My basic question is This: what would the basic contents of an inn or hotel room be during the pre-industrial period. The room would have to include the following:

  • Bed ir mattress of some kind (what would a typical cheap inn bed be?)
  • Some form of storage for belongings (what would be most common? Just a few hooks, a full set of drawers, a trunk, etc.)
  • Some form of heat or light (Obviously fire, but what form?)
  • Some form of seating and table (Basic for a single person)
  • Some form of basin for washing(nothing fancy, just the basic nessesities)

closed as too broad by Mołot, Alexander von Wernherr, Ash, Renan, Rekesoft Oct 29 '18 at 11:54

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  • $\begingroup$ Fixed! Now can this be un closed $\endgroup$ – Tanzanite Dragoness Dec 4 '18 at 4:29

This will depend much upon the culture you're focusing on in your world; what kind of inn you're talking about; what kind of customer they expect to cater to.

A caravansary might have several different accommodations ranging from a private room to a common room to a corner in the stable. Rooms would likely be sparsely furnished. Probably no more than a bed frame or bed box with straw mattress and maybe a commode with bowl and pitcher so you can refresh yourself in the morning. A nicer room might have some chairs and a side table and maybe a looking glass.

A dormitory in a monastery would probably have no more than a neat bed, table & chair and an icon of the local deity.

A rude country inn might only have a common room or two -- with a large bed in which several guests might be expected to sleep together.

A wood stove or hearth may or may not be in evidence. The chamber may or may not be terribly clean. A boy or girl slave may be placed at your disposal.

Here is much more detailed description of a typical European inn of several centuries ago. And here is a description of a typical Japanese inn of the same period. And here is an article on the caravansary typical in Iran along the Silk Road.

  • $\begingroup$ The standard "furnishing" is a caravansary would be a spot in the courtyard. A caravansary is mostly a very large couryard protected by walls. The travellers were expected to bring their own kit -- cooking utensils, blankets, whatever. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 28 '18 at 21:36

I think the bare minimum for a single person should allow eating and sleeping. Therefore I think the bare minimum should include:

  • A furnace and some clayware for cooking/eating/storing water
  • A pot for the physiological overnight necessities
  • A stool for sitting
  • A small table
  • A (straw) mattress
  • $\begingroup$ I would have to disagree with a furnace in a room. That would make things prone to burning down and would also require additional effort on either the behalf of the Inn or Adventurer (Pot/Pans, firewood, fireplace and chimney in every room and lots of cleaning). It would make more sense to have a common fire/furnace. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Oct 29 '18 at 3:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Shadowzee, I agree with the safety concern, however having someone cooking your meal is an additional luxury to the bare minimum OP is asking. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Oct 29 '18 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ I’ve been in many lodges with a central fire place on the first floor and vents that allow heat up to higher levels. My impression is that the tech is very low and very old. A model building I saw in a museum in Britain appeared to have such, listed as medieval construction, but I’m not absolutely sure about that. No citation I can provide. (Not sure if heat suffices for cooking, but did serve to warm food already cooked.) $\endgroup$ – SRM Oct 29 '18 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ A straw mattress for the middle classes, a feather mattress for the upper classes with a small narrow bed for a maid or manservant, and a pallet and/or loose straw in the stables for everyone else (watch out for the rats!) $\endgroup$ – chasly from UK Dec 4 '18 at 11:21

It depends on what the room is used for and how many hours a day the person spends in it.

Absolute necessities:
A mattress and bedding (sheets, blanket, pillow).
Towels or bathsheets, washcloth.
A place to store belongings.
A fireplace or other source of heat if the climate requires, with necessary accouterments.
Lighting (candles and holders and matches, gas fixtures, oil lamps, whatever).
A way to assure privacy through a window.
A lock on the door (and window if any).

A bedframe.
Actual storage devices such as drawers, shelves, or hooks.
(Getting stuff off the floor is pretty important, though not critical for short-term.)
For cold climates, bedwarmers and wraps for them are very very helpful (think special bricks or iron pieces heated on the stove or fire then wrapped to keep beds clean).
A table and other surfaces.

Is there a bathroom available? All day and night?
If the room has to provide bathroom functions then add:
A sink (if there is plumbing) or a pitcher and at least 2 bowls.
A toilet (unlikely in those times, but "pre-electric" covers a lot of ground) or a chamber pot with a lid.
If there is no other place to bathe, then a tub and buckets or at least something more than 1 pitcher and 2 bowls.
Soap and towels, etc.

Are meals provided? Does the person have to cook all their own meals or just make morning tea?
If food prep is needed then it can vary widely depending on what is allowed/safe and what is needed.
Secure (rat/mouse and insect proof) food storage.
Source of cooking heat.
Pots, pans, utensils, dishware, etc.
A way to wash dishes.
If what's needed is more basic, then just a kettle for the fireplace, heat-proof pads, and tea cups. The kettle can also be used to warm washing water.

What is the person's profession? Hobbies? Basic day to day life?
If it were me, I'd want a desk and chair and paper and something to write with.
I'd also want a nice armchair to sit and read a book in, given appropriate lighting.
Does the person work in the room? Cobbler, mender, scribe...
These things require not just equipment but furniture and space (and lighting!).

  • $\begingroup$ This is perfect. I just wanted the basics of a hotel room that you might find in any given time period. I am writing a few things that have inns, and wanted them to be a bit more realistic. $\endgroup$ – Tanzanite Dragoness Oct 29 '18 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ I'm glad my answer was useful. I will say though that your question was a bit confusing. I assumed it asked what someone would bring with them if they were going to live in a rented (empty) room for a while. You didn't mention size/weight so I was leaving out that consideration. The question of what an inn in that era would need to provide to make their guests comfortable is different, though the two answers overlap a lot. $\endgroup$ – Cyn Oct 29 '18 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ I was going for a general essentials for a room question and you hit it spot on. I needed a dormitory, for one book series, an in for three others, and a condo for two. So I tried to hit a question that would awnser those for me and others. $\endgroup$ – Tanzanite Dragoness Oct 30 '18 at 0:33

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