Designing a Bedroom - Knowing the Basics
I thought we'd do something different today, a step by step guide on how to best arrange your furniture in certain rooms. And today it's all about Bedrooms. I am going to share with you the "rules" I learned in Architecture School and explain why you should do each and every step.
How does that sound? Exciting? Perfect, then let's get to work!
When you begin a project, the first thing each one of us does is turn to pen and paper, regardless if you are working in the industry or not. It's a practice that has been done perhaps since the dawn of time, who knows? But the fact is it's a very effective method to create and visualise your ideas.
If you are busy or in a hurry, I've got you covered. Just pin the image below and have a read later. That way you won't be missing out!
Right, let's begin!
1. UNDERSTANDING THE DAY & NIGHT ZONES
First thing you need to know about, especially if you are starting from scratch or you have a "blank canvas" to work with, is to attribute the bedroom to the right functional area in the house.
We (architects and designers) like things to be functional. What does that mean? Well, functional (or functionality) can mean different things but its main role is to serve a purpose well: "The quality of being suited to serve a purpose well; practicality" - Oxford Dictionaries. This can be something as trivial as not walking from your bathroom to the bedroom while crossing the hallway and greet potential guests in your bathrobe. Or it can be the shortest distance you need to move food from the kitchen worktop to the dining table, etc.
Now, what is this Day / Night zone thing all about?
To put it simply, it's a way in which architects and designers divide a flat or house. The Day Zone refers to all those rooms you spend your time during the day (or do certain activities), while the Night Zone refers to the rooms where you spend your time during the night. It also can be divided based on the level of noise. A bedroom is naturally a place of relaxation and a place where you go to sleep. Following that logic, this room should be as far away from the main entrance of the flat or any noisy areas as possible.
Let's take the floor plan below as an example.
If we study this layout, what rooms would we attribute to which zone? The Day zone would include the Kitchen and Living Room, while the Night zone would have the Bedroom and the Bathroom. Now, sometimes due to various limitations such as space, structure (walls, columns) or even pipes inside walls, compromises need to be made. For example, a compromise can be accessing the bathroom from the bedroom through the entrance hallway.
This is actually a very common example (in other countries as well), but if this can be avoided, then, by all means, access the bathroom through the bedroom. However, in this particular case, there is another problem that needs to be taken into consideration. Ask yourself if that is the best way to access the bathroom, especially if you have guests over. You don't want them going to the bathroom through your bedroom, right? They might be friends or family, but it can still feel a bit of like a breach of your privacy (especially if you did not have the time to clean up the room).
So, returning to my point here, let's look at how this layout would look like divided into Day/Night zones.
2. CREATE A LIST OF ITEMS YOU WANT IN THE BEDROOM
The best next thing that you can do is to list all the items of furniture you wish to have in that room. Think of the activities you do in the bedroom (besides sleeping), i.e. the ladies might wish to have a dressing table, while the gents might want an armchair in which to relax and read a book (or play on their smartphone) while the ladies get ready. Remember to be practical!
Not only does this help you figure out what items you want to have or not, but it's also a useful list to have when you are creating (or adjusting) your budget for each room. The more information you have, the better you'll prepare yourself and make the best decisions (especially if you are designing the room on your own, without the help of a designer).
3. PLACING FURNITURE
After you've decided on which items of furniture to have, it's time to find the best place for each and every one of them inside the room. So let's start with the most important one - the BED!
When positioning the bed you have to keep in mind a few things! For example, if you have a 1 Bedroom apartment, ask yourself what is on the other side of the bedroom wall? Is it another room, is it another apartment (if it's in a block of flats) or is it on an external wall, meaning that there is nothing on the other side of the wall?
Let's say you wish to place the bed on an external wall. Such a wall is usually colder than an internal wall (difference in temperature). That means if you or the person using the bedroom has health problems or easily catches a cold, might be a little uncomfortable. With today's technologies, you can warm up the room in a number of different ways so this is not a problem, but if you have certain sensibilities, it's worth taking into account.
What about placing the bed next to an internal wall? Usually, that is the best practice, but always be wary of what is happening on the other side of that wall. For example, if there is a TV or a washing machine in a Laundry Room next door, there might be some noise and it might influence your sleep.
Should you place the bed next to the window or with the back to the window? If the room allows it (and you have space), then it's best to place the bed on another wall. The same principle applies to having the bed next to an external wall, but more than that, it would be such a shame to lose your view.
I for one, cannot stay in a room without a window without being a bit uncomfortable. I need to see the outside world, see some sort of natural light and landscape. Why would you wish to lose that little window into the outside world by placing the bed with its back to the window? Imagine waking up to see only walls or waking up and seeing the sun and the trees outside your windows.
In the end, it's completely up to you where you place your bed, but knowing in advance these things can help you make a better decision!
Here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself:
- What is on the other side of each wall and how can that influence my sleep patterns?
- Where is the light coming from the window (and will it bother me if it wakes me up in the morning)?
- Do you like to keep things in hands reach near my bed (i.e. a book, a glass of water)?
- What activities do you usually do in a bedroom, besides sleeping?
- What things (i.e furniture, art, TV, accessories etc) do you want to have in the bedroom?
- What is a priority?
Thinking and asking these questions can help to better understand your own needs and make the best decision. Always try and do this, regardless of what room it is. Always think of what activities will be performed in that room, the noise, from where does the natural light come inside the room (or if there is any at all), distance, what is a priority and the budget for it. If you start with these questions, the rest will come to you.
4. THERE IS NO RULE / ORDER IN WHICH TO PLACE THE FURNITURE
There is no rule or right order in which to place the furniture inside your room. However, you should always try and start with the bed, because it's a big piece of furniture and you might need to move it around a few times before finding its best spot. You need the space to move it, turn it around etc. Plus, the rest of the items will often be positioned in relations to the bed. Functionality remember?
This means things like:
- Placing a bench next to the bed, so that you can leave any decorative cushions you have on the bed on that bench when you get in the bed;
- Having a place to lay the clothes you take out of the dressing;
- Having a chest of drawers with decorations or Art right across your bed (so that it's the first thing you see when you wake up) etc.
Having a dressing table includes a bit more thought because you need light. The ladies know that the best light in which to put your make up on is of course, the natural light. This means sitting next to or as near as possible to a window. Sometimes that might be harder to achieve, but do not despair, you can always use artificial light (it's just the second best thing).
SO LET'S RECAP!
Let's recap the main points you need to take into consideration when you design any room:
- Understand the Day & Night zones in your home;
- Create a list of items you want in that room;
- Placing the furniture & understanding what questions to ask yourself;
- There is no rule or order in which to place the furniture.
In the end, it all comes down to your personal taste and how comfortable you feel in your bedroom. If that means having your bed at an angle surrounded by cushions or plants, then, by all means, do just that! You will be living in that space, so it has to feel comfortable and tailored to your personality and needs.
These are just a couple of thing that architects and interior designers think about when they create a home or design an existing one (it's a bit more complicated then because there are more restrictions - but that is a post for another time).
This post was all about giving you a little window into the mind of designers and seeing the process step by step. However, if you have any question about it or you wish to know something in particular, let me know below or on our Facebook Page or on Instagram. Just tap @detailmovement and leave me a message. I would love to answer any questions you might have. Don't be shy!
Until next time!
All images that are credited as '©Detail Movement', are done by Raluca Vaduva for Detail Movement. All rights reserved. All pictures that are not my own, I credit them to the best of my knowledge & research, to their online sources. I do not claim ownership over them in any way.