“I always shared a room with my sister growing up,” recalls designer Anita Yokota. And the same goes for her own kids. With her oldest daughter, Rachel, off in her own space, 12-year-old Natalie and 7-year-old Emily have learned to divide and conquer (most of the time pretty peacefully). “Sure there are squabbles, but there are so many fun memories that are made,” she continues. “They’re two peas in a pod.”
While Yokota hopes to build custom loft structures one day soon, the bunk bed setup allows plenty of room for crafting and making TikTok videos. The main problem has always been storage: One tiny closet with awkward sliding doors for two girls just wasn’t working. “When you’re constantly fighting for space, that really impacts your relationship,” explains the designer (she also happens to be a trained marriage and family therapist). “Who says you need real doors?” With a ceiling track and two panels of fabric, Yokota came up with a fix everyone can be happy with that still keeps things looking streamlined. She gives us the lowdown on the closet DIY and shares a few more creative tween bedroom ideas ahead.
Open Sesame (Minus the Struggle)
After removing the near-30-year-old mirror closet doors (you know, the sliding kind that only lets you see half of what’s inside at one time), Yokota sewed extra-tall curtains from scratch using two panels of kidproof Sunbrella Fusion fabric with a width of 54 inches each. She mounted a ceiling track to the top of the doorframe and hooked the drapes onto the rings. Now Emily and Natalie can both get to their things at the same time. “I just wanted to ease the stress of sharing,” says Yokota.
Invest in Personalized Storage
If there’s one place Yokota will always splurge, it’s inside a closet. “I’m a huge proponent of structural systems,” she says—particularly the Container Store’s Elfa products. She tweaked the company’s reach-in version to make way for a mix of open shelves, hanging rods at different heights for tops and bottoms, and drawers. The update costs more up front, but you end up saving hundreds of dollars over the years by not buying basic bins and baskets, according to Yokota. “You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole,” she continues. “Most of us have odd spaces, so go big on that custom piece. I never looked back.”
Slumber Party–Proof the Flooring
Tween bedrooms also happen to be snacking grounds. “Inevitably, candy from birthday parties ends up here,” says Yokota. Wall-to-wall carpeting collects crumbs and holds onto them, which is why Yokota recently bought luxury vinyl tiles that only look like real hardwood. If the major update isn’t in your budget, simply layer a cute washable rug over the top of the carpet (it’s easy to throw in the washer a few times a year).
Create a Cocoon-Like Environment
Yokota replaced the bedroom’s old shutters with light-blocking roller shades and airy drapery so the girls can get a true deep sleep. She also swapped the not-bunk-bed-friendly ceiling fan with a woven pendant light. The kid-size mid-century–inspired vanity by the window was an Amazon score.
Play Their Game
The rattan swing used to be in the living room, but when Yokota realized her kids “kept monopolizing it,” she decided it would be a much better fit for their bedroom. “It’s not like I sat in it all that much,” she says, laughing. The whimsical piece, which is secured safely in a ceiling stud, is small space–friendly: It’s breezy and light and can be easily pushed out of the way. “Swinging is actually great for a child’s development,” says Yokota. “It’s so soothing.” It also teaches them the art of taking turns.
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