Has the bed become a micro-apartment?

My adult kids are not just sleeping in bed, they're living there! Has the bed become a micro-apartment?

Residz Team 3 min read

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My older teen daughter wanted to do a painting this week. So, she gathered the paints, canvas, brushes, and a jar of water…and got into bed. Hours later she emerged with a painting and a couple of towels to wash. You could say she spends her life in bed.

A life in bed

She and her three younger to mid-adult siblings will study, work, and book travel in bed. They happily eat, watch movies, and paint their nails in bed. They will make beaded necklaces and do other crafts in bed. When friends visit they mix cocktails, make a grazing platter, and host a soiree on their beds. Or they get Uber Eats and have a dinner party in bed.

Very occasionally they’ll read in bed. And, when they do sleep in bed, they take a long time to emerge from bed.

If Benjamin Franklin said ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ then my brood are done for.

Do you need more than a bed?

They do not have big or exciting bedrooms or beds. None of their rooms have ensuites.  These are bog standard queen-sized beds in a small space with a desk, chair, and built-in robe.

Given they are of an age and era when they will struggle to ever buy a house or an apartment, I cheekily wonder if they really need more than a bed.

A bed with a bath (oh, how they love baths!), a loo, and a coffee machine - done!

But for all that I shake my head, there is something poignant about all the Millennials and Gen Zs especially who are living their lives in bed.

No choice but the bed

Home ownership is probably off the table for a decade at least, if not ever. Rent is through the roof and the fair price/fair value relationship is broken. They would need to hand over more than half their wages to co-share most habitable rentals (who can spy a Sydney family?) Thousands of former uni students owe the ATO sums of money equal to a house deposit.

With no option but to join the many adults living with their parents longer these “kidults” are simply trying to carve out their own little patch of the world away from us lucky Gen X and Baby Boomers who could buy a home at their age.

The bed rebranded

When I bark at them for taking a cereal bowl to their bedrooms, am I chastising their choices to live as they like in their micro-apartments?

Micro-apartments could be the rebranding we need for Australia’s spare bedrooms.

Given ABS statistics show more than three quarters of households have at least one spare bedroom and 12.5 per cent more than three, we could surmise there are around 13 million micro-apartments across the country.

With remote and hybrid work many homes have become home offices so why not see bedrooms as valid homes in themselves?  

A horizontal generation

This is not a pandemic-related phenomenon. An Inverse Culture article in 2016 revealed a study of 250,000 users of Happify demonstrating how millennials were “really into being in bed.”

“Sleeping, resting, relaxing, Netflixing and chilling are, for this massive demographic, all good. It’s a horizontal generation,” the article says.

The writers say the ‘quarter-life crisis’ is real and people in their 20s and early 30s are stressed about work, life, and the future.

When asked what they feel gratitude for, two of the six most frequent responses involved beds; ‘sleeping’ and ‘relaxing in bed.’

Conclusion

Having a new perspective since the pandemic I’m grateful to have them healthy and living here in this severely unaffordable city  - cereal bowls on the bedside table and all.

But, I can’t help wishing they’d take on the advice of retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral William H. McRaven:

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”  

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash