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Should You Decorate a Guest Room With Twin Beds?

The Wall Street Journal. logo The Wall Street Journal. 5 days ago Kathryn O’Shea-Evans
a large white bed sitting in a room © Pieter Estersohn

FOR REASONS BOTH aesthetic and practical, a fair number of decorators prefer twin beds in a room set up for sojourning friends and family. New York designer Richard Mishaan finds twins (also known as “singles”) visually “less cumbersome” than a queen or king, thanks to the way they create a space between them. “It’s the Japanese philosophy of Ma,” he said, “the absence of something that gives you perfect balance.” Beyond their calming symmetry, said Charleston, S.C., designer Tammy Connor, single beds grant you “the opportunity to do something a little more interesting than having a large bed in the middle of the room.” Ms. Connor has hung various compositions—of baskets, of ceramics—on the wall over the beds, creating a “vertical element.” New York designer Alyssa Kapito favors canopy versions: “There’s something really dramatic about their narrowness,” she said, adding that guest rooms, used only occasionally, are worthy stages for drama. New York designer Thomas Jayne installed replicas of 18th-century Federal beds in a client’s country home (left). “It’s not very friendly if you’re madly in love, but people have made do,” Mr. Jayne said. “Twin beds have never conquered passion.” Though Mr. Mishaan sometimes joins the mattresses into a king for consenting adults, even platonic friends can bunk up in twins without worry, which makes them a go-to for Perry, Ga., designer James Farmer. “Two men can share the room in a heartbeat, and that’s two extra to fill out the golf game,” he said. Twins just offer the greatest number of possibilities, added Mr. Mishaan. “It’s endless.”

(Video provided by Cityline)

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PROPONENTS OF ONE BIG mattress unite behind one critical point: We’re not kids anymore. “I used to think it was very stylish to have twins, but now I find that absolutely, positively no one enjoys it,” said New York designer Steven Gambrel. “Even with bunk rooms on the wall, we do something deeper than a twin—people find it more useful and more luxurious.” Visually, some designers also prefer the way a large central bed becomes an obvious focal point, with a pair of bedside tables providing symmetry. Kazuko Hoshino, principal of interior design at Los Angeles firm Studio William Hefner, said that, with a queen or king, “you create a balanced atmosphere with a pair of night stands and dress the room with a side chair or desk.” Mr. Gambrel, too, likes to relegate the extra square footage to the outer edges. “It gives you more space for tables and lamps in the corners,” he said. Other designers focus on the technical practicalities. “Instead of having a charging zone for each sleeper, chances are [with twins] you can only fit one center table and [guests] would have to share outlets,” said New York designer Young Huh. “It’s a lot more poky! With a large bed, you have a side table for each sleeper, and two separate surfaces for personal effects.” Ultimately, this camp champions what they themselves would want. “Maybe I’m the only one related to high-maintenance adults, but no one who visits us regularly would be cool with a twin bed,” said Nashville designer Stephanie Sabbe. “I think it’s adorable, but adults in 2018 do not sleep in twin beds, like, ever. It’s like the Cleavers.”

Suggested: 9 ideas to make your small bedroom feel more spacious (Provided by Homify)

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