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One Room, Two Kids

Photograph by Getty Images

It was a no-brainer when I had my second child how the bedrooms would be divided: Aria, then 4 years old, and her baby brother AJ would move into the master suite (just saying "suite" makes me chuckle) when AJ was ready. My husband and I would switch to the small bedroom, wide enough for a king-size bed and two Ikea side tables. After a year we made the switch, and the kids loved bouncing around their sunny room—big enough for some decent play action and sweet toy storage. I fell in love with my cozy bedroom sanctuary. While my husband and I talked about moving to a bigger home one day where Aria and AJ could each have their own room, this was totally doable for a few years.

Cut to three years later: change happens.

Aria is 7 and AJ turns 3 next month. Aria and AJ are half-siblings, and she sleeps at her dad’s half of the week. Now my husband and I have separated and AJ will eventually stay with his dad a few nights a week a couple of blocks away. Realistically, any hope of moving to a bigger house where the kids will have their own rooms is not on the near horizon. Regardless of who is sleeping where, AJ and Aria will be sharing a room together for who knows how long.

While Aria and AJ adore each other, I can only imagine what's to come. I’ve thought of a few key ways to give them a sense of privacy and space within their shared space.

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1. Bunk beds with hide-away curtains: Add a shower rod to the inside of the top bunk and let them each pick out their own fabric or shower curtain for their “space.” For the top bunk, secure a fishing line to the ceiling with ring hooks for the top curtain.

2. Ikea, Ikea, Ikea: Divide the room by two different rugs, a different wall color and, if there’s room, their own Expedit bookshelves. Color coordinate so all of the storage for the girl is one color and another color for the boy. There’s no confusion about where toys and things go. And then have them make their own labels for storage to give them a sense of ownership about their space.

3. More curtains: Divide the room with funky tapestries from Urban Outfitters. They have loads of fun ones: cityscapes, a forest, an aquarium scene and more super cool options. Pull them closed if one gender wants privacy. Kids don’t mind small spaces, it only makes whatever is happening behind the curtain seem even more fun.

4. If worse comes to worst, find a little space in the house or apartment and let them have a “corner” or some piece of space that is totally their own. Even a special wall of the hallway can seem special if they get to decorate it however they want.

RELATED: Decorating Bedrooms for Kids

As the kids get older they’re out of the home even more with after-school sports and activities, so there might just be a point in time when the kids are two ships passing in the night. If not, there’s always more Ikea.

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