Architecture and Renovation

Good design and that question about bedrooms!

If most of our time in a bedroom is spent sleeping, why does it need to be bright? If your eyes will be closed, why then do you want big windows or a city view from the bed?

One of the apartment design trends of the past decade across inner-Brisbane has been the proliferation of the internal bedroom. A bedroom that complies with the laws to be defined as a bedroom but is tucked away with no window to the outside world. It usually includes large doors or even louvers to allow ventilation and something called “borrowed light”. So it’s often dark. Once the door is shut it can be pitch black. And quiet. So, so quiet. And, well… a perfect place to hide away and sleep like a baby!

So why do some tenants and home-buyers shy away from them?

internal bedroom or bright bedroomIn more than 25 years selling real estate I’ve never had someone tell me a home was too bright. Including the bedrooms. Even in subtropical, balmy Brisbane, natural light is one of the most highly-rated features of a home. Breezes and ventilation are also in demand and, while apartment designs rarely provide for it, cross ventilation is often sought-after by savvy buyers and those who prefer to leave the aircon off.

Selling apartments off the plan means less buyer focus on things like light and ventilation. A quick scan of the floorplan is often all they do. Bedroom numbers. Tick. Bathroom numbers. Tick. Developers have an incentive to slide bedrooms back from a building perimeter, as maximising the number of bedrooms will usually have a big impact on total prices achieved. Architects have learned to work with these commercial constraints but we’ve not yet heard anyone claiming these as great design.

To be fair the buyer and tenant concerns about internal bedrooms are greater when there’s two or more bedrooms and share households. Our property managers report it’s less of an issue with one bedroom floorplans, with that bedroom opening to the living space that in turns opens to natural light. A darker room might not be what they’d love, but in many inner-Brisbane developments it has become fairly commonplace. And those one bedder residents trade that off against other attractions like modern fittings and rooftop recreation and views.

So what’s your take on apartments with internal bedrooms? Do you crave a sunny bed where you can lie with a book? Or is a hidden, cosy cave more your style?! We’d love to hear your comments.