Designing a shared nursery: How to create a space that works for multiple children

By Leah Eagle

Getting ready to welcome baby number two, or maybe three and it’s time for some siblings to share a room?

Pairing a toddler and a baby may not be as hard as you think. Their bedroom needs are similar and so are the activities happening in the room.

The two most important things you will need to consider are functionality and décor.


If you have enough space, divide the room into a toddler area and baby area. Put a crib and a changing table in the baby space and a bed for your toddler in their space.

With two to a room instead of one, you’ll need all the storage you can get. Each will have their own clothes, books, and toys. Use a dresser to hold their clothes, maximize the closet space with hanging clothes and bins and make use of all the vertical space you can, whether it's on the closet door or on the walls.

Make the items they use the most easy to reach. Books, toys and stuffed animals can go in shelves or bins at their level for easy accessibility. Divide their toys as well, since some of the older child’s toys may be dangerous for babies.


Since the newborn won’t have an opinion on how the room looks, gear it toward the older child and create a space with décor that will work for them. Let them help pick the colors, bedding and some art so they’ll feel like they’re a part of the process. Provide them with choices you are okay with so whatever they choose will be something you like too.

It’s going to be easier if there are two boys or two girls in a room, but for a boy-girl room, keep things in a neutral style to work for both of them. You could include a personalized piece of wall art or a wooden monogram of their initials to make the space special for each child.

At Olli+ Lime, we love monochromatic colors. Consider creating a monochromatic space with two matching beds, several pieces of artwork, an accent wall using our wall decals and an ottoman on the floor. Or go with a neutral theme with pops of color.

If you want to have wall art specific for each child, check out our custom Happy Birthday wall art available in a neutral style or with a blue or pink detail. Wall art is currently 50% off, so it is an excellent time to stock up.


You can also consider hanging colorful buntings and garlands, a bright lampshade and incorporating colorful and printed textiles.


When designing a shared room, there is likely furniture and accessories already in place so take an inventory of what will stay and what will go (and what can be repurposed, donated or thrown away). A shared room can feel cramped, so just have the large items that are necessary for the space.

Think about how the room will be used and consider the practical details, like placing the crib closest to the door so you don’t disturb the older child when the baby needs attention. Rugs, artwork, and books can help divide the room into specific zones.

To save space, consider a comfy chair instead of a glider to save on floor space, and that chair can be used in another room of the house later on. This spot can be used to feed the baby or read books to your older child. Have a lamp nearby for reading at night.

When is the right time to room share?

If possible, wait until your baby is around six months old. Until then, you can keep your newborn’s crib or bassinet in your room if that works. This will help prevent SIDS and keep the baby from waking up their older sibling with all those middle of the night feedings.

You may also want to hold off on the kids rooming together until the baby is (mostly) sleeping through the night or at least sleeping longer stretches at a time. That way, you won’t have to soothe two kids back to sleep when the baby wakes up your toddler.

Other tips

  • Put your baby and your toddler on opposite sides of the room. This can give your toddler some privacy while they will still be able to see each other. This can also make the room look bigger.
  • Put them to bed at different times. If the baby goes down at 7 p.m., Consider delaying your toddler's bedtime until 7:30 p.m. They will get to enjoy some one on one time with you before bed. Do bedtime stories in another room so the baby isn’t disturbed then take them into the room and tuck them in.
  • Use a white noise machine. Even if both kids are great sleepers (and lucky you if they are!), there will probably be some nights when one child cries and wakes up the other. White noise can help them both sleep through noises.
  • Set some ground rules. Your toddler might be tempted to try to take the baby out of the crib, give them a blanket or toy. Tell your older child to come and get you to help take care of the baby instead of doing anything by themselves.

Hopefully these tips will help you design your shared nursery for however long you’ll need it. You can change things up as both kids get older, or more kids come along and will need to use the space.