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What Makes a Room a Bedroom?

by | Jun 20, 2018 | Real Estate Glossary

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The number of bedrooms in a home can greatly impact the value of a home. So what actually makes a room a bedroom? Is it a room with a bed or something more? Let’s start at the beginning. . . 

The legal definition of a bedroom can differ from state to state, but how can you tell if a room actually counts as a bedroom? Whether or not a room is a bedroom not only impacts the value of the home but also safety standards.

4 General Requirements to Classify a Room as a Bedroom

Although specific requirements for a bedroom differ from state to state, generally speaking there are a few universal standards:

  1. Minimum Square Footage – The room needs to be a minimum of 70 square feet. This can differ from state to state, but it is rarely less than 70 square feet.
  2. Minimum Ceiling Height – Over 50% of the ceiling must be over 7’ tall. So, if your room is filled with wonky angles, just make sure that the entire room isn’t hindered by this.
  3. Minimum Window Size – There must be at least one window that has at least 5.7 square feet of opening. In some states, this can differ slightly, like in Washington the window can have only 5 square feet of opening. 
  4. Minimum (and Maximum) Window Height – A window must have a minimum sill height of 24 inches and a maximum sill height of 44 inches. The window must be at least 20 inches wide.

What about closets?

Surprisingly, a room does not need to have a closet in order to be considered a bedroom. As long as the room meets the other requirements, then a closet is just a nice bonus. That being said, if you’re in an area where most houses have closets, it’ll be hard to convince a potential buyer that not having a closet isn’t that big of a deal. That being said, you could highlight the use of a clothing rack as a chic way for them to cope with lack of closet space.
It’s important to know if a room in your house counts as a bedroom, even if you aren’t planning on selling your home anytime soon. Make sure to look up the specific bedroom requirements for your state, to make sure that you’re following all safety protocol.

How does a bedroom Impact a Home’s Value?

If you’re in the market for a new home, you know that a bedroom adds value to a home and increases the price. Homebuyers are almost always willing to pay more for a home which has more bedrooms. Whether or not a room counts as a bedroom can be particularly iffy in older homes, which were constructed before set requirements for a bedroom were made by the state. If a room is technically just a room, a buyer can often negotiate down the price of the home.

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Bedroom Safety Standards

Building codes have specific requirements for how close smoke detectors must be to bedrooms. Also, a bedroom must have two ways to exit, allowing the person inside the ability to escape if a fire were to occur. For example, a room in a basement might not be a bedroom if the window doesn’t meet certain qualifications. Instead, the room would be considered a den or an office space. Each bedroom must have a window which counts as an egress window. An egress window is a window large enough for entry and exit in case of an emergency. To see if the window in your bedroom counts as an egress window, check out the general window requirements for a bedroom.

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The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only, and while believed to be accurate, Trelora assumes no legal responsibility for accuracy. Information provided within should not relied upon as legal advice. Please consult with your local advisors for independent information regarding availability and applicability in your market.