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I usually make a lot of three-square rooms with a bed and a chest each in my fortresses, and declare the rooms bedrooms. Sometimes dwarves seem to assign themselves to beds and put stuff into chests, but this happens quite seldom.

What is the proper way of managing rooms for my dwarves?

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3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Dwarves will seek to claim an unclaimed room when they look for a bed. There's two practical ways this scenario resolves:

Scenario A - Assigned Bedroom

  • You manually assign the Dwarf a bedroom
  • The dwarf goes to the bedroom when tired

Scenario B - No Assigned Bedroom

  • You have not assigned a tired Dwarf a bedroom.
  • The dwarf finds the nearest un-claimed bedroom and claims it.
  • The dwarf is now assigned this bedroom, and will hereafter follow scenario A

Scenario C - No Available Bedrooms

  • You have no bedrooms available
  • the dwarf finds the nearest open bed and falls asleep.
  • it is possible that they sleep in an owned bed, but they seem to prefer going to a dormitory or barracks before they sleep in an owned bed or just fall asleep in the dirt.

Note: sleeping outside of a proper bedroom will not increase a dwarf's happiness, and may decrease it if they are forced to sleep on the floor. Nobles may also throw a tanty if a lower noble or a commoner has a nicer (bed)room, so it may be wise to assign them the most opulent space available.

So in general, you don't need to worry about assigning dwarves bedrooms manually - as long as you have unclaimed bedrooms available, they will seek them out as needed.

One final note: Dwarven families share beds and bedrooms.

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Sometimes two dwarves (wife and husband) have claimed the same single-bed room. Does that make them unhappy, i.e. should I build them new rooms? –  Maia Mar 17 '12 at 19:48
    
And do dwarves use the chests in their rooms automatically? –  Maia Mar 17 '12 at 19:48
    
Oh and thanks for a really quick answer! :D –  Maia Mar 17 '12 at 19:48
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I think they're both part of "What is the proper way of managing rooms for my dwarves?" –  Maia Mar 17 '12 at 20:11
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@Maia no, there's no unhappy thoughts for dwarf families sharing beds. That's the dwarf thing to do, apparently. As to chests, they're currently bugged, though Toady's Devlog has recently hinted that he's in the process of fixing them. –  Raven Dreamer Mar 17 '12 at 20:56
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Also worth noting is the potential for either dormitory or barracks bedding, as well as the importance of bedroom value for Nobles, particularly jealous ones.

Dormitories: Simply a big ol' room with some beds designated as a bedroom, with the 'Dormitory' tag set to 'Y'. Dwarves will sleep in any available bed without claiming permanent ownership and move on in the morning.

Barracks: Trickier, due to assigning squads to Barracks. Functions similarly to dormitory bedding, but theoretically only for squads assigned to that particular barracks and only if the sleep in barracks setting is set to 'Y'

Value: Dwarf Nobles are a particularly Fun bunch, and will demand valuable bedrooms, offices, and dining halls. The higher the rank of the Noble, the more valuable and expansive his/her room will need to be. Particularly important is the Jealous tag on Nobles, which, if present, causes that Noble unhappy thoughts when dwarves of a lesser rank are assigned to rooms of higher value than the Noble. Assigning your Nobles to custom built Noble suites is recommended to avoid tantrums and Fun. Check the dwarffortressiwki for more info on any of these topics.

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I usually do both -- I create a small dorm at the beginning for anyone to sleep in.

Then I start creating rooms near workshops and assigning dwarves from the important workshops to have rooms nearby, each with a table, chair, bed, cabinet and chest. This seems to keep them from travelling too much when tired or hungry.

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