Sustainable bedrooms: A good night’s sleep
How do you make your bedroom the most comfortable, restful and healthy room in your house? Interior designer Megan Norgate steps through the basics of sustainable bedroom design and fitout.
If you consider the total amount of hours we spend in various parts of the home, bedrooms are by far our most frequently inhabited spaces. Good bedroom design contributes to our psychological and physical health and wellbeing, and with careful planning need not be difficult or expensive to achieve.
The best-placed bedroom
Bedrooms can be spaces for rest, work, storage and play. But for all of their potential uses, they needn’t be very large. The location of bedrooms in your house is crucial. Upstairs bedrooms can be beneficial in cool climates as the home’s interior heat will collect on the upper floor. In warmer climates, placing bedrooms to the south and near thermal mass will help keep them cool.
Naturally lit & draught free
East facing windows are ideal in a bedroom as morning sun and a view out a window from the bed are good for the spirit. Windows that can be locked securely open at night will help to passively ventilate the room and improve indoor air quality. A ceiling fan will circulate air and reduce your need for air-conditioning.
To keep bedrooms comfortable in winter, using heavy-lined curtains that have pelmets and run to the floor will effectively trap warm air inside. If curtains are impractical or your bedroom’s heaters are under the window, recess-mounted honeycomb blinds or face-fixed heavy backed roman blinds are the best option. Roman blinds use less material than curtains and so can be a good opportunity to use organic and/or locally-printed fabrics. To further reduce winter draughts and summer heat, seal up old wall vents, fireplaces and other gaps. Insect screens are useful to keep mosquitoes and other bugs at bay.
Poorly designed and furnished bedrooms can affect our wellbeing and ability to get a good night’s sleep. By applying a few simple design and retrofitting ideas and carefully selecting the materials we bring inside our bedrooms, we can create healthy and restful spaces that are not only a place to sleep, but a retreat in which we can relax and rejuvenate.
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