What to Do When You Have Two Children & Just One Room

Living in a metropolitan city with kids has so many perks—everything is walkable, public transport is fast and easy, and diversions abound on every corner. One downside to city living, though, is the serious shortage of space, and the premium price at which it comes. Well, this summer, my family of three is going to become a party of four, and I’m already scrambling to figure out how I’m going to cram two kids into one bedroom.

Before you get all judgy, I totally understand that this is a first-world problem. And let the record state that our threesome lived in a one-bedroom apartment until very recently (my daughter’s crib fit just so in an alcove in a nicely sized hallway). So, we know how to roll with creative solutions. I’m talking how to manage all the stuff from different stages in kids’ lives, like diapers and desks, sensibly—heck, maybe even stylishly—in one room. For example, how will they sleep? (I love Joanna Goddard’s solution to that quandry, wish we had a second bathroom!) How will we keep our toddler’s small-ish toys away from the new baby once he or she is cruising and crawling around? How the heck do we arrange a bed and a crib so that it doesn’t look like a furniture showroom? This is what I’m thining about at 4 a.m. when the birds outside my window start their springtime morning serenade.

So, I’ve taken to perusing umpteen children’s decor websites and shelter magazines for inspiration and practical tips on how to balance life and fun in one room. It’s incredible how innovative minds can use space so wisely, and how cozy even the teeniest of shared rooms can be when you’re smart about space planning—and seriously minimal on stuff. Click through the slideshow above for some fun inspiration photos and some must-have items that will make doubling up a breeze. I hope.