When you define a "House" it's usually defined as having a number of "rooms". Well, "rooms" can be defined as having four walls, a ceiling and a floor. You can define a "box" in a similar manner. Four sides, a top and a bottom. But who wants to live in a box. A room needs to reflect its use. This will be a series of articles defining, in detail what the rooms in a house should do for its occupants.
Let's begin with a "Bedroom". It fits the definition of a "room". It has four walls, a ceiling and a floor. But to be called a "Bedroom" it must also have a window and a closet. Now that's adding a little more detail but let's look further into what a "Bedroom" really means. Well, it's a place to put a bed. That's indicated by the name. But is that all one requires from a "Bedroom". I hope not. It should be a place that is personal to one person. A place for that person to have the privacy and intimacy that we all need from time to time. Therefore, it should be large enough to accommodate all the personal things that makes the room a haven and not just a place to sleep.
There should be ample storage for personal items such as books or collectibles, not just for clothes. Is there an area just to sit and relax and maybe read a book? Is there shelving or cabinets to display collections or meaningful items? How about the color? Is it restful or is it busy? Is there wall-space for pictures or photos or (in the case of a teenager) posters? Is the closet space used to its optimum advantage and not just a rod in a long narrow space?
How about that "window" that's require for a room to be counted as a "Bedroom"? Is it looking out on a beautifully landscaped garden or is it facing the driveway and the street. Although a few fast growing shrubs can mask the view and muffle the noise of the street, ideally, "Bedrooms" should be located at the back of the structure for privacy and ambiance reasons.
If you're considering buying a home, you need to look for the possibilities of the "Bedrooms", not just the number. Consider the location of the "Bedrooms" in the floor plan of the house. Are all the rooms clustered together, sharing a wall? That infringes of the privacy of each room. There should be at least the common bath separating the rooms. Is the Master just another "Bedroom" with its own bath or is it separate in another part of the house? Having had two teenagers in my home, I assure you that having your Master separate from the frenzy of teenage radios and video games is a blessing.
If you're dealing with a home you are living in presently and have no intention of moving in the near future, there are still things you can do to improve the ambiance of the rooms you have. It doesn't take a lot of work to change the colors in a room to ones that will soothe and relax. The "Bedroom" should be a calming, relaxing environment so get rid of the bright orange or "almost black" purple. Carpeting and draperies of a heavier fabric will absorb some of the noise. If the size of the room is a problem, using smaller scale furniture can help. One person does not need a king size bed at the expense of having a reading area or a desk in the room.
Since you can't change the floor plan of the home you're in, and you have that window that faces the street, shrubs or leaded or frosted glass may help. A few flowering bushes can off-set the passing traffic.
All in all, the goal of a "Bedroom", be it yours or you child's or a guest's, is to act as a retreat. A place that can be private, comforting and relaxing. A place to shut out all the chaos of the outside world and let you feel like you are surrounded by all the things that are important to you. This should be your own little world that you can escape to any time you choose.
In my next article we will tackle the difference between a "Living Room" and a "Family Room". Believe it or not they need to be equipped for very different uses but, if you only have one or the other, those uses can be combined.
See you next time!
August 10, 2014