Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brother/Sister Shared Bedrooms

"The hardest thing to pull off is a bedroom shared by a brother and sister. How do you create a gender-neutral space without ending up with something bland?" - Ohdeedoh

And, I would add, without something disturbingly compartmentalized like this room. Yeesh. Nothing says family harmony like blatant segregation ;)

But, it's tough. In coming up with some ideas for Bedroom 3's next stage, it's really tricky to figure out how to make a room truly personal for both a 5 year old girly girl and a 3 year old little boy. So, I trolled the 'net for inspiration and did some brainstorming. I started out with a few basic points from this article and some of my own thoughts. The rest of this post is kind of like a jumble of notes about what I tracked down. Gets a little random at times, but I was encouraged in the end. Here's the first thing that seemed like it was coming close...

I was drawn to the brightness and neutrality, I think. See, I want our children's rooms to be warm, fun, and personal, but I also want them to fit in with the rest of the house. I don't want to have a bedroom that shocks you when you open the door. We've had very pink bedrooms that didn't go with the rest of the house before. We've even had trees and murals on walls before. But, in this house, I want the bedrooms to retain a little of the mood set in the main living areas. It's a smaller home, and I'd like the spaces to flow. So, I think I liked the white and the subdued foundation.

Although Bedroom 3 isn't as neutral as white, it's still pretty neutral with its blue/gray walls and the white of the window treatments and curtains on the closet. All of that was on purpose, really. After literally months of trying to figure out our design style, I knew I was drawn to the versatile canvas of a neutral backdrop. This first photo of a shared bedroom confirmed my desire for neutrality in Bedroom 3. But, how do you take all that neutrality and make it say HAPPY, FUN, PERSONAL? And how do you do all that for both a boy and a girl?

Another neutral brother/sister room. White, again. But this photo interested me because I started to look for strong, cheerful colors that work in gender-neutral spaces. The dresses are too much for me in this photo, but the tree and birdie on the pillowcases, the blue, yellow, limey-green, and orangey-red stood out to me. Just a little color in accessories really comes out in this room. It's a Swedish room. Do you all like it? I think I'd want someone else to dust it ;)

I like the little pointy star mobile thingy. Note to self: white pointy stars look convincingly gender-neutral. Another note to self: little bits of color in a neutral room really make a big impact.

I really like the brightness and high-contrast neutrals of this brother/sister room. High-contrast neutrals with lots of white definitely fits in with the direction of the rest of the house. Those chairs were really what grabbed me, though. I love black. I just do. Black is just the best ever . It's gender-neutral, too :) And that rug is fun... a little punchy color. But, this room still feels pretty serious to me. Striking, but a little too much like Mama needs it picture perfect. This room is not a happy, warm, personal room in my mind. A touch sterile.

Then, I found this room, and I knew I was getting somewhere. For one thing, I realized that, for me, a warm, personal, happy kids' room means stuff. Collections of stuff. Meaningful, personal stuff. That was a pretty key realization, I think. I want our kids rooms to be their own. I want my kids to show through in their rooms. I like the room in the photo above, and it's pretty gender-neutral (minus the hugenormous white flowers on the rug). Plenty of white, high-contrast neutrals, a little black - there's a pattern emerging here ;) Buuuuuut - still - it was just missing something.

Do you know what it was missing? What would've really made it come alive?

It was missing red :) I love black. And I love red. Just a little bit of each.

Ooooh, with turquoisey bright blues. Okay, okay - maybe I just love color.

Wow. This, dear friends, is a killer brother/sister room. After seeing this I knew red was totally in the picture. Has to be. This room is gorgeous. Still not personal, but - wow. This room with the right amount of personal, kid-centric stuff, would be awesome. Except, I'd rather see white on the beds. That's too much black. Plus, I think it needs...

...polka dots. Red polka dots. Because we have blue/gray walls like in this picture and because this picture totally inspires me. If we took the picture with the black bedspreads and made it less stuffy and impersonal by adding red polka dots and other personal, fun, kid-centric stuff...

... like this, we'd be getting somewhere. Polka dots in moderation, though. They aren't the most gender-neutral trick in the bag. But they are happy. And I like them. I like high-contrast neutrals, lots of white, pops of black, and red, and polka dots.

And I love this blankie. This is quite possibly the happiest-looking little blankie on the planet :)

What about this room? A little crazed? Yeah. Definitely. But, it does have high-contrast neutrals, plenty of white, a little black, and red. One thing's for sure, it has lots of kid stuff. (hi, Mr. Sock Monkey!) It's a little too nutso for me, though. Take the room with the black bedspreads, add a little bit of red polka dots, mix it with this room, and that's just about right. This room livens the black bedspread room up, and the black bedspread room tones this one down. Can you combine the mood of those two rooms in your mind's eye? I think I can. Punkin and Little Dude would totally love it.

From this room and from the cozy blankie, I'm noticing colors again. Lots of colors. I don't think I want a tight color scheme that looks too on-purpose. I think I want to try for lots of those brother/sister compatible colors like bright blue, red, green, orange, and gold in just the right amounts. To make it cheerful and to keep it from being too serious, but also to keep it from looking like a novelty shop. Maybe in vintage prints.

I loved this little bookcase. It could fit into the room I have coming together in my head. See that yellow-gold fabric with the blue wall? The happy colors of the books? The bright blue of the globes? Is this for a boy's room or for a girl's room? I think it could live in both. I'm feeling inspired by this little bookcase :) Picture the slightly elegant room with the black bedspreads loosened up with color, vintage fabric, the polka dot chair, and this bookcase.



Beautiful Handmade said...

Ooo, I'm first, yay! My favorite room is the room with the ginormous flowers on the rug - it's so cozy and homey! But I think that's a little because of the lighting - I LOVE incandescents! ANYWAY...your black-bedspreaded room IS very striking , but I'm having trouble visualizing it loosened up. I think because the walls are so much bluer than yours. BUT, I know you'll be able to do it! Looks like you've found the perfect color combo for brothers/sisters - how great! This was a very detailed blog post - thank you!!! Hope my comment isn't too long. ;-)


Jacci said...

Thanks, BH :)

I liked the room with the flower rug, too. In fact, it was Sam's favorite with the Swedish shelving room running a close second. He thinks I'm a little nutty for liking the black bedspread room - he thinks it looks like a high-end kiddie hotel room ;) But, when I see that photo, I see it changed up and made more personal. As it is, he's right, it's a little stiff.

That flower rug room looks like a Nate Berkus room to me. I took the photo from Ohdeedoh (which reminds me - if you click on the photos the address bar will give you the source). That room is too golden/camel and too neutral for me, though. If the whites had been cool and if there had been even one pop of bright color (like red), I would've liked it much more.

Thanks for your comments :) It's fun to toss opinions/thoughts back and forth!


Jacci said...

The flower rug room is beautifully done, though. Design-wise it's top notch. I may have to spend some more time analyzing it, lol ;)

Chelsea said...

Wow, that IS hard! I was trying to think of color combos that would work for a boy and girls' room once I started reading your post. I think you are totally on the right track! I've been thinking of color combos for our Master bedroom recently, too, and am envisioning a blue/grey on the walls that is similar to yours, so the first two colors that popped into my head (before you arrived at your decision) was navy blue and bright yellow might work for a boy/girl room, too. Just some more color combos to consider! I am really loving the white, black and red combo, too. Can't wait to see what you do! :)

Jacci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacci said...

I agree, Chelsea! Navy would be really great added into the mix. I know it sounds all random and chaotic talking about so many different colors coming into this room, but I *think* if I hold back just enough, it'll wind up looking right. This room is tricky from the get go! :)

What about navy and white ticking on DIY headboards??? Then a navy knit throw on the camel-colored chair?

AshleyandJoshua said...

Love the whole thought process. I was really a huge fan of that last room that was crazy. But I see how that can be too craft room is cluttered (in a cute way), and sometimes I love it and sometimes I need to be away from it and in a neat place. I can't wait to see your kiddos room through the process!


Love this post because . . . Little Brother Jonathan joined us 16 days ago! (So I'm a bit behind on posts . . .) Anyway he will share a room with his big sister(once he starts sleeping through the night; he's in Mommy and Daddy's room for now) and I have been wanting ideas and inspiration photos to know how to do their room. Not too boyish and not too girly is hard to find. The room is pretty girly now, though I tried to make it neutral. The walls are a light green, not quite minty, but close. White accents and Beatrix Potter animals/prints are on the walls. But the storage baskets are all pink. Gotta recover some of them. Thanks for your thoughts and observations. Good thing I'm not in a hurry, I'm going to take my time!

Jacci said...

Congratulations, Laura!!! How exciting!!! :) Yay!

lolet said...

It's beatiful, Love this room

ClaireRogers82 said...

I actually like the crazy room (with the Jenny Lind beds). Do you happen to remember where you found the photo? I'd love to track down the bedspreads and throw pillows!

Jacci said...

Hi, Claire :) thanks for your comment. I'm unsure of the source... The site I found it on didn't source it. But I'm pretty sure it's an old Domino room. Does anyone know for sure? If not Domino, my second guess is Lonny mag. Hope it helps :)