Why a Master Bedroom is Now Called a Primary Bedroom

In years past, when a house had multiple bedrooms, the largest bedroom was often referred to as the “master bedroom.” In a family home, this would be the parents’ bedroom. In a roommate situation, the master bedroom might belong to a couple or the household’s primary earner. But today, when you buy a new house, you may hear the realtor refer to that room as the “primary bedroom” instead.

What’s the reason for this change? Does the distinction between master bedroom vs. primary bedroom really matter? Read on to find out!

The History of the Term “Master Bedroom”

The term “master bedroom” has been circulating since the 1920s, first appearing in a Sears catalog article featuring an expensive Dutch Colonial home. The largest bedroom was typically occupied by the head of the household or the “master of the house.” At the time, that was usually assumed to be the man or the married parents of a family.

The name quickly caught on and became the common term for the largest bedroom of the house. So if your name was on the deed for the home, you probably occupied the master bedroom. In some cases, when a bathroom was attached to that bedroom, the master bedroom was referred to as a “master suite.”

But society and language have changed in the past century, and so has the way we refer to this coveted room.

Why Primary Bedroom vs. Master Bedroom?

Although many people take the use of the word “master” for granted, in recent times, more and more homebuyers have expressed discomfort with the outdated phrasing. 

The term has a gendered quality as it tends to bring to mind the idea of a man being the master of the home. Of course, this concept is generally agreed to be an outdated idea. Others have felt that “master” carries racist overtones, harkening back to the United States’ history of slavery.

The terms used to identify different rooms in the home are most commonly coined and used by realtors to describe a house to potential homebuyers. Realtors often have to be in tune with the headspace and the feelings of their homeowners, and avoiding distastefulness is just as important as minding client preferences. In an effort to be sensitive to the discomfort that the “master bedroom” evokes, realtors have begun to refer to the largest bedroom of the home as the “primary bedroom.”

The term “primary bedroom” identifies the bedroom as the largest in the home, but it lacks the negative connotations that “master bedroom” carries. It also implies no expectations of who in the house might be most entitled to the bedroom. It simply describes what the room is. Once the home is yours, it’s your choice what to do with it.

The Importance of a Primary Bedroom

Regardless of what you call the space, your primary bedroom should be a haven of comfort and relaxation. This is the room where homeowners are likely to spend a significant amount of their time. It’s not just where you sleep but also where you keep your most prized possessions and favorite comforts.

This is one of the most crucial rooms in the home when it comes to interior design. If your primary bedroom feels bland, cluttered, or outdated, it can impact your feelings towards the home as a whole. Your primary bedroom should be an expression of you — all the things that you find comfortable, beautiful, and functional. It’s worth it to pay for an interior designer to help you bring the image of your primary bedroom to life.

With the help of an interior designer, you can have the primary bedroom of your dreams without having to stress over all the little details yourself. It’s an investment that will pay off with unbeatable comfort and a sense of home for years to come.

Alisha Taylor Can Design Your Dream Primary Bedroom

Is your primary bedroom lacking a certain something to make your house feel like home? Maybe your tastes or needs have changed, or maybe you inherited a primary bedroom that simply isn’t your style.

Alisha Taylor Interiors can help. Alisha Taylor has 20+ years of experience running her interior design studio in Arizona. She has the industry expertise and a keen eye for optimizing comfort, beauty, and function in a primary bedroom. Take a look at our past work to see for yourself what we can do.

Let Alisha Taylor makeover your primary bedroom. Contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule a design consultation.


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