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Shared Sibling Bedroom and Adaptive Small Space Living for Families

Small space living with a family is all about adapting to meet changing needs. We live in a condo that was designed for a couple to have a home office and a guest room. Making this blueprint work for our family has been a creative endeavor from the beginning! We have had all four children sharing one room, and we put one child in the master bedroom turned playroom closet for a few months. This week we shuffled everything again in an effort to give each child more space to call their own. Instead of four kids in one room, we now have one shared sibling bedroom for the three girls and a “boy cave” room for Johnny.

Shared sibling room: creating a space for each child. Love how this family makes small space living work for them!

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Shared Sibling Bedroom and Adaptive Small Space Living for Families

My son Johnny LOVES his sisters. In fact, he lists them off if you ask him what is “awesome” about his life. This year, however, his three sisters started to feel a little stifling in our four child bedroom – and they started to complain about his desire to be super active in their space. We decided it was time to split the kids into a girl room and a boy room.

This is what we had going in:

We changed this to:

  • One three-sister shared sibling bedroom, with each girl having their own space to decorate as they wish
  • One guest room turned boy cave bedroom plus LEGO and mini trampoline room for our only son. The closet in this room is still full of coats and other household supplies; it also has Mike’s home office space and a wardrobe with towels and sheets.
  • One playroom minus LEGO bricks and mini trampoline transformed into a master bedroom / my home office and sewing space / small play space (play kitchen and small toy bins)

This round of home re-arranging really focused on creating a space where each child could create their own personalized space to use as a calm-down, relaxation spot. We have a concrete patio, a second smaller concrete patio, and a small concrete balcony, but no outside space that is large enough for the kids to run around and also no outside space that feels like a retreat. California weather means that we can spend hours at parks and playgrounds, but we have to be home to do homework, practice instruments, and cook dinner. These factors make it all the more important for us to create an indoor space that feels comfortable and relaxing.

Giving kids space to be themselves in a small space living situation

The kids are LOVING have their own space to decorate however they like! They drew pictures, taped up school projects, and printed photos off the internet. Johnny’s room features many Extraordinaire designs.

Three girls shared room small space living solution

Ten-year-old Emma’s bed is the IKEA Kura bed. The sloped ceiling means we can’t use a standard height loft bed – IKEA to the rescue again!

The photo below features six-year-old Lily’s little nook – she sleeps in a small IKEA Sniglar toddler bed. I love IKEA’s toddler beds, because they are narrow and long, so can be used much longer than standard toddler beds. Three-year-old Anna sleeps under Emma’s bed in a hand-me-down standard toddler bed from a friend. We pulled it out to match the length of Lily’s bed, and to give Anna more clearance for sitting up in bed.

Kids love creating their own individual space even within a shared room! Check out the great small space living tips in this post.

The overhanging storage is from IKEA. My kids each have one, and they LOVE them. Johnny used mini Command hooks to hang up a string of LED lights – also from IKEA. We have a twin mattress on the floor of Johnny’s Kura bed to create a reading/relaxation space.

Kids loving being able to decorate their space to reflect their personalities! Check out this low-budget, small space living solution for creating individual spaces for kids

We are still working on setting up a master bedroom that feels relaxing in spite of also being a home office / craft space / play space for Anna during the day while I get work done. The room is the largest space in the house, and I am looking to studio layouts for inspiration!

What creative ways do you make your home space work? Do you have a shared sibling bedroom?

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

12 thoughts on “Shared Sibling Bedroom and Adaptive Small Space Living for Families”

  1. Elisa | blissful E

    I love the creative solution you’ve developed here! We have five kids in one room (our smallest bedroom of three) and our newborn in with us parents. She will move in with her siblings when she is around 10 or 11 months old. The third bedroom is the music/playroom. I’ve thought of putting us parents in a fold-out bed in the living room, but we would still have to store our clothes somewhere, so I haven’t proceeded very far down that line of thinking. I guess it will depend on how long we are in this house and what our family’s needs are as we go along. It is all about adaptability, as you said!

  2. I love that you’re thinking outside the box and making your space work for you. I’m curious though how you keep clutter at bay with a largish family and a smallish space. We have six kids and I don’t really feel like our house is small I do feel cramped because we have so much STUFF.

  3. MaryAnne,
    I have imagined you have a huge home office with a lot of space to run the successful business (your blog). Never in my dreams would I imagine you managing to do everything in a condo of the size we’ve left when our second child was born. You can do wonders not only with the Mama Smiles site, it’s with your family space too. And that in such a wonderfully creative way! Admire that (and I should tell you: despite the house we moved into, I’m still in love with small spaces. and have not yet gotten used to not utilizing every corner of the home. I guess I’ll never get out of that, it’s fun!)

  4. I love the hanging pouches on the bedside. What a great idea!
    My niece has four children and three bedrooms so they are getting creative with their room arrangements, too!
    She will love this post ♥
    Sinea

  5. I love your creativeness in making your space work! With only 2 kids of different genders, they’ve been blessed with their own room for several years now. Little by little, we’re still working on making it a comfortable place for them. Next up for our Emma is a desk to do homework!

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