The outlets should be above the bed!… Or should they…

Trying to plug a charger in the outlets above the bed

When designing our dorms, Brown’s engineers had to think about where the outlets should be placed. Despite possible wiring limitations, they really had three choices: across the floor, across the middle of the wall, or across the top of the wall. Considering those three choices, only two seem logical: the middle or the floor. They chose to put them in the middle, a seemingly legitimate decision. This is the height just above the desks and the bedframes, which were probably part of their deciding factors.

However, what they failed to observe was how high up mattresses usually go. Beds typically start two feet off the ground with mattresses that are usually eight inches thick. Most college students add another two or three-inch mattress on top of that, plus the bedding and pillows, which raise the height another two inches or so. Additionally, many students put lifts under the bed frame to give an extra four inches of storage below the bed. So, when it is all said and done, the height of the bed goes from two feet to almost three and a half.

Now, going back to the choice of where to put the outlets, it seems difficult to place them three-feet up the wall because the bed blocks them. Well, the engineers probably debated the tradeoffs. Yes, it may be too high or low for everyone’s bed, but students could move their bed slightly away from the wall and then use shorter cords, like phone chargers, while lying in bed. Seems plausible. But, on second thought, not really. The outlets already protrude from the wall, so students are forced to move the bed further away if they would like to plug in their chargers. This is a problem for most people. Most people, including myself, are accustomed to sleeping right up against the wall. Thus, it would just be easier to keep the outlets on the floor and avoid all the hassle.

Wires are forced to go underneath the desk anyway!

Okay, maybe the engineers thought about this but said, “the bed tradeoff might be worth it, since the outlets will be at a perfect height for the students’ desks.” Again, a seemingly reasonable statement. However, nobody likes cords on their desk. If you are like me, you actually have an extension cord that sits on the floor, so that all the wires are hidden beneath the desk. Hence, by having the outlets above the desks, students are forced to have an extension cord run from above to below the desk, just to have the cords come back up. All of this hectic wire jumbling could have been avoided if the engineers just had the outlets run across the floor!

I have heard many people wish there were outlets higher up on their walls. But, when you truly think about it, there are better reasons to have the outlets near the floor to avoid many of the described nuanced issues.

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