In an ideal world, we would all live in a big house with a garden, 5 bathrooms and a huge bedroom for each child. In reality, we often have to deal with the lack of space in city apartments and find decorative solutions to get everyone to agree. And with the evolution of family models and the increase in the number of blended families, more and more children find themselves sharing a room... to the great displeasure of the first concerned. But don't panic: the experience can be fulfilling for all the siblings, especially if you follow the decorating tips below.
Your children (too) have their say
Between rising property costs and the increasing number of children living in blended families (INSEE says 1.5 million in 2018), more and more children have to share a room. While the scenarios vary greatly, the decorating challenges are the same: how do you design a space that is often small to accommodate two children with sometimes diametrically opposed tastes and needs? To begin with, don't hesitate to prepare the ground well with them by explaining the whys and wherefores - the arrival of a newborn, a half-brother or half-sister. There are many reasons for this and your children have a right to know more. Once the decision has been accepted (more or less), offer to help them decorate their new space to turn this stressful time into a joyful activity.
Less is more
The trend in decorating has been towards minimalism for a few years now, and that's good news! It's hard to accommodate two children in a space that's often designed for just one person without taking a pared-down approach. Start by taking the opportunity to sort out their toys and clothes, which you can give away or store in the basement. If you need advice, take a look at our article on spring cleaning Marie Kondo style.
As for decorating, you're in luck: we're far from the ultra-genre codes of the past and you can choose neutral colours that will please all the siblings. For furniture, choose simple and timeless models that you can reuse... and that won't take up too much space.
So, should we tidy up?
You can sort through their things, but let's face it: you're going to need some clever storage. Opt for beds with built-in drawers, and don't skimp on shelves for their books and other school supplies. We love two-in-one pieces like play mats that turn into a big storage bag at the end of the day. All you have to do is convince your kids to use them...
Bunk beds or separate room?
Did you think that bunk beds were reserved for holiday camps or night trains? We reassure you, things have changed. From sleek models with elegant colours to evolving beds with crazy designs, brands have thought of everything. Perfect for children who get along well, these models allow you to save space for the rest of their activities. There will surely be enough room left for a play corner and two small desks.
But if your children have opposite characters (and tastes), we advise you to think of two well-defined spaces. You can even divide the room with a curtain or a screen for even more privacy. Choose furniture with simple lines that you can buy in pairs - bed, chest of drawers and desk - and let their imagination run wild. Why not offer to paint the furniture in the colours of their choice, or give them a piece of wall that they can customize over and over again? The result may not be as minimalist as you'd hoped, but your kids will feel right at home.
What about newborns?
Are you expecting a happy event and your baby will have to share his room with his big brother or sister? This is a good opportunity to give all the power to the older sibling - your newborn shouldn't complain too much about the decor for a few years. You'll probably recycle the furniture you already own (changing table, crib, etc.), but why not get your older sibling a new bed and think of a new bedroom design together? Or invest in a La Petite Chambre bedding set to give their room a festive feel? Use the furniture and the layout of the room to minimise any problems of cohabitation. Your children will have different sleeping patterns, but by creating separate areas in the room you can respect their schedules without disturbing them.