If you have more kids than separate bedrooms in your house, then somebody probably has to share a room. Let’s create a room that allows for personal tastes to show without being too overpowering while keeping everything in its place.
Before we begin, we need to consider the basic layout of the room. Will the kids be on opposite sides of the room with clearly delineated boundaries or will they be intermingled. Do they have bunk beds? A shared closet? A single desk? These will have an effect on the room’s style that needs to be considered when creating a cohesive design.
Figure out what style each kid wants to have in his room. If they have a lot in common, getting them to co-exist in one room should be no problem. However, if they differ greatly – for example, if one child likes unicorns and fairies while her sister prefers gothic and heavy metal themes, your children will need to make some compromises. The further apart styles stand, the more understated they likely will need to be to co-exist.
Whatever else happens, one style can NOT be allowed to dominate over another. Each child should be allowed to have some level of self expression and an overpowering theme can easily rob that from the more subdued side. A general rule of thumb is that a friend should be able to walk into the room the first time and be able to tell that the room at least in part belongs to his pal.
Now consider shared areas and furniture – these should be relatively neutral since making it match one style and not another is, in effect, giving it to one child in preference over the other. Also, don’t create a third distinct style when setting up the room. Ideally, one should be able to associate the style of any common items with either child’s preference. If it doesn’t fit with either child, in some way, it does NOT belong in their room.
If there is a similarity between styles, use accessories to highlight it to bring them together. Colored flokati rugs can unify themes by highlighting a common color- for example, using a blue area rug in a room to combine airplanes and sports themes. If no single common color exists, modern rugs with colors from each style may be able to pull elements together as well with the added bonus of being kid friendly.
No matter how well themes blend, it is still important to keep a level of separation between the stuff that is one child’s and that of the other’s. Failing to do so will only lead to resentment and conflict between the occupants. One way to ensure that is to keep separate storage areas. Dressers, shelves and even bins can be used to maintain separation. If a parent walks into the room and finds it a mess, he or she should be able to tell not only whose stuff is out, but also have a general idea where it goes.
By letting your children “own” their styles without overpowering the styles of their roommates, you are fostering better attitudes between siblings, which will pay dividends later on and strengthen the bonds that hold a family together.