Upstairs, Downstairs: The Bedroom Debate

Fair warning, this post is exclusively about the two least decorated, completely un-styled rooms in my house.  If you’re not a big before + inspiration post person, feel free to skip this one.  But if you relish in blogger’s shame, read on as I lay mine bare before you:

As I’ve mentioned before, this house is full of pint-sized rooms and quirky angles.  I love it for that, but I wouldn’t be furious if there was also a closet big enough to contain the clothing of two adults.  As it is now, our bedroom is a bitty little thing on the second floor.  The room is bright and spare and right across the hall from Opal’s room, but there isn’t enough closet space for both my clothes and Chester’s and there’s no space to expand the current closet or add another one.  As a stopgap solution Chester keeps his clothes in the guest bedroom, which is less than ideal.  When we have guests staying with us Chester has to keep piles of his clothes on the floor in our room, which pleases no one, and if and when we have a second kid something will obviously have to change.

Luckily we have two possible options to remedy the situation, and I go back and forth about which is better.

OPTION 1:  We could make some changes to the room that is currently the guest room and claim it as our bedroom.  The room is small, but bigger than our current bedroom, and it has decent closet potential.

Red House West

Red House West

Red House West

Standing at the foot of the bed looking right.

On the opposite side of the room there’s a long eave where the closet currently is, and we could make it into a more substantial closet that could work for both of us.

I think we could build something similar to this:

Here are the pros as I see them:

1. I have a general preference for upstairs bedrooms.

2. I love the angles and tucked in nooks in this room, and I think that with a fresh coat of paint (wood paneling, I’m looking at you) and an overall freshening up it could be really sweet.

3. Under the carpet is finished fir (except in one small area that would need to be patched).  I know many people like carpet in bedrooms, but I’m a fan of hardwood with a rug.

Here’s a honey of a bedroom that makes me think the upstairs room is the right choice:

OPTION 2:  The room that we currently use as our playroom/craft room/office could become our bedroom.  Except for the living room, this is the largest room in the house.

I am judging myself so that you don't have to.

I am judging myself so you don’t have to.

This room already has a decent closet, and there’s space between the walls where the closet could be expanded to a walk-in or a second closet could be added.

The sad truth about this room is that we really don’t use it very much.  Chester ends up working on his laptop in the breakfast nook, and I typically work at the desk in the upstairs guest room (see the second picture in this post if you want to know where the RHW magic happens!).  It’s a great room, but without a well-defined purpose or any sort of design, it ends up being a dumping ground.

The pros of converting this room into our bedroom are:

1.  It’s the only room where we could fit a king bed.  Chester and I are both all shoulders, so a king bed is VERY appealing.

2.  This room has a nice view out into the backyard, which is lush and beautiful thanks to years of tender care by my mother-in-law and in spite of several years of utter neglect by me.

3.  Right now while Opal is still little it’s nice to be close to her, but as she gets older some distance might be welcome.

4.  There is one bathroom upstairs, and one downstairs.  If we stay upstairs we will be sharing with Opal, hypothetical future human, and any guests we may have.  If we’re downstairs we would pretty much be the only ones using this bathroom.  It wouldn’t be like having a “master bath” where you can leave your unmentionables strewn about, but it would probably be an improvement over sharing with a teenager(s).

5. If we go with the downstairs option and turn the upstairs bedroom into the office it will require very few changes to either room.  If we choose the upstairs option we have to devote that whole eave to becoming a closet, which means that if we decide later that we’d rather use that room as an office we will have put a lot of time and effort into building a closet that we no longer want or need.

Here are a few generously sized bedrooms that make me lean toward the downstairs option:

Image Source (via Bohemian Vintage)

Image Source (via Bohemian Vintage)


From Elle Decor U.K. and found here.

Red House West

From Domino.

So dear readers, I put the question to you:  Which should we choose?

Thanks for reading, and for casting your vote!  Katie’s back on Wednesday with a post from her red house.  Have a great week everyone!

9 responses on “Upstairs, Downstairs: The Bedroom Debate

    1. meramatthews

      It’s true, the downstairs option is a little more straight forward. But then the upstairs guest room would probably become our office, and our bedroom would become the guest room. I’m still on the fence! #firstworldproblems 🙂

  1. y2knina

    As a former drama queen teenager who drove my poor parents bonkers (and to drink) do all of your present and future family members a favor and turn that downstairs room into an oasis. You’ll need it. (Although I did love the inspiration pix for the 2nd floor. But, no. Better play it safe!)

    And as far as judging you (for a very neat-looking, immaculate room?) believe me, I can send you a picture of my tchotchke closet that would cause you to never have another worry on that score.

    1. meramatthews

      Yeah, I cleaned the heck out of that room before photographing it, and actually I was standing in the tchotchke closet when I took that picture (at great personal risk of boxes labeled “notions” falling on my head). I hear what you’re saying about the drama queen teenager. My room was as far from my parents’ room as possible, by design I’m sure. They probably appreciated the distance from 24-hour Danzig and angst filled phone calls with my friends. Will I feel the same when Opal is listening to her audio books and Chopin? 😉 Thanks for the input!

  2. panda flannel

    I looove the idea of moving into the downstairs room, especially for being able to have a king sized bed. What are you thinking of doing for your former bedroom?

    1. meramatthews

      If we move downstairs our current bedroom would become the guest room/second kid room (should such a human actually come to exist) and we would turn what is now the guest room into our office. Each of us could have one of the eaves as our own personal office space instead of trying to share a desk, which hasn’t worked very well in our current configuration. We could also either keep the bed in there or add a futon for guests. Either way, that sweet little room is getting a facelift! Thanks as always for commenting–I appreciate it!

  3. Carol Crump Bryner

    I’ve always been an upstairs bedroom kind of person, but I can also see the advantages of making that downstairs room into a bedroom/sitting room kind of place. I’ve been enjoying our one floor flat in Portland, and kind of like having the bed to flop onto without going up a flight of stairs. But where will you put that sweet teepee?

    1. meramatthews

      You raise a good point, the teepee would have to find a new spot. Or maybe I could turn it into a sort of canopy for our bed–now there’s a blog post in the making! Thank you Carol!

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