Adaptable//Sustainable: Adding Kids’ Bedrooms

Part 6 in the series “Adaptable//Sustainable: DIY Home Adaptation//Remaking Your Space to Work for You.”

Until I was nine years old, we lived in a small cape cod that was originally two bedrooms with an attic. My parents converted the second bedroom on the first floor to a dining room, and converted the attic into two bedrooms. This meant that the stairs led directly to my little brother’s room, and I had to walk through his room to get to my bedroom. Also, I shared a bedroom all through college.

Thus began my bias of thinking: do all kids need their own rooms, especially considering that the grown-ups share a bedroom? I know, I know, it’s easy for me to say this now, I am not a teenage girl or someone who all they wanted growing up was a room of their own. But when considering the cost of buying a new home or adding on just for sleeping space, the parent’s budget may just have to override a kid’s desire for their own room…or should I say, their own drywall box. There are many ways to ensure that kids have privacy, even if they have to share sleeping space.

 Bunk bed with storage under the Ginger Twin Full bunk bed from Platformbeds.com.

One solution is to turn with largest bedroom into the sleeping space, a different way to think of the bedroom. If you have 3 bedrooms and 4 young kids, you can fit two bunk beds into one bedroom. The other bedroom can house wardrobes for extra storage and clothing, desk for computers and can serve as the play area. As the kids get older, the rooms can then be divided by age. Curtains and sliding doors can be added to bunk beds to allow for privacy. Loft beds can house a mini room underneath, with a chair and bookshelf, also made private by curtains or sliding doors (and headphones).

 A loft bed like the Ikea Tromso provides space for a desk, chair, bookshelf and or dresser below. The space can be made private by adding a heavy curtain or closing out the bottom with painted plywood and sliding doors. 
 
Kids still need their private space. Consider creating some outdoor sanctuaries if your house is feeling cramped. A tree house is of course a classic example for younger kids. Cluster a few chairs under a canopy or in a gazebo, away from but facing the house, to give kids a place to read, talk on the phone or work on a lap top. Texture the yard with gardens, rockeries, or an outdoor water feature to provide noise buffers and privacy. Add an outdoor fireplace and instantly create another space that can be used most of the year.
 An outdoor fireplace can define an outdoor room or space and give you another room without adding square footage to your house. Coleman 5071-700 Ambient Firelight Propane Fireplace and Table.
Rooms can also be divided with sliding doors, available from Raydoor or the Sliding Door Company. This route is pricier, but still less expensive than adding a room or relocating.

What else do you need in a bedroom? An example of a bed-sized bedroom from Raydoor.
Create a bedroom or media area in the corner of a too-large living area, like this example from the Sliding Door Company

With a little creativity, you can avoid a relocation or a remodel for those few years when you need extra bedrooms, particularly when all the kids are living at home. This season of life may only be a small percentage of the time you spend in your home, and then you are left with empty bedrooms that are likely to end up being musty, rarely used guest rooms that you are paying to heat, cool, and furnish. Making a smaller house with less bedrooms work has financial rewards now and in the future.