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One of the most common questions I get asked over on Instagram is about the kids sharing bedrooms. “Is it ok for them to share?” or “do they not mind not having their own rooms?”
In our case, they absolutely love sharing. The boys are particularly close and have shared a room ever since Mason was old enough to leave the bedside crib in our room (about 9 months old).
Izzie was used to having her own space, however she was so so desperate for a little sister, I don’t think the novelty of having her in there with her has worn off yet.
The boys have a smaller age gap between them, just over two years. They are very into all the same things so decorating their room came easily.
The girls have a nearly 8 and a half year age gap – which makes things slightly tricker – especially now that Izzie is 11 and full on into the preteen stage – and Ottie is 2.
Saying this I really enjoyed decorating their room so that it was neither too babyish or too grown up. I feel like I’ve struck a good balance.
At the moment Ottie who is just 2 and a half is still very much in her cot – one because she sleeps well in it and two because the bigger option is the bottom bunk and I don’t feel she’s quite big enough for it yet. Also I don’t really fancy her getting in and out of bed all evening – in the Cotswolds she settles straight down and does to sleep which is a massive win.
In regards to bedroom sharing I thought I’d share my top tips for a clutter free, easily organised shared bedroom – and also share a few things that specifically worked for us and helped me bridge the age gap between the girls with the decor.
Switch clothing seasonally – we have small wardrobes in both kids bedrooms in the IKEA Stuva range (recently changed to Smastad ), which allow us to organise them as we need – for example the boys have wire baskets as they have nothing to ‘hang up’ but the girls have a combo of hanging space, baskets and drawers. To make sure we have enough took for everything, everything has its place. For example a drawer for undies and pjs, a drawer for school stuff, jeans, tops etc. A lot of Ottilie’s stuff is easier to hang up too. I then make sure every April and October to do a ‘seasonal switch over’. I take out the thick jumpers and long trousers and replace with shorts and short sleeve tshirts or summer dresses etc. I switch pjs from short to long and change out winter summer clothes for summer ones. Obviously I work this around how the weather is and I’m flexible about when it’s done. Anything not in use is then packed away in storage bags and put in the loft. This also gives me the opportunity to sift out anything that’s outgrown and either pass it along or store it for the younger siblings. Anything that Izzie has outgrown I use vacuum bags to store as Ottie won’t be using it for a bit.
If you have a larger age gap store toys apart if you can – for example Izzie keeps most of her toys in her bedroom (under the bed in storage baskets – we use basket similar to this however if you have a local TK Maxx you can pick them up loads cheaper in there). At 11 she doesn’t have as many toys as she used to, but at the time of writing she’s still very much into her LOL dolls. We then store Ottie’s toys downstairs in the understairs cupboard – mainly as she doesn’t go upstairs much in the day and so it’s useful to have her toys to hand downstairs where she can get to them – and also because the toys younger children have tend to be on the bulkier side – play kitchen I’m looking at you. The boys tend to play with a lot of the same things so their toys are mainly stored upstairs, however we also use the storage under the stairs (IKEA Kallax) for things like puzzles, board games and all our craft bits. We do however keep the dolls house upstairs in the girls room – one that we bought Izzie for her 3rd Birthday, as I’ve caught my leg on it too many times downstairs!!! The girls also have a shelf each for their books – again a place for everything and everything in its place works best for us.
Managing bedtimes – this is another common question – how do we handle bedtimes with the girls. Ottilie is 2.5 and goes down to bed by 7pm at the latest. The main trick is to make sure that Izzie has everything she needs out of the room – book, pjs and Clover (even at 11 her favourite Jellycat goes everywhere with her). We are lucky enough to have two bathrooms upstairs so she can use those to get changed in. When Ottie is asleep Izzie either comes downstairs with us and does homework, reads, or plays on her phone (new development ahead of secondary school – not sure how I’m feeling about it but she’s only allowed it downstairs for the time being) or she comes up into our bedroom and watches Netflix or Disney plus on the tv. Then when it’s her bedtime at 8.45pm, she’s mastered sneaking in like a Ninja – joking as Ottie is a pretty heavy sleeper. It works for us but you’ll find what works for you.
Having their own space. Both with the boys and girls they are all very well aware – especially after being in lockdown for the best part of the last year – how important it is to have time to yourself. The boys are thick as thieves and spend a lot of time together, however they know if they want space the other sibling is willing to give it to them. It’s slightly easier with the girls as Izzie spends more time in her room in the day as Ottie is happy downstairs, and actually it’s very similar with the boys. Ollie who is older is happier in his room whereas Mason still like to have me around to play with downstairs. He also loves to play with Ottie as I always worry with him and Ollie being closer in age that he does things that his older brother is doing. I think he enjoys playing with the younger kid toys with Ottie too sometimes.
Decor – the hardest part about an age gap sibling share. You don’t want it to be too grown up for the younger one or too babyish for the older one. With this in mind, we went for very neutral walls (Farrow and Ball Strong White and Dimpse) and the. Accesoried with wall decals. Izzie chose Rose Gold Spots for theirs. For curtains we went with a plain pale grey with all important blackout linings and for bedding we chose a pink/grey star print (these are a couple of years old now and I can’t find them online anymore). Ottie currently has toddler bedding from The White Co in fairy and bunny designs. It washes up beautifully and it’s wonderful quality.
In terms of wall decor, we went for a mix of inspirational quotes and prints. I find the quickest and cheapest way to change things up is by making your own. I swear by IKEA Ribba frames and then I just print and change the prints to what we fancy at the time. You can find find amazing ones on Etsy or make your own with packages like these Rainbow clipart or Unicorn clipart. The world is your oyster. Ottie is totally bunny obsessed at the moment and loves these baby bunny prints on her wall – although I’m thinking of replacing it with this new bunny one.
I hope this post has been helpful and has answered some of the common questions I get about the girls room. Please do leave a comment or send me an Instagram DM if there is anything else you’d like to know though. Although we don’t have a choice other than bedroom sharing at the moment, I really think it helps them bond – so much so the boys said whenever we move they would still want to share. They all have such close and lovely relationships and it’s so wonderful to watch as they grow up. One of my great loves is finding ways to make my home look nice but also be practical in terms of having young children and having the max amount of storage possible. Hopefully sharing these ideas with you are helpful and I’ll try to share more in future. Thank you so much for reading!