Up until recently, my two girls shared a room, ever since my youngest was born 17 months after her sister. Even when given the chance to have their own room, they chose to stay together. As the girls moved towards double digits (my ‘baby’ turns ten later this year) I noticed their interests and preferences for things diverged. I decided to move them into separate rooms last April, and we’ve spent the last few holidays and spare weekends making over their rooms.
We live in a circa 1950s post-war home in Brisbane, where the living spaces are typically small, but the bedrooms are a decent size, so we had some good space to work with.
The girls had been in bunk beds, so I opted for double beds that would see them through their teenage years, hopefully into adulthood. I found these awesome gas lift beds that had tons of storage underneath and also in the headboard. We don’t have much storage space, so these were a good find. Other than choosing the beds, I gave the girls free choice (within reason) and a strict budget for other furniture and décor. I also allowed them to choose the paint colour for their walls, provided they helped with the painting!
I wanted the girls’ rooms to be a space where they could spend time with their friends, rest and relax, express their individuality and pursue their unique interests. It was fun to see the choices they made, and to help them explore their own wants and needs. They each decided to get a desk, and other items have been collected over a period of a few months, i.e. rugs, pictures, and other bits and pieces.
Miss 11 is a collector, creator and musician, which you can easily guess the moment you step into her room. Her colour choice was pink. She is very fussy with how her room is kept. She makes her bed each morning, and while her desk is very full, she knows exactly where everything is. Her much-loved wombats are given pride of place in their very own tepee, and she has dedicated space for craft supplies. She had no specific theme in mind, and she was more interested in the function of the room than a theme as such.
Miss 9 on the other hand very specifically wanted to theme her room. This was a bit trickier as I was worried that if we chose a specific theme, she would tire of it. I also had in mind that these girls were growing up, and I wasn’t sure how she would feel about her room in a year or two. We negotiated a little, and I agreed to help her make her room galaxy themed as per her wishes, but without putting anything in place that could not be easily changed. She has always enjoyed learning about space and had a poster of all the planets – so that was a good start.
We found that Kmart had an amazing array of galaxy themed things, so it wasn’t hard to find a quilt cover, door stop, bunting and cushions to match her theme. We were excited to discover these amazing posters from Modern Map Art that matched beautifully with our theme. The poster, featuring constellations, could be personalised with my daughter’s name, date of birth and the city where she was born. I thought this would be a lovely addition to her room and I am thrilled with how it looks with her other room features. The cupboards looked a bit bare, and we needed some more colour, so I found these cute wall stickers. The final touch for our galaxy themed room was the light fitting, which I found on eBay.
While it’s taken quite a few months to get both rooms to a point where they feel properly finished, it’s been well worth the effort. I love that my girls now have their own space where they can be themselves and have room for their own interests. While both my kids love craft and drawing, one loves lego, shopkins and barbie. The other not so much. I’ve learned so much about each of them through this process. I’ve discovered how different they really are, and I wonder how they managed to share the same space for so long!
It’s important for kids to have their own space to grow into themselves, however it doesn’t have to be their own rooms. Not every family can have a room for each child, and that’s absolutely OK. There are many other ways you can create space for your kids to do their own thing. As a kid I remember setting up a spare coffee table as a craft table for myself.
To know what sort of space your child needs, you need to have a bit of an idea of their interests. It may be that you have a corner of the garden that is just for your little digger or green thumb. Maybe a tepee or pop up tent in the loungeroom, or a little desk in the corner of the kitchen. Get creative with the space you have. Once you have prepared a spot that is just for them, make sure that all family members respect that space.
We would love to see special spaces you’ve created for your family!