How we use our homes continually evolves to suit our values and lifestyles. Read this quick guide to the history of bedrooms to learn the trends and values that have shaped how we live.
More Privacy Starting in the 1800s
Families slept in shared beds for most of human history. At inns, travelers often shared beds with strangers.
In the 1800s, many bedrooms in the U.S. became more private and personal. Urban development pushed the rise of compact homes with small rooms for specific purposes.
Victorian-era sensibilities emphasized defined family roles, and the bedrooms of more affluent households upheld these values. Children started sleeping away from their parents. Sometimes, spouses also had separate bedrooms.
Post-World War II Suburban Boom
Following WWII, the U.S. was in a strong economic position. North American factories that produced wartime goods started mass-producing consumer goods. The middle class expanded, and more North Americans spent more money on consumer goods and luxuries.
Suburban communities grew, and modern bedrooms became a standard part of North American life. During the 1940s and 1950s, some couples felt uncomfortable sharing a bed, so they used twin beds in their shared bedroom. You will see this bed arrangement in many T.V. shows and movies from that time.
Bedroom Style in the 1960s-1990s
Every decade of the second half of the 1900s saw changes in bedroom design. In the 1960s, dark wood paneling created a warm, intimate setting.
Though duvets were often used in different countries for a long time, they became commercially popular in the U.S. in the 1970s. The lightweight bed covering is versatile, comfortable, and easy to maintain. It worked well with the free-spirited lifestyle many embraced.
In the 1980s, North Americans bought more electronic goods such as radios, T.V.s, and phones into their bedrooms. Popular color palettes included soft pastels and vibrant primary colors.
The 1990s continued the trend of electronics in the bedroom. Some teenagers had computers in their bedrooms, making the space more entertaining and multi-use. Though the 90s had a less-lavish design aesthetic, people continued to use interior design to infuse their rooms with personality.
From the Early 2000s to Now
North Americans have treated their bedrooms as personal sanctuaries from the early 2000s to present day. While the average North American family is smaller, the average home size is bigger. Unlike in previous years, today, many North Americans enjoy larger bedrooms that they do not share.
As this quick guide to the history of bedrooms has shown, the bedroom began as a shared living space that was increasingly personalized and privatized. In 2020, many began working fully or partially from home. Using the home as a place for work has intensified many North Americans’ desire for a tranquil, private bedroom.
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