea of my boys (7 and 4) sharing a room. They’ve asked many times. But the 4 year old doesn’t stay in his bed (or room) as it is, and the few times we’ve tried letting them sleep in the same room, he just treats it as a playtime. Eventually the 7 year old makes his way upstairs (bedrooms are on a lower level) to say that he’s tired and his brother won’t let him sleep. I marvel whenever people say that their kids share a room, even though I know it’s super common!. Any hints? I’d love to make it work…

  148. Anyone who moved their kids to a shared room/bed situation – at what age did they start?

    I have a 4.5 girl and 1.5 boy. Daughter wants to snuggle with us every night because she doesn’t like sleeping alone. Son is still in a crib, but wakes up at night and loved snuggling when we went on vacation a month ago. I’m tempted to move them to one room/bed but not sure I should give up the crib just yet as it would probably introduce new problems.

  149. My two little ones (a boy and a girl) have a (darling) shared room…that they almost never sleep in. Two sweet little beds so instagram-worthy it’s almost embarrassing. But…we end up doing the dreaded (lovely for our family) family bed. We have a king sized bed turned sideways to eek out a few extra inches of width. I say just get the kind bed for their room if that’s what work for your family. It does take up play space, but they’ll have the playroom. Everyone will have opinions but…only you know what is right for you and your family. If you choose to keep the L-configuration, I do like the table in-between for a lamp and just a visual division. But either way…it will all probably change again soon. Kids change their minds about what they think they want/like constantly. So just do what works for you ALL. My two cents.

  150. Where are those super low bed frames from??? I might have to have my mattress on the floor in my apartment next year due to some wonky ceilings and I don’t really want to have my bed completely on the floor

  151. My kids (1 boy, 1 girl) used to sleep with me until around age 11 and 9. When I remarried and we moved countries, they felt a bit alone without me and our room was upstairs from theirs. There were numerous adjustments for their little hearts and minds! So even though they know how to sleep alone and are good with that, they needed that security and remained sharing a bed. And for the first year they slept together like that. Now they sleep in their own beds but every now and again they’ll snuggle together. It might be seen as socially off, but it is harmless, bonding, especially as you hear them whispering and giggling together, and they get an incredibly good sleep. Their happiness and feeling of safety is more important than what other people think. Co-sleeping was also the best thing I ever did as a parent.

  152. I shared a room with 3 sisters most of my childhood. I have the best memories. My kids will share until they are much older (still a maybe on future separate rooms). It is so good for them to have to figure out how to share a space with someone. Separate rooms can maybe be a fantastic Christmas gift in the future when they have had enough. We have a girls room and boys room but the older girls (10/8) still beg us to move their brothers in with them to sleep (5/2). We have monitors in each room and it is the best to hear the giggles and laughter that comes from them. My husband shared a queen bed with his sister when they were little. I think it is perfectly acceptable until they feel like it isn’t. My girls are getting to the age where they are starting to not want their brother around while they change and they are coming to that conclusion on their own. They will definitely let you know.

  153. Emily, I’ve been looking into a re-do of a shared room. We took the kids to try out a bunk bed and it was terrifying to see their natural reactions. Nope! In our tiny room we have to do a corner layout, but as I was looking I found some examples where one bed was slightly higher than the other, but even the high bed was just about normal height. That way you don’t have to quite leave the corner empty- they can abut one another. If you can find some of those layouts to look at consider it. I just found something about the look of the single height very unappealing and how do you do pillows etc.

  154. HI. First of all, let me say that I love your site and your sense of design. However, I do have to roll my eyes a bit at the time, money and angst you devote to your kid’s bedrooms. I grew up in a large family (8 kids) so I NEVER had a room to myself until I was in college. The first 6 years of my life I shared my room with my two three year old twin brothers and older sister. I slept in the top bunk, my twin three year old brothers SHARED the bottom bunk and my older sister (6) in the single bed. Once you were in first grade (7 or 8) you got to move out to share a room with just one sibling. I asked my siblings as Easter if they remember the decor of that room…no one did! My one sister remembered that we all had shades of blue quilts and that was it. No one remember what else was in the room. Not color of the walls, dressers, pictures hanging. But what we did remember is that we all have wonderful memories of sharing that room together. And we all remember sharing our own bed space when another sibling was upset or lonely. So if you son wants to sleep on the cushion between the bed, it is ok! My two twin brothers shared that bottom bunk until they were 6. We all grew up to be successful professionals who are all pretty balanced 🙂 people…who by the way still are very close! And the same for my own kids now. They remember only pieces of their rooms before age 8. Many of the things about their room they will only remember from pictures. The room will be fine. Kids don’t care. They want it to be comfy and practical. A place to feel cozy and safe, and a place to read with mom and dad (which in our family was in the hallway couch outside the kid’s bedroom. ) . Decorating a child’s room before they are old enough to care, is for the adults. Your kids will be fine no matter how the beds look! Think of the money you will save for books and experiences!! Keep up the great work in other rooms though!:) It is really eye candy!

  155. When my brother and I were young, we each had our own room but because it was an old house, one room was cooler in the summer and one stayed warmer in the winter. So we slept together in my double bed half the year, & in his bunk beds the other half. We had a great time! Things changed when our brother was big enough to move into the bottom bunk. I don’t remember there being any trouble with it. Probably because I also got a roommate for awhile, because a friend briefly lived with us. By the time I had my own room again, I was old enough to be glad about it.

  156. I love this post! I relate to the bunk bed issues; my twins initially hated their bunk bed and slept together on the bottom bunk for MONTHS before I could convince one of them to go on the top bunk. We didn’t have the room for two twins, so we just had to wait it out. Good luck figuring out how to make everyone happy, (including you). I love hearing about the in between stages and the challenges, it makes the beautiful ‘afters’ that much more satisfying.

  157. I love this. Thank you for all the ugly pictures and sharing your indecision. I will be following along because I know in the end it will all come together beautifully. The only thing I’m sad about is Birdies room was my favorite little girls room on the entire Internet.

  158. I think you should let go a little bit, it’s your kids room. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or tonal, or have a theme at all. To roll with your dentist analogy – to me it’s like they are brushing their teeth, they are clean and healthy and they are fine for eating, but you’re wanting to give them veneers because they aren’t absolutely perfectly white and straight. As long as it can be enjoyed by the kids, that’s all that matters. I’ll be honest, your plan for the room seems a little crazy for me. I have no problem with the twin beds pushed together, but it seems like you’re losing touch how to connect to what non-designers (aka most of your readers) are interested or willing to do. Seems like a lot of work to temporarily make this room fit both kids. Sorry to be a downer, I usually love your stuff but this whole things is just out in left field to me.

  159. You ended the article with this, but I was very much wondering the entire post why you’re forcing two beds when it seems that your kiddos want to sleep together (and that your family often co-sleeps?) I will be one internet stranger to tell you this is fine. Let them sleep together.

  160. Are those the same low twin beds that you used at the mountain house? I’ve gone back and forth on IKEA’s website trying to sleuth for myself but wasn’t quite sure. Love them.

  161. The L-shape beds definitely looks the best. My niece has a bedframe shaped like that, for two twin beds, and one of the beds is a bit higher than the other which adds some visual interest. In the corner between the two beds is a bookshelf/toy storage area that’s functional. But since it’s an older piece of cheap furniture, it doesn’t actually look that great. I’m sure with some more purposeful thought, the corner could be an attractive bookshelf/toy storage. 😉 I don’t see anything strictly wrong with little kids sharing a big bed. It’s common when traveling, of course. But it does seem a bit socially off in their own house. At the same time, as long as they aren’t too curious about each other’s bodies, asking to be separated, or disturbing each other’s quality of sleep, I would think it’s probably fine. The only thing I would really be worried about is the transition out of it, where one or both kids could have trouble learning to sleep alone in a bed. But they also might have no problem transitioning.

  162. I had this same problem! Two kids wanting to share, room too small/awkwardly shaped for two beds to make sense, bunks don’t work (mostly because one of The two is a maniac and is guaranteed to get hurt on them), ultimately we went with a cute pottery barn trundle bed. Simple enough to pull the second bed out at night and back in the morning when they are playing- but it looks super cute in the room because 1 twin bed makes so much more space in the room design-wise. Time will tell if I eventually find pulling the second bed in and out to be a pain, but really with all the hassles of putting kids to bed, the whole trundle hassle is fairly minimal.

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