baby proof: sleep with two kids in one room.

May 15, 2019
two kids sharing a small bedroom | reading my tea leaves

What’s my advice to parents wondering whether they can swing two small kids sharing one tiny bedroom?

If you think you can do it, you definitely can.

With all of the proper caveats that what works for one family might not work for another, and with none of the specifics which might give the erroneous impression that there’s only one way to do this, I believe from the bottom of heart that kids can learn to sleep just about anywhere. More than that, I think it can be lovely and comforting (and only occasionally bothersome) to have your sibling’s sweet snores lulling you to sleep. Especially if you are a toddler or an infant, and likely well beyond then.

two kids sharing a small bedroom | reading my tea leaves

I’m not here to offer a single bit of didactic advice about putting kids to bed in a shared bedroom, within a tiny apartment. There are a hundred ways it can work, and a hundred ways it might need to be tweaked, but if worry about your kids sharing a room is keeping you up at night, I will say: worry no more.

Human beings the world over share small sleeping spaces. And while I won’t make claims that sleeping four to a bed, a la Charlie Bucket’s grandparents would be comfortable, it’s certainly been done before and certainly will be done again.

two kids sharing a small bedroom | reading my tea leaves

Faye and Silas have shared their room since Silas was about three-months old and began to sleep consistently in his crib. Their sharing a room has never seemed to be the thing to cause less than perfectly blissful nights of sleep. And, if it has been, well, we’ve powered through anyway, deciding against shunting one of the them to roof, or bathtub, or any other ill-advised location. On rare occasions, an awake child has indeed roused a sleeping child, but generally they’ve slept soundly through sibling sobs and squawking. When not, we’ve cursed our luck and welcomed one or another (or both) into our bed, or we’ve played musical beds, or done any of the things that parents and young children have done since time immemorial in an effort to gain maximum sleep and inflict minimum damage. We’ve been very tired and we’ve been very well rested. I have no doubt the same is true for most folks.

So what’s next?

At nearly five and inching-toward-two-and-a-half, I’ve started to think toward the future a bit. With any luck, we’ll manage to squeeze a bit more time out of this tiny apartment and this narrow room and so we’re beginning to think about solutions for slightly older kids sharing a small space.

The slim rectangle of a room has been large enough for a twin bed and a crib to fit comfortably, but it’s not big enough for two twin beds (end-to-end or side-by-side). So, we’re considering options: bunks and trundles and other ways of getting creative while staying comfortable and generally protected from bed-making nightmares.

Opinions on bunk beds or trundles or anything in between? I’m all ears.

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  • Reply Jennifer May 15, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    I wonder if Silas might be able to slip into Faye’s bed, on the wall side, for a while until you decide what your next move is? My girls (2 and 3) each have their own twin bed, but on occasion I find them in the morning sharing one bed or the other and it’s about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Aw, yes. So sweet! They do occasionally fall asleep in the twin together, but Silas always wakes up after about an hour and wants to move. I’m sure they could get used to anything, but for now makes more sense to keep the crib!

  • Reply Tina B. May 15, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    We have bunk beds. We just got them right away when we transitioned Edie to a bed a few months before Marty was born. They are 2 and half years apart. Currently the top bunk is just up there with the ladder not in use. But when Marty is out of her mini crib we will transition her to the bottom bunk and Edie to the top. I loved the idea of bunk with room for a few toys and boxes of cloths underneath we keep it tidy and easy for Edie to access her toys all on her own. I didnt wanted to take the financial plunge at once and so far glad I did.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Encouraging! I have a weird hang-up about making the bed being extremely onerous, but I’m sure it’s not so bad!

      • Reply Maree Bryant May 15, 2019 at 6:55 pm

        My husband’s mum has bunk beds for her spare room when all the grandchildren come to stay. I find the easiest way is ditties sheets on the bottom & doona on top. I fold the doona back every morning at the bottom of the bed so everything looks neat & tidy. We bought 2 doona covers for each bed from ikea in co-ordinating colours / patterns that weren’t ferocious on the eyes. Definitely do-able!

        I also think there are bunk beds with trundle – to facilitate friends & cousins sleeping over & parent sleeping near-by on those nights of fever.
        Good luck!

      • Reply Whitney Olson May 16, 2019 at 6:47 pm

        All three of our girls (6, 4, 2) all share a room. We have a second bedroom that sits completely empty because we love all that they learn and love about sharing a bedroom. We have a fourth on the way and it will move right in with the other three once it is about 9 months old. My husband and I both shared a room with a few of our siblings over the years and only have the best memories. While we own a home bigger than your apartment, there are so many thoughtful principles to small space living that work plainly as simple living and offer great happiness and relaxation.

      • Reply Catherine May 17, 2019 at 1:28 pm

        I have four children and two sets of bunk beds. Those Beddy’s sets are pretty awesome, I have to say. I HAAAATTTTEEEE climbing up and changing sheets and loathe a messy bed (although my kids could care less, TBH). Also, Crate and Barrel kids makes a lovely loft with trundle that we have in my daughter’s room which is lower than a “regular” bunk bed and the trundle can either be directly under the loft bed like a “normal” bunk or swung out perpendicular. I love it.

    • Reply Megan Kay May 15, 2019 at 6:07 pm

      Growing up we slept three to a room for quite some time, a trundle (mine) sandwiched between a twin bed and crib. The room was wall to wall sleeping places at night with a small spot to play during the day. It worked for us, but I do recall being brave enough to jump from crib to bed with the trundle “safely” underneath me. The trundle was also great for sleep overs once we had grown a bit more and moved to a home with more rooms.

      • Reply Catriona Bertoli May 17, 2019 at 9:36 am

        We have 3 kids, 2 girls (9 & 7) and a boy (2). The girls have shared a room since the youngest was 6 months old. When the eldest was getting too big for the cotbed, we moved them to bunks. We love them! We live in a small apartment in Hong Kong so vertical living is the only way! They have their own little space, a bit of privacy, their own shelves with reading lights and their own special belongings/photos etc. Once our son was sleeping through the night, we moved his cotbed into the same room as the girls. It’s tight, but it works. They got used to it very quickly and rarely disturb one another. It also lends itself to the very sweetest of moments: sharing, soothing, swapping, playing, giggling, reading & cuddling (and of course, some arguing!) – it all happens in that tiny room. I’m all for it. Even if we had a huge house, I’d still put them all in the same room! X

    • Reply Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 May 16, 2019 at 1:06 am

      I have almost-4 b/g twins who have shared a room their entire lives. We welcomed their younger sister when they were 22 months old. She has her own room. The plan, now, is to keep the twins together until 6, rhen brother gets his own room and sisters get to share at 6/4. We have 3BR. The room-sharers will have twin beds. The baby is still in crib (same kind you have), which converts. Room swap is tied to when she’d outgrow it. There’s a full bed in the baby’s room that is our guest space and will become brother’s bed down the road.

      We’ll see if it goes that way, but we plan to start kindergarten at 6 and it’s a natural transition, and it seems to be a good place to sort by gender instead of age, but we shall see!

      My almost-4s are still pretty cozy in their converted toddler beds, though! I think you have time with Silas.

  • Reply Sue May 15, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Toddler bed? i.e smaller than a twin bed, but plenty big enough for a two-and-a-half year old. Might not be much bigger than a crib & therefore not much space tweaking required.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      Ah, yes. I think I’d just keep the crib in that case though! The real appeal would be both a bigger more comfortable bed for Silas and the possibility of a bit of extra floor space!

      • Reply Jasmine May 15, 2019 at 2:05 pm

        We have both bunk beds and a trundle. In our small, but still 3 bedroom house we have tiny rooms without closets and four kiddos. Our twin boys (5) have bunk beds and it works great, they have a dresser to store clothes in and are in the same size so one dresser is plenty. In our daughters(4) room the roof is far too slanted for bunk beds. She has a trundle bed and the trundle has three drawers underneath. Right now this trundle is for guests as baby (4 months) is still in our room with us. But when the time comes they will share a small narrow room with a trundle and honestly I think it will be adorable. I’m excited for it even. Both are lovely styles of room sharing.

  • Reply Susanne May 15, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Love this! Such a beautiful little room. We have two boys, ages 2 and 4, and they share a similarly tiny room. We decided on a bunk bed, and whilst the older one loves his upper bed (Cave), the little one slept better when we were on vacation and they shared a bigger bed. He loves to cuddle up with someone else. But if the kids are used to sleeping in their own bed, I would always go for a bunk, saving space and it can double as cave/fort/house etc.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 1:55 pm

      Ha, yes! Cave, fort, house!

  • Reply Joanne May 15, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    We have 3 children (3, 6.5 & 8.5) and two have shared rooms since the oldest were 3&5 (just before the third came along). Bunk beds have worked well for our family, giving each child some personal space within their shared room. If I could go back, I’d maybe look for something smaller (we ended up twin over full with steps, my husband insisted on no ladder) because it takes up a lot of visual space. I’ve seen many people use the IKEA Kura bed with a small mattress underneath for shared children spaces.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Thank you! Yes. I’ve been thinking about the tiny bit of gained privacy for sure. And yes to the Kura. Have seen lots of pretty inspiring hacks!

      • Reply Heidi May 15, 2019 at 3:05 pm

        We have our 5, 3 and 1 year olds in one room. For a while it was two mattresses in floor+crib, now it’s a double and+crib, which we like for nightly reading to both kids at same time—but I’m always wondering about the personal space and night reading for my 5 year old and whether that would be nice down the road. My one year old is a climber so I’m a bit nervous about the bunk beds, but maybe it’d be fine. Like the allure of a tiny bit extra floor space too. When he is out of the crib, I’m not sure what we’ll do.

      • Reply Kim May 15, 2019 at 6:50 pm

        We love the Kura and it is low enough to making changing the sheets pretty easy!

  • Reply Annie Eckhart May 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    We are a family of 4 (plus a dog) in 660 sq feet in LA. My kids are 6 1/2 and 4 and we just got them bunk beds for Christmas. It’s been really great… especially since my son likes to read to himself on the top bunk while his sister sleeps below, no more lamp shining in her face. It is a total pain to make to top bed, but so worth all of the benefits 🙂

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      Ha! Yes! Been thinking about that nighttime reading!

  • Reply Luisa May 15, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    My sister and I shared a room until I went to college, and it was totally fine. Yes, we fought sometimes, or stayed up too late sometimes, etc., but overall, it worked well! We did have enough room for 2 twin beds (barely), and then had a sliver of space to walk on in between the beds. It’s true that people around the world share sleeping spaces, and we are spoiled for space in the U.S.!

  • Reply Millie Wamsted May 15, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    I would second the benefit of personal space with bunk beds. It IS a pain to make that top bunk! But my boys love their beds and having their own space where they can plaster the walls with their own art (or beloved Lego instructions, as the case may be). And the additional floor space is VERY helpful when you have lots of folks sharing a small-ish space (and, of course, lots of Legos that need building). We also have a little corner shelf hung up for the top bunk sleeper to have a perch for books. Best of luck to figuring out what works for y’all!

    • Reply Lee May 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      Bunk beds forever! Making the bed is indeed a pain, but when I was a top bunk kid my mom always had me help and do the trickiest part of the fitted sheet. When my family moved and our room got a little bigger, my sis and I still shared the room, but could un-bunk and re-bunk the beds when we wanted to change our room around. Lots of flexibility!

  • Reply Sarah May 15, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Have you seen the Murphy bed bunks on 600ft ands baby

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      Yes, yes! The install and investment make that option pretty tricky in a rental, but it’s always inspiring to see how Alison makes things work!

    • Reply Kelly May 17, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      I personally am a fan of a trundle. It’s easy to make the bed, it feels separate, and if you’re lucky, very easy to rearrange. I also like low-to-the-ground things for toddler independence.

  • Reply Corrie May 15, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    We have our three girls (7, 5, and 2 yrs old) in one room. We lofted one bed and have a space for books and toys underneath and have a bunk bed on the other side. The top bunks are off limits during the day (too many times we caught them jumping off! ) but the bottom bed is still used as a cozy reading area during daytime play. Love the blog and writing. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Reply Tracee May 15, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    My boys have had bunk beds since my youngest was 2 1/2. We love them! They like to have “sleepovers” on the weekend and share one bed. In truth, the top bunk is warmer so blankets can be lighter. Changing the sheets is a pain but making the bed is pretty easy-and in all honesty we never make their beds unless company is coming over ; )

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 2:30 pm

      Haha! Bed-making addict over here, but still think we could make it work!

      • Reply souris en goguette May 15, 2019 at 5:49 pm

        Ha! We’re about to transition for our children too, and while bunk beds would free some much coveted floor space, we’re going to manage with twin beds. We’re just frightened they’ll jump off the top bunk or some similar dangerous silly idea. They manage to brain themselves jumping on the bed or in the crib on a weekly basis (yeah.) so no need for increased risks over here :/

      • Reply Nosu May 17, 2019 at 3:23 am

        An easy way to make the top bunk bed is to use a mattress topper, with a doona only and no top sheet. Changing the bottom sheet on a mattress topper is really easy. Older kids can easily manage by themselves. My girls shared a room until the oldest left for university (college).

  • Reply Liz May 15, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Growing up, my cousins, who are about three years apart, shared a very small bedroom and great success was found in having a twin bed with a trundle. During the day, the twin bed was a shared space . They took turns month to month between the sleeping spaces with a simple change of sheets (they each had special sheets). Almost five decades later, I still remember their enchanting room, their really neat special bed, and smile that as adults they choose to live on the same street raising their families. <3

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      Encouraging!!! Thank you!

  • Reply Stacie May 15, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    I have three kids who all share a room. We have bunk beds with a trundle. If I just had two, however, I think I’d go with a trundle instead of bunks. My kids sometimes complain about the bunk bed moving and making noise as they are tossing at night. It’s also so frustrating to change the sheets and make the bed with a top bunk. Of course, the Trundle takes a second to pull out at night, but it’s easier for a kid to learn to pull out their own trundle than to make the bed with a top bunk. Haha! Does any of that make sense?!

  • Reply Sam May 15, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    How did you manage naps for Silas once he was the only one napping? (I guess I’m assuming he still naps, my kid does and she’s only a few months older.) We have more space but thin walls and I’ve been wondering how a baby might sleep through the noise my rambunctious 3 year old makes Otherwise she’d fit in well in your tiny room since once she started sleeping on a mat at preschool she will only sleep on the floor at home – no crib or bed needed. Kinda driving me crazy but makes it easy to travel!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      We do something quiet with Faye, or one parent takes her out for a walk! Silas has been in daycare since 18-months tho, so since then, naps at home have only been on the weekends!

    • Reply Hanna May 15, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      I have 2 girls only 16 months apart, but the older one dropped her nap very early, so now it’s only little sis napping. We introduced quiet time and have big sister do lots of crafting and drawing and puzzles during nap time. After 30-60 minutes of quiet time, depending on how into the activities she is on any given day, we will either play with her quietly until sister wakes up, or she gets a bit of screen time.

  • Reply Summer May 15, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I shared a twin/trundle with my sister growing up and we both hated it when it was our turn to sleep on the trundle. We would’ve preferred to each have a permanent space.

    Now with my own two sharing a small room, I’m leaning towards bunk beds.

    • Reply Kellyn May 15, 2019 at 3:03 pm

      That’s the experience I know of with friends who had the same situation.

      I had my own room growing up – but I was a camper/camp counselor and just think about how important it felt to have a rectangle that was all mine in a room with multiple people….

      Also, though it doesn’t have to be the case, a lot of the time you have to buy a special trundle mattress, which is usually thinner and smaller (less comfortable). We just bought a trundle for my daughter’s future room which will serve as a guest room until she’s out of her toddler bed. I did a lot of trundle research!

  • Reply Emily May 15, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    My two little ones share a room and we’re lucky to have room for two twin beds. I was surprised nobody mentioned safety concerns about bunk beds? The child health reference book that we follow flatly says not to buy them. After some googling, looks like AAP says to wait until kids are six. Sounds like a lot of people are doing them earlier, though? I think I’d be more comfortable with a trundle, though you know your kids best!

    • Reply Souris en Goguette May 16, 2019 at 8:26 am

      Safety is definitely my biggest concern. Not going for the bunk beds because of it.

  • Reply Jen May 15, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Three kids 9 years and under here, who have always shared a room. Regular twin maple platform with a trundle works well; the trundle can also be rotated into an L-shape with the twin bed when a kid is still under 5 years and lacking the long legs that need a regular length twin. Youngest is still in a toddler bed that I am determined to get use out of until that kid turns 5 years old! If I were to do it over, there used to be a system by Pacific Rim Woodworking that involves a 4.5’h lofted bed, platform twin, trundle combo that fit together or work apart. Downside? Not easy to come by secondhand.

  • Reply Em May 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    There are bunk beds where the bottom bunk is slightly bigger (not quite a double, but 120cm) if they wanted to sleep together sometimes. Like here:×200-naturel

  • Reply Anna May 15, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    Our oldest two were in bunks starting at 5.5 and 3. It worked out really well. The daughter of a friend of ours fell out of her top bunk and broke her collarbone so we instituted rules- mostly that the 3 year old wasn’t allowed in the top bunk without supervision and that roughhousing up there was forbidden.
    It did get pretty hot up on top but our son never complained.
    We ended up moving about a year later and they got their own rooms. I’m glad we thought ahead to get the kind of bunks that separated into two twins.

  • Reply Kathleen May 15, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    We have three boys that all share a room. The older two (12 and 9) share a bunk bed, the youngest (almost 6) has a twin bed that’s next to the bunk bed but perpendicular. Their room has some angled walls which made fitting three beds in there a challenge but we did it! They also each have their own dresser which gives them a bit of “personal space.” And the two in the bunk bed also have a shelf on the wall where they can put stuff. Lastly, we have a guest room which is also where my home office is located. About a year ago, they hatched a plan to rotate into the guest bed every week, so every Monday they switch and, every three weeks, each of them gets to spend a week sleeping in the guest bed. I know that’s not an option for you but just thought I’d throw it out there since we are all about getting creative around here so everyone’s needs can be met. Maybe someday we’ll convert the guest room into a regular bedroom for one of them but then we’ll have to deal with resentment about whoever gets it and who has to keep sharing so I’m holding off for as long as possible!

  • Reply Hanna May 15, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Me and my brother had a bunk bed growing up, and we loved it. Both of us wanted the top bunK, though, so we would switch every now and again. Concerning the bed making… It’s actually healthier remove the blanket from the bed for day time, as it helps air out the mattress and prevent dust mites (or was it bed lice?? I may be wrong with the name, not sure what they are called in English). So, you could just fold the blanket neatly and set it at the foot of the bed. Makes it easy!

  • Reply Cecilia May 15, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    We have a pretty low bunkbed from IKEA (kura or something like that) and its great. Not to high so its not impossible to change the sheets or lift an already sleeping child into.

    • Reply Jessica May 15, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      We’re about to put our 2.75 and 6.5 in a Kura in a tiny bedroom and it does seem like the lowest option. We have two toddler beds in there right now and I’m really looking forward to reducing the furniture footprint!

  • Reply Rachel King May 15, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    We had 3 kids sharing a room for years and they loved the solidarity and comfort. I’d say bunks, because then you don’t need to pull the bed in and out each night, plus you get extra storage space under the bed, which is invaluable in a small space. 🙂

  • Reply Cheryl Simmons May 15, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    With 4 children and 3 bedrooms, my husband and I gave up the master bedroom for our 3 daughters. They had a bunk bed and a single bed. Perhaps the trundle would be easier changing sheets. Our son had a tiny room all to himself.

    • Reply Nancy May 16, 2019 at 12:17 am

      We also gave the kids the master bedroom! Just made more sense, because how much space do two adults really need for sleeping?

  • Reply Colleen May 15, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Based on recommendations from friends, we are planning to get this low bunk bed for our almost 5 and almost 3 year olds this summer: We like that the weight limit on the top bunk is a lot higher than the IKEA Kura (so an adult could join a child up there, if needed), but the top bunk is still only 50 inches tall, so low compared to a lot of regular bunk beds

    • Reply Alexandra May 16, 2019 at 9:27 am

      I love this. We moved a lot when I was a kid, and most of our houses were 3-bedroom homes, which meant that as the middle of three girls, I generally was always sharing a room. In some houses, I shared with my older sister, and in some with my younger, but I was usually in the mix either way. Lots of people claimed to feel bad for me when they heard this, but I loved it, and both my sisters always liked their “turns” sharing a bedroom with me.

      Now, my two sons (nearly 5, and nearly 2) share a bedroom. They are both absolutely terrible sleepers, in remarkably different ways, which makes bedtime a challenge – one wants to snuggle me in silence in his bed as he drifts off; the other still, at nearly 2, craves noise and motion – soothing music, aggressive rocking, that sort of thing. I sometimes think maybe I should just put him in a hammock bed! But none of their sleep “challenges” are really affected by the room-sharing. Actually, I don’t know how I’d survive if they were in separate rooms, because this way, I can wander in there at the point in the technically-very-early morning hours where they both seem to simply run out of “stamina” for sleeping, and lay down with both of them, and we all get hours more sleep that way.
      There is nothing sweeter than peeking in the bedroom and seeing the two of them curled up together, when they migrate into each other’s beds. <3
      For the future, I've long been considering the Ikea Kura, already mentioned above. It would buy my younger guy more time in his beloved floor bed and hopefully feel small/low enough to be exciting rather than just daunting, to my older guy.

  • Reply Nina May 15, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    When my sister and I were little, our grandad built us some bunk beds where the lower bunk was at 90 degrees to the top one. So half the lower bed was under the top one, and then there was room for a small (kid-sized, vintage, amazingly painted by my mum) wardrobe tucked under there too. Storage space under the lower bunk as well. Plus it meant I could look down from my top bunk and see my sister in her bed – good for nighttime whispering/giggling, and less oppressive for her than having my bed right above her face. If you have room for that arrangement, it’s great.

  • Reply Jo May 15, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    I love this post. My two boys have shared a room since the youngest was about 3 months too, and they love it. I joked if they would prefer single rooms and one of them started crying! We have received lots of questions from friends and family, ranging from “I shared with my brother/sister until I left home, it’s fine” to “so when will you be moving to a bigger house?”.

    We are fortunate that we can fit two single beds, however we originally looked to bunks or a trundle too.

    The James Mollison “Where Children Sleep” is a great resource showing the variation (an inequality) in children’s spaces.

    600 square feet and baby have some clever small space sleeping solutions.

  • Reply Kate May 15, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    What about a double bed to share? We have three boys in one room and when we couldn’t fit three twins, we put in a bunk bed and a double. Now two boys are always in one bed and one of the bunks is empty! Also, story time with multiple children in a double bed is heavenly. To children under 10, a shared double bed is huge!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 15, 2019 at 8:50 pm

      Yes! Have also considered. It would take up a considerable portion of the room (a double is what James and I slept in when we used the bedroom for ourselves), so I’m not sure it’s the best fit for us, but I have been tempted!

  • Reply p May 15, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    how about having a woodworker make a top bunk/loft over the existing bed. a clever maker could make it disassemble-able so you could take it with you more easily. i guess that could be true of ikea finds too…but supporting timber framers/joiners is fun… it might be more customizable i.e. the lower bed could be at right angles to the top one?

  • Reply Joanna May 15, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    We just got bunk beds in anticipation of my younger one getting out of her crib soon. She has something to look forward to, but for now the big one gets to pick top or bottom each night which makes her feel like a queen. A couple things:
    – Making the top bunk IS annoying but… it’s also FINE? But also, annoying.
    – A friend gave me the advice to just get the slimmest ladder situation and know that in 3 days with supervision, they’ll master it and you’ll be glad to have the extra room. I’m SO GLAD I didn’t invest in some staircase madness or something.
    – I found a cute bed on Wayfair that has built in ladders on both sides, which seems like it’ll be super helpful for future room configurations.
    – Consider a loft bed and then putting a slim bed under it — it seems more versatile for future uses/rooms — you could do a twin or double under it; you could do a queen perpendicular; if you got separate rooms for them at some point, you could have a cozy reading nook under, etc.

  • Reply Nancy May 16, 2019 at 12:14 am

    With three kids, and never having lived in a house with more than three bedrooms, room sharing is a fact of life! Right now, we live in a two bedroom with our girls, ages 10 and 9, sharing a space and more importantly, learning to negotiate that space. Kid 3 theoretically shares the room too but he’s in our bed every night, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. The bedroom is not big, but each girl has her own “corner,” which helps to ease but not eliminate territorial arguments. We had the Kura at one point, but got rid of it in favor of my childhood daybed with trundle, then got rid of that and replaced it with the Mydal (, which was being used by kid 2 and kid 3. Kid 1 has the Hemnes Daybed (, which opens into a full and has built-in storage. The Mydal is going because our new place has a ceiling fan, and the top bunk is too close for comfort. We are replacing it with the Hemnes.

    I watched Little House on the Prairie with the girls, and they said they would never, ever share a bed like Laura and Mary. NO WAY. LOL.

  • Reply Shelly May 16, 2019 at 12:40 am

    I have 5 kids (all boys) – we have 2 Ikea bunk beds and one has a trundle. My 3rd was a little scared to sleep on the top bunk so he used the trundle until he felt comfortable. My other boys didn’t seem to mind the top – I wonder if you could try out a bunk bed before you bought it. We didn’t know my son didn’t like it until he was sleeping up there for a few nights. Good luck:)

  • Reply Jess May 16, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Our three share their room with bunks and a crib. I highly recommend quilts from Henry & Bros! They are lovely and soft and specially sized with less overhang so that making the beds is so simple for the kids. Changing the top bunk sheet is a hassle but worth it for the added privacy and floor space!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 16, 2019 at 10:15 am

      Such a great idea to have smaller quilts to help with the mess!

  • Reply Amber May 16, 2019 at 10:41 am

    We are in a smallish apartment (1000 sq feet) and my kids (5 and 2) share a room and an Ikea Kura bunk bed. I like it but think I ultimately would have preferred a bed with storage underneath….. The girls LOVE it though. And it’s big enough that my partner can sleep in it if the kids end up in our bed sometimes, and adults can share it with a kiddo for story time. It works well for us.

  • Reply Amy May 16, 2019 at 10:47 am

    We love the Ikea Kura bed. The bottom bunk is on the ground, so the whole thing isn’t very tall. We also have kept their toddler sized quilts as they are still more than big enough for our tall almost 4 year olds, but make making up the bed much easier.

  • Reply Kim May 16, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Growing up I shared a room with my brother for about 10 years; and then with my older sister. We had a blast! Used trundles and bunks at different points. Can confirm: making the trundle is easier, but as a kiddo I much enjoyed the little private space of the bunk bed. Either way, yes we occasionally squabbled but it was lovely and comforting to share a room with siblings : )

  • Reply Jay May 16, 2019 at 11:11 am

    This may not work for everyone, but Japanese futons are wonderful for small spaces. You can roll them up and put them away when not in use. Children love to sleep on the floor.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 16, 2019 at 11:59 am

      Yes! Have often thought about this, but I think we lack the accompanying closet space to make this work!

  • Reply Kay May 16, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    My boys (3 and 6) share the “big” room in our small railroad apartment. We had them in the exact same set up you currently have until about 8 months ago. We got rid of the crib/toddler bed but kept the mattress, storing it under the twin bed – trundle style – during the day. About 3 months ago we accepted the fact that our 3 yr old was too big for the mattress and bought Ikea’s Mydal bunkbed. The kids adore it.

  • Reply Karen May 16, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Sharing fosters such close sibling relationships Having done the both the trundle bed and bunk beds options however I very much suggest bunk beds. It would be nice for each child to have their own space to play on or read in addition to sleeping. Plus draping sheets or blankets to create a fort on the lower bunk is such fun. (Sheets are difficult on trundles too, and rolling out over area rugs is a hassle)

  • Reply Julie May 16, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    I’m going to post this on both articles — My boys twin beds are 18″ apart, side by side. They are 7 & 9yo. It works perfectly for them and the room looks so sweet. Am I correct in thinking more privacy will be needed as we get closer to the teen years. If so, do I go the bunk bed route or find a partition? There are no other options, tight space. I’d love this community’s insight! (Thanks, Erin, for the space and the conversation.)

    • Reply Mo October 6, 2019 at 5:33 am

      I know I’m late in the game, but we had curtains on our bunk beds (attached to the top bunk for the lower bunk and to the ceiling for the upper bunk). They were just simple clothes line type strings attached with three (or four, can’t remember) hooks at either end and the middle (to support the weight of the curtain, but still easy to lift off so you could slide the curtains through) and one long piece of cloth with rings sewn on top, shower curtain style). That might be an option for you too.

  • Reply Mags May 16, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    We just got bunk beds and my kids (each a couple of months older than yours) love it. It had to be at the right time, though, because a few months earlier and my son (the older one) was terrified of sleeping on a top bunk; fortunately a classmate of his had bunk beds and shared the glories of sleeping on the top bunk to prepare him.

    We found a bunk bed set that can easily transition to separate beds so we can keep it if the sharing a room period doesn’t feel like a very long time.

  • Reply EllenAnderman May 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    A thought about sheets. Put a mattress pad and bottom sheet down, to leave in place for 2-3 weeks at a time before washing. Then get two times two sets of light duvets+ comforters from IKEA. One duvet underneath, one duvet on top. Easy to shake out and make the bed “neat”, warm and cozy. We did this on a “clic-clac” bed in France for our daughter, although we had to put the duvet/comforters away as the room opened onto the hall. It was possible to close, but awkward, so we avoided it as she was still young enough to be OK with that.

    Also: instant fort/treehouse making with all the available downiness. 😉

  • Reply Christie May 16, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    We have three children (8, 5, and 20 months) in one bedroom. Luckily, we had enough space for two twins and a crib in the master bedroom of our two bedroom home. The parents took the smaller room. My biggest piece of advice for anyone trying to do multiple children is to have a white noise machine, also stagger their bedtimes by 15-20 minutes. It allows each child to have one-on-one time, and it gives each child the chance to get very drowsy or fall asleep before the other comes in. We also teach the children how to tiptoe quietly out when they wake up, so the siblings who want to sleep in are not awakened.
    I think if we had a smaller room, we would use bunkbeds. I’m happy that we have the space to have two twins.

  • Reply Liss May 16, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Oh goodness, Erin! I love this thread so much. Thanks for facilitating the conversation. As for us, family of 5 with kids 12 (nearly 13, ack!), 9, & 6 sharing 800 sq ft as close as we can get to the San Diego coast. Then again, we’ve never managed more space than that despite the various cities we’ve called home over 15 years. That in mind, my kids have only ever known getting the bigger room and sleeping in a shared space. The set up has changed depending on ages & what cast-off furniture we’ve been gifted, but now looks like a bunk and twin. The most important lesson we’ve learned over the years is it’s less about the bed & more about the space they get to call their own. No the bedding is not what I would have chosen, nor are the stuffed animals, and wall hangings. But each corner reflects their respective personalities & that allows them to live & sleep in harmony. It wouldn’t bother me a bit if we could live like this forever, but we’ll see. Nothing is permanent and I’m ok with that too.

  • Reply Alexa Stipkala May 16, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    We have a similar challenge in a very small room my girls (3 and 5) share. We fit two toddler beds for a while but two twin beds would have been too tight. We opted for a bed made by Ikea (I don’t know the name or if they still make it). Its like a twin size trundle bed but instead of one bed pulling from underneath, you stack two mattress on top of each other when its closed and then the mattresses are side by side like one great big bed when open. It works for now but it does take up most of the room when open. I was just at Ikea last week and they do also sell something longer than a toddler bed but narrower than a twin that might work in their bedroom. Good luck!

  • Reply Tammy May 17, 2019 at 1:30 am

    Lovely post. And I agree — kids adapt to whatever sleeping situation they find themselves in. My kiddos are fourteen and eleven, and they’ve shared a small room (in our small two-bedroom house) for ten years.

    A year or so ago, my husband and I started to wonder if maybe we needed to find a slightly bigger house so the boys could each have their own room. When we mentioned this to them, we were surprised at how much they protested against it. We asked them if they seriously wanted to share a room till they grow up, and they said yes. Though our oldest son did concede that he might like to add a privacy curtain to his top bunk someday. 🙂

  • Reply Barbara May 17, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Hi Erin,

    Quick question, when and how did you take one of the sides of Silas’s cot?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 17, 2019 at 10:22 am

      We have an Ikea crib that’s made to convert into a toddler bed. We took the side down for both of our kids around 18-20 months.

  • Reply Amanda Krieger May 18, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Reading these comments with great interest! 3 of my 4 kids share a room (baby gets her own) and we’re lookonh at bunk beds. Is it weird that one of my great fears is someone throwing up from the top bunk!?

  • Reply Jess Korner May 20, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Our three share their bedroom as well and we’ve had many arrangements over the past 7 years! We did at one point have one in a twin and one in the ikea sniglar toddler bed, which is almost a foot longer than a crib but the same width. That might work next to Faye’s bed with a little night table between. Our youngest recently graduated from minicrib to full size crib, so we have bunks for the big kids, with stairs. The stairs function as my oldest’s dresser. I have to recommend bedding (quilts) from Henry & Bros. Specially sized for bunks, easy for the kids to make their beds, simple and sweet patterns and SO SOFT I wish they made them in queen size!

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