Interiors stylist Cat Matthews and her family of 4 share a beautiful home in Melbourne’s beachside suburbs. Whilst the home was recently renovated to include 4 bedrooms, her children prefer to share a room and as a result have the added bonus of a separate playroom!
There are numerous challenges to overcome when accommodating the different needs of two kids, but we think this clever Mama has nailed it! We are very excited to share with you some practical tips on creating a functional yet cohesive shared space for your little ones!
Tell us a little bit about your home and who shares this bedroom?
“Our house is an original weatherboard Californian Bungalow in the beachside suburbs of Melbourne. We renovated nearly 3 years ago building a second level including 2 bedrooms upstairs and 2 downstairs. We have 2 children sharing the room, Alice who is 7 and Ted 2.5 years old.”
What do your kids like best about sharing a room?
“The kids have a close bond and sharing a room only strengthens this. Alice hops into Ted’s cot in the morning and they play games and get up to mischief. This usually involves collecting all the cushions, blankets and soft toys from the room and bringing them into the cot!”
As a result, a shared bedroom means that they get a separate playroom. Both kids love the playroom, and Cat adds “I actually find it easier to keep all the toys tidy and organised this way. The shared room works really well at this stage and I imagine they’ll continue to share until Alice gets closer to the teenage years.”
What was the brief for this bedroom?
“The brief was to create a shared space that was both fun and playful, whilst also being sophisticated and not overly busy. Alice is 7 and in Grade 1, but her brother Ted is 2.5 so it had to accommodate both of their needs.”
What were the challenges of designing this room?
“There are many challenges to designing a shared bedroom! Firstly, depending on the age gap, they may have quite differing requirements. For example, a baby needs a change table and small decorative items out of reach. In addition to this, a toddler/preschooler needs room to play, access to toys, and plenty of storage! A school-aged child might need somewhere to study and a comfy place to read.”
Cat’s top tips when designing a shared room
“By thoughtful positioning of furniture, the use of rugs, and hanging decorative items like bunting or canopies, each zone caters to the different needs of the child. For example the baby change station, the sleeping zone, playing zone, the reading nook.”
Clever use of space
“Consider various space saving ideas depending on the number of kids sharing and their needs. For example, babies that need a change-table, use a change mat on top of a set of drawers. When shopping for cots, consider investing in a cot that can convert to a toddler bed. Further to this, if you can’t fit two single beds side by side consider a bunk bed! Also, you can position two beds with a shared piece of furniture between them that doubles as storage. There are many options with built in storage, such as the storage ottoman I used next to Alice’s bed.”
“Make it easier for the children to keep the room tidy with a variety of storage options – this will help make the space look bigger. For example, getting toys, books and other items off the floor will help create the sense of more space. If your single bed has room underneath, there are lots of low profile storage containers available, some on wheels for easy access. In addition to this, wall shelves are another great space saver.”
Bringing it all together
“The use of a neutral rug that stretches underneath both beds will bring the room together visually. From here, you can add in pops of colour with décor pieces like artwork, cushions, throw rugs, and toys which can easily be changed as they grow. I suggest choosing an artwork for each child from the same artist/illustrator, then you can select one or two colours from the artwork to use as accents. This helps when selecting decorative items such as soft toys and cushions.”
“The goal of a well-designed shared bedroom is to bring both ‘sides’ together to reflect each child’s personality whilst maintaining a sense of cohesiveness.”
Styling and photography by Cat Matthews
get the look
Leather Wall Balloons by Honey Honey Creations
Pale Nulle by Lucky Boy Sunday
Luna Pop Rainbow Light by Livly
Wall Decals by Stick Stay
Grey Blanket by Northstar
Brooklyn Ottoman in white by Rocking Baby Chairs
Pikki Basket by Olli Ella
Wooden truck, train and plane by Happy Go Ducky
House Shelf by East & Co
Bunny girl and Lamb dolls by Mipimopi