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How To:

Plan a Shared Bedroom

Creating a kids' shared bedroom is about finding a balance between “yours,” “mine” and “ours.” With some planning, you can arrive at a kid-pleasing, functional arrangement that gives each child a sense of personal space. Make note of your kids' favorite activities and traffic patterns when considering new pieces of furniture to add. You'll need two (or more) beds, but furnishings like storage and a play table can be shared. It's no problem if you don't have the space for more than one desk or dresser – a little smart planning can make them easy to share, too.

Floor Plan

Before you purchase anything, draw a floor plan so you know exactly what you can fit in the room. In addition to recording dimensions, windows, closets and doors, you'll want to consider things such as electrical outlets and how much space is needed for doors and drawers to open. As you position furniture on your plan, place the beds first.

Bunk beds are a classic choice in a shared bedroom (for kids six and older), and they free up valuable floor space. For twin beds, parallel positioning with the headboards against a wall creates symmetry and allows for bed access on three sides. Beds placed lengthwise against walls open up floor space for playing. Or try the beds situated in opposite corners, for a sense of more privacy.

Zoning

Divide the room into personal zones and shared zones. Each child needs a personal zone for sleeping and reading, with shared zones for dressing and playing. The room's size and architectural features will largely determine how you allot the space. Use furnishings to define each zone, and make sure you establish a place for each child to store and display a few things that are their very own, whether it's their favorite books, special collections or a prized trophy.

Storage units such as bookshelves can become room separators; ceiling-hung canopies over one or both beds can create a special sense of privacy. Area rugs can delineate space, too.