BuyersSellers January 30, 2018

What makes a bedroom, a bedroom?

It’s probably happened to you before: you’re hunting for your next home, you find an awesome listing advertised with 4 bedrooms and it’s perfect!…but then you walk in…and two of those “bedrooms” aren’t more than the size of the bathroom. Plus, there’s no window or closet. Is it really a bedroom? Well today we’re diving in to see what qualifies a bedroom, as a bedroom.

Here are the must-have items:

  • An entrance and an escape. There has to be at least two methods of egress, so it should be accessible from the house…usually a door… and one other way directly outside – either a door or a window. The City of Spokane’s code says an egress window can’t be more than 44 inches from the floor, and it must have a minimum opening of 20 inches wide and 24 inches high.
  • The ceiling height. A bedroom’s ceiling has to be at least 7 feet tall…for the most part. Some portions can be lower, but at least 50% has to be 7 feet. This isn’t usually an issue because most ceilings are at least 8 feet tall.
  • Size of room. The room cannot be smaller than 70 square feet…and it can’t be smaller than seven feet in any horizontal direction. So, no…your 2 by 35 foot room won’t fly.

Some other things to note: there needs to be a smoke alarm in each sleeping room, as well as heating capable of keeping the room higher than 68 degrees. An installed, portable heater will not work.

You’re probably thinking: what about a closet? Well, it depends state to state. In general, a bedroom should probably have a closet since most buyers expect one, but technically the International Residential Code does NOT require a bedroom to have a closet. However in Washington state, bedrooms DO need to have a closet.

I’ve gotten the question before: how did the agent get away with listing this house as a four bedroom, when there are only three!? Well it’s up to that realtor to correctly list the number of bedrooms. If they don’t, they could get disciplined by the MLS – which is the local listing service.

It’s important to define a bedroom space for two main reasons: home value and safety.