What Makes a "Bedroom"

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Old 08-08-06, 08:23 PM
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What Makes a "Bedroom"

What makes the difference between a "bonus" room and an additional "bedroom". I thought it had something to do with a closet maybe? If so, how big does a closet need to be to make that distinction?

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-08-06, 08:31 PM
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A bonus room is a relatively recent term that is mainly used in the United States. It is used to describe a large room in a house which could be used as a multi-purpose area. A bonus room, unlike a bedroom, does not usually contain a closet. A bonus room might be used as a sewing or hobby room, game room, computer room or as an office. It is sometimes over a garage or in an attic area with partially reduced ceiling height or some other less desirable characteristic, sometimes window less. Of course a bedroom's primary use is for sleeping and usually has a closet and windows.
 
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Old 08-08-06, 08:37 PM
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Thank you for such a quick response! I think ours will be considered a bedroom with a very SMALL closet. It is a 23x15 room, has a little closet, is over the garage with partially reduced ceiling height on the sides (but still a solid 8 ft. through most of the room), and contains 4 full size windows. I had to laugh a little because the room is a little bit of all your descriptions.

Again, thanks!
 

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Old 08-09-06, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs M
What makes the difference between a "bonus" room and an additional "bedroom". I thought it had something to do with a closet maybe? If so, how big does a closet need to be to make that distinction?

Thanks!
It is a marketing term by home builders. I wouldn't consider it a "bonus" if you are paying for it.

Even though there may be no closet in the bonus room, doesn't mean you can't sleep there.
 
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Old 08-09-06, 07:41 AM
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Mrs M,

Bedrooms must meet minimum requirements - usually square footage minimum, minimum ceiling height, egress window and a smoke detector (hard wired as per Code).

Closets are not a requirement when it comes to bedrooms although most homes have a closet within them. What is required is listed above.

Bonus rooms could become a bedroom ONLY if the above requirements are met. One could not market the home as a 4 bedroom if there were only 3 legal bedrooms and a bonus room.

As mentioned, marketing is the issue and when someone sees a "bonus room" listed, this is added space to be used for mostly whatever one wants but not as a bedroom unless the minimum requirements are met to make it so.

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 08-11-06, 08:14 AM
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A bedroom also requires an AFCI circuit breaker.
 
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Old 08-11-06, 02:03 PM
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bedroom?

similar question - except this came from health dept. we are designing a cabin. the septic is designed for 1-bedroom due to site restriction. we want a house that can sleep 8-10 the spetic guy said as long as there is no closet in the room it's not called a bedroom (I can't find this in the code). so we are thinking to call one room "bedroom", one "study" or "family room", another one "loft". all of them will have egress windows and smoke detectors, and big enough to sleep 2-4 people each. none of them, including the official bedroom, has a closet (it's a weekend-use only and there will be plenty of storage around).

can we do that?
 
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Old 08-11-06, 03:32 PM
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nwdiyer,

It is basically what you call each room - honesty is the best policy.

Septic systems and what you expect for a load on the system should be done now to accommodate but I gather the system cannot be enlarged.

Bear in mind, if you can only have 1 bedroom and expect to have 8 - 10 people sleep there, it will not be sufficient to handle the load, even if this is considered infrequent.

In essence, I would say no to your question.

chris8796,

Correct on the AFCI but this is what is required from an electrical standpoint in general but we are talking MINIMUM requirements to what makes a bedroom.

Hope this helps!
 
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Old 08-11-06, 06:43 PM
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nwdiyer,

here in sonoma county the septic is a very big issue. The number of bedrooms decides how many bodies would normally live in the home and use the septic system. So definitions are always a consideration. They have gone to the following, if it looks like a bedroom and functions like a bedroom, its a bedroom. The closet is not the only thing they use to determine the function. We are required to hav an opening of 4' minimum into the room, no closet and built in desks and shelving. I would say that you really need to contact the environmental health department and get their definition of a bedroom as most counties have their own definitions. Then I would give real consideration to whether 6-8 people on a normal basis is a good idea if the ground is not able to leach at that rate.

Mrs. M,

there is no size minimum on a closet. If the closet is there it may function as a bedroom no matter the size.

I hope this helps,

Brian Garrison
 
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Old 08-11-06, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by chris8796
A bedroom also requires an AFCI circuit breaker.
not in Indiana
 
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Old 08-15-06, 04:18 PM
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bedrooms & spetic

Thanks for your replies.

I should say "sleep 8-10" is just the worst case - when you had a party and EVERYONE got drunk - something like that. it'll be mostly used by a family of 3 on the weekends, and occaionally joined by another family (so it's important to have separate sleeping areas).

the spetic and drain field are designed and installed for 2-bedroom house years ago. recently the regulation changed and the reserve field can only meet 1-bedroom requirements. this limits the size of the house. both the goelogist and spetic designer said the site is very well drained (sandy) and the chance we'll need the reserve is very small.

we were going to the County today to go over permit requirements but were tied up at work. I'll make sure to ask them. it's better to find out now then later.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-16-06, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Aleshire
Mrs M,

Closets are not a requirement when it comes to bedrooms although most homes have a closet within them. What is required is listed above.
Not so in Florida. It MUST have a closet and it must have it's own entrance to a common living area not into another bedroom, then to the living area.


That being said, once you own the place, you can use the room however you want, but you can't say it has 5 bedrooms when it really has 4 bedrooms and a 'study' (or bonus room, or whatever).

My home for example, has that 4 br + study. To make the study a 5th bedroom (for legal descriptions), I only need add a door into the living room, as it already has a closet and two windows.
 
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Old 08-19-06, 10:38 PM
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nwdiyer,

If you try to beat the system on a "technicality", WHO is getting shot in the foot??

You want to call the cabin a 1 bdrm, therefore a very small septic system is required, and will pass. 6 months later, you have 8 or 10 people staying over, and the septic system is GOING to be overloaded!!

Pardon my french (or german. or hispanic, or english), but you just bought yourself a pretty crappy mess to save a few dollars!!
 
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Old 08-28-06, 04:55 PM
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bedroom and spetic - clarification

lefty,

I don't mean to argue with you. I completely understand your concern. the last thing we want is a stressed spetic system, and believe me, I have heard enough stories. here is what we think:
1. currently the system is designed and installed to handle 2 bedrooms and there shouldn't be any problem to function as 2 bedroom occassionally;
2. the site is very restricted and there is simply no space for a 2 bedroom reserve field;
3. we can't afford to build a house that can only sleeps 2 person. I'm not trying to save just a few thousand $ (or even a few $10k). it's at least another $150-200k to get a site for 2-bedroom drainfield AND reserve. the code did not requrie reserve field until last year and we got stuck. we are working with a spetic designer to solve the problem. in any case, we are not trying to build a 2-bedroom house or trying to sell it as a 2-bedroom years down the road. we don't want to turn down occassional overnight guests, either.

we are going to the county on Wed to discuss permit requirements and this is certainly on my list.

hope you don't take it personally. I really appreciate your help and concern. I've read many of your onther responses and am impressed by your knowlege in construction. I've been follwing this forum on-and-off for about 9 years and it has been a great help for our various home remodel projects. I sure hope to use this wonderful resource when we start the construction of our new house.
 
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Old 08-29-06, 02:51 PM
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Bedroom or Bonus room House in Tennessee

Does anyone know if a bedroom must have a closet to be called a bedroom in a house in Tennessee? I bought a house in Knoxville a few months ago and I have it for rent, but my property manager is telling me the bedroom with no closet must be called a bonus room or an office. So they are advertising it as a 2/2 instead of a 3/2. It's making a difference in the rent I can charge.

Thanks for the help.

CR.
 
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Old 08-29-06, 03:07 PM
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Check with your local building codes/inspection department. Codes tend to vary from area to area. Any changes to structure require a permit and certain inspections if you live in any area where permits are required. Again this can be answered by the local building inspector. A room with a closet and/or a room with a window properly sized for an emergency escape opening does not necessarily constitute a bedroom. Only a room meeting the definition in the code in your locale is considered a bedroom.
 
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Old 08-31-06, 12:33 PM
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Just as a point of interest. Our health Department has gone so far as to state that if a room is big enough to be easily divided into two bedrooms then it will be considered two bedrooms for the purpose of septic load.
 
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Old 08-31-06, 05:10 PM
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nwdiyer,

If you're arguing with me, I missed it!

To all,

What makes a 'bedroom' a 'bedroom' (as opposed to it being an office, a bonus room, a den, etc.) all comes down to how your local bldg. dept. defines it. Egress, smoke detectors, AFCI, ceiling height, ... -- it all enters into it. If they call it a bedroom, it has to meet all of the applicable codes. It then becomes an issue with the health dept. if you are on a septic system. Calling a 'closet' a 'closet' can present problems. More than once the person at the counter taking in the permit application has suggested changing the word "closet" to "storage", just to clarify things for the plan checker, the assessor, and the health dept.
 
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Old 12-19-06, 02:51 PM
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Wink old house no bedrooms except the dining room

On a lighter note. Our home is over a hundred and fifty years, until recently it only had one closet. that was in the dining room. They used wardrobes in the old days. When listing our home for sale. Dining room couldn't be a bedroom because it goes into the kitchen. It also connects into hall,living room and porch it also has 2 large windows. The original master bedroom, had to be called a study, because the wardrobe is still there. Keep a smile in your heart when dealing with code enforcement.
 
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Old 12-28-06, 05:20 PM
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follow-up on bedroom definition

We finally met with building dept. and health Dept officials last month to discuss our "1-bedroom cabin". Before we even brought up the question, she told us "we don't care how many people will sleep in the house as long as there is only one legal bedroom in the house". One reason is the County has more restrictive septic requirements than the State so by meeting the County requirements, we already have a safety factor. Their definition of bedroom is not closet, or how it's labled on the drawing. It's how they think it will be used. We told them honestly how many people (2 adults and one young child) and how often (weekend home) we plan to use it. We also showed them floor plans and explained how we plan to phase the construction. Everything is well accepted. We are getting the drawing ready for permit.

Lessons learned: talk to building officials early and be honest. Most of the time, there is a way to work things out.

Thanks for your advise!
 
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Old 05-30-07, 11:30 AM
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The difference between a "bonus" room and an additional "bedroom"...well i think a bonus room is bedroom restored so that during the day it can be used as an extra-living room or guest room. The furniture has additional adjustments to meet all the requirements. This is what i think.
 

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Old 05-30-07, 08:01 PM
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Furniture,

Whatever furniture is in the room has NOTHING to do with it. The plan checker at the City or the County is looking at PLANS, not a finished room. The Bldg. Insp. is looking at the studs, wiring, sheetrock, etc., and never sees what furniture is actually put into the room upon completion. The Health Dept. is looking at the plans and makes a determination from those as to the impact that the addition will have on the septic system.
 
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Old 07-12-07, 07:12 PM
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Thanks for the clarification. I was about to make a few mistakes with the remolding in our house.
 
 

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