Sharing a Room With a Sib

Sure, sharing a room isn’t the ideal situation. But it happens. Here are some tips for carving out some personal space in a shared room, setting sibling boundaries, compromising on the decor and more!

“I’m dying for a little alone time!”

Maybe you want to crash on your bed, turn on your tunes and chill. “Sometimes, my little sis gets really annoying, and I just want her to leave me alone,” says GWD reader Leah, 9, who’s been sharing a room with her sister, Laurel.

Room share boundaries: Not in the mood to hang out? Instead of squawking “you’re always bothering me,” work out a schedule so each of you gets some private time. Maybe on Mondays and Wednesdays you get an hour to yourself in the afternoon; she gets the same on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Bonus bedroom tip: If you want a friend to sleep over, ask your sister if she’ll snooze on the couch, then let her have a friend over the following weekend.

“My sister raids my side of the closet.”

Sharing a bedroom doesn’t mean sharing everything in that room. “Once, I wore my sister’s new sweater. I was walking down our street with a friend when she drove by, slammed on the brakes and made me take it off right there,” says GWD reader Deb, 14.

Room share boundaries: Make an agreement that before “borrowing” each other’s clothes, shoes or jewelry, you’ll ask first -- and you each reserve the right to say no. Respect each other’s right to have dibs on your own personal belongings.

Bonus bedroom tip: Mutual respect must flow past the wardrobe too. Some areas are completely out of bounds: diaries, desk drawers and personal computers.

“Help! She puts princess posters all over our walls!”

When sharing a room, sisters need to be able to express themselves. But maybe you’re a bold and edgy kinda gal, and your sis is into frilly and fluffy stuff. How can you create a peaceful space without dividing the room with duct tape?

Room share boundaries: Start with the walls. Get ideas from decorating books and have a planning session. If you can’t agree, pick two colors -- perhaps bold but complementary, like orange and blue. Then decorate your area with wall stickers, dangly mobiles or a mural.

Bonus bedroom tip: What to do if you’re a neat freak and she’s a slob? The room is lived in, so it doesn’t have to be perfect, but set a weekly tidy-up session. (You can probably get your parents to back you up on this one.)