Small & Simple Solutions: Kids’ Bedroom. Alternate title: A Survivor’s Tale

I’ve often been asked how I manage 4 kids in one (1!) bedroom, so today’s Small & Simple Solutions is dedicated to that Modern Marvel.  Note: we’ve lived in 4 different houses since our fist baby was born 6 short years ago, so we’ve had plenty of practice in creative sleeping arrangements/attempting new configurations/figuring out what doesn’t work.

Bedroom Chronology:

It all started when we had Silas.  Micah was in Iraq for the pregnancy and 1st 6 weeks of Silas’ life and I had puh-lenty of time on my hands.  Hence, Silas got a traditional first-baby-bedroom.  You know, the kind that is clean, cute, and had a changing table, because I still believed in those.  Oh, and it was void of hand-me-downs. Nothin’ but new would do! However, Silas ended up spending those first weeks in a co-sleeper on my bed as we both awaited Micah’s return.beds3

Silas’ Solo Sleeping Situation lasted a glorious 13 months.  Enter Sam.  So we purchased an identical crib, moved states, and put them in the same (windowless) room. beds

At first it was a tad rocky (I have vague memories of synchronized crying), but they quickly grew to like the arrangement.  Or at least Silas learned how to climb out of his crib and into Sammy’s, which really added an element of excitement.


A year-and-a-half later, Caramia was born.  Funny side note: hers was the one pregnancy we chose not to learn the gender.  Yet somehow I just knew it was a girl (probably the extreme nausea and hormonal pychotic-ness) and so I prepared a girl’s room.  Actually, more like a girl’s space.  A  borrowed cradle with a pink blanket in the corner of our bedroom.

But she preferred to sleep here (typically without these two cramping her style).


Turns out she was colicky, so at last she ended up spending most of her first year here, laying next to me, in what I desperately called The Midnight Buffet.  I got reeeaaallly good at sleeping while she nursed.  In fact, to this day I don’t really know what her ‘nighttime routine’ was.  All I know was that I slept through it!


Soon after, we moved to Pennsylvania, and the boys (ages 3 & 2) upgraded to Ikea bunk beds.  Big hit.  Huge.


Caramia then upgraded to their hand-me-down crib (irony noted) and joined their room.


At a very early age (14 months) she began climbing out of her crib and terrorizing the boys.  We’d often hear the boys screaming in terror, “Ah!  Here she comes again!”

This was when we really loosened our grip on what bedtime should look like (i.e. the ones on tv where everyone is quiet, peaceful, tired, and enjoying books.  All before a commercial break.)  We began expecting bedtime to last about an hour from the first grim warning of ‘ok guys, time to get ready for bed’ to the final negotiation of one last glass of water or one more chapter.

We were finally into a sorta-routine (all the kids slept through the night) when Judah entered the scene.  He got prime real estate in the master bedroom because we were out of non-crazy options.


After a 70 day road trip, during which time I discovered that my kids had learned how to sleep pretty much anywhere, at any time, in any lighting or noise level, we moved into our current home, and Judah moved into their room.  For added privacy- and because the big boys tend to stay up later- we added a tent to the top bunk and curtains to the bottom and gave them both reading lights.


Judah upgraded to the hand-me-down-two-times crib and LOVES being with the big kids.  And like his sister, he thoroughly enjoys climbing out and annoying the others when they’re half asleep.


Caramia migrated to the walk-in-closet custom dollhouse-esque bedroom seen to the right of Judah’s crib.



(yes, sometimes Judah napped there).



She actually sleeps on a massive beanbag chair that’s like a big hug. Bedding, area rug and lights came from Ikea (some of it from the As Is Bin!)


Paint came from Lowe’s (a discounted sample returned by a customer.)  Dollar Store baskets keep her endless nicknacks contained, and pink mesh hanger houses her dress-up.  All other ‘real clothes’ belong in the dresser which I picked up at a yard sale.


Whatever might be lacking in Pinterest flair is more than made up for in fun & functionality.  And occasionally, sleep!

So, how do you survive sleep with kids???

4 thoughts on “Small & Simple Solutions: Kids’ Bedroom. Alternate title: A Survivor’s Tale

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  1. I am so glad you shared this, and you are a GENIUS. I love it, especially Mia’s room! Fit for a princess!

    We had three kiddos (two girls and then a boy), and we moved a lot (thanks, military life). We had to cope with various setups as the kids grew up and our homes were different shapes and sizes.

    The two girls shared a room at various points so the boy could have his own room. In one home, we put our son into a big walk in closet the way you did Mia. It had it’s own window, so it didn’t feel like a closet, and one wall was lined with built-in bookshelves, so he had plenty of places for books, toys, and clothes. His toddler bed fit well in there, and he was near the bathroom (important).

    In another house, the hub framed and drywalled an extra bedroom in the basement for our oldest. In yet another house, our oldest lived in a sort of craft room the previous owners had sectioned off in the back of the garage. It was a neat room, but had no climate control, so in winter, she just slept on the couch in the living room. (She was 18-19 at the time.)

    What was really interesting was when our oldest moved in with her boyfriend and they had a baby, then both lost their jobs and moved in with us. We had four adults, a teen girl, a preteen boy, and a toddler in a 3 bedroom/2 bath house. We turned our living room into a small apartment for the couple with the baby, with their queen bed and baby crib. We moved our living room and family gathering space into the (thank God) den. It was tight, but it worked!

    Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Peggy, that’s amazing! And I think I remember coffee dates during the 4 adults, a teen, a pre-teen, and a baby stage. You were always so good at being calm and flowing with it😉.

  2. we have 3 boys in a small nursery, the bunk bed has a trundle bed sticking half way out (perpendicularly), to save space (that’s the 3 year old’s spot). we also have 2 dressers and 4 doors (closet, main, door to bathroom (covered) and door to our bedroom (also covered), two windows and a radiator in this room, and strangely, it doesn’t feel crowded to me.

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