Decorating A Bedroom To Accommodate Two Styles

My boyfriend just bought a house which I and my two children will also be staying there. My daughter will have to share her room with my boyfriend's daughter when she comes to stay on the weekend or throughout the summer.


My daughter wants to paint the walls white with polka dots painted on the walls that can be used with a black light. In fairness to my boyfriend's daughter so she doesn't feel left out we said she could also choose. My daughter was extremely upset when she found out she had to share the decorating with someone else.

My boyfriend's daughter mentioned painting her two walls with a red apple/maroon type color and having hearts with a zipper type design through the middle. My daughter about fell over. Also two of the walls have windows in them - one 8x8 approx. and the other 14x14 approx. How can we pull this dilemma together and both of them be happy? My daughter is 14 and his is 11. Please help!

Susan from Mishawaka, IN

April 14, 20080 found this helpful

I'm going to give you several ideas, but down at the bottom the best idea is the one with the *** at the front. Pay special attention to this one!

You could hang one or several shower curtain rods from hooks in the ceiling & pull them closed when his daughter stays, as a way to "draw boundaries" & know my sister & I would have LOVED something like this, as we were ALWAYS fighting over whose space was who's.

About the design & the colors. Design the bedroom for the one who lives there permanently, but for colors, go the paint store & pick out 2 each of a BUNCH of paint chips, then give each child a set & see where they go. Tell them they need to find a color they BOTH like, I'm sure there is at least ONE color they BOTH like & tell them if they can't compromise on one color then you'll leave the room WHITE! Now about your daughter, you can do her design in glow-in-the dark paint (which glows under black-light, but is invisible when it's day time). Only turn the black light on when the other child in NOT there. PLUS, she can pull the shower curtain across her part of the room.

Now, if you decide to use bunk beds instead of 2 single beds (do NOT make them share a larger bed! There would be massive fighting!) If you DO decide on bunk-beds then have your daughters be the bottom, that way she can have privacy (at 14 you do NEED privacy, more than at 11) because you can easily hang curtains around the bottom bunk with HER paint inside & HER black light inside that space. The rest of the room. It's best if you keep it white or they find a color they BOTH like. But if you do curtain off a bottom bunk or a corner for your daughter then you should tell your daughter, well maybe you should let your (stepsister?) have her way a bit since you get to do your own thing in your space. If your daughter wants the top bunk then hang the curtains from the ceiling. OR: You can hang curtains around BOTH of the girl's beds & let them decorate inside the curtains around the bed as they like.

Also hang a LOW WATT light inside by each bed so the girls can read & study. A low watt light (40 watts or under) because of fire & make doubly sure the light that is hung can't touch the curtains, no matter where the curtains are. Or a fire can easily start. LED lights, florescent lights & rope lighting doesn't get hot. These are your best choices. Like a small florescent light that's meant to go under the kitchen cabinets.

I went through the same exact thing you are when I remarried, but my daughter was 7 & his was 10. But then of course, 3 years later they were 11 & 14. But I have to say, it's easier putting girls together in the same room when they are several years younger, like I did. But the REAL fight came because His daughter wanted all of my husbands attention (& had always gotten it because her mom was dead). She didn't want me in her way. This mellowed out after several years when he finally put his foot down & said to her with conviction: "THIS is now YOUR MOTHER & MY WIFE, GET USED TO IT" . That's all she needed to hear (him finally putting his foot down) & she mellowed out & started getting along with me beautifully & 6 years later when my ex & me divorced (as friends) she was the only child who cried & was sad about the divorce. The other 3 kids could care less. When we put the girls into their room together the color choice was dictated by their wall-to-wall rug (which was unfortunately bright orange shag! YUCK!) So we decided on the colors Peach & Mint. That's another way you could go: Have 2 colors, one that's picked by each girl. Like burgundy & pink, or Red & White, or even Red, White & a tiny bit of Blue. Or pink & purple or pink & black. Or a compromise or JUST WHITE as a threat if they can't agree!

---> Here's a good idea: Maybe if you take them to Walmart to look at Bedding they can choose comforters they both like THAT MATCH... Then they can EACH choose ONE color they like from the colors in the comforter... to paint the walls. That way, everything will look great in their room & actually match their comforters. Tell them to also think about the bedrooms carpeting color when they choose the comforter.... Make sure they compromise on the comforter. (tell them "Either you 2 decide on something you BOTH like or I will pick it out MYSELF!). You may have to take them each at different times, because they may purposefully pick something the other hates just to spite the other one.

*** BEST IDEA YET: Take the girls to Walmart, then send one of them (with your boyfriend) to another isle in the store away from the bedding & Keep one girl with you. Tell the girl that's with you in the bedding isle "Pick out 2 different comforters you like". then send her away to the other isle, then say the same thing to the second girl: "Pick out 2 different comforters you like" (do NOT let her pick only ONE!, make sure she picks out TWO!) and since Walmart only has 4 or 5 different styles of comforters made for girls & teenagers, then the odds are (if each child picks 2 they like) that one of these will match & be the exact same style of comforter that the other child also picked. That way, you can buy the matching comforters that they BOTH liked, then let each child pick ONE color from the comforters (have them pick the color when the other girl isn't around because THEN they might even pick the same color!)

* Don't tell them what you are doing when you go to Walmart & have them choose their own comforters. Just say, "We're looking at comforters today, each one of you one at a time will pick 2 you like", then send the other girl away to a different isle out of ear shot so she won't know what the other girls picked. Then YOU make the final decision. But, Like I said earlier, odds are, they will pick a comforter style the other one also picked.

* When they choose their comforters, remember you're 14 year old will be 17 in 3 years, so try to pick out something she'll like in 3 years... Not to "frilly" & not to "young". Walmart has a lot of "Neon colored Daisy" prints & other "cool teenage" prints & styles of bedding & comforters w/matching wastebaskets & other accessories for a pretty good price.

The main thing is to make sure they clean that room each & EVERY day & especially before the other girl comes to visit the room should be nice & clean for her! (so she feels at home!) Buy them under-the-bed plastic storage totes & other storage containers & MAKE SURE each girl has their OWN closet (we gave our girls the master bedroom) but a closet in the hall or a linen closet will work just fine as long as it's "her own". Just make sure they can keep their clothes separate! Heaven forbid the 11 year old actually wears something that belongs to the 14 year old! Now THAT could bring disaster!

GOOD LUCK! You'll need it, with 2 hormonal girls! *grin*

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April 14, 20080 found this helpful

May I suggest that you keep the walls and drapes and carpet neutral and allow each girl to choose her own set of sheets, bedspread, etc. that match/compliment each girl's taste preference. When the man's daughter comes to spend time with her dad, her bed will reflect her preferences too.

Neither girl need not be divided from each other while shopping and they are both made aware of how the bedroom will be shared before shopping and choosing together and that nobody is allowed to speak out against each others choices. Be fair and treat both girls the same. If one girl gets something extra, then so does the other.

Turn this situation into a fun event and make each girl feel special and very pleased with their choices. This should help bridge the gap of indifferences and perhaps down the road, both girls will be good friends and lessen rivalry between them. It shouldn't matter so much whether the bedspreads match the other bed, but pleasing each girl with her own taste preference in bedding only for starters.

I would wait to buy new drapes or curtains for the room until after the girls have their shopping spree. Maybe you can merge color choices into something really nice in fabric, walls, and carpeting to bring it all together if you don't have to remain neutral toned. This should be your decision as you don't want the room to look wild and crazy.

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April 15, 20080 found this helpful

Paint the room white, pick neutral carpeting. They are 11 & 14, their tastes will change. Let them pick bedding for each bed. and decorate with posters etc.

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April 15, 20080 found this helpful

OMGoodness, I'm afraid you're in for a real challenge. The way I see it, of course you want your b/f's daughter to feel "at home" in her fathers house, but it's YOUR daughter who will be living in the room.

Imagine how you would feel if you were told that you were going to live someplace, but had to acquiesce your decor to an occasional visitors taste. There is a world of difference between 14 and 11. Please try to resist the temptation to homogenize these two young individuals into a lump that becomes "the girls". They are strangers to each other, put together not of their own choosing.

I'm all for neutral. If your daughter wants Day-Glo, you might allow her to paint 'glow-in-the-dark' designs on her wall that can only be seen in the dark, or with black light. They have glow paint in most hardware stores. I'd go with a trundle bed, where one can be kept hidden under the other until needed, and perhaps set up just before your b/f's daughter arrives, so that your daughter doesn't have to constantly have her space encroached upon even in the other girls absence.

If you do this, the younger girl can choose her linens and bedspread to reflect her own taste, and not have it be a constant thorn in your daughters side.Assuming you are expecting your relationship to be long-term, I feel that the priority is fostering good will between the girls, and not allowing it to become a power struggle. Please remember that your b/f's daughter has a room at HER primary home that can totally reflect HER taste. This room is all that your daughter has. It's daunting enough for her to have to share space with someone who she, no doubt, considers a "child"

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read up on the psychology of combining a family. There is So much to learn, and there are many ways to help the process go more smoothly for all concerned. I wish you the best of luck.

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April 16, 20080 found this helpful

You could use matching colors for all the graphics. I'd like to point out that this room will not be a good place to study. Too many visual distractions.

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April 16, 20080 found this helpful

Why do they get any say in the matter? It's YOUR home. Avoid all dilemma and YOU decide (sounds like they'll never agree on anything anyway). I agree with "anbsmommy" - just let them pick the bedding and keep the rest neutral.

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