The Australian Dream Series


Room sizes & layouts - Master Bedrooms

Todays Master Bedrooms in their basic form cater for sleeping, dressing and more often than not have their own shower and toilet area.
At the other end of the spectrum the layout may include a full bathroom suite with corner spa, double rose shower, double basin vanity, a separate toilet area; a full walk in dressing area with makeup unit and mirror; an extended floor area with seating for a parents retreat; a wall mounted television in conjunction with a side table and coffee making machine, and for those lazy Sunday mornings an enclosed courtyard to soak up the sun and read the paper before the children are on the march.
….. back to reality.

The majority of Master Bedrooms will require space for a double bed, side tables, possibly room for a mirrored dresser unit and a hanging space for clothes either as a built in or free standing unit.
A minimum space of 800mm should be allowed for at the sides of the bed for movement and positioning of bedside tables. The distance taken for the swing of any cupboard doors should be added to the width of the space especially if it occurs in a thoroughfare. Circulation space at the end of the bed could be similar, keeping in mind that this would be the absolute minimum.
An overall width and length of 1700mm by 2400mm will be a sufficient allowance for most Queen size bed units, but it may be prudent to allow extra for combinations such as King size beds and bed heads. Rooms would rarely be designed down to these minimum dimensions but are worth noting as a reference.
The use of a built in robes in Master bedrooms, having replaced free standing units, is now being superseded by the inclusion of 'walk in robes'. My personal feeling is that walk in robes are possibly one of the most misused design inclusions in many Australian homes, but more on robes further along.

With reference to location, the Master bedroom is either placed separate to other bedrooms possibly with its own showering and toiletry facilities or is situated grouped with other bedrooms in the 'sleeping zone'. Often in the latter case the Bathroom may be positioned to double as an Ensuite to the parents room.

A common combination seen in many designs and display homes is with the Master bedroom located to the front of the home, near the Lounge room, with the Ensuite doubling as a Powder room for visitors. It may be coupled with a Study acting as a Nursery or Office as required or possibly as a bedroom for overnight guests.
Your individual requirements and desires will dictate the format you choose.

Although the bedroom area itself can be designed with numerous inclusions and configurations basic strategies to look at include:
Locating the room on the (colder) southern side is preferable, rather than taking up space for daytime habitable rooms requiring more light and warmth.
Early morning easterly sun can be welcoming but take care with window sizes in this direction.

If possible allow space on two walls to be able to reposition the bed for when you feel like a change. - they say that a change is a good as a holiday. My wife takes us on holidays about every 3 months.

The provision for sufficient power points may include allowing for 2 bedside lights, 2 electric blanket outlets, clock radio and away from the bed area a point for a television or table lamp. Allow for duplicating power point requirements to cater for any relocating of the bed.
A two way switch for the ceiling light is handy near the bed head.
Positioning a window directly across from the doorway will make the room appear larger.
Vertical timber  feature walls will 'draw' a room in. Horizontal boards will 'stretch' the room.
Allow ample space in front of robes or dressing tables for movement by others when they are being used. A dressing table and chair will require about 1200mm of space.
Sliding doors can reduce the circulation space required in front of robes.

Hanging space is always a premium item in any household.
For adults, a 1200mm hanging space plus a 600mm width with shelves for jumpers etc. would be the minimum to allow for per person. Combination robes with shelving at either end and hanging space central, allows for a partner with more hanging requirements to creep into the others space. (doesn't it always happen)
Separate ' his and hers' robes may need to be varied in their configuration for best use. I.e. more or less hanging space verses shelf space allocation.
Rooms with 2700mm or higher ceilings permit an extra full depth shelf to be included above the main hanging shelf, providing a place for extra storage. At approximately 2 meters above floor level these shelves aren't for every day use but are valuable for out of season clothes and the like.

Allowing wall space for a long vertical mirror is an asset. Mirrored robe doors* or even a full height mirror installed to the inside of a hinged robe door, enabling its 'position' to be altered, will be a handy inclusion.
*Sliding mirrored doors can dramatically alter the look of a room, creating a feeling of luxury but you would be ill advised to use them in a period style home such as a Victorian era replication.

Double French doors onto an outdoor area are popular. If hinged to swing into the room, an allowance for up to a 900mm wide arc and space against adjoining walls will be required. 

Timber floors supporting water beds may need additional support. Make a note to discuss it with your Builder or Building Designer.

If planning to include an Ensuite, do you want it to be available for your Guests to use in preference to possibly disturbing sleeping children or if unexpected visitors arrive, wondering whether the main bathroom is tidy? Ensuites can vary from simple 900mm wide rooms straight off the bedroom, containing the basics of a shower, toilet, wall basin and mirror, through to designs offering more formal settings including alternative access points so that visitors don't enter the bedroom area. If space permits zoning of the vanity, toilet and shower or spa into separate areas can add to the functioning of the area at busy times and can also be an impressive design feature. More information can be read in Bathroom & Ensuite layouts

The figure above shows a minimum layout more suited in size for a second or third bedroom, but shown to give an indication of circulation spaces.
The space either side of the bed - approximately 800mm - is sufficient for movement and for placing bed side tables.
There is insufficient space to relocate the bed and tables to the entry wall if a change is required.
The hinged robe doors (dotted) when closed enable enough passage space between the bed, but when open would inhibit others moving about the room.
The overlapping of the main door on the robe is not a major design concern but is better avoided if possible.
Note the window placed directly opposite the doorway to create an illusion of space.

The same width room extended by 600mm in length, creates enough space between the open robe doors and the bed for easier movement.
The entry door wall, now at approximately 3000mm, is long enough for the bed to be repositioned along it if required.
Light from the window is not obscured now by an open robe door.
Effective hanging and shelf space remains the same at 3300mm, which will be barely sufficient for 2 people.

Room extended a further 300mm showing the bed along the entry wall.
The Ensuite location and doorway will lock the bed in its current position.
With approximately 1700mm between the bed and the robe the space is now quite reasonable and creates a 'dressing' space.
The sliding robe doors shown would be a bigger benefit to the tight spacing between the bed and robe in the first diagram.
Space at the end of the bed at 900mm to a meter  does not allow room for any furniture such as a dresser unit etc. to be placed along the outside wall. Increasing the room width to 3900mm would give sufficient room and also increase the robe length to a reasonable size.


4200mm by 3900mm is an average dimension that we would initially be looking at for a Master bedroom design.


Room sizes & layouts - Walk In Robes >>