A bedroom is for life, not just for sleeping

Planning the perfect bedroom will mean answering some basic questions before you commit to anything. What expectations do you most want this room to fulfil? Is it to be a space that will serve as your personal domain, or somewhere for more than one member of the family to relax? Do you think of the bedroom as a romantic hideaway, or more like an extension of the living room that will need to reflect most other aspects of your daily life?

Successfully meeting your needs will involve choosing the style that will best suit the range of lifestyle features that you want to continue enjoying in the bedroom. It depends on your personality as much as the lifestyle choices already reflected in the rest of the house.

Design decisions

Strict traditionalists and some others may want to preserve the bedroom for sleeping only and won’t tolerate anything in the room that detracts from its primary purpose. But most of us are more complicated than that and should look beyond the bedroom to decide what we need it to be. To make the best design decisions for the room that is the very definition of ‘personal space’, we need – as the man said – to “First know thyself and to thine own self be true”.

Questions to help you decide

Taking a look at yourself in the round is best done indirectly. Without realising it, answering questions that come at you sideways, and mostly without focusing on the bedroom at all, can reveal something about the needs of the inner person that your bedroom design will have to satisfy.

You can begin, for example, by asking questions like these:

When you get home at the end of a long day, are you someone who is most likely to:

  • Hit the couch with a cup of tea and a good book.
  • Sit down to dinner with your family and hear about their day.
  • Curl up with your significant other for a little one-to-one time.
  • Read a few office files and answer a bunch of e-mails.

On holiday, your first-choice accommodation would be:

  • A cosy bed and breakfast. An intimate environment rather than an anonymous hotel chain.
  • A major chain hotel with free access broadband and docking station for your laptop.
  • A large resort with a variety of restaurants and lots of activities.
  • A super luxurious 5-star hotel with 24-hour room service.

Your ideal Sunday involves:

  • Your kids climbing onto your bed an hour later than usual.
  • Reading newspapers in bed with a cup of coffee in easy reach.
  • Heading for your favourite pub and then having a leisurely lunch.
  • A solitary morning run before the rest of the house gets up.

Your morning wake-up call is usually:

  • The beeping of your pager or the ringing of your mobile.
  • The sound of the family already up and about the place.
  • The light from your silent alarm clock.
  • Classical music from the pre-set radio.

What would a quick glance at your bedside table reveal?

  • A pile of DVDs and a TV remote control.
  • Scented massage oil and a book of poetry.
  • A sleep mask and a white noise machine.
  • Mobile phone charger and a Post-It notepad.

When it comes to buying sheets for your bed, do you look for:

  • Silk – you want the most sensual sheets you can find.
  • Flannel – they’ll keep you warm on cold nights.
  • A high thread count – the softer, the better.
  • Easy-wash cotton – your sheets need to be very low-maintenance.

Your responses might tell you more about what you need in a bedroom than you think…

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