What makes a bedroom?

So you are looking at a home and trying to figure out if it is really a 4 bedroom home like it is advertised.  One of the rooms barely has space for a twin bed and no closet, one is in a basement with no window that opens.  Are these legal bedrooms?  Every state has different rules for a legal bedroom but most places agree on these 6 features that make a bedroom.

  1. Minimum square footage:  Although this can vary from state to state, 70 to 80 square feet is generally the acceptable minimum.
  2. Minimum horizontal footage: The minimum square footage isn’t the only size issue you need to look at.   A bedroom must also measure at least 7 feet in any horizontal direction. That is why you can’t call a hallway a bedroom!
  3. Two means of egress: There have to be two ways out of a bedroom. Traditionally, thesmall bedroomse would be a door and a window.
  4. Minimum ceiling height: At least half of the bedroom ceiling has to be at least 7 feet tall.
  5. Minimum window size: The window opening must be a minimum size, in Iowa its 5.7 square feet with an egress having minimum opening height of 24″, minimum opening width of 20″ and height off of floor not to exceed 44″.
  6. A heating and cooling element: A room must have a way to heat and cool the room and a space heater won’t cut it.  I window and ceiling fan are fine for cooling but there must be a way to heat the room for it to be considered a bedroom!
 As far as a closet goes, a bedroom does not have to have a closet to be considered an official bedroom.  To many people closets are a must and are expected in newer homes, but older ones might require a more creative approach such as an armoir or large dresser.

So if you are looking at a home and there is a room that does not meet these requirements to be a legal bedroom, what could you do with it???  There are many options but the most popular are an office, kids playroom, workout room, or sewing room.  Be creative and make it your own!