Use attic or basement spaces. When they are past the age of waking in the night, you'll both appreciate a bit of distance.
Think about creating a kids' en-suite if you have the space. Teach them to clean their own loo!
Do what you can to contain the noise. Consider building products, insulation carpet and heavy curtains that absorb sound.
If you have two living rooms, consider making one of them a kid's room. When they are younger it keeps the mess of toys and games in their own space. When they get older it gives them an adult-free zone. Younger children may prefer to share a bedroom if it means keeping a second bedroom free as a play room.
Remember kids and mess go together – when you see perfect kids' bedrooms in magazines it's usually only because they tidied up for the photographer! In principle, the more storage space you can build in the better, but remember, it's kids law that the more drawers and shelves you build the more things they will find to fill them.
Maximise storage space and minimise clutter with divan beds with drawers under them, built in shelving and stackable plastic containers for small toys and collections. Big chests with hinged lids are great for dress-ups, toys, and just shoving stuff into when you get tired of asking them to tidy their room. Display cases are good in principle, but storage that keeps the clutter behind closed doors is even better. (The shut the door on it principle!)
Make the most of floor space with platform beds accessed by ladders. Not only do kids love climbing up to bed, but the space left free underneath can be utilised as a sleep-over space for friends, a hidey hole for games, cupboard space, or a computer station and work desk when they get older.
Make sure bunks and platform beds are fitted with a safety rail. The gap between any two rails should not be more than 7.5cm wide.
When building shelving and beds, remember that they are bound to also be used as climbing frames and trampolines – think sturdy!
Where siblings share a room, try to create separate work and play areas for each child where space allows. This might be as simple as each child having their own play and display corner, or creating a more physical division such as a curtain or a set of shelves that divides the room.
Each child should have a directional reading light over their bed so that one can read while the other is asleep.
Consider covering a wall in cork pin-board. Great for artwork and posters.
Younger kids love blackboards. Paint a wardrobe door with blackboard paint rather than taking up space with an easel. Note of caution: consider the impact that chalk dust will have on your floor covering.
Resist the temptation to over-decorate babies and toddlers bedrooms unless you are prepared to redecorate as they grow. Your boisterous eight-year-old boy is not going to thank you for the cutesy duck motif when he's into dinosaurs and racing cars.
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