7 tips for creating a shared bedroom your kids will love

Here’s how to design a shared kids’ room that looks cute, offers them some privacy and hides alllll their stuff.

Like many other families, we noticed that after the pandemic hit, our home was no longer running at its best. Our small Victorian row house was suddenly cluttered and chaotic. Games and toys, typically reserved for weekends, were now a part of our every day and it became difficult to step around the mess. We quickly realized that our girls needed a bigger space and, most importantly, one that was organized and functional. So I took on my toughest clients yet—my five- and eight-year-old daughters—and set out to design a shared kids room that was multipurpose and beautiful.

The girls required a place to sleep, a desk for crafts and virtual school (who knew that would be a thing!), storage for toys, books and little treasures, and a wardrobe system, since our century-old home lacked closets. I’ve had some tricky clients but these two had big requests. “Pink walls with rainbows, a trampoline and a climbing wall, a giant unicorn and maybe a swing?” Dream on, girls! With careful planning, I was able to translate some of those requests into a playful and creative space.

Here are my top tips for designing a space that’s cozy, calm and functional:

a young girl lies in her bed which has curtains around it

Photo: Mandy Milks

Bed forts give kids their own space

Adding simple drapes to the beds creates whimsy while providing privacy. They also soften the angles of the bed and inspire imaginative play. Custom bed drapes, hemmecustom.com; Jute runner, $40 hm.com

Use linens to liven up the space

Playful bedding is an affordable way to add colour and texture. Choose matching sets or let each kid pick a print that complements the other. Patterned duvet set, $30, hm.com; Curious bunny, $90, crateandbarrel.ca

A side by side of young girls in their shared bedroom working at a desk and playing with toys

Photo: Mandy Milks

Drapes can make the room look larger

Hang curtains at ceiling height to create the illusion of a bigger room. Opt for blackout lining to set the stage for restful slumber. Custom drapes and hardware, hemmecustom.com

Budget art is your best bet

Kids love graphic art and playful prints. Use Plexi frames instead of glass for safety. Choose inexpensive pieces that you can swap out for a quick and easy update. Studio Loco Leopard Poster, $39, smallable.com

A trunk does double duty

This vintage trunk is great for storing dress-up costumes and it doubles as a surface for the dollhouse. Kids like open floor space for play, so a soft, comfortable area rug is key. A non-slip rug pad underneath provides extra cushioning.

Two little girls standing in front of their wardrobe in their shared room with one door open

Photo: Mandy Milks

Create interesting closet space

Pairing open and closed shelving helps to create visual interest in the space without compromising on storage. It’s easy to tuck away clothing, seasonal gear and linens, and kids can effortlessly grab toys, books and puzzles. Pax Wardrobe System, ikea.ca

Opt for open bookshelves

Open shelves serve double duty: accessible storage for toys and books plus decorative display for keepsakes. Add plants for hits of greenery and floor pillows that you can move around to create a cozy reading nook.

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