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3 Things Every Couple Needs in the Bedroom

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This post is the second in a series about using the space in your home more thoughtfully.

Couples go to their bedrooms looking for privacyintimacy, and escape from the minuta of being homeowners, citizens, workers, and parents. But, especially in a home with children, these fundamental desires can be hard to fulfill. Architect Christopher Alexander explains that

The presence of children in a family often destroys the closeness and the special privacy which a man and wife need together.

With a little bit of creative thinking, you can make your relationship stronger just by reorganizing the way you use and think about space in the bedroom:


  • All bedrooms should have a door that closes. Children should understand that they aren’t allowed in the bedroom, or are only allowed at certain, supervised times.
  • Getting dressed is a private, personal experience. You aren’t just putting on clothes, you are setting yourself up for a successful, happy day. Don’t use the bedroom as a dressing room. (You don’t want the constant pressure to pick up dirty clothes on the floor.) Instead, store all your clothes in a walk-in closet. If you don’t have a walk-in closet, consider using screens to mark out a small corner of your room.
  • Televisions, computers, and cellphone all allow other people to invade your private space at their convenience. Consider carefully what electronics you allow into your bedroom.


  • Create a space shaped around the bed. Consider a four-poster bed or bed with a canopy. You can also use a mosquito net for the same effect. In a pinch, a well-placed rug can also mark the bed as a cozy, intimate space.
  • If you can, wait to buy (or even make!) a bed until you’ve had many meaningful experiences together. In the meantime, use a simple, metal bedframe, set your box spring and mattress on the floor, or buy an inexpensive or recycled bedframe you can eventually replace.
  • Find a way to add to the bed or the space around it over time. Consider a changeable canopy, a bedframe you can repaint, or a headboard you can use for photos and art.


  • Take advantage of the privacy of your bedroom by providing space for other relaxing activities. (If you use the bed itself for activities other than sleep and sex, you may it more difficult to fall asleep at night.)
  • If space can possibly allow, make a small sitting area for the two of you to share. Angle two comfortable chairs so they are neither side-by-side or facing each other. This easy layout promotes sharing time together, even if you’re doing something separate, and meaningful conversations. Provide tables and lighting for reading and talking together. Look for lamps with just enough light to read by to make the space feel intimate.
  • If either partner enjoys writing or corresponding in peace and quiet, add a desk or table. A secretary provides an excellent writing surface without taking up too much space.

A Pattern Language for Organizing Space in Our Lives

In A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, Alexander challenges the standard ways we build and organize rooms, buildings, and towns. Too often, we organize the spaces in our lives in ways that cause problems in the way we feel, behave, and interact with each other. By changing our environment, even in small, subtle ways, we can dramatically improve our quality of life.

Alexander’s book is a blueprint for designing spaces that fill virtually universal human needs in a way that works for each of us, our families, and our communities. Rooms, buildings, and towns can’t “come alive” unless the people who live and work in them make them together.

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3 responses »

  1. Have you read or do you own Alexander’s book? I looked it up at the library, but it’s not available (and is a spendy buy!). Wondering if you think it’s worth it?

    • We do own the book and I’ve read many parts of it. As for the investment, I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. I will continue to post on the parts I find most relevant for women and wives, so you’ll have that resource distilled through me. Otherwise, I would only buy the book if you were looking to build a house, seriously redecorate/rearrange, or improve your community. Amazon does have used copies listed from $20.

  2. I love the way you ran with A Pattern Language, Alison! The “escape” section in A Pattern Language jumped out at me–I loved the idea of the sitting area in the bedroom! Maybe one day…


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