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Design Considerations for Bedrooms

Worksite Redesign Technical Advisory Project

Design configurations and details of bedrooms must address the specific needs of the individual residents. Personal belongings, appliances, aids, and equipment necessary for treatment and therapy should be considered. Any equipment not safely stored in this area must be planned for and safely accommodated elsewhere in the home. Throw rugs are discouraged, as they are tripping hazards. Provide for:

  • Access to both sides of the bed where lifting is required
  • Clear paths to all egress points (door and window)
  • Closet threshold with the lowest profile possible
  • Non-skid, beveled-edge rugs. They provide for easy resident mobility, and resident and staff safety
  • Adequate task lighting for procedures done in the bedroom
  • Window coverings for light suppression and privacy
  • Height-adjustable bed and positioners
  • Built-in storage and dressers to allow clear floor space for maneuverability
  • Bedroom assignment made based on space requirements of the resident.
Group home bedroom environments often have design requirements well beyond those of a standard bedroom use. For mobility-impaired residents, adequate room for turning, transfer and equipment must be considered. Additionally, space for caregivers to provide assistance at the bed may be required.

In order to maintain a clear path to all points of egress, personal belongings, bed length and storage must be carefully arranged. Wheeled beds must be of adequate height. Built-in closets and dressers in alcoves help free floor space for moving and turning.

Upholstery and floor coverings should be selected to anticipate resident needs. Carpets soften noise and provide warmth and a "homey" ambiance, but increase friction and resistance on wheels and are difficult to sanitize. In situations where incontinence is an issue or residents spend a good deal of time on the floor, sheet vinyl or VCT (vinyl composition tile) might be a better choice.

Area rugs or mats need to be non-skid backed, kept flat, and cleaned frequently. Good overhead lighting for the bedroom and closet is a necessity. There may be additional specific lighting needs-low wattage or adjustable lighting used when checking on a sleeping resident, for example. Task lighting should be positioned where tasks occur.

For residents with slow evacuation response, doors opening directly to the outside should be considered. It is generally recommended that residents be able to evacuate to a "safe zone".

Alternatives to freestanding nightstands should be considered because of the tendency to collect clutter and restrict access to the resident and needed equipment​. Design closet package with resident capabilities.

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Model Bedroom

  • Provide good natural light and ventilation. General lighting in each room, as well as at closets and task lighting areas all need to be planned for
  • Use built-in storage and dresser rather than furniture pieces where possible to keep floor space open for maneuverability
  • Design to support resident choice and independence
  • Generally choose curtains over doors for closets, regardless of operation
  • Blinds with cords are not recommended because they present a hazard
  • Floor covering must be appropriate for needs
  • Fiberglass-reinforced plastic wall paneling resists damage
  • Keep all egress paths open
  • Allow for light suppression and privacy with window coverings
  • Beds should be placed in rooms of adequate size to permit access to both sides of bed
  • Beds and positioners should be evaluated in the context of work needing to be done and room size
  • Provide toe-space for safe lifting posture
  • Tear-away curtain can be used as an alternative window covering
Tear-away curtain

  • Clear paths must be maintained to all egress points
  • Bedrooms should not be used for storage of equipment haphazardly
  • A sliding door to the outside is a good life safety feature (except when the path is blocked)

Sandy Street

  • Rod height should be adjusted to fit user ability
  • Positioning stander stored vertically at the edge of a room does not restrict floor use
  • Room is large enough to meet resident and caregiver needs when appropriate equipment and design techniques are used

Santa Clara Avenue

Santa Clara Avenue
  • Room space could be improved with dresser furniture built into the closet
  • Additional shelving to contain personal belongings would keep the floor clear of "tangle foot" hazards

High Street
  •  Recessed storage needed instead of furniture to maximize usable interior space
  • Full operation of door is restricted by improper storage
  • Objects placed precariously (such as the fan) pose a hazard

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  • Shelving and organized spaces keep floors open for maneuverability
  • Paths to doorways are clean and open
  • Vinyl flooring is a good choice for a resident using a wheelchair
  • Single overhead light, but windows provide good natural light and ventilation

Sandy Drive

  • Night stand in the entry path is overloaded, and both the stand and the contents are unstable
  • Built-in headboard is an alternative for storage

High Street

Martha Court
  • Items stored on nightstands or small tables need to be secured. Keep electrical cords away from traffic areas
  • Storage in this room is organized to keep floor space open for maneuverability
  • Provide sufficient and appropriate electrical outlets

Martha Court
  • Egress to outside provided by a sliding door
  • Provide recessed storage shelves instead of using furniture for storage. Such changes improve the usable interior space for maneuverability
  • Entertainment equipment is wall-mounted and out of the way

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Sandy Drive
  • A typical sliding door width of 34" will not accommodate a bed egress
  • Standard hardware and sliding doors are often difficult to operate in an emergency
  • Keep all paths and walks clear

  • When egress is the primary use, doors should swing outward
  • Double door provides
    egress for the bed if needed
  • Shelf system can help keep belongings organized and the room open
  • A 6' slider does not provide 3' opening for egress, while a 6' French door provides 69"

Good Egress

Bad Egress

Santa Clara Avenue
  • Placing the bed in the alcove opens the room up for other activities
  • Inadequate space for bed changing promotes back strain

High Street
  • Bathroom used as bedroom storage illustrates the problem of inadequate room space
  • Equipment stored in the bedroom leaves little or no room left for personal belongings
  • Assessment of resident storage needs must influence design 

Martha Court
  • Storage of personal belongings must be addressed
  • Resident and staff safety is jeopardized by clutter, floor obstruction, small wheeled toys and unstable stacked items on shelves
  • Open shelving, tape and CD organizers, and regular clean-up are important remedies

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