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Does an Attic Count as a Bedroom?

If you want to sell your home, you can list the converted attic as a bedroom if it meets the requirements for a bedroom.

The conversion of an attic into a bedroom is determined by whether it complies with the building codes for a bedroom. Most locations require the following criteria for a room to be called a bedroom:

At least 70 square feet

A minimum of 50% of the room has a 7-foot ceiling

A horizontal distance of at least 7 feet

Two ways out of the room

Heat and cooling in the room

You need to meet these standards. Again, the requirements are a  minimum of 70 square feet, two means of exit, and means of heating and cooling.

Let’s go over what you need to do and have in place in order for it to be called a bedroom.

Natural Light

Attic space that is used as a bedroom can be considered valuable when the home is sold. If you have natural light coming through windows or skylights, this will add value to the property.

You should make sure that there is enough natural light in the room. This includes daylight from outside and artificial lighting inside the room.

Before you can call a room a bedroom, it has to meet certain requirements in the International Residential Code.

What Square Footage is Needed

A 7 x 10 bedroom is large enough to fit a bed and a small dresser. The more room, the better, as this also adds to the value of the house.

It’s nice to have usable space for storage and not just enough space for a bed.

Many people choose to convert their attic as it’s needed for the family. But, it also adds to the overall value of the home.

Space Requirements

In addition to having a lot of space, you must also have enough exits, but we will take about that in a moment.

What about Ceiling Height

To count as a bedroom, a room must have a ceiling that is at least 7 feet high. This allows the room to have a comfortable amount of headroom.

There are many different types of ceilings, and they all work differently. Some rooms use drop ceilings, while others use false ceilings.

Don’t forget about the Horizontal Space

If you can’t turn a 7-foot board in all directions, you can’t consider the room a bedroom.

You need Two Exits

For safety reasons, you need to have at least 5.7 square feet of opening space in the window or door in case of a fire or other emergency. This is a requirement in almost every location.

You need a door and window that are wide enough to fit a person through.

The window sill cannot be higher than 44 inches above the floor, so it’s easy for anyone to escape.

The room needs Heating And Cooling

You can heat and cool a bedroom with a window, but you need to install a mini-split or other type of heater.

The window can keep the room cool by simply letting in air. You don’t need any additional equipment to get the job done.

However, you might need to consider expanding your home heating system to the attic using this method.

Real Estate Listing

A real estate agent will list the number of bedrooms as close to the legal definition as possible unless they have their own code of ethics.

Real estate agents are sometimes pickier than the code and may refuse to list the room as a bedroom if it doesn’t have the minimum requirements.

The extra bedroom will add value and increase the chances of getting a higher price for the home.

Potential buyers will want to know what kind of space they’re buying before they buy it. They’ll look for details like how much natural light is available, how big the room is etc.

Will the Attic Bedroom Add Value?

Most people say finishing the attic as a bedroom will add value to their home.

Experts recommend that you should remodel the attic if you want to use the space, not to increase the value of your home. Which I guess is a valid point and should really be the main focus.

What Are Non-Conforming Bedrooms?

A bedroom that doesn’t meet the legal requirements is considered non-conforming.

You may see this when a real estate agent discloses a non-conforming home with bedrooms that are still useful but don’t meet building codes. So, it’s really important before you invest that you are fully aware of the benefits and if it legally can be called a bedroom when finished.

Can A Loft Be Counted As A Bedroom?

If the loft area is closed off and meets minimum standards, it can be considered a bedroom.

A loft with an open side would not usually be considered a bedroom.  Although lofts may be used as sleeping spaces, if they are open to the room below, they really lack any privacy.

In Closing

To be considered a bedroom, an attic must meet the code requirements for a bedroom. These include having two exits, a door and a window that are large enough to allow a person to exit safely, and a window sill that is no more than 44 inches above the ground.

It also needs to be heated and cooled.

It’s advisable to get all the advice before committing to ensure it meets all the necessary criteria and building requirements beforehand.

You want the finished space to look amazing and I’m sure it will.