We Gave Our Kids the Tiny House Bedroom

The topic for February's Small Family Homes Blog Community is "Paring Down to the Essentials: Bedroom," and it's an interesting subject for us to deal with here at the Small Home Family blog. We have had a number of bedroom incarnations over the years, from a tiny but normal master bedroom to nursery to wall-to-wall beds to what it is now: a typical kids' bedroom, albeit a small one. We've transformed our one tiny bedroom into whatever setup meets our needs at any particular moment in time, and that has been one of the keys to making tiny-house living possible for us. Ironically, that means that our bedroom space is anything but pared down at the moment. With bunk beds and books and toys and clothes, it's the opposite, and we love it!

Related Post: Tiny House Sleeping Arrangements

So to turn things on their head a little, we've chosen to focus on paring down our expectations of what is necessary in a bedroom in a family home rather than paring down anything in the bedroom itself.

People are often surprised that our family of four lives in a home with only one bedroom.* It's okay. We get it. We have bucked so many standards of modern middle-class living that we've entered some kind of no-man's land. The truth is that we have asked ourselves the same questions that I'm sure have crossed their minds as well.

Can they do that? (Yes we can. We have. And we do.)

What about...you know...private time for the parents? (The bedroom is certainly not the only room in our house. And it's not even the room that everyone sleeps in at this particular moment in time. With young children, this has not been an issue for us yet.)

What about when the kids get older? (Just like we always have, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

So what has possessed us to stay in this small house instead of doing what most people would have done long before this point and upgraded to a bigger house with more bedrooms?!

Honestly, it's a number of factors, many of which come down to a very simple cost-benefit analysis. Would the changes to our lifestyle that such a move would require be worth the benefit of having more bedrooms?

For us, the answer to that question has been a resounding no, and it's a question that we do ask ourselves from time to time. We are open to the idea that we may feel differently in the future, but for now it makes more sense to us to find creative ways to make our one bedroom home work for us than for us to work to afford a bigger house.

To that end, we have challenged our own notions of what a house and its bedrooms should look like. We had to answer a number of questions ourselves, like what is the purpose of a bedroom? Is it just for sleeping or is it for other things? Do we have to store all of the clothes in the bedroom? What about toys? And books? Who needs a bedroom more--the parents or the children? Can we get by without a bedroom of our own?

The answers to these questions are not static. They do change as our circumstances change. For example, for quite a while, we had no toys in the bedroom at all. It was just a place for sleeping and storing clothes. We chose to readdress that policy last year when we decided to give our girls a real bedroom of their own, and now it looks like a small but typical little girls' room. At this point in our lives, that change makes a lot of sense. It almost feels like we added an extra room onto our house where our children can actually go hang out during the day, but this change has only become a possibility as our older daughter has become old enough to handle sleeping on the top bunk. Before that, the need for safe sleeping space trumped the need for play space, and we adjusted our expectations accordingly.

Related Post: Tiny House Kids Room Project

Perhaps the best example of paring down in the bedroom (and paring down our expectations), though, is that we currently do not have a "master" bedroom on the main floor or up in the loft at all. We have sleeping space for adults in the living room, the loft, and the bedroom, but none of those spaces is designated as an actual "bedroom." We just sleep wherever it makes the most sense on any given day. Is it a little crazy? YES! Has our openness to thinking outside the box made our living situation actually work well for us right now? Definitely. If you can let go of any preconceived notions about the way things should be and instead embrace the way things could be, options you may not have considered before will become possible.

When you think about paring down in the bedroom, especially as a move toward small-house living, try to have an open mind. Focus on paring down your expectations of what a bedroom must be and what function it must serve (and how many bedrooms your family needs), and in doing so, you may find a solution to a problem that you thought was insurmountable. Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity to make any size space work for your family, and creativity is something we've decided to embrace in our tiny home.

*While we do only have one actual bedroom, we do have a large open loft space that can function as a sort of bedroom as well, but it's not quite the same thing. The loft is currently set up as a multi-use space that does include sleeping and probably will for the foreseeable future.

Related Post: Tiny House Living with Kids: Sleeping Arrangements

This post was written for inclusion in the February 2019 collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series. And if there is a topic you'd like to see us write about, let us know! 

Little Bungalow -- "Doors Open: Bedrooms Edition" : An updated look at each of our bedrooms and why I think the only true bedroom essential is having one of your own.

Fourth & West-- "Essentials: The Bedroom" : How we built it up, then sold it all, and went right back to the basics. 

Tiny Ass Camper-- "Bare Necessities: Bedrooms" : Spoiler - our only real bedroom necessity is a bed - and even that is a bit flexible.