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Need suggestions for making a 2 bedroom apt work for my homeschooling fam of five

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 


We are a family of five and we are currently moving into a 2 bedroom apartment.

I really want to get use of our small space and have been wanting a school room for my girls.

Has anyone had a bedroom double as a school or play room? I was thinking of creating a school/play room

in my kids; bedroom and then having loft beds in one area of the room for them, kind of splitting their room in half

for bedtime and school (keeping all clothes in closet or underbed storage to elimate use of a dresser)


Another option I am looking at is making the lager bedroom a school room/home office, because I work from home

and my hubby is also a student (so we have many computers) and then hubby and I would skimp on a bedroom and

use the living room with a sofa bed. We have never spent much time hanging out in our bedroom anyway, aside from sleeping and of course for privacy.... Not sure what to do...tips are appreciated!

post #2 of 17

Things I can think of:

1. Underbed storage- if your kids don't have much clothing, they could store it under the bed and you can use the closets for other storage.

2. I use a cabinet for my - books/art supplies etc in the kitchen

3. Maximize that space in closets- go up and I like those big sweater hangers, that have the 5-7 shelves- for shoes, hats, small misc. items, even toys.

4. Find storage in everyday items- I like storage benches because I can use them for seating and to hide stuff.



post #3 of 17

Your set up wouldn't be legal here (because of occupancy laws in rentals,) but we've got three people (one adult, two kids) in our two bedroom condo. My kids have their beds in their room (a twin over full bunkbed pushed against a wall) and there's still a lot of room to play. We don't homeschool but I would do that in the kitchen and living room instead of their room. I'm claustrophobic, though, and could never spend long periods of time in their room. My kids are also welcome to play on the floor in my bedroom (which is also their room a lot of the time since they co-sleep quite a bit.)

post #4 of 17

yeahthat.gif Make sure it is legal! Even if your kids don't go to school your neighbors will know how many bedrooms are in that apartment and they could report you for overcrowding. I know it is illegal in my state. I am surprised the LL is renting it to you...

post #5 of 17

When renting the rule is "unrelated people"  - too many unrelated people living in an apt is illegal - here its more than 3 unrelated people. 

post #6 of 17

Yeah but DCF or CPS has rules about how many children care share a room and their ages and sex. I know here they *can* take your children into custody for an overcrowding situation and having 5 kids in one room would definately qualify for that. Also boys and girl can't share a room past a certain age. Someone I know had her 10 y/o DD in a room with her 3 y/o DS and they told them it was illegal and they needed their own rooms. So make sure you really look into what is ok with those kids or not according to the child protective services in your area.

post #7 of 17

They are a family of 5 ,so I assume 3 kids, right? I think you will be ok. Just double check to make sure.

post #8 of 17

duh.gif DUH sorry!

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the tips and concern ladies :) Yes, we are a family of five with 3 children. all girls and ages 7months to 5 yrs, so it should be legal right?

post #10 of 17

Where I live, it would not be allowed. Here it's total occupancy for the number of people (related or unrelated) who live there.


But CPS rules don't apply to families that are not in the system. Those rules are for foster children and subsidized housing and don't apply in this situation. CPS doesn't take children into care for room sharing.

post #11 of 17

We are a homeschooling family of seven living in a 3 bedroom house. We mostly use our dining room for homeschooling purposes, but I thought I'd comment on what works for us as far as bedrooms go. We have 2 bedrooms upstairs. Our 12 and 10 year old boys are in one, our 8 year old daughter in the other. Even though we have enough bed space to sleep all the kids in the biggest bedroom, with lots of room to play, the older boys don't want their 5 year old brother or their sisters in their room, and our 3 year old daughter doesn't like sleeping upstairs, so my husband and I recently gave our bedroom to our 5 and 3 year olds. I got a queen bed platform for my living room (where I formerly had a queen futon that was always laying flat, not like a couch, due to naptime for my 3 year old and the 3 year old I babysit ... and our family's love of cuddling while watching a movie ;) ) and it has tons of underbed storage. During the day I put a comforter over the bed, a big long cushion along the wall for people to lean on when they sit, and lots of pillows. Kids curl up there to read, I put the littles down to nap there, and dh, and dd2 have their clothes in bins under the bed. My clothes are in a cedar chest next to the bed. It works really well for us. For homeschooling, we have a cabinet and 2 bookcases dedicated to homeschooling and craft materials in our dining room. We have a "breakfast bar" and instead of having stools under the overhang and using it to sit at, we have a long, low bookcase underneath to take advantage of the space. 

post #12 of 17

are your computers lap tops or desk tops? 


if you are using lap tops, I would consider using the dining room as the previous poster mentions. a large cabinet that stores all of your home office/work and school supplies is a good option. 

post #13 of 17

In our state occupancy is 1 person plus 2 more per bedroom (1 bedroom 3 people, 2 bedroom 5 people, 3 bedroom 7 people etc...)


We are a hsing fam of 5 in a 2 bedroom apt as well. Our livingroom is long and ment to be a livingroom and a dining room. However there is a breakfast bar/counter that we sit at for meals and writing/seatwork instead of having a dining room table. We have arrainged the living room furniture so that it seperates the room in half. The other part of the room is the computer desk, a large armoire and a book shelf that holds most of our curriculum and books.


DH works from home sometimes and it is difficult not having a seperate space for him to go sometimes. If you and your DH are good with sleeping on the sofa bed I might suggest that so that you have a seperate space for the computers.

post #14 of 17

OP do you even HAVE a dinning room? I know a lot of apartments don't. I don't think I would sacrifice my BR for an office/school space. Maybe you could get a really cool wall storage thing like this http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S29875958 but with the bench as a desk. You could keep all the school stuff in the storage draws and even clothes ect on one side.

post #15 of 17

if you have a dining space of any kind, then this might be a good option. A friend of mine did this for her family. the one wall of the dining space (which was right off the kitchen) was all cubbies like this (they have doors and drawers available too, and the baskets from Ikea fit as well), with the table sticking out, and she had a huge black board behind it. She and her partner worked from home part time (and in the office part time), but also had a fair number of dinner parties with friends. So, they needed the table for work and for eating. It worked out well for them, and the look was clean and modern (and fun). :)

post #16 of 17

Around here there is a "two heartbeat" rule for bedrooms (newborns are kind of ignored lol), but this only applies to rentals.  Certainly double check the applicable state/county/city rules though... even if a LL is ok renting a unit out, you could find yourself being given notice if neighbors complained or if the LL changed.



Back to the original question... HS family of soon to be 6 here, living in a one bedroom cabin.  We're building an addition which will include another bedroom as well as a living room (when we moved in as a family of 4 a few years ago the cabin was a single room with a sleep loft so having a "real" bedroom and "real" living room is wonderful!).  Since we moved from a 4 bedroom, 1600 sq/ft house with a finished full basement and finished attic I had to get pretty crafty!  LOL


Do you live near an IKEA?  Even if you hate their stuff, it would be worth a visit to check out their sample rooms... I'm always impressed with how much they can fit in their sample rooms without making it feel crowded or cramped.  The website has some stuff too, but actually being in one of the sample spaces and seeing how the pieces fit together might help you brainstorm solutions.  And if you do happen to like the style then IKEA has gobs of space saving and organizing items (since European living spaces tend to be a lot smaller than North American norms IKEA has a lot of "small scale" furniture, or multi-use items).


The thing that saved me was remembering to build up... bookcases or book shelves or some other storage cube system stacked all the way to the ceiling can add a lot of storage to a space without using up a lot of floor space (if you're allowed to hang shelves, you may be limited to bookcases/cubes that can be tethered to the wall with minimal damage to plaster).  Our living room has floor to ceiling bookcases on one wall (I use a ladder, and the top two shelves hold long term storage pantry staples), other sections of the house have floor to ceiling cabinets (bathroom style shallow cabinets from a salvage yard, stacked one on top of each other to create a wall of hidden storage) or shelves above windows and shaker style peg rails at about chest height.  Actually, the shaker style is a great inspiration for compact living though to really "do" the style requires a much more minimal style than I have!


We use benches instead of chairs on two sides of our dinner table... the benches open and/or have shelves (the shelved ones were originally sold by IKEA as shoe benches for an entry way) and homeschooling stuff goes in the bench/on the bench shelf and work gets done either at the table or on the couch or on the kitchen floor or outside... oh and one wall I stacked bookcases floor to ceiling.  Workboxes and things the kiddos need frequently goes on the lower shelves, other homeschool stuff goes higher up.  If you wanted to put it in the kiddo's bedroom, maybe look into hanging shoe storage units (the kind with pouches) or IKEA hanging storage tubes or something similar... that way you could keep the "school stuff" contained and off the floor, with maybe a small table and storage bench so "school" could be hidden away.  I really don't like using sleep spaces for stuff other than sleep though so "hiding" it may not be an issue for you/your kiddos.


One thought about a sofa bed or futon... having a small sleep loft for 5 people means that we lay out mattresses each night and put them away each morning.  It's more work than it seems like it should be, but the loft is a wreck if the beds aren't put away each morning.  Since it IS a loft and I CAN ignore it is necessary, it's not too bad.  But I know that if I was using a sofa bed/futon in a primary living space I'd get frazzled pretty quickly.  And given that my kiddos manage to get food/drink/small toys down into our sofa despite everything... I just know a hide-a-bed that they were using every day would eventually unfold to reveal a spilled drink or squished banana.  And I'm positive it would happen at the end of "one of those days".  LOL  I'd probably loft a queen sized bed for DH and myself and put our office/work space under that loft, or build some sort of private bed "cube" using curtains or bookcases or room dividers to seperate it from the "public" living room if I had to go with a "living/bed" space.


post #17 of 17

We are a family of 5, before we made one bedroom into a homeschool space, we had our stuff in one large cabinet and a few shelves. Finding what works for you might take a little trial and error, maybe art supplies work well in a bathroom caddy or maybe a large tote. It depends on your style, but cabinets have to have order, or they are just black holes where stuff gets shoved. It worked ok, but keeping everything tidy was our biggest problem. I would keep the bedrooms as bedrooms, and use the living room space as a multi-function area. As others have mentioned, finding things that can do double duty will help.


Benches are a life saver for us, the 3 kids can fit on them for school work, we can use it for guests, it works as a play station, etc.


Baskets serve us well, we use them for toy storage, papers, etc- they are pretty but functional.

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