Sleeping Around: A History of the Bedroom

We all know that the contemporary home is divided into a number rooms, each with its own special function: the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.  What could be more natural, right?  In fact, it isn’t natural at all, but historically-speaking a quite recent phenomenon.  The nineteenth century marks a great watershed between the way things had been for centuries and the way they are now.  That century saw incomes rise dramatically thanks to the industrial revolution and consequently the creation of a middle class as we know it.  And one of the interesting things about these newly affluent people was that they increasingly retreated from public spaces towards the seclusion of the home.  During this time the home and the work place became increasingly separated.   In the twentieth century these new informal arrangements became encoded in law as zoning codes which forbad the mixing of residential and industrial spaces.