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Believe it or not, studies have shown that children can benefit from sharing a room with their siblings. It potentially helps develop their emotional intelligence; plus, it creates more opportunities for learning to negotiate and compromise. It’s not just sharing the physical space itself that warrants extra problem solving, either — the decorating process does, too.
I learned this firsthand while designing my son and daughter’s joint bedroom in our New York City apartment. I wanted to create a setup that reflected each of them as distinct individuals, while still feeling cohesive, colorful, and even a bit whimsical. Luckily, the bedroom had no major structural issues, and the layout worked as-is. The work would be mostly cosmetic, and, of course, I sought input from my two “clients,” my son and daughter.
When choosing the color scheme for the shared bedroom, I decided to honor both of their favorites: blue for my son and pink for my daughter. The compromise then became which elements of the space would feature either hue. After discussing with them, I decided to paint the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue — a pretty shade with slight green undertones — and then incorporate pink through the curtains and accessories. I then picked out a rug and large abstract art print that featured combinations of both colors to tie everything together.
For additional visual interest to pep up the painted walls, I also framed two New Yorker covers depicting each of their favorite pastimes — ballet and hockey — as well as an art project by my daughter. I displayed more of their personal art pieces on the opposite wall, too, both to add touches of their personality to the space but also to help them feel proud of the work they’ve created. I aim to take the time and effort to hang their paintings in the same way I display art through the rest of our home.
While I added a fair amount of color through the wall paint, rug, curtains, and art, I kept the majority of the furniture neutral. The bedroom has a lot of light-toned storage baskets sprinkled throughout it. That’s because two kids share this one room, so it has twice the stuff in its limited square footage. But baskets, especially lidded styles, really help cut down on clutter while keeping toys and playthings easily accessible. They make it easy for the children to clean up after themselves.
Both kids love to read, so we added book storage along the walls, utilizing vertical space to keep the floor space as free as possible. For an added bit of whimsy, I DIYed scalloped trim on the bottom of simple IKEA MOSSLANDA picture ledges. Some of my other favorite accessories in the room include the large scalloped mirror, gold wire stars hanging by the beds, and the decorative pennant flags that remind them how “Strong & Smart” and “Capable & Courageous” they are.