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Sure, bedrooms still have beds in them. Everyone needs a place to sleep. Yet bedrooms, particularly master bedrooms, are continually evolving into living spaces that we use at all hours.
This certainly wasn't always the case. Decades ago some families got by with little square footage dedicated to sleeping quarters, in an effort to maximize the rest of the house. Now that space allocation is more of a balance, homeowners want the private bedroom spaces for relaxation as much as rest. "There's no such thing as a two-bedroom single-family home anymore," says Dale Ganser, owner of Raywood Development.
The developer of a six-lot new urbanism pocket community in Monona says he keeps the size of his homes on the smaller side, but three bedrooms is a minimum, and the master bedroom has to have added amenities even if it is not overly large. "We're looking to use every square inch and take the smallest footprint we can to generate the most comfort inside," Ganser says.
Dream Kitchens' Keven Schmidt points out that Ganser is not the only one keeping a keen eye on square footage. Schmidt says bedrooms overall are trending somewhat smaller than they were a decade ago. "Bedrooms are actually going back to a little smaller space, but that would follow the whole house," Schmidt says.
The spaces, though smaller, are a heck of a lot smarter. "Closets have really matured," Schmidt says, of the sophisticated systems that store shoes, jewelry, undergarments and the rest of our clothing. With ingenious organizational systems designed around individual owners' possessions, modern closets optimize space so that we can store more in less space.
That eliminates the need for multiple dressers or chests of drawers and gives homeowners some flexibility in how they want to use their bedrooms, says Travis Ganser, president of The Ganser Company. "The master bedroom becomes a little getaway," he says. "It's more than the largest bedroom in the house."
The Century House's Jacob Harlow agrees that efficient closets have altered customer demands somewhat, but he says homeowners still look for quality casework for their bedrooms. "The need for furniture in those rooms is still very important," Harlow says. "People still never seem to have enough storage, and a relaxing environment is often dictated by an organized room where everything has a place."
And with greater organization come options for homeowners, says Tina Dopf, an interior designer with high-end furniture retailer Stevens Design. "Maybe they add a little seating area or a work space or a reading room," Dopf says. "And more and more people are wanting TVs in their bedrooms, and we have plenty of smaller, discreet ways to handle TVs for any size bedroom."
Schmidt adds that televisions are far from the only technology showing up in bedrooms. Wireless electronics bring music and household controls not just to the bedroom but to the bedside. "We've got systems that are operated from an iPhone or iPad. You can turn the lights on and off, the TV up and down, the heating up and down," he says. "You can open the drapes. You can turn the shower on. You can turn the coffee maker on. Everything has become more automated."
Technology makes an appearance on a much lower profile as well. "A very popular item is the lamp that also charges your devices," Harlow points out, noting that many couples want one for each nightstand.
Travis Ganser says that, despite the infiltration of seating and technology, homeowners still consider bedrooms to be private spaces. They fill them with family photos, and décor seems to reflect personal tastes more than contemporary trends. "The bedroom usually reflects the personality of the client more so than the rest of the house," he says.
Dopf notes that customers can usually find furnishings that reflect their personalities no matter what. "We can do all kinds of things in a bedroom," she says. "We do all different styles and are constantly adding to our collection of merchandise [to reflect] all the different tastes that are out there." •
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