7 architectural considerations in designing a bedroom

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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A bedroom is more than the average room in a home – it is a sleep sanctuary where you should be able to unwind and feel comfortable in a space that is all yours. But creating this tranquil setting can be tricky; considering that a bulky bed is a given and that other elements need to be both practical and aesthetically pleasing. The good news is that with a bit of strategic and thoughtful consideration, you can design an architectural masterpiece that is – your bedroom!

The following 7 key architectural considerations will help you to apply the correct principles when it comes to designing a bedroom that embodies convenience, peace, and rejuvenation:

1. Planning considerations

Before you design your bedroom, there are a few things you need to confirm in order to create a space that’s going to optimally work for you. For example:

How many people will be occupying the room? This will confirm the amount of space that you will need.

Who is the room intended for? Do you need it to serve as a master bedroom (in which case, it needs to be the biggest bedroom in the house), a kid’s room, or a guest room?

Will the space adequately accommodate its occupants and all the furniture you have in mind (bunk beds for kids, perhaps)? Will there be enough clearance space after you have added the furniture? Having room to move freely is important.

Do you want the room to have any built-in features such as walk-in wardrobes? Or would you prefer a room that’s more versatile, in case you want to make big changes in the future?

How many windows will the room include? Is natural light and lots of fresh air important to you or are you happy to succumb to artificial alternatives?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you to put good forethought into the next set of considerations.

2. Is there an ideal location for a bedroom?

If one sticks to the guidelines that many architectures follow, then there is a “science” to where a room should be ideally located.

Master bedrooms and other main rooms should be built in the southern part of a home. 

Why? The northern section of a house is typically designed to accommodate gatherings. Hence, a private bedroom should be situated far from the front so that noise and foot traffic do not disturb the occupants. It’s for this reason that you would also want to avoid putting a master suite in the middle of the house.

Avoid bedrooms in the northeast.

Why? North-eastern spaces are traditionally reserved for deities and prayers because morning sunlight reaches these sections first.

Avoid building bedrooms over garages or car porches. 

Why? Firstly, there’s the disturbance of noise from doors opening and closing and secondly, there is also the concern of fumes rising and affecting the health of peaceful sleepers.

According to Maharishi Vastu Architecture, the BEST place to create a bedroom is in the southwest part of a house. The reasoning is more historic than scientific and relates to farmers who would store their produce in granaries in the southwest corner of a building. This area was deemed the best for their bounty because the southwest heat and the southwest wind would keep it dry, safe, and thriving.

3. Light and ventilation

By locating a bedroom at the corner of your home you gain the advantage of having windows on two adjacent walls. This means that plenty of soft natural light will flow into the area for warmth and comfort. These windows will also provide cross-ventilation, ensuring that the air in the room is kept fresh.

If placing your room in a corner is not an option, then you can use artificial lighting that mimics natural light to create a similar effect. Fans and extractor fans can assist with airflow.

4. Privacy is important

It’s a bonus if you can leave your bedroom door open without forsaking all of your privacy. If possible, think about designing the layout of your bedroom so that there aren’t any public spaces, such as shared bathrooms, that look directly into your room. This way, you can carry on with your business without having an audience.

We already mentioned that building a master bedroom towards the back of a home is more ideal because there will be less noise and foot traffic passing by the door.

5. The view matters

A bedroom is always a happier place to be when there is a pleasant view out the window. If you’re designing a new bedroom, try to create the space where a picturesque view is guaranteed. If this is impossible, then consider adding window ledges or small balconies to the windows so that you can design quaint flower gardens – these will quickly turn a dreary view into something more inspiring.

6. How should my furniture be placed?

Like any room, your bedroom’s architecture should take your furniture into account. Most bedroom floor plans typically include a bed wall — but what about sliding wardrobes, chests of drawers, bedside tables, and desks?

Tip: When creating your room, make sure that there is enough space beside the bed for nightstands and ample circulation.

Thinking about furniture and bedroom storage is important because it’s these items that bring the room together to form a space that helps to soothe and calm you.

7. How versatile does my bedroom need to be?

If you’re the type of person who gets bored easily or if you know that you need to evolve with the times, then designing a room that can be easily re-arranged is a good idea. Versatile rooms are ones that can be transformed with just a few adjustments. For example, moving your bed from one wall to another – or swapping your king-sized bed for a double bed to make room for a bassinet.

Even small rooms have the potential to accommodate different personalities and needs if they are built with insight.

The truth is that an amazing bedroom doesn’t necessarily have to be overly complex - or expensive to build. Just a little bit of forethought will help you to build an affordable room that functions well and is an outstanding example of great design.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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