Residential - What is considered a bedroom ?


Senior Member
I agree that requirements can vary from state to state and municipality to municipality but these first (4) requirements make sense to me (bear in mind that these were written by a real estate agent but taken from the IBC and IRC and fire Codes :

(1) Room Size - A single-occupancy bedroom must have 70 square feet of floor space, with a minimum of 7 feet in one direction. (In other words, an enclosed porch 5 feet wide will never qualify.)

(2) Ceiling height - at least half of the ceiling must be 7 feet tall, minimum. Add more people using the space to sleep, and you have to accommodate with 50 more square feet for every person over the age of one.

(3) Access and Egress - You may not access a bedroom by passing through another bedroom. Each bedroom must have its own access to a hallway or communal space. “Egress” means to exit. In case of emergency, the bedroom's occupant must have two possible ways of getting out. One of those, obviously, is the door. As exits, you can have two doors, as long as one leads directly outside. (Remember the previous point about not having access to a bedroom by passing through another?) Or you can have one door and one window. The IRC has certain minimum requirements for windows:

[1] 24 inches tall
[2] 20 inches wide
[3] The window opening must have an area of 5.7 square feet
[4] A window can't be installed more than 44 inches above the floor, to allow climbing out; it should also be no lower than 24 inches from the floor, to help prevent kids from falling out.
[5] Windows must be easy to open from the inside without keys, tools, or specialized knowledge.

Fire codes vary by location, however, so check your local government to make sure you meet them.

(4) Heat - Bedrooms must have some source to keep them warm, whether it's a heating unit, a radiator, or a vent from the furnace. It must be able to keep the room at 68 degrees. A space heater does not qualify as an acceptable heat source.

(5) Lighting and Ventilation - Although you can install artificial lighting and mechanical ventilation to meet the requirements for a bedroom, this is certain to turn the room into a depressing environment rather than a pleasant retreat from the world. Instead, meet the codes. A bedroom must have at least one window, and the total glazing area (meaning the glass area) of all windows must be at least 8 percent of the floor area. The open access space when the windows are open must measure at least 4 percent of the floor area. These lighting and ventilation requirements can be met by more than one window.

(6) Electrical Outlets - A bedroom must contain at least two electrical outlets.

I'm not so sure about the lighting, ventilation and receptacle requirements being mandated by any Codes. But, then again, if you stop and think about the logic of this, would you want to regularly sleep in a room that didn't have these in place ?

Thanks for all your replies !!!