It’s at the top of every property description, and probably the first thing you filter for.
But do you know how many bedrooms you really need? The answer will depend not just on your current lifestyle, but your future goals. Consider:
Is your family growing or shrinking?
If you’re a partnered couple with two children, you need three bedrooms, right? Well, maybe not.
Are you planning to add to your family, and if so will any of your children be sharing rooms? Younger kids can share very happily, but as they reach the teenage years they may want more space. The age gap between your kids, and whether they’re the same gender, will also come into the equation.
Alternatively, if your children are almost grown, it might not make sense to buy a larger house. It’s a very common scenario: buyers in their forties or fifties, who have a larger budget than they used to, finally upgrade to the dream house with acres of space. There’s a spacious bedroom for each teenager, plus at least one guest bedroom, multiple living areas and maybe a study.
Fast forward a few years and the house suddenly feels a lot larger. Your children are grown, and half the rooms stand empty except at Christmas.
Of course, with ‘generation rent’ staying at home longer, you might not have an empty nest for a long time yet. But keep in mind that families evolve before settling on the house of your dreams.
It’s not just the kids who are growing older. If you have elderly parents, will they want to move in so you can care for them in future years? If so, will your budget stretch to a guest bedroom — ideally, with an ensuite?
Even if you don’t intend to move in your Mum, you might want to keep a guest room handy for visitors, especially if you live somewhere attractive to tourists. Or, of course, you might deliberately choose not to!
How big are the bedrooms?
Multiple small bedrooms might not be as useful as fewer, larger bedrooms would be. This will depend on how old your children are, and the layout of the house.
Young kids tend to use their bedrooms mostly for sleeping and prefer to be where their parents are, in the main living areas, while awake. Teens, on the other hand, want their own space to retreat to. That might mean repurposing a second living area as a teen retreat, or choosing a home with larger rooms they can make their own.
Are you working from home?
It’s not all about the children. How and where you work is another factor to consider. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has brought this issue to the fore, it’s one that will stay for the long term.
If you’re working from home, you need a private space with a door you can close. In today’s open plan homes, that usually means a study or a bedroom. If you don’t have a spare, you might be working out of your own bedroom — a habit sleep experts frown upon.
Don’t just think in terms of number of bedrooms. Think through your lifestyle, finances and future goals.