Maybe you are getting ready to sell your home, and you are wondering how many bedrooms you can list on your sale posting. Maybe your dining room is just not being used for its original purpose, and you'd like another bedroom instead. Dining rooms are becoming antiquated, and some families need the extra bedroom to grow. So, can a dining room be classed as a bedroom? We've researched the topic in-depth and have the ins and outs of what makes a bedroom a bedroom.
Your dining room can be classed as a bedroom if it meets the legal requirements of a bedroom. What constitutes a bedroom varies from state to state, appraiser, and realtor. A general rule of thumb is that a bedroom must have a door, closet, and window. Per the International Residential Code (IRC), a closet is not necessary for a room to be classed as a bedroom. However, these rules do apply:
- The size of the room
- Temperature control
This might seem like a lot of information to take in, so keep reading as we go into more detail about how laws may vary from state to state, appraiser, and realtor, and what some of those laws are. We'll also give you some ideas on how you can use the dining room as a bedroom!
State By State Laws
As mentioned above, laws that decide whether a room is considered a bedroom vary state by state, so it is important to check local building codes when deciding whether to count a room as a bedroom. States follow the IRC but may add a few rules of their own. Appraisers and realtors may have different ideas on what is considered a bedroom, and even though an appraisal may only list two bedrooms, it is okay for a realtor to disclose that there is a third room that could be used as a bedroom. This is why you might see "two to three bedrooms" on a home listing.
How Small Can A Room Be To Be Classed As A Bedroom?
There are minimum size requirements for a bedroom, so, unfortunately, that closet you might have under the stairs probably won't be considered a bedroom. Per IRC Section R304, a bedroom must be a minimum of 7-feet in any horizontal direction and cannot have a ceiling that is less than 7-feet tall. The bedroom must also be at least 70-square-feet, with an additional 50-square-feet for any additional person who will be sharing the room. Keep this in mind if the bedroom will have higher than a single occupancy!
Can A Bedroom Have No Windows?
For a bedroom to be considered a bedroom, it must have two types of egress (ways to exit), and one of those has to be to the outside of the house. So, if your dining room doesn't have any windows but has a door to the outside of the house, it can still qualify as a bedroom. Now, the window can't be just any type of window; there are also size requirements:
- The window has to be between 24-inches and 44-inches from the ground; low enough to be used as an escape but high enough that it isn't a danger to small children.
- A net opening of 5.7-square-feet
- A net width of at least 20-inches
- A net height of at least 24-inches
For more in-depth reading on the regulations, check out IRC R310.2.
Does A Bedroom Need A Door?
Open floor plans are very popular in modern homes. If your dining room does not have a door, you will have to add one for it to be legally considered a bedroom. Bedrooms must have a closeable door, and you must not have to pass through another bedroom to get to the room. Now, that doesn't mean you can't use the room without a door as a bedroom; it will just not be considered one legally by an appraiser or realtor.
Does A Bedroom Need A Closet?
If your dining room doesn't have a closet, don't fear. The IRC does not require bedrooms to have a closet, and neither do building codes in most states. For more information on whether bedrooms require a closet, check out: Does A Bedroom Have To Have A Closet?
Does A Bedroom Need Heat?
A bedroom does need some form of temperature control, but since dining rooms usually have this already, you probably don't need to worry about installing a unit. If your dining room does not have a heat source, make sure to research local code requirements. A space heater will not suffice as a heat source, and the room must be kept warmer than 68ºF using a window unit or radiator.
How Can I Use The Dining Room As A Bedroom?
So, your dining room meets all the requirements of being a bedroom, but now you're wondering how actually to use it as a bedroom. The only thing left to do is furnish and decorate it. If you decided not to add a door to your dining room, you may want to consider some alternative privacy options. Curtains would not offer acoustic privacy but can be great for creating visual privacy. If you have a dining room with two entryways, you may want to consider a more permanent privacy wall.
Furnishing The Dining Room As A Bedroom
First, remove all of your dining room furniture and if you haven't already done so, measure your room. That way, you can know exactly what pieces of furniture you'll be able to fit inside. If it's going to be a child's bedroom or nursery, you might have a few more belongings to move in than if it is becoming an adult or master bedroom; keep this in mind when sizing your furniture!
Decorating The Dining Room
You probably don't want your bedroom to just look like a dining room with a bed in it, so some decorating might be needed to achieve that cozy, warm feeling every bedroom needs. Consider changing the paint, floors, or adding some curtains to create a bedroom feel. Maybe you've already got a theme in mind; if not, or you'd like some additional ideas, check out some of our bedroom theme ideas here!
Can You Turn The Living Room Into A Bedroom?
Put simply, yes; you can turn the living room into a bedroom! Many people who have smaller homes do this, and studio apartments do just that with one single space for living in. You could use room dividers to separate the room into two for some added privacy or if you wished to still use part of the room as a living room. Some people convert their living room into a bedroom because they would like a larger bedroom space. They may use one of their smaller bedrooms as the living room instead.
Now that you've learned the minimum legal requirements of a bedroom, it should be pretty easy to decide whether your dining room can be classed as a bedroom. Realtors will list a room or disclose a possible bedroom as long as it has a window, door, and a closet. Appraisers follow the IRC and local state guidelines. Don't forget though, you can technically add a bed to any room in your house and call it a bedroom if you'd like! It just might not be considered legally.