What comes to your mind when someone mentions a bedroom? Most people think a bedroom is a room with a bed and a closet or window. But that might not be right as there are things that qualify a room as a bedroom. According to the IRC, a room qualifies as a bedroom if it has methods of egress.

The room should also have enough ceiling height and a heating and cooling system. A door leading to a hallway or outdoors also qualifies a room as a bedroom. The size of the room, fire alarms, and windows also matter in a bedroom.

So, what really do you need to include in a room to be a bedroom? Read on!

Things that turn a room into a bedroom

  • Size Of the Room
  • Ceiling Height
  • Methods Of Egress
  • Closet Space
  • Doors
  • Fire Alarms
  • A Heating and Cooling System

Size Of the Room

One of the things that makes a room a bedroom is its size. According to the International Residential Code (IRC), a room is considered a bedroom if its floor space is 70 square feet and at least 7 feet in one direction. But if the room is to host more people, you should assign each person at least 50 square feet.

The size of the room can differ according to the state you’re in, but most states work with these measurements, ensuring one has adequate space for their belongings in the bedroom.

Ceiling Height

Another thing that makes a room to be a bedroom is the ceiling height. A bedroom should not have a low-lying ceiling. In some states, it is a requirement for half of the bedroom ceiling to be at least 7 feet tall.

Methods Of Egress

A room should have an entrance. But for it to qualify as a bedroom, it must also have a method of egress. The method of egress acts as an emergency exit, improving the room’s safe. The law requires a bedroom to have a door that opens outside the house.

But if it doesn’t have that, it should contain a window of the height of 24 inches and 20 inches in width and a minimum opening area of 5.7 square feet. In addition to that, the window should not be more than 44 inches from the floor. 

The only exception for the window to be more than 44 inches from the floor is if it has steps or permanent installations that can be used to reach the window during an emergency. Plus, the room’s window must open at least halfway.

Closet Space

In many states, it’s not a requirement for a bedroom to have a closet. Despite that, some states don’t consider a room without a closet as a bedroom. So, it’s important to know your local area codes to be on the safer side of the law. It’s advisable to leave closet space even if you don’t install the closets.  


A room can be a bedroom if accessible from at least one point. Depending on the house layout, this can be through the hallway or the living room. If you have a room that’s only accessible through another room, it can’t be considered a bedroom.

Fire Alarms

A bedroom should also have fire alarms. The law stipulates that a smoke alarm should be at every level of the home, plus the basement. In the bedroom, the alarm should be in an accessible place within. But this doesn’t mean that the older homes with no alarms in the bedroom disqualify the room.

A Heating and Cooling System

Furthermore, a room should have a cooling and heating system to qualify as a bedroom. The bedroom should have a heater and what can cool it off, like a window or AC. However, a space heater doesn’t qualify for bedroom use.

Does a bedroom need a closet?

When looking for a house to move into, a closet is one of the things you look for. But does this count as a legal requirement? No, there is no legal requirement that a bedroom needs to have a closet. This applies in many states, with the only difference coming in because of real estate investors looking for ways to lure clients into their properties.

Currently, most modern homes have closets in master bedrooms. Those without are looking for alternatives to closets to store their clothes.

Can You Turn Your Basement space into A Bedroom?

If you have space in the basement but lack an extra room, you can consider turning it into a bedroom. The basement room will be handy for the bigger families or those who receive frequent guests. But you must get the right permits to design the room into a bedroom.

However, it won’t be a legal bedroom if your state codes require it to have a window. Remember, adding a window in a below-the-ground basement can be challenging. But if it’s a walk-out basement, you will not have problems setting it as a bedroom.

Also, when making this step, you must follow the other regulations that qualify a room as a bedroom. Without a method of egress that leads outdoors in the basement, it doesn’t qualify as a bedroom. Let it also have enough ceiling height and be creative to improvise a window or introduce an alternative.

Bottom Line

You need a luxurious bedroom to make the moments in there worthwhile. But achieving this can be challenging as there are state codes you must stick by. These codes ensure your bedroom is safe and comfortable regardless of time or season. So, make sure you stick by the state codes as well as the comfort you need in a bedroom.