Siblings sharing rooms – I would love to hear your thoughts!

Can you help me with your advice about kids sharing rooms? Did you share when you where small, or do your children share at the moment? And what do you think about it? Why do they share or not? Is it because lack of space, a financial decision, just because they are more happy sharing – feeling closer to each other? I’m working on this project together with Jenny and I would love to hear you thoughts!
My kids share a room. The younger one loves it and my daughter really hates it. Or she says but I kind of think it’s more of an idea of being in control of everything more than a need of solitude. She has the top bed and a rope ladder that she can pull up to be alone. I think sharing is good for them, it kind of forces them to get along and hopefully understand each other better . Sure there are fights about which toy belonging to whom. How to you do with those things – do all the toys belong to both of them or some are mutual and some are personal? A tricky question. In my opinion I don’t think kids need personal space until they are about 12-13 years old but what do you think? Certainly it all depends on what kind of kid it is we are talking about …
I also wonder if you know someone who lives in a different way? Maybe 3 kids are sharing the living room and the smaller bedroom becomes the living area? Or the kids maybe sleeps together and then have a joint playroom? Or all of the family share the same room?

I will be immensely grateful and I’m so curious about what you have to say about it all!




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45 Responses to Siblings sharing rooms – I would love to hear your thoughts!

  1. Marielle August 21, 2013 at 22:21 #

    I used to share a room with my sister until I was around 9 or 10. I think the main reason was space at the time. We would both have one ‘half’ of the room with our own stuff: I had a little cupboard with some personal belongings (soap, books. etc) on ‘my half’, although of course this division wasn’t as strict as it now may sound. Sometimes we fought, sometimes we were best friends. I do think it is healthy for children (and adults) to have the possibility for solitude. I am a huge introvert (I visualised the working of the introvert brain on my blog here: ) and it really means that sometimes I need to be in a less stimulating environment. Luckily for me that was still possible by for example quietly reading a book in the living room when my sister was in our room. The sharing part isn’t harmful for that, as long as people have the possibility to also be in a more quiet private space at times (doesn’t necessarily have to be sleeping room). That’s my 2 cents on the topic ;)

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:24 #

      Marielle – love your blog and that for your insight!

  2. Amii August 21, 2013 at 23:21 #

    To begin with my sisters and I shared a huge loft space
    We had three separate beds and corner of the room each. We loved it! We shared until we were 11, 9,7 and then my older sister had her own room. Then when we were about 15 and 13 my older sister and I shared and my little sister had her own room. It helped us to share, to work on our issues and find a way around them. We had and accepted each others individuality and style choices. It’s funny because now we all have very similar taste…a kind of variation on a theme! And we all live within walking distance of each other…..we are in our thirties!

    My two older kids share, a boy and girl. They share due to lack of space. However, they have been asking to share for a while. They have bunks and my daughter has the top bunk, curtained and forbidden to my son. She has individualised her area and with a white theme they can indulge the decorative ideas of each one. It’s now happened that they both want a surfing themed room. So that’s a bonus!
    Again they learn to compromise, be patient, work out differences… We are going to be moving, with a ten year gap we discovered we were having another baby. Baby is now needing more space as do the older beans. Time has come for us to accept defeat and give up our super loved apartment.

    Long and short of it, many don’t have the option to just move to a bigger property so have to “make do” there are definite ways to allow each child to express their individuality and have privacy.

    That’s my waffle! Great topic!

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:26 #

      Sounds great! I’m an only child – i’d love to have some sisters! Thank you AMii

  3. Marie August 21, 2013 at 23:26 #

    My kids share one room where they have their beds (bunk bed) and some toys. They are 6 and 3. When it comes to playing they use the entire house, so I step on toys daily. For arts and crafts we have desks (each their own) in our dining room, where I also have my work space. They share some toys and some are their own. I think the key is giving them a chance to have both sharing and private stuff/areas. Being a family is messy – both with things and feelings – and the best way to learn who you are and what you need is in interacting with your family. My oldest will have her own room when she turns 10 – she’s already decorating it in her mind. But she’s ok with the wait. Interesting project :-).

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:27 #

      Good point with private area! Thank you

  4. Pip August 22, 2013 at 00:15 #

    My boys share: they are 13 and 17. They’ve always shared and I think it’s actually really good for them! I think that the idea that kids need separate rooms is a bit misguided in some ways. Think of all those communities where whole families share a room and our default of separating kids seems a little bit extravagant. I think it’s part of the whole movement to separate families within houses. I’m not sure that is such a great idea. I like the idea of families living close and learning to cope/communicate/compromise! But that’s just me! It’ll be interesting to hear what others think! (My boys DO complain about sharing, but I think kids always find things to be a bit cross about!)

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:29 #

      I agree with you Pip about the misguided part and cool to hear they are that old and sharing! thanks!

  5. Rozenn August 22, 2013 at 00:24 #

    My two boys ( 7 and 4 years old) have their own room. The taller needs his space than the smaller doesn’t need it.
    I think it depends of their age.
    The taller needs calm for reading, writing or just for thinking.
    Before having each room, they need a space to be alone ( without their little brother or sister whose usually playing nearly).
    For playing, they can do it where they want..

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:29 #

      Good to hear the other story Rozeen thank you

  6. Carmen August 22, 2013 at 00:24 #

    I used to share my bedroom with my sister until we were 25 and 24 years old. It wasn’t a problem of space but that our parents wanted to use the other spare room as a dinning room/office. I think that this joined us a lot while we were little girls: in the night we used to talk a lot, tell stories, help each other with our problems. It was no problem to share things but sharing “moments”: one wanted to sleep, while the other wanted to read, one wanted to study while the other wanted to listen music and so on.
    When we were older, maybe 11 or 12 we really wanted to split and have our own space with our own rules, but we weren’t allowed. I think it was a pitty because it would have taught us to express ourselves and given us a kind of independence and privacy we couln’t achive until we left home.

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:31 #

      Thanks Carmen- damn parenting is a tricky balance!!

  7. Tammy August 22, 2013 at 06:15 #

    My two boys, who are eight and five, have shared a room since the youngest was ten months old. My oldest, who was three at the time, had his own room and hated sleeping alone. One night he asked if his baby brother could sleep in the same room. We wheeled in the cot, and expected we’d be wheeling it out again after an hour or so. But it worked out great from the very start! In fact, that first night, after we said goodnight and closed the door, our ten-month-old started to fuss and our three-year-old said, “Will, you have to be quiet. I’m trying to sleep.” And it worked!

    Even though there’s a three year difference between them, they’re very close. Every night after we close their door, we can hear them talking and telling stories and jokes for at least twenty minutes. It warms my heart. Some day they may want to have more privacy and personal space, and then my husband and I will have to figure out how to make that happen in our two-bedroom house. But for now we’re all happy with the status quo.

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:33 #

      Sounds great that they are so close! I hope sharing mends them together at my house but sometimes I wonder… ;-)

  8. Ltg August 22, 2013 at 08:05 #

    I shared a room with my two sisters. We are certainly closer because of it. I have two girls (5&2) and they’re have been sharing the room for about a year now. I will keep them in the same room even if we move to a bigger house. They have a bunk bed and the oldest sometimes climbs up to her bed if she wants some privacy (read a book or just daydream).

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:33 #

      Thanks – sounds great!

  9. Maria August 22, 2013 at 08:17 #

    Oh, I love to talk about this! We have a two bedroom apartment and two kids, a boy who’s 4,5 and a girl who’s 3. They have been sharing since the youngest were about five months and it´s hard for them to sleep apart. Just like Tammy said, our kids talk to eachother after bedtime, or at least our daughter talks and her brother tells her to be quiet so that he can sleep.. ;)

    I really think that even if we had more space, they would be sharing at least until they start to need privacy for doing homework. They share most of the toys, but some toys are “holy” and just their own. But it´s really really rare that one of them refuses to let the other one play with anything.

    When I grew up, me and my three year older brother never shared a room and I think that if we had shared, our relationship would have been deeper and more respectful.

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:35 #

      Maria, thanks. Well you never know how it’s really gonna affect everyone in the family I guess. I feel that my kids sleep better in the same room but they will never say that.

  10. pippilotta/kollijox August 22, 2013 at 08:32 #

    oj oj oj, måste nog formulera ett mejl här, har så himla många tankar kring detta ämne. Jag har som barn alltid haft eget rum medan mina småsyskon fått dela med varandra i omgångar. Flyttade dock hem igen vid 20 års ålder och fick då dela rum med min syrra som var helt såld på NKOTB. Rummet var tapetserat med bilder på dom och jag smög upp en bild på väggen med min dåvarande pojkvän. Vilka minnen som blommar upp :) Lycka till med det här projektet. Ser fram emot att se vad det blir.


    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:36 #

      Tack Jennie! Men hur kändes det då – att tillslut få dela med syrran?

      • kollijox August 24, 2013 at 11:59 #

        Det var fantastiskt. Att få komma varann lite närmre. Det skiljer nästa sju år mellan oss.
        Tänker att det är bra att dela rum.

  11. Sannalinnea August 22, 2013 at 08:35 #

    Sometimes we don´t have choice…
    My children are boy 11 and girl 8 an they previously had separated rooms. Untill this summer. We parents had divorce and I had to move with children to smaller apartment (much smaller).
    I tough it would be awful. I tough my children would hate me because of it, because they had to give up their own space/peace/privacy etc. A boy and a girl, three years age difference.
    But no, they are ok. :) allmost.
    Our new home is “a half of the older”. Children are sharing the bedroom, they both have kind of bunkbed (without the bed under) and they are different high. Under the beds is their own space, small tiny space for toys and comics etc. I´m sleeping in living room with all the books, sofa, tv, computer etc. So different it just to be.
    We have a small nest we are sharing now, everything is close, mother is allways somewhere near, we hear eachother better, we are together <3
    Your home is where your heart is -they say.
    I don´t know about the future, We´ll see. Maybe we will someday have girls bedroom and boys living room, or something else, you never know.


    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:38 #

      Sannalinnea- thank you for sharing your story! Well thats true- it’s not always a choise. Sounds like you still have a great core and I love that you write that you hear each other better xxx!

  12. m August 22, 2013 at 08:41 #

    Jag tänker att det inte blir ett problem för barn att dela rum så länge barnen “tillåts” att använda resten av hemmet. Ibland känns det som att barn förpassas till det minsta rummet där de ska leva hela sina liv (leka, sova, läsa, plugga, vila etc.), vilket såklart kan skapa problem om barnen hela tiden vill göra olika saker. Men om det är självklart att barnen får leka med sina leksaker i hallen, läsa sina läxor i köket och så vidare så ser jag inte varför det skulle vara ett problem att dela rum.

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:40 #

      Har itne tänkt på det på det sättet för jag har nog settdet som självklart att alla använder hela hemmet- men jag tor också att det handlar mycket om att verkligen få bestämma över en del, och sätta sin prägel på den delen. Att på något sätt äga sitt hem utan att det behöver vara så värst materialsitiskt. Men good point! Tack

  13. Afke August 22, 2013 at 09:42 #

    Are two girls will share rooms in the near future. This because we dont have enough space. They will share the attic together and the room where we will make the stairs that leads to the attic will be their playroom. In the playroom we will brake away the ceiling so it becomes more of a loft. I’m wondering what they will think of it as they grow older, maybe we can sell our house then.

    • Isabelle McAllister August 22, 2013 at 10:40 #

      Afke, sounds like a cool plan. Well you just have to wait and see. Good luck with it all!!

  14. Zsuzsa August 22, 2013 at 18:13 #

    We have just moved in to our new home, and before the remaking the kids (girl 4, boy 2) had the chance to choose between separate rooms or sharing one bigger room. It was no question. Although they both have their private corners, they love to play together. My daughter is afraid of the dark, so it is much easier for her (and us) to get back to sleep when she gets up in the middle of the night.
    But how to bring together the decoration of a room of a pink lover princess and an anykindofvehiclecancome boy … well, please share, if you have any ideas :-)

  15. Stikkymama August 22, 2013 at 22:18 #

    My brother and sister and I all used to have our own room. My parents had a big enough house. So for me that’s the norm, having your own space.
    Now many years later I’m in my own little housy with my own little family: a hubby and sonnyboy. Sometimes I sneaky daydream about a brother or sister for our boy. One stupid practical argument to not to, is our house. The lack of space, we only have two bedrooms. (Actually it was one bedroom but we put an extra wall and door in it to create a second room once I was pregnant). There’s no possibility to do the same trick again and we’re in no financial position to move anywhere else in the near future.
    It’s really nice to read all the stories about room-sharing. Maybe it’s not that bad after all. And on the practical side I’m actually redecorating the whole bedroom area in my head right now! If there will ever be a second mini-me… What if we will take that small bedroom and let the mini’s share the big bedroom… yesss I see possibilities…:) One argument down the drain! ;)

  16. Maria ( August 22, 2013 at 23:13 #

    Our children share a room. Our house is small, and we don’t have two bedrooms for them. My son is 4½ years and my daugther is 1 year old. It’s allright for now… I would love to give them a room each, but we can’t yet. They love sleeping next to each other, and so did I when I was little and shared a room with my big brother. Children love the comfort of knowing that they’re not alone I think. My daugther hasn’t startet stealing her brothers toys yet, but it is quite hard work to keep all his tiny toys away from her curious fingers and mouth! The kids spend most of there time in our living room, but as my son is getting bigger, I feel that his need for being alone in his world also increases.I love the idea, that they have each other, but we also feel that they are desturbing each others sleep sometimes. My son is a heavy sleeper, and my daugther needs total quiteness and darkness. Doesn’t always work. How well it works also depend on the age difference and if it is two girls, boys og both, I think.
    Hope you understand what I wrote, because I think it’s a very interesting topic. Tjeck out my kids room here:

  17. Lena K. August 23, 2013 at 03:12 #

    Good question! I’m a bit late to the game but….

    I am one of MANY siblings so there were various room-sharing constellations until the final addition to the house when we all got our own rooms (thank goodness!) I absolutely loved growing up in a big family but also consider private space VERY important. Living on my own was an adjustment at first but now I love it. (Too much?)

    I think age and personality differences might be the biggest factor here: I remember how my most introverted sister had to share a room with our younger brother when she was 6 and he was 2. (He loved it and she HATED it.) It was my turn to have the single room so I didn’t feel TOO bad. In fact, I remember jumping up and down on the bed, singing a song about how my life was PERFECT at 8 because I finally had “my own room AND a pet fish.” :-D

    This is when the teacher in me comes out, although I’m sure you have the best solution within you. :-) So, sharing a room isn’t a choice and that’s that. Could you let your daughter brainstorm three things she could do to feel she has more personal space in other ways? (Assuming they work for you and your family, of course.)

    – For example, could she get a specially-designated desk in the living room or a semi-private nook in the hallway?

    – How about an hour or two of guaranteed private time in her room each Saturday morning?

    – Etc.

    (I admire your creativity and carpentry skills, Isabelle, so I’m sure whatever you would make together would be AMAZING!)

    That’s a lot already but I can also share a cute story of how a Polish friend’s family dealt with the room-sharing situation if you’d like.

    • Jenny Brandt August 23, 2013 at 07:50 #

      Lena k
      Love reading your answer here!

    • Isabelle McAllister August 23, 2013 at 13:34 #

      Thanks Lena k! Great input and story! I would love to hear about the Polish family! give it to me- plz.

      • Lena K. August 25, 2013 at 20:17 #

        Thanks! OK, here you go: my 33-year-old friend Juliusz grew up with his artist parents and a eight-year-older brother in a small two-bedroom flat in a giant high-rise apartments in a medium-sized Polish city. The parents slept on a folding couch in the living room so each son would have his own room. The older brother was happy to have his space, having spent so much time as an only child, but Juliusz wanted to play constantly with his big brother.

        This forced the older brother to find clever ways to keep Juliusz out of his hair (and, most importantly, his room!) For example, they created an extensive model transportation system in the apartment, based on the city’s bus station ten floors below. When Juliusz kept trying to drive the buses into his older brother’s room, the big brother stopped him by saying that this particular bus route only ran TWICE a day: one after breakfast and once after dinner. Being so much younger (and so very gullible), Juliusz was satisfied with this solution!

        However, Juliusz got revenge in other ways, such as drawing a family portrait at school featuring himself, his mom, his dad, a pet dog (that they didn’t own), and a giant tree branch blocking his brother’s face. ;-)

        In any case, Juliusz said his absolute favorite place to be was in his parents’ shared studio because he had a GIANT cardboard box that felt like his own little world: he’d spend all day in there reading books, napping, and being passed lemonades, Pippi-Longstocking-tree-style! [Link in Spanish: ]

        P.S. Juliusz’s older brother is now a transportation engineer and Juliusz is the one who likes having his own space and private time. :-P

        • Jenny Brandt August 25, 2013 at 22:57 #

          Lena k!!
          What an adorable and wonderful story.
          Loving the treebranch bit!!!!!

        • Isabelle McAllister August 26, 2013 at 14:13 #

          Lena! Such an amazing story! Thank you! Do you mind me using it for our book? Xxx isabelle

          • Lena K. August 26, 2013 at 22:29 #

            I appreciate your interest, Isabelle, but I do not want my content published. In fact, I am working on my own book with that story and others. Thanks! :-)

          • Isabelle McAllister August 27, 2013 at 06:26 #

            No problem Lena! Im just really happy you are sharing with us! Thank you! And Good luck with Your book!

  18. Marie August 23, 2013 at 12:45 #


    I have three kids. One girl Lena and two boys Lou and Nelson, ages 10, 8 and 4.

    Lena and Lou have shared a room for years, but since we moved to a bigger house we were able to make a room for each of them…..
    Sometimes they love being in a diffrent room, but most of the time they have a sleepover, most of the time it’s in Lou’s room, because it’s a double bed. (

    Because it’s a holiday, they switch every day and when it’s school they all sleep in their own bed.

    If i would let them decide, they would build a biiiigggg bed and even have us with them in it ;-)

  19. Marie August 23, 2013 at 12:47 #

    ( Nelson has some trains and cars in a closet in the livingroom) All the other toys are in their bedrooms.
    If they want to play with someting they can bring it downstairs, but one “toy” at the time ;-) )

  20. Sofia August 23, 2013 at 21:02 #

    When I grew up my two older brothers shared a room, while I had my own. They hated sharing and envied me while I envied them A LOT, and really wanted to move into their room. Of course neither of them wanted to share with me instead. =)

    Now I have three kids of my own and the two oldest, 4 and 6 years old, share a room while our 1 year old has his own place. So far neither of them have complained about it. In our neighborhood a lot of families live in small apartments (there aren’t that many big apartments around), so most of their friends also share rooms with their siblings. I think this may be part of why they haven’t complained – in their world sharing is the normal situation. And also, they never hang out in their room, everyone are always in the living room.

    In our summer cabin we’re building a super compact bed room with a three story bunk bed for the three of them. Hopefully that will turn out feeling cozy instead of crowded :)

  21. Jaime August 27, 2013 at 04:21 #

    This is such a fascinating post. I feel my family’s situation is very different though.
    We started out with a small two bedroom house with our two children four and newborn.
    Whomever I was nursing at the time was always in the bed with my
    Husband and myself. Then the children got older and shared one bed
    In the other bedroom. They loved sleeping next to each other. Then when
    They were 7 and 3 we bought a huge victorian house with my mother, who is
    Coming to live with us. Instantly we had thousands of square feet and it was
    Wonderful! The children have their own rooms, my mom has here and my hubby
    And I ours, but the children sleep in the big playroom together. Lack of heat
    In some of our rooms and loneliness contribute. They want to be together!
    Then the baby will move to my bed in the middle of the night, if my daughter
    Wakes, she goes to grandmas bed. I love that we are all still so close even in
    Such a big old place. It’s strange for all of us to live with so much room. Most
    Of it is closed off.

    • Isabelle McAllister August 27, 2013 at 06:28 #

      Jamie! Thank you! I get so many pictures in My head from Your house- sounds great. Thank you for Your comment!

  22. Ella September 3, 2013 at 09:04 #

    När jag var liten så delade jag och min yngre bror rum tills jag var 10,tror jag.Jag minns inte att jag tyckte att det var jobbigt alls,vi lekte en del tillsammans och kom bra överens,och hade ingen del av rummet som vårat eget.
    När vi blev äldre så delade pappa av vårat rum genom att bygga in vår våningssäng.Jag sov som på en hylla,och min bror som i en koja.
    Jag hade rummet närmast vardagsrummet,och vi hade knackningskoder för att höra om den andre var vaken,och om föräldrarna hade gått och lagt sig eller ej :)
    Mina barn har haft egna rum eftersom min son har asperger och adhd.Lillasyster behöver kunna leka med sina kompisar på ett ställe där brorsan inte behöver vara,och han behöver ett utrymme där han inte behöver irritera sig på saker han själv inte gör eller gjort.
    Efter att barnens pappa och jag separerat så bor knattarna och jag i en trea. Barnen har varsit rum,men på kvällen så sover dom i pojkens rum tillsammans och jag sover i flickans i en säng som går att dra ut till en 160 säng. Ibland kommer något av barnen över och då får vi bra med plats :)

    • Isabelle McAllister September 3, 2013 at 13:36 #

      Åh tack lina! Älskar att höra om knackningarna- så fint!

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