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When is a Bedroom a Bedroom?

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By : Gary Lundholm    99 or more times read
Determining how many bedrooms a house has can be a tricky business. Sure, your 3 year old sleeps in a walk-in closet and thinks they live in a master suite, but just sleeping in a room doth not a bedroom make. Finding out what makes a bedroom in your area can be interesting as well as frustrating!

What is a bedroom? The first answer is, “Um, well, it’s a room for sleeping. You know, where a bed is?” The room must be a room with a doorway. No half-finished “privacy walls or anything of that nature"; the room must be fully enclosed.

Did you know that in some areas, that a room is not a bedroom unless it contains a closet? Yes, in order to be considered a bedroom, a room must have a contained area with a pole for hanging garments. In some places it doesn’t even matter whether you have an armoire that could house your entire family should disaster strike. It. Must. Have. A. Closet.

Okay, so this room has a closet. Score one for you. Now, does it have a window? In many jurisdictions, a window is absolutely essential to the “bedroom” designation. Not only must it be there, in many areas, it must also be large enough for the average adult to climb out of should fire engulf the house or some other unfortunate circumstance make it unwise to use the door.

Attic and basement bedrooms may or may not be termed as such, depending on how they are laid out and whether your area has a specific rule about them. Stairs leading up to an enclosed room with a closet? Bedroom. Ladder leading up to- Nope. Basement bedrooms can be listed if they otherwise conform to your area’s definition of a bedroom. Many, however, fail, especially if the standard calls for an acceptable means of egress and your basement bedroom only has one of those tiny windows that basement bedrooms so frequently come with.

What about homes that were built before closets were a common feature of bedrooms? There are many Victorian-era homes, for example, that were built on the premise that you would have a huge wardrobe to keep your clothing in – are they not bedrooms? Most would say yes, but with this, as with most things involving the technical definitions of your home, you would do well to contact a real estate professional familiar with real estate law in your area.

It’s funny what the law defines as a bedroom and what it doesn’t. In order to abide by your area’s laws, it’s best to consult with a professional who is familiar with the ins and outs of advertising local real estate.
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