Designing a great living space is about more than just modern furniture and complementary colours.
Last year, our Psychology of Design Guide looked at the science behind designing a room and the
variables you need to consider.
However, high-quality design isn’t only important for productivity and wellbeing; it can also play a
part in the quality of sleep your tenants will get.
In this post we list some of the important design elements to consider when creating a bedroom for
student accommodation. Read on to ensure that your property doesn’t only have outstanding design
but also provides the optimal space for sleeping. After all, a relaxed and
happy tenant is likely to stay longer in your accommodation.
A good mattress is essential for a good night’s rest. A 2011 survey by the National Sleep Foundation
found that 92% of respondents listed a comfortable mattress as an important aspect of sleeping
well. Durable fabrics and an appropriately firm mattress are key points to consider when looking at
Appropriate support is required to ensure proper spinal alignment during sleep, and durable fabrics
ensure the longevity of the mattress. Considering the amount of sweat and dust a mattress can
absorb, a hypoallergenic cover is important addition to any mattress, particularly in rental
accommodation. Adding a mattress cover – one that’s machine washable – can also improve the
comfort of a mattress, and can help to keep allergens at bay.
Although mattresses are investments, they are by no means meant to last for a lifetime. Experts
suggest replacing them every seven or eight years, but in reality, whenever the mattress starts to
feel lumpy or uncomfortable, it’s time for a new one.
Lighting plays a big part in how well your tenants sleep, because the body reacts differently to cool
and warm lighting tones.
Blue light, emitted by electronics and energy-saving lightbulbs, can be beneficial during the day but
at night it can disrupt your body and affect its circadian rhythm.
Yellow and orange lighting, on the other hand, will help your tenants drift off to sleep, because they
are opposite to blue on the colour wheel and can help combat the effects of blue light from
Keep blue lighting in areas where your tenants are more likely to spend time during the day (such as
the kitchen), and install softer yellow lighting in bedrooms. Alternatively, white bulbs for desk-lights
are great for studying, and paired with yellow ceiling-lights they can offer the best of both worlds in
Indoor lighting isn’t the only source that can affect sleep quality, because outdoor light pollution can
easily seep in through windows. A good set of curtains can minimise this light pollution, and blackout
curtains in particular can help to ensure an uninterrupted night of rest.
Although they block out daylight, which is a natural signal to wake up, they
also block out street-lights that are still bright enough to disrupt sleep-cycles.
Bright and vibrant decor may be aesthetically pleasing, but when it comes to designing a room that
enables much-needed rest, there needs to be a balance between eye-catching decor and colour.
There’s plenty of research on the psychology of colour and which ones are most suitable for the
Unlike blue light, a blue colour scheme is soothing and promotes relaxation. Other cool colours like
grey and green also have soothing effects, so be sure to consider this, and pair it with comfortable
fabrics to create a serene setting.
The ideal temperature to fall asleep at is 18°C – that’s for a deep, uninterrupted sleep. A lower room
temperature causes a drop in core temperature, which naturally signals to the body that it’s time to
rest. An overly warm room inhibits this natural temperature drop, making it more difficult to achieve
Large windows that can easily let cool fresh air into the room, plus individual heating controls, will
ensure that your tenants can adjust the temperature in the room to their own liking. As everyone
will have different preferences for the temperatures they find comfortable, individual controls will
help you keep all of your students happy.
Sharman Court, Sheffield (Fresh Living)
The average person spends one-third of their life in the bedroom, so it’s no surprise that keeping it
clean and tidy plays a role in sleep quality. Piles of clothes waiting to be put away, unsorted papers,
untidy desks – these all create a sense of unfinished business and clutter.
This can lead to anxiety and, in turn, can affect your tenants’ sleep. Providing storage options –
whether that’s under-bed storage or drawers and shelves – can encourage a clean and organised
To find out more about designing great accommodation for the student rental market, take a look at
what students look for when choosing their accommodation.
Find us on Twitter (@StudentFurn) and LinkedIn.