A Brief History Of The Bedroom

The bedroom is one of the most important rooms in our homes, and is the place that we go to sleep, relax, and get a bit of privacy. However, it hasn’t always been the case that the bedroom is one of the most peaceful areas in the house. In fact, it’s only been in the last hundred years or so that the bedroom has become a sanctuary.

Medieval Period
During the Medieval ages people generally lived in one room, eating, sleeping and socialising in one area. Within the middle of the room was a fire, and people would sleep on straw, close to one another to keep warmth in. Only the rich landowners would have their own rooms and owning a bed was seen as a status symbol.

16th Century
Feather mattresses became a popular choice for the well-off, and the so called “middling families” were beginning to live in homes which had separate living and sleeping areas. Homes weren’t separated by corridors however, and the bedroom was not a private place, with the family usually sharing one bed.

The bedroom was also the focal point for major events in people’s lives, including births, marriages, and even deaths. Many high members of society including kings and queens would have visitors to their bedrooms, and conduct business from the comfort of their bed.

17th Century
Bedchambers gradually became more personal, with small closet rooms built off of them for personal prayer and thought. Kings and queens would also have public dressings, where visitors could come and watch them get dressed in their formal attire.

18th Century
The economic boom meant that people wanted to live in more luxurious settings, and houses were divided up with stairwells and corridors to create clear separate personal living quarters.

The industrial revolution also enabled the mass production of brass bedframes and cotton sheets, which meant that having a decent bed was an affordable option for most people.

Victorian Age
During the Victorian period, many upper class husbands and wives had separate rooms, with locks on, creating a very personal space. Lower classes lived in back-to-back houses, which shared a back wall, meaning that living together was very noisy. The houses were very cramped, and usually the family shared one bedroom upstairs, with a kitchen cum living room downstairs.

In some ways, this style of living was a throw-back to the 16th century style of bedroom when the whole family shared a bed. Many of the back-to-back houses were destroyed during the early 20th century to make room for better quality houses.

20th Century
After the First World War, the 1920s and the 1930s were a time for glamour and glitz, what with the rise of films and the stars that were in them. This style transferred to the bedroom, and many ladies treated themselves to fake silk negligee to add a touch of class to their sleeping quarters.

During the 1950s, twin beds were a popular choice for newly married couples, probably as a call-back to the Victorian age, when husbands and wives had separate bedrooms. However, this didn’t stop the baby boom from happening in the middle of the century!

Beds remained largely unchanged, until the late 1960s, when Terrance Conran, the founder of Habitat, introduced the UK to the duvet. This revolutionised the sleeping habits of everyone, putting the feeble blanket to the bottom of the pile.

21st Century
The 21st century bedroom is now a very private place – probably the most private place in the entire household. Décor is kept to a minimum, with king sized beds the height of luxury for most. If you need a little bit of extended room, and live close to neighbours, think about getting a third party wall surveyor to advise on the options you’ve got available to make your bedroom more cozy and special.

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Bill Weston is an accomplished writer who writes about everything related to buildings. For more information about party wall agreements visit Collier-Stevens.co.uk

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