Is It Really a Bedroom?

Sometimes I tour a home with a certain number of stated bedrooms where one of the bedrooms is quite small. Such was the case this past week in Saint Paul where one ‘bedroom’ measured 7′ x  8′. So, is this really a bedroom?

According to one of the inspectors I work with, the International Residential Code (IRC), used by both Minneapolis and St. Paul, states that a bedroom must be a minimum of 70 square feet in area. In the above case, the room does not meet the minimum size of 70 square feet. Thus, the ‘three-bedroom’ house I saw is actually a two-bedroom house.

Other code requirements for a bedroom include:

  • having a ceiling height of seven (7) feet (from finished floor to finished ceiling),
  • one egress window or door direct to the exterior,
  • a smoke detector,
  • a minimum size of not less than seven (7) feet in any horizontal direction,
  • and light, ventilation and heating.

Note that a closet is not a required feature to meet code for a bedroom. Most people are surprised to hear this, undoubtedly because most bedrooms have a closet. It’s expected, but it’s not required.

(Code includes numerous other details which I am not including here.)

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