Togetherness has its charms -- but not always in a shared bedroom. Siblings or guests appreciate a modest sense of personal space to counter the close quarters when you have two twin beds in one room. You need a coherent design so the room looks as good as the rest of your carefully orchestrated home, and functions smoothly for its inhabitants. Sometimes you have to sacrifice floor space, play areas, dressers or other "necessities" to cram those beds into the available real estate. Consider your options -- and there are many -- to create a room that works on multiple levels.
Headboards against the same wall, parallel placement: The conventional twin bed setup tucks each bed against one side wall with a shared nightstand between them, two reading lamps and matching bedding. It's a traditional twin bed solution because it's so easy and it works so well. In a large room, there can be space to walk on either side of each bed. In a smaller room, only a center "aisle" is free, but any remaining floor space that remains beyond the foot of each bed is wide open. Save precious space by tucking dressers into the closet or fitting pullout storage under each bed. Create separation with a pull-across curtain or double-sided bookcase between the beds. Avoid the predictable matchy-matchy decor with unique art over each headboard, similar bedding in different colors, child-chosen reading lamps -- not necessarily the same design -- and different bedside area rugs. Do your design math before committing to furniture and layout. Typical twin beds are 39 inches wide and 80 inches long, and nightstands are 18 inches square. Dressers are 30 inches wide by 18 inches deep. Measure your furniture for specifics about how, and how much of it, will fit in the room.
Actually, the Bahama bed concept is just one clever way to link beds and save room while providing a bit of separation. Bahama beds are L-shaped configurations that snug beds up against the walls in a corner and separate them with a square table or custom shelves that fill the empty corner space between the beds. This works best in a guest room that becomes a casual den by day -- the table holds bedtime books and a reading lamp, and the bedcovers turn the beds into lounging sofas. In a narrow room, placing twin beds along one wall end-to-end takes advantage of the space, leaves walking room, and allows for sheetrock or paneling "walls" between the beds to provide headboards and privacy, with a base of drawers or cupboards supporting each mattress. Encourage lights-out confidences by cutting a porthole in the panel between beds, with a window or hatch that can close.
Bunk beds are the classic solution for too many kids in too little space. Caveats for bunking your brood in stacked twin beds are ceiling height -- that top bunk needs head room -- and age of the young climbers. Kids under 6 are usually not good candidates for an upper bunk; teens may find them cramped or terribly passe. When the ceiling isn't high enough for comfort, build raised loft beds just far enough from the floor to create hanging closets for shirts, skirts, jackets and folded slacks beneath each bed. Or, treat the bunks like cabins on a ship with cabinetry that partially encloses two twin beds, stacked against one wall, with a ship's ladder for access and storage beneath the bottom bunk. Striped cotton or unbleached canvas curtains that can be pulled closed for privacy underscore the sense of reading in your berth or snoozing on the high seas.
Invest in manufactured or bespoke Murphy-style twin beds that fold up into a smooth cabinet against the wall when not in use. There is no better way to gain a patch of floor space for a play area or a couple of fold-up desks that hug the wall when the beds are open. You can find a unit that works for fairly young children -- good idea for a parent to do the open-close honors for safety -- with padded rails enclosing the top bunk to make it a cushioned little fortress. The beds are true twins, so the unit accommodates 'tweens and adults and could become an eventual guest room. Gain extra closet space with a custom fold-up pair of twin beds that includes a slim storage unit in any leftover space along the wall. By day, the beds and closet present one unbroken stretch of bare wall, and the floor is free and clear.