Despite the growing popularity, questions about the ramifications of such a decision are often numerous. “There’s no rule that says couples have to sleep in the same bedroom,” says Dr. Peggy Low, a New York-licensed psychotherapist and director of the Manhattan Therapeutic Association. “What’s most important is whether the arrangement is done by mutual agreement or in some way in the service of the relationship,” she explains.
A separate bedroom arrangement often leads to the assumption that something must be wrong with the relationship or indicates emotional distance as a result of physical distance. However, according to Dr. Shelby Harris, director of sleep health at Sleepopolis and a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in behavioral sleep medicine, sleeping in separate rooms can bring couples closer together. “It lets go of any resentment related to a lack of sleep,” she explains, adding that this also often improves mood and enhances communication.
While the benefits of a separate room can be enormous, it also makes finding times for connection and intimacy that much more important. This is often where designers can set up their clients for success. When Ruddy was designing the bedrooms in the Park Avenue home, the couple was still very anxious to create a space they could share. They wanted separate bathrooms where each partner could have their own vanity, toilet, and storage, and “they said, ‘Can you hook them up somehow where we can see each other in the morning?'” Rudy explains.
The answer was a unique shower. “We designed a large shower with glass front and back connecting their two bathrooms,” she says. When not in use they can open the doors and they have, basically, a pretty big room where they can chat and get ready for the day together. Another popular solution, according to Ruddy, is a private master suite with two separate en-suite rooms.
For couples who aren’t looking to relocate or undergo major renovations, Harris says there’s often no other suitable option. “I suggest choosing one bed that’s for intimate times—whether that’s spending time together, talking, cuddling, or having sex—and when it’s time for bed, each person goes into their own separate spaces,” she says. “Getting this combination of scheduled intimate time and quality sleep can actually strengthen the relationship as a whole.”
Sleep and relationship considerations aside, there’s also some childlike joy that comes with — and decorating — a space that’s truly each one’s own. “It’s very exciting,” says Maddy. “I just bought a painting that I really liked that he didn’t get into and put it in my room.” Her husband has his own bedroom, which Maddy admits isn’t her favorite, but, as she puts it: “We all have to really express ourselves.”