Creating a Shared Toddler and Baby Room

shared toddler + baby room

Updating a nursery to a shared kid room

When I found out we were expecting again, I knew the baby would eventually share a room with our three-year-old Caroline since our guest room is often occupied by my in-laws (who kindly provide weekly child care–thanks Palmers!). 

With a shared room on the horizon for Caroline, I wanted to make the changes to her room special and exciting. The most exciting change for me was the feature wall we completed with Sharpies for $15, which you can read about here.

However, more importantly, the most exciting change for Caroline was her big girl bed. We found it on Craigslist (and bought the mattress new, on sale), and she was pumped to have a real big kid bed. It was also nice for Patrick and I because reading books sitting in a normal sized bed is way better than leaning over a toddler bed.

I positioned the bed and the crib against the same wall so they are the first things you see when entering. I feared there would be little floor space left for playing, but I was surprised how large the room still felt.

We added a fluffy white rug (which Caroline rolled around on repeatedly when we brought it home) to ground the play space between the bed and crib. We chose the white rug after dabbling with the thought of a colorful one. Daly encouraged the plain one to emphasize the graphic pattern Sharpie wall. I agreed. Do you think we made the right decision?

Now let's take a little tour!

  The vintage Hudson Bay blanket was the first purchase I made for Caroline's room back in 2014.

The vintage Hudson Bay blanket was the first purchase I made for Caroline's room back in 2014.

  We added simple cubby storage to hold Caroline's books and puzzles; it also doubles as a night stand. We struggled with book storage before and this works nicely. 

We added simple cubby storage to hold Caroline's books and puzzles; it also doubles as a night stand. We struggled with book storage before and this works nicely. 

  Bianca from  Owl & Drum  created two small throw pillows for Caroline's new big girl bed using THE PRETTIEST neon pink striped fabric. Holy cow! I'm so happy I had a reason to have this fabric in my life.

Bianca from Owl & Drum created two small throw pillows for Caroline's new big girl bed using THE PRETTIEST neon pink striped fabric. Holy cow! I'm so happy I had a reason to have this fabric in my life.

  My best friend made this pillow case for Caroline also using Owl & Drum fabric. Look at those bunnies! 

My best friend made this pillow case for Caroline also using Owl & Drum fabric. Look at those bunnies! 

  I mounted shelves over each of the beds and created little vignettes on each. For Caroline, vintage blocks spelling her name, an abstract painting given to us by a friend for our wedding and a Raggedy Ann doll a waitress made for me when I was a baby in the 80s.

I mounted shelves over each of the beds and created little vignettes on each. For Caroline, vintage blocks spelling her name, an abstract painting given to us by a friend for our wedding and a Raggedy Ann doll a waitress made for me when I was a baby in the 80s.

  Check out that  Mudd Pony stick horse.  His name is Monty.

Check out that Mudd Pony stick horse. His name is Monty.

  Hand-crafted poof bunting by the lovely and talented Tasha Ball of  House Sparrow . We are lucky to have so many crafty people in our lives.

Hand-crafted poof bunting by the lovely and talented Tasha Ball of House Sparrow. We are lucky to have so many crafty people in our lives.

  Ashley Daly took the time and care to repair the vintage quilt for Caroline's big girl bed. She identified and repaired worn/shredded pieces of the quilt and replaced them with red striped fabric. It was such a kind and sweet act to spend so much time tending to this beautiful, worn textile. Daly said she likes to fix things that someone else long ago invested time and care into. I like that a lot. (Daly here. Let's get honest; I am still repairing it. I lagged in progress. I promise I will get it done soon Palms and Caroline! I love you ladies!)

Ashley Daly took the time and care to repair the vintage quilt for Caroline's big girl bed. She identified and repaired worn/shredded pieces of the quilt and replaced them with red striped fabric. It was such a kind and sweet act to spend so much time tending to this beautiful, worn textile. Daly said she likes to fix things that someone else long ago invested time and care into. I like that a lot. (Daly here. Let's get honest; I am still repairing it. I lagged in progress. I promise I will get it done soon Palms and Caroline! I love you ladies!)

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shared toddler + baby room.jpg
  Jack's side of the room! We reused Caroline's crib since she is now a big girl. Jack won't sleep in here for a while, but it's nice to have it ready for when he's old enough to move in. For anyone with a shared kid room–at what age did you move your baby into the shared room?

Jack's side of the room! We reused Caroline's crib since she is now a big girl. Jack won't sleep in here for a while, but it's nice to have it ready for when he's old enough to move in. For anyone with a shared kid room–at what age did you move your baby into the shared room?

  Ashley Daly made the mattress, pillow and quilt for the baby bed. Stop being so talented and nice, Daly! (Daly here again. You stop being so worthy of kindness and so generous with your appreciation. I love praise. And I love you and your girl (and now your boy! And your husband is ok too. Also, I love your mom and in-laws and dog and cats...is that all?!).

Ashley Daly made the mattress, pillow and quilt for the baby bed. Stop being so talented and nice, Daly! (Daly here again. You stop being so worthy of kindness and so generous with your appreciation. I love praise. And I love you and your girl (and now your boy! And your husband is ok too. Also, I love your mom and in-laws and dog and cats...is that all?!).

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shared toddler + baby room.jpg
  I made the mobile base from my dad's old walking stick. My dad passed away several years ago; it's nice to have a reminder of him in my kids' room.

I made the mobile base from my dad's old walking stick. My dad passed away several years ago; it's nice to have a reminder of him in my kids' room.

  Meet the alphabet box–each cubby represents a different letter of the alphabet (starting with Arrow, Book and Cheeseburger on top of the box). I created this when Caroline was a baby and I'm happy to report we only lost and replaced three objects in four years (N, R and Y).

Meet the alphabet box–each cubby represents a different letter of the alphabet (starting with Arrow, Book and Cheeseburger on top of the box). I created this when Caroline was a baby and I'm happy to report we only lost and replaced three objects in four years (N, R and Y).

  On Jack's shelves, we displayed vintage blocks spelling his name, a framed swatch of the fabric (from Owl & Drum) used on Caroline's pillow and baby doll bed, and a stuffed zebra from his Nana Carol. I love the fact that I can redo these shelves from time to time if the mood strikes. Because let's face it, I'm a  chronic rearranger. 

On Jack's shelves, we displayed vintage blocks spelling his name, a framed swatch of the fabric (from Owl & Drum) used on Caroline's pillow and baby doll bed, and a stuffed zebra from his Nana Carol. I love the fact that I can redo these shelves from time to time if the mood strikes. Because let's face it, I'm a chronic rearranger. 

shared toddler + baby room.jpg
shared toddler + baby room.jpg
  Bianca and Daly collaborated on this GORGEOUS baby quilt for Jack. Lucky boy.

Bianca and Daly collaborated on this GORGEOUS baby quilt for Jack. Lucky boy.

Finding inexpensive window treatments for kid space

My biggest challenge for updating the room was the window treatments. Before we had plastic blinds that no longer worked properly, curtains that weren't wide enough and simple tension rods acting as curtain rods. While I liked the tension rods, Patrick wasn't a fan. After we began hunting for simple wooden curtain rods, I remembered why I chose the tension rods in the first place. They were simple and inexpensive–apparently qualities hard to obtain in curtain rods in Tulsa, OK.

Has anyone else ever ran into this problem before? Seriously, there are no inexpensive ($15-30ish) simple wooden curtain rods to be found in this town. We used some from IKEA in our room, but we couldn't order them online and we weren't driving to Dallas for curtain rods. All of the ones I found online were more than I wanted to spend. We finally decided on light wooden dowels from the hardware store and medium-toned wooden brackets by Martha Stewart. I think we paid less than $20 for both the rod and brackets per window. 

I was unsure if the wood mixing would work for the window treatments, but it sure as heck did. I'd done enough mixing in other places in the room, that it worked out nicely (e.g., medium toned big bed, light toned crib, medium toned picture frames, light toned changing table). Curtain rod rant over. Next up, we needed more curtains.

I had planned on creating some indigo shibori dyed curtains at the House Sparrow workshop I took in April, but the universe chose otherwise (now I will make something else beautiful with that indigo fabric!). I was at an estate sale with my friend Ruby (of Laurel & Marie) when we spotted this red striped twin sheet in a closet for $2. We both agreed it went perfectly with the kids' room and the feature wall, so I bought it. That night as Caroline was getting ready for bed, I brought in the sheet to show her. She responded, "That's not for my bed, it's for my curtains."

And what do you know– she was right. While it was definitely a sheet (with a twin tag), there was already a hem sewn for a curtain rod. All I had to do was cut it in half and hem the edge (well, my mom did) and it was the absolute perfect solution to the curtain situation. I like to think I would have thought of this on my own, but I'm not so sure I would have. All credit goes to the three year old.

Lastly, to update the windows, we got rid of the broken blinds and installed bamboo shades which not only function much better, but also bring together the whole wood mixing situation nicely. I love their natural, airy vibe. 

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  I switched up the decor above the changing table a bit. I wanted a place to sit special stuffed animals that were a little more fragile. These are toys I enjoy seeing every day, and they are a little more protected than the animals stuffed in a vintage toy chest (note that Caroline is still allowed to play with these animals; I'm not a monster).

I switched up the decor above the changing table a bit. I wanted a place to sit special stuffed animals that were a little more fragile. These are toys I enjoy seeing every day, and they are a little more protected than the animals stuffed in a vintage toy chest (note that Caroline is still allowed to play with these animals; I'm not a monster).

  We already had the changing table that my father-in-law built ( He made one for Daly too.  Nice guy, my father-in-law.). We had been mostly using it for toy storage since Caroline stopped wearing diapers, but we quickly cleared the top and dedicated a basket or two to diapers instead of dinosaurs and blocks. The toddler and the baby can easily share this piece! PS My friend Briana (founder of the  Alliday Show ) made that pretty striped basket on the left!

We already had the changing table that my father-in-law built (He made one for Daly too. Nice guy, my father-in-law.). We had been mostly using it for toy storage since Caroline stopped wearing diapers, but we quickly cleared the top and dedicated a basket or two to diapers instead of dinosaurs and blocks. The toddler and the baby can easily share this piece! PS My friend Briana (founder of the Alliday Show) made that pretty striped basket on the left!

shared toddler + baby room.jpg
shared toddler + baby room.jpg
  I hung up a cross stitch my mom did when my brother and I were babies and also a vintage print of a robin since Caroline is always pointing out robins hopping around at the park.

I hung up a cross stitch my mom did when my brother and I were babies and also a vintage print of a robin since Caroline is always pointing out robins hopping around at the park.

  One day while Daly was checking out the room updates I pointed out the ugly wall sconce and said I might swap it out in a few years. And then what do you know? My friends gifted me a  beautiful yellow wall sconce  at my baby sprinkle (like a mini-shower, get it?) and I love love love it. Thank you ladies for knowing the perfect gift for me!

One day while Daly was checking out the room updates I pointed out the ugly wall sconce and said I might swap it out in a few years. And then what do you know? My friends gifted me a beautiful yellow wall sconce at my baby sprinkle (like a mini-shower, get it?) and I love love love it. Thank you ladies for knowing the perfect gift for me!

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  For now, Jack's clothes are in plastic drawers tucked away in the closet, but I figure as he gets older and needs more space, we can find a taller dresser to accommodate both kids. 

For now, Jack's clothes are in plastic drawers tucked away in the closet, but I figure as he gets older and needs more space, we can find a taller dresser to accommodate both kids. 

  I moved the Caroline series of artwork that I drew when I was pregnant with Caroline to another wall and added Jack to the mix. For some strange reason, I had saved the fourth oval frame in a closet for four years not knowing why. Well, now I know why. 

I moved the Caroline series of artwork that I drew when I was pregnant with Caroline to another wall and added Jack to the mix. For some strange reason, I had saved the fourth oval frame in a closet for four years not knowing why. Well, now I know why. 

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Modern, Colorful, and Set for a Happy Life

Daly said it well, when she said kid rooms are often about creating an environment suited for optimal parenting. I feel happy in this space, and I love thinking about Caroline and Jack waking up in a space their momma put thought, love and hope into. We are always saying folks should live life on a beautiful background, and that includes wee babes as well. What if we were all surrounded by beauty? How might that change the world?

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