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I share a bedroom with my two boys, ages 3 and 1. We have very little space to move around. I have my youngest son in the crib. My other son and I sleep in bunk beds. Our walls are blue and black and the room has a big closet. Is there a way to lighten up the room and create a little more space?
By Wanaya from Baltimore, MD
There are three affordable improvements you can make.
The first one is to paint with anything from cream to light sky blue. That will give you a feeling of more space. If the ceiling is removable tiles, light sky-blue tiles and butter yellow rails can change the mood from dungeon to spring meadow instantly.
The second trick is to mount the crib with a couple of garden gate hinges on one of the bunk-bed uprights, so that you can swing it in between the lower and upper bunks. If the crib is new and flimsy, you may have to reinforce it by nailing or screwing some tin flashing around it. Tin flashing comes in rolls and is very cheap. You can also use a drawer from an old dresser as a swing-out crib. You will have to add a hinge post in a corner and triangle braces, then skirt the whole thing with flashing. If you need details on how to do that, write me.
Naturally, you will have to secure the bunk to the wall, so that it can not tip over.
The third trick is to put mirrors onto all empty wall spaces. This may sound silly, but that trick is in use in some of the finest palaces to create the illusion and feeling of large spaces. Any old yard sale mirrors will do just fine, and you can cut them just like window glass with a $1.49 glass cutter.
Definitely lighten the walls with lighter colors. Minimize the amount of furniture other than the beds by having one huge clothes keeper (like an armoire) or use the closet for all the clothes, either by putting the chests in there, using plastic boxes or other containers for underwear, keeping the toys in the closet, etc.
In a cramped space, use any available wall space to hang shelves or cabinets for storage. When your 1 year old is old enough to be in a regular bed, you could get rid of the crib and place a blow-up mattress under the bottom bunk bed and only pull it out at night.
A nice pale blue is both energizing and light enough to keep the dark from becoming gloomy. I like the idea of lacy type curtains with something a little heavier at the sides which can give you privacy at night. I have covered cardboard boxes in matching Contact Paper to make them all look "related" to keep both clothing and linens, towels, toys, and bathroom necessities out of sight and nicely organized.
I believe the general consensus among us all is that you are with your two little sons, and there's nothing in the world that can take the place of that. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and are making a good thing out of a situation that could be less than happy for some people. God Bless you and the boys. Cherish every day you have with them as I'm sure you do. They grow up so soon, and will remember these days as some of the best. Love is the most treasured thing in the world, and it's all free.
I also share a room with my son, there is no other option. We have bunk beds like you, plus one big closet on one wall, also like you. under the bed, I have storage boxes on wheels and shelves everywhere! I've painted the room pale blue with yellow and pale blue quilts and curtains plus a pale blue rug. With bunk beds, we each have a small amount of privacy and both of us have small neon lamps screwed to the headboards for reading, etc without bothering the other. Tall bookcases against the walls also hold a huge amount of clothes and other stuff and don't take up much floor space. we are so used to it now, that it's no longer a big deal, long as you keep the room as tidy as possible, it will look fine.
Paint and then maybe separate the bunks and form a "wall" out of bookshelves, with the backs facing each other, for storage and a little privacy. If privacy is not what you are going for. Paint, and in the closet put your stuff up high and the kids stuff lower. Enjoy this time, someday you will look upon it fondly. : )