how to decide who gets the master bedroom

If you’re moving in with a roommate, you have to know how to decide who gets the master bedroom.

There is an endless number of methods and criteria you can use to make this decision.

There will be many interesting compromises, and who gets the master bedroom is just one of them.

For example, if one person works from home and values quiet and privacy that person should probably get a larger bedroom to work or entertain in peace.

A sure way to solve this problem is to consider how your roommates use their space. If one roommate has more stuff than another or the bigger bed, it might make sense for them to take the master bedroom simply because it’s often larger.

Decision Making Time

decision making

First, you’ll want to create a list of the things both roommates want. These are the nonnegotiable that could make a relationship-ending deal breaker.

After making this list, it’s time to discuss priorities.

A good way to do this is to give yourself one minute and talk to your roommate about what you care about (remember: no interrupting!).

Then you’ll have one minute to have your roommate speak so they can voice their opinion on what they see as important.

This will help ease communication by helping each roommate understand how the other feels about certain issues.

Methods of Deciding Who Gets the Master Bedroom

Although you might think that you need to have perfect room layouts to share a home successfully, this is far from true.

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There are many different solutions to choosing which bedroom belongs to whom–and sometimes none of them involve getting along!

Here are a fair way to decide who gets the master bedroom:

Method 1: Who Pays More per Square Feet

who pays more

It’s a straightforward method of making a decision — and a boring method too.

An easy way to work out the rent for each room is to multiply the total rent by the size of the room and divide it by the total square footage.

For example, if three people share an apartment that’s 1000 sq ft and pay $1500 in rent with utilities, then the rent calculation works like this: (500 x 1000)/1500 = 333.33.

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Everyone pays 333.33 per month, and all bills, including utilities, are included.

If a roommate is willing and capable of paying more than the calculated amount, they should take the master bedroom.

Note: The way this system works is pretty simple. You pay for the time you spend sharing common areas and any regular expenses such as bills.

Method 2: Amenity Trade-Off

trade off

To trade off other amenities or utilities in your apartment, a roommate may have a particularly nice room.

For example, a unique situation may occur if you only have a single parking spot assigned and it goes to the roommate with the nicer room.

In this case, the person may have to do without cable or internet access. So to make up for it, the person who takes the master bedroom can pay for these things.

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This often ends up being bidding, but instead of bidding money, you are placing bids on utilities and amenities with the master bedroom as the catch.

Method 3: Sheer Luck

One of the most fun ways to decide who gets the master bedroom is to play a game.

Rock-paper-scissors or a coin toss are simple options, or you can have a little more fun with a quick game of poker, blackjack, or even roulette.

But don't let the loser have another chance to win—a victory may cause future misunderstanding and loathing from a lucky winner.

Method 4: Strength Testing

a strength testing

You might decide that the nicest room should go to whoever is strongest.

While you wait for your friends to have their epic match, feel free to start a swimming race or Twister competition to pass time.

Or make this process even more fun by expanding the category of nicest room to include games of knowledge or endurance contests.

If there’s a tiebreaker, pick the challenge that best suits your skills and knowledge of the situation.

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Feats of endurance fit wonderfully within this topic area.

Tip: Food-based feats of endurance are fantastic for dividing the flatmate wheat from the chaff—just don't eat too many hot peppers!

Method 5: Creative Contest

The application is really easy.

If you want to score the master bedroom in the house, write a persuasive essay, draw a sculpture or sing a song explaining why you should get it.

You could also act out a scene–basically, feel free to be as creative as you want.

It’s an apartment, so don’t push your luck!

Method 6: Race to the Room

have race

If you have a house or an apartment, you can play the race game to the master bedroom.

It’s a simple game: all you have to do is be the first person to get to a certain point in your house or apartment.

It would help if you had rules. You don’t want people breaking things, so you’re not allowed to run in the house/apartment.

Instead, come up with central places in your city, set up a race starting time, set your watches, and get going.

In this method, you are allowed to pay bystanders for hindering the opponents in the contest.

Method 7: Lottery Method

Apart from helping how to decide who gets the master bedroom, the lottery method is a good idea to be fair in dividing up the common spaces in your house or apartment.

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Don’t fret if you’re unsure of how to accomplish this task. You could ask a neutral third-party friend or neighbor to help you with this problem.

First, number each room and put the numbers into a hat or bowl. Next, have them pick out names from another bowl and match those with numbers.

The person whose name is picked out of the bowl gets which room. This solution should work for everyone involved!

Method 8: Bidding

a bidding

This is the most stress-free way to determine a flatmate bidding situation. Everyone puts in a secret bid on the master bedroom, and the highest bidder wins.

The most efficient strategy would be to calculate the average rent for that size of the room in the building and use that as your starting point.

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You don’t want to go overboard with this, so make sure that you’re comfortable making your bid before you do it.

Note: You might want to start by bidding an even share of the weekly rent, then increase your bid by $5 until someone wins!

Method 9: Pricing Rooms

It all depends on what feels right to you and your roommates.

One of the simplest guidelines is to make the room with the highest square footage cost more than the other bedrooms.

For example, if the master bedroom costs $500 per month to rent and has 100 square feet and another bedroom costs $400 per month.

Also, it has 85 square feet, whoever claims the master bedroom should pay more for rent.

Switch Every Six Months

switch six months

Once you’ve decided who gets the master bedroom, to avoid resentment, consider alternating.

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If you and your roommate share the rent evenly, the only thing left to decide is the frequency or period of the alternation.

You can plan to switch bedrooms every six months if you do it this way.

However, if neither of you is short on cash, there are plenty of ways to have it decided for you by playing games or flipping a coin.

50/50 Split

If you split everything 50/50, then whoever seems to get stuck with the smaller room will become roommates with any guests.

So then, what about your master bathroom?

Whoever has the smaller room gets to use the main bath all of the time—which means more money being set aside for consumables like toilet paper and hand soap.

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Final Thought

There are certainly numerous ways how to decide who gets the master bedroom.

If you want to avoid the hassle when moving into a new apartment or condo, choosing bedrooms of equal size may be possible. 

This eliminates disagreements over bedroom size. In this scenario, use a dice. Take turns rolling the dice while choosing rooms.

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Another common situation is one roommate getting the en suite bathroom while the other doesn’t.

In this case, please discuss with your roommate whether they want the larger bedroom or easy access to the private bathroom. The two, three, or four of you will decide what’s best for you!

Kristina D
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