February 7


Are Bedrooms Considered Living Space?

By Robin Hatch

February 7, 2022

Many individuals are unsure if a bedroom is a living place. In the real estate sector, a room is called a bedroom if it has a closeable door, a window, and a closet.

On the other hand, to be included in the living space of your home, the area must be finished, accessible to other finished rooms of the house, and meet the specified ceiling requirements. So are bedrooms considered living space?

While you can technically sleep anywhere in a house, some rules govern which rooms can formally be referred to as “bedrooms” when evaluating a home.

Therefore, a room is a bedroom if it meets the international regulation codes (IRG). Yes, Bedrooms are considered living spaces.

Continue reading to learn more. 

What Is a Bedroom?

A bedroom is a room within a residential or lodging unit distinguished by its use for sleeping. Bedrooms can range from the most basic to the most elaborate.

A closet, nightstand, desk, and dresser are the other conventional items in a standard bedroom. A bathroom may be connected to the bedroom in residences containing many bedrooms. 

Do Rooms Need a Closet To Be a Bedroom? 

Have you ever wondered, “Does a bedroom need to have a closet?” Contrary to common assumption, a bedroom does not require a closet (or a walk-in) to be deemed formal. Your significant other may disagree, but it does not matter legally, at least in most states.

Closets are standard in contemporary homes and master bedrooms, but older dwellings may necessitate a more creative solution to clothing storage.

So what does a room need to have to be qualified as a bedroom?

Characteristics Of a Bedroom 

The legal criteria vary by state, but there are six general ways to tell if your room is a bedroom.

Size And Square Footage

Your bedroom’s size and square footage are essential, not necessarily because you want to fit a bed, nightstand, and other furniture. And though sizes vary by state, a minimum of 70 to 80 square feet is generally considered adequate. 

Minimum Horizontal Footage Requirement

The bare minimum square footage does not communicate the complete story. A bedroom must be at least 7 feet long in any horizontal direction. That’s why a 10-foot hallway can’t be called a bedroom (you’d never be able to fit a bed, mattress, dresser, or other furniture there).

At Least Two Exit Options

There must be two exits from a bedroom. Traditionally, a door and a window would be used. A bedroom usually features an interior door that can be accessed from the house and a window that can be opened from the outside without keys. A skylight would also qualify as a means of egress in most markets.

Minimum Ceiling Height Requirement

There are extra size dimensions to consider in this case. The bedroom ceiling must be at least 7 feet tall on half of the walls. So, if the other half of the loft has a higher clearance, you can put a bed in a loft area with a ceiling height of fewer than 7 feet.

The Minimum Dimensions Of Doors And Windows

The conventional door width might vary because there are so many different sizes and doors. However, in the United States, the average door width is 36 inches. 30 and 32 inches are also extremely common sizes, but the window opening must be at least 5.7 square feet.

A Heating And Cooling Element

Your “master bedroom” needs these features, including a heater (a space heater won’t suffice) and a way to cool it down, whether through the use of a window or good old air conditioning.

What Is a Living Space?

Living spaces are living rooms used for various functions, such as entertaining guests, relaxing, reading, working, playing, watching, surfing the web, pursuing hobbies, etc. They are non-essential rooms, such as the kitchen, bedroom, entryway, and bathroom. 

You can install several such rooms in your home for various uses and activities.

It is the most visible part of the house to visitors and friends, usually the center of attention. Living spaces are the perfect spot for family gatherings, dining, recreation, entertaining, and simply unwinding.

What Counts As a Living Space?

Interior spaces that are conditioned, such as the bedroom, kitchen, living room, recreation or family room, special-purpose rooms like a sunroom or home office, and bathrooms, count as living spaces.

Likewise, enclosed patios that are air-conditioned (if the entire house is), heated, and of comparable quality in artistry to the rest of the home are considered living spaces.

Note: Interior closets, utility rooms, and entryways can still qualify as living areas if finished and built to the home’s general requirements.

Is a Bedroom Considered a Living Space? 

Yes. Because they fall under the criteria of usable square footage, bedrooms are considered living spaces. This implies they use the property’s primary air conditioning system.

More importantly, they are on the same level as the home and, in most cases, have the same quality of finish and construction.

Is a Finished Basement a Living Space?

This is a yes/no issue that has sparked heated debate in the real estate community. According to ANSI regulations, a basement, whether finished or unfinished, is not considered a component of the living space.

However, it is a standard practice among many homeowners to include the completed basement size separately within the same listing.

As a result, despite ANSI’s warning, you’ll still find homeowners listing the size of their completed basement but not including it in the habitable square footage of the property.

What Is Not Considered Living Space?

On the flipside, unfinished utility spaces, toilet compartments, passageways, storage sections, and closets, on the other hand, are not considered living spaces.

Unfinished spaces, such as the basement or loft, are not considered living spaces. The same is true for the garage.

Living areas that are not attached to the house or must be reached through a non-living space are also not considered living spaces. Examples include a modest office structure adjacent to the property or an enclosed storage area within the garage.

According to the provided regulations and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards, garages are never deemed living space because they do not have the same finishing as the house and do generally not lie at the same level.

Chimneys and windows are also included in this category. They do not lie at the same level, aside from not being finished.

What Makes a Room Considered a Living Space? 

Residential code requirements differ from state to state and from country to country. But generally, the main features of living space are universally adopted. 

For a living space, there are a few things to consider. Three key criteria determine whether or not an interior space qualifies as a living area.  

 The area must be heated:  A traditional heating system must be used as the heat source. In most circumstances, a finished space heated by a space heater is not considered a gross living area. Forced air systems, solar, radiant, and ductless systems are traditional heating technologies.

The space must be finished. The space must have walls, floors, and ceilings made of materials that are commonly used in interior construction (painted drywall, carpet, etc.). The final space’s ceiling height must be 7 feet.  

It should be readily accessible: Finally, the finished space must be accessible from other house areas. This usually entails a door, a heated hallway, a stairwell, corridors, and balconies. But this is not an exhaustive list of openings through which a living space can be accessed.

How Much Living Space Do I Need In My Home?

Your lifestyle determines the amount of floor space required for each room, and the rationale for building a one-of-a-kind home assesses the amount of floor space needed for each room.

When creating a new home, one of the first challenges is deciding on the size and style of different rooms. Measuring the house you currently live in and using these dimensions to determine which rooms need to be expanded or where you can afford to lose space if downsizing is a good place to start.


To conclude, every house/home has space considered not to be a living space by regulations, such as garages, stairways, and many others. The primary aim of building a house is to create living space, although areas considered “not living spaces” are unavoidably created. 

From real estate calculation of living space and the regulations for housing, it is seen that bedrooms occupy more than 30% of a house. Also, about 75% of the total area makes up the living space which includes but is not limited to bedrooms.

The criteria for residential codes range from state to state and country to country. Regardless, the essential characteristics of living space are universally adopted; a bedroom is a living space based on the characteristics that qualify a room as a living space. 

Robin Hatch

About the author

For over a decade, Robin has been a real estate agent, interior design specialist, and mother. Through her trials and tribulations, she wanted to create the perfect website to help you save money and make your home look beautiful.

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