How to Look at a Bedroom

PA. “Messy Bedrooms ‘Hit House Prices.'” Times of Malta, 26 Aug. 2012.

© Copyright 2017 William Moo, Ryerson University.

What does a bedroom tell us about a person? Is the room tidy? Is it a dump site for useless junk? Although these mundane observations seem common to the average person, a bedroom tells us a lot about one’s characteristics. For some, this can be a place to eat, sleep, and live for most of their life. It is the place where we wake ourselves up in the morning and turn ourselves in for the night.

Mirzoeff once mused that anything that is visible and within our sight contributes to a visual culture. This also applies to things that are supposedly invisible, but in actuality, is hidden from our field of vision. To discern meaning in a vast world, we structure a visual perspective from what we know and experienced as individuals (11). In order to enact some sort of change, it is crucial that we engage and observe what is presented to us from the expansive visual culture society perpetuates (14).

Those words remain relevant to a macro level analysis of visual culture and change. However, they also apply on micro level contexts. In this case, a typical bed of an ordinary person in one random town. To comprehend the issues of an ever changing world, it is important to start looking at things closely right in our own homes. A bedroom becomes a personal space when we return from the outside world. How it is organized reveals characteristics of our mental well-being.

This photo shows a typical bedroom. From a distant glance, it is easy to spot the disorder all around. Disheveled bed sheets, clothes out of the hamper, a pair of sunglasses and a magazine on the bed; with mismatched pillows on the rim of the frames. Some rugs have been tucked under the bed, with a gentle lamp light illuminating the room.

The disorganization here displays humanity’s struggles against the pressures of everyday life. Whatever responsibilities we have to the outside world drains our energy to routinely tidy our bedrooms. Life moves much faster than us and we barely keep time for ourselves. The clutter festers and adds more unneeded stress in our own personal space.

A small space such as this can make anyone feel constrained or claustrophobic. It is not hard to imagine the jaded homeowner sleeping in this cramped space after a difficult day at work.

So what can help us? The first step is to organize a room to a clutter free state. This helps assuage a person’s stress. Barring any kind of external assumption, a messy room is essentially a product of neglected actions. If they take the time, however, to group items together and rearrange or remove any unnecessary clutter, it will become a relaxing sanctuary.

Visual culture starts from observing regular spaces around your home. Before we analyze the breathtaking, life changing moments archived through picture or film, look at your bedroom first. This is the space that you wake up to first thing in the morning and turn in at night. Changing the world starts in small, overlooked areas. An empty room, free of any unnecessary clutter, sets the mind to a clear slate and brings the opportunity to see spaces differently.

Works Cited 

Johnson, Bobbi A. “Bedroom Organization.” Dawson Creek Daily News, 25 Jan 2010, p. A.6.

Mirzoeff, Nicholas. How to See the World. Pelican Books, 2015.

PA. “Messy Bedrooms ‘Hit House Prices.'” Times of Malta, The Strickland Foundation, 26 Aug. 2012,