Real rooms: A shared bedroom for twin boys
Today we're visiting GLTC testing team member, Caro, for a tour of her newly decorated twin boys' bedroom. We were curious to see how she reflected each child's personality in the room, and ask for her top tips on dividing the room fairly and making each boy feel special and content in their own space.
Type of home: Country cottage
Who lives here: Blogger (The Twinkle Diaries) and all round creative genius, Caro. And her husband and twin boys, aged six.
Room: The boys' shared bedroom.
Can you tell us a little bit about the room and how it's used?
This is our 6 year old twin boys’ bedroom, that they’ve shared since they were newborns. Initially it was a nursery — with cots that stood side by side and a changing table in the corner — but we’ve recently updated the room, to give them a more grown up space. Now that they’re at school, it felt the right time to freshen things up.
What was your inspiration behind the decor?
I asked them what they’d like! Although when you’re dealing with little humans who have very clear (and differing) opinions on what they want, it makes life a bit tricky. Especially for a grown up who also has strong ideas of how something should look!!
Lego, Star Wars, under-the-sea, superheroes and outer-space were themes that kept cropping up; but the thought of a very stylised, ‘themed’ room — with photo-bedding and a mural on the wall — was not a route I really wanted to go down.
Perhaps if they had a room each, it may be something I’d consider. But trying to accommodate the wishes of two people (to ensure they both felt happy), in a relatively small space, made me feel certain that a neutral palette was the best option; and what better than monochrome?
As the twins’ suggestions of outer-space and superheroes were the ones that were mentioned most, we went for constellation strewn walls (in the form of vinyl decals), with their superheroes taking pride of place on their old GLTC star shelves.
The clean, pared-back canvas has really made their books and belongings pop — and it’s a scheme that will grow and change as they do. Updating the accessories, over time, will automatically change the look and feel of the room, without going to the expense of redecorating every time.
What do the boys like best about their room?
They like their bedside tables the best. Having a little cupboard — that they don’t have to share — to keep all their favourite treasures in, is their best-loved thing. They were absolutely thrilled to bits when they saw those for the first time!
How did you make sure that both of their personalities were represented
Previously, the cots/cotbeds stood side by side in the room and — as a result — the space felt very much like a ‘twin’ room. But their new, single-size beds were too long to go where their cotbeds have, historically, always stood. So they had to be situated on opposite corners of the room; which has naturally given them a clear space of their own. The areas around their beds are filled with their own belongings — prints and pictures — and each ‘zone’ has a very definite feel.
If you could make any changes, what would they be?
I really wanted to put floorboards down in the boys’ bedroom. Carpet in a kid’s room is not something I’d choose, but we just couldn’t afford to replace the current floor covering.
In some ways, I’m glad we saved our money as we’ve just been given planning permission to extend our home and one of the changes will give better access to the bedrooms at the top of the house. This will mean that the rooms will be suitable for everyday use so, eventually (when the boys are older) they’ll be able to have a room of their own. That’s if they want to. They may decide that they always want to share!
What's your top tip for making a shared bedroom work?
Unless you’ve got unlimited space, it’s pointless having two of everything. My boys have always shared a wardrobe — and clothes storage — and they share the reading corner too. It just wouldn’t be necessary to double up on certain elements. Having said that, do ensure that each child has something just for themselves; a ‘non-communal’ item (in our case, the boy’s bedside tables).
When they’re a little older, I’d like them to have a desk of their own too — but, for now, the little Sherwood Cupboards are a brilliant way to make them feel that they have something of their own. Sharing a room shouldn’t automatically mean that you have to share everything. I think it’s important to create zones; so that each child feels as though they have their own personal space.
Do you have any tips for parents transitioning their children's rooms from a nursery look and feel to a more grown up vibe?
I would say, don’t ditch all the nursery stuff in one hit!! I thought that the boys would be very excited to get rid of their baby items and have a grown up ’big boy’ bedroom. But, one of the twins was very unsettled to lose the wallpaper; and he didn’t like being across the other side of the room from his brother to begin with either. Putting one of the old nursery prints back on the wall, near his bed, was all that was needed to reassure him and make him feel happy with the changes. The familiarity of something that he was used to looking at, when he went to sleep at night, was really important. I’d got plans to fill the walls with brand new Star Wars themed artwork but, when it came down to it, I went with what they felt comfortable with. That will keep for another day.
Which GLTC products would you recommend that would stand the test of time from a baby's nursery to a teen's hangout?
The zig-zag beanbag and rug! We’ve had quite a few tweens and teens come to stay with us, over recent months, and they’ve all coveted the zig-zag accessories. Monochrome works for every age group; plus it’s a great foil for bright colours and gives a room a fresh, modern feel.
And finally, what makes a happy home for you.
Storage. Unquestionably. I’m happy when all of our stuff (and my gosh, we have a LOT of stuff) has a home of it’s own. I don’t mind a bit of chaos and clutter but when it’s out on display on a permanent basis, it begins to grate!
I’ve noticed that, since we updated the boys’ room, it’s been much, much easier to keep tidy! Having the dressing up chest — just for their dressing up clothes — and the book corner — just for books — has made the world of difference.
Style is one thing, but substance — particularly in a shared room — is more important! The bones of the space — storage and shelving — is the thing that you need to get right first. Once that’s in place, the rest will follow.
Follow Caro on Instagram for more colourful home and family updates.
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