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Last edited 28 Oct 2019
Whether in a house or apartment, a bedroom is usually a place reserved for sleeping (among other activities). Key furniture items usually found there include beds and bedding, chests of drawers, wardrobes and bedside tables.
The majority of bedrooms – from the humble to the lavish – tend to be simple affairs, a throwback perhaps to Victorian attitudes to sleeping accommodation which was widely thought should be kept simple for both hygienic and aesthetic reasons.
Today, most adults’ bedrooms contain a double bed whereas a child’s bedroom will have one or more single beds, or perhaps even a bunk-bed if space is at a premium. Many adults’ and children’s bedrooms will also contain a TV.
The young person’s bedroom is typically a multi-functional space that is more than just for sleeping: it also doubles up as a place for study and play. Given that most youngsters’ bedrooms will have a PC or laptop, the space may also function as a living room for the young person and their friends.
 Historical development
The bedroom as it is known today developed from its early beginnings in Tudor times and resulted from the interplay of two key factors. The first was the introduction of brick-built chimneys brought about by the availability of locally produced bricks at a fraction of the price of stone. This in turn hastened the demise of the large, open-hearthed hall which had originated in medieval times. Introducing a brick chimney rising through the upper regions of the hall allowed short spans between external walls and the chimney. This allowed the creation of accommodation on the upper floor which could be carved up into sleeping quarters. The second prevailing factor at this time was the increasing taste for privacy. Therefore, bedrooms as we know them today have their origins in the late 14th century.
A double-bedroom needs to be able to accommodate either a double bed or, as an alternative arrangement, two single beds. There must also be space for a wardrobe (freestanding or in the form of a built-in cupboard) that is a minimum of 550mm deep, with 600mm of running space per person. There should also be a chest of drawers and a bedside table. For multiple-occupancy bedrooms, there should be sufficient space for a single bed and a bedside table for each occupant.
Beds require space around them for making: for a 900mm-wide single bed, a minimum width of 350-400mm should be allowed for on one side at least. Whereas for a 1500mm-wide double bed it is advisable to ensure a 700mm-wide minimum access on either side of the bed.
Given the plethora of available electrical goods that can be used in a bedroom – bedside lamp, clock radio, hairdryer, vacuum cleaners etc, it is advisable to ensure the correct provision of electrical outlets. Currently, it is considered that a main bedroom should have three double-socket outlets, with two seen as the minimum. Single bedrooms are usually provided with two double outlets. Study bedrooms should have a minimum of two while single bedsit rooms ideally should have three double-sockets to accommodate the additional requirements of cooking, washing etc.
In the UK, the provision of bedrooms in a dwelling is the main indicator of size and is thus an important yardstick of measurement and the available space. A one-bedroom home is more likely to be a flat than a house, while a four-, five- or six-bedroomed dwelling is almost certainly likely to be a house. In continental Europe, the yardstick of a dwelling’s size is usually given by square metres of floorspace rather than number of bedrooms.
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