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Design Challenge: Shared Room for Brother and Sister

My youngest two, Gray, age seven, and Sloane, age four, share a bedroom. He’s a little dude, into sports and Minecraft, and she’s all princess, obsessed with anything sparkly and pink. You’d think that as the co-founder of a children’s design site, a shared space would be no big deal. Pulling off a stylish and functional room ideal for a brother and sister would be a breeze, right? I’m here to say, it isn’t—even for the experts.

I’ve got to confess, just thinking about tackling this shared gender design has felt incredibly daunting. There is so much to take into account. Unlike the nursery, older kids have an opinion on just about everything. So what did this busy mom of three do? I avoided this makeover like the plague, shoved all our odds and ends in their room and called it a day. No design, zero style.

Today, I’ve decided to heed my own advice. When people ask Project Junior,  “What do you do when your son and daughter share a room?” The answer is, you ask for help.

Pottery Barn Kids Corte Madera

Off I went to my trusted friends over at Pottery Barn Kids. I’ve always loved how they successfully layer boy and girl collections together, making it easy to mix the two seamlessly. Plus, with their free Design Studio services (which they conveniently offer in-store, in-home or via phone or email), I could easily access the inspiration I was desperately needing.  I made an appointment and knowing they had my back, I instantly felt better about tackling my dirty little secret.

No good makeover is complete without “before” photos. Tossing all pride aside (insert deep breath), here it goes. Gray and Sloane’s room before:

As you can see, there is so much potential with a ton of wall space, room for two beds and lots of light. But how was I going to incorporate each of their personal styles into the space? Remember, if they are old enough to order their own dinners at a restaurant, they are definitely going to have opinions about their bedroom.  Like any good designer, I brought my clients into the design process. Together, we headed over to our local PBK store so they could put on their little junior designer hats and help with the design process, choosing their favorite pieces.


#projectsibling Pottery Barn KIdsimages by Savvy In San Francisco

The kids had a blast and were smitten with PBK’s spring collection featuring navy stars and hot pink hearts.  Using this color scheme as a jumping off point, my design studio specialist Christine and I got to work. She created a super helpful layout schematic, and I used a joint Pinterest board to share ideas. Christine was so accommodating of all our ideas and took into account factors like our budget and pieces that I wanted to keep in the room.

The room took on a bright and adventurous feel with a touch of preppy. What do you think?

Shared Room for a Boy and a GirlGlass & Metal Pendant, Benjamin Moore Midnight Navy, Cameron Library Cubby Bookcase, Large Gold Star Wall Decals, Rowan Upholstered Bed & Headboard, Felt Ball Garland, Organic Star Duvet, Reversible Pink Heart DuvetDelaney Rug in Navy, Emily & Meritt Floor Mirror, Carrington Tassel Lamp, Marnie Shade, Silver Rope Basket, California Dreams Print, A Little Kinder Print, Deer Wall Sculpture, Parsons Mini Desk, Metal Desk Chair, Moda Dresser

With #projectsibling officially off and running, it was time to measure, paint and dust off our DIY skills.  Stay tuned and check back for the room reveal—it’s going to be quite the transformation! Be sure to head over to  Pottery Barn Kids blog Building Blocks for more details on the design process.

Marino Bambinos

Wednesday 4th of February 2015

I'm so excited to see the final room design! My daughter and son are the same ages and also share a room. Your design board looks fantastic!