There are a number of factors, such as snoring, scheduling conflicts, and the need for privacy, that have contributed to the rise in popularity of couples preferring to sleep in separate beds. This technique was started by couples like Cara and Rich Newhart during the epidemic and has shown to be helpful. Valerie Weisler and her girlfriend, Ky Dates, are familiar with the situation but yet nervous about making a commitment.
According to a survey by the International Housewares Association for The New York Times, one in five couples opt for separate bedrooms, and two-thirds of these couples make it a nightly routine. As this trend increases, interior designers receive more requests to craft secondary rooms with as much thought as primary bedrooms, ensuring each space feels personal and welcoming. Designers recommend selecting complementary paint colors, using matching nightstands and lamps, and adding personal touches like photos and artwork to make the spaces cohesive while still honoring each individual’s style.
However, professionals such as sex therapists and marriage counselors express reservations about this trend. They emphasize the importance of understanding the underlying motivations and potential impacts on intimacy and relationship dynamics. Dr. Cheryl Fraser, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist, suggests couples might miss out on unplanned moments of closeness and affection that occur during nighttime routines when sharing a bedroom. She advises couples to thoughtfully discuss their reasons for separate rooms and implement strategies to retain intimacy like scheduling quality time together.
Proponents of the trend counter that separate bedrooms don’t necessarily equate to loss of intimacy. Couples like Cara and Rich Newhart say the arrangement improved their sleep and left them more rested and engaged during waking hours. Designer Taniya Nayak explains that for some couples, having their own private space results in less resentfulness and more appreciation for their time together. The trend may also enable partners with vastly different sleep habits to both get the rest they need.
While for some couples, like the Newharts, the arrangement fosters closeness, others might find it challenging. For instance, couples with children need to consider how to maintain their bond while also addressing kids’ needs. Parents may wish to subtly design rooms to facilitate quick overnight access while keeping private retreats. Financial limitations can also constrain couples’ ability to undertake significant home renovations to accommodate separate bedrooms.
Creating separate spaces often requires substantial remodeling and financial investments, but many find the benefits outweigh the costs. Homeowners report spending anywhere from $20,000 to $70,000 to add new bedrooms and convert existing spaces. Despite the significant upfront costs, advocates view the investment as providing long-term gains like better sleep, reduced marital conflicts, and greater overall contentment.
Architectural and design trends also factor into the rise of separate bedrooms. Open floor plans remain popular, but renovations increasingly focus on building private wings or sections within homes. Advances in smart home technology also enable couples to easily control lighting, temperature, and soundscapes in each room.
Ultimately, the decision to sleep separately is deeply personal, shaped by individual preferences and relationship dynamics. The choice invites both societal assumptions as well as practical considerations. Stigma persists around opting for separate bedrooms, with many fearing judgment from friends or family if they diverge from conventional norms. Couples report fielding intrusive questions about the status of their relationship or intimacy.
Cultural notions equating physical closeness with emotional connection further complicate attitudes. Yet, advocates emphasize that couples prioritize intimacy differently. For some, bed-sharing provides a sense of security, while for others, space enables connection. Rather than reflecting distance, separate bedrooms may be consciously designed to nurture closeness.
Whether seen as a space for intimacy or a sanctuary for relaxation, the bedroom’s purpose varies for each individual. The increasing trend toward separate bedrooms underscores the evolving dynamics of modern relationships. However, the choice remains a deeply personal one, dependent on couples’ unique needs and preferences. With mindful communication and intentional design, separate bedrooms can become a relationship-enhancing option.