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Design

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

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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…

BEDTIME OR NIGHTTIME.

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.

Kollekted Slide 7qef Superjumbo
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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. 🙂

Fin Mark

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Renee

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.

Emily

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

emily jane

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… Read more »

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.

Lia

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!

mariah

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)?

emily jane

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… Read more »

Emily S

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

Tara

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.

Sam

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… Read more »

Mariann Alexander

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. 🙂

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.

Em

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.

crcr

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.

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 …

Melanie

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!!

K

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!

Kristin Nicole Fitzgerald

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.

Dez

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!

Lena

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.

Rachel S

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.

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. 🙂

Anonymous

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. 🙁

M

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)

Newjen

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.

Ssm

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!

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)

brittany

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… Read more »

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 … 🙂

Sarah

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.

patricia blaettler

YES!

Sarah

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.

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 …

Sarah

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.

Shelly

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!!!

Abby B

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!

Sarah

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

herselfindublin

Agreed, I think that’s the best layout, visually

Jill

I agree

Kristin

I agree. Pottery Barn Teen has a bed set up for just this situation that I’ve always liked.

https://www.pbteen.com/products/store-it-corner-bed-media-hutch-set-2/?pkey=cbeds-headboards&isx=0.0.9940

Elizz

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.

Sophia F.

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?

AWL

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!

Christina

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… Read more »

Jb

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!)

Sara

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… Read more »

Anna

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

Rebecca

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!!!

Ashley

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! 🙂

Jb

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. 🙂

Sarah

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!

Bethany

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!!

Cassidy

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.

Amanda Pazzo

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

Susan

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….

Laura LaLiberte

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!

Eve

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?)

Emily Wallace

I love stars on the ceiling, too. And, better than actual stars are PROJECTED stars. Oddly, this turtle puts on a great show: https://www.amazon.com/Cloud-Twilight-Turtle-Nightlight-Projector/dp/B0054G553W/ref=sr_1_8?keywords=turtle%2Bprojects%2Bstars&qid=1556722635&s=gateway&sr=8-8&th=1. 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.

Eve

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!

Nickie

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!!!!

Alexis

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!

Sarah

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.

Mariana

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!

Julie P

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… Read more »

Victoria

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.

Jane Cross

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… Read more »

Megan

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.

Erika

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…).

suzy

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.

Lauren

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.

Jenms

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.

Brooke

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.

Elizabeth

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.

Tiffanie

Good idea on the Trundle

Erin

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.

Katie

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.

A.B.

The comments on this post are so heartwarming.

Evane

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.

Leslie

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.

Emily

This.

Kathleen

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!

Brandy

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.

Amy

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!

Elise

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.

Kristin

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… Read more »

Jesseca

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.

Lashley

“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.

Christina

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.

Kelly

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… Read more »

brooke

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!

Jenni

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.

Diana

I like Option #3

Emily K

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.… Read more »

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