Wondering if that room you have with no closets is actually a bedroom, or is it a den? I have the answer and you might be surprised. This is a question I get a lot especially because I sell a lot of old houses, so you’re not alone.
There is this rumor that the only way that a room is counted as a bedroom is if it has a closet, but that’s not true if you own a vintage home.
These answers are based on appraisal practices in the Utah market – your area may have different customs.
A requirement of all bedrooms is that they have safe egress to the outside. This is a safety feature. What qualified depends on the age of the home and local ordinances. Most commonly egress would be through a window or exterior door. This means an interior room without egress would be considered a den.
What about closets?
If a room doesn’t have a closet, but it is in a vintage home built earlier than about 1930 (I’ve heard tossed around, but that is actually not written anywhere), that is an era where people used wardrobes, so these homes weren’t built to have closets. That means appraisers typically count a room without a closet as a bedroom when it’s in a vintage home as long as it meets the other criteria. However, if it was a newer home, the lack of a closet would make it a den.
Opens to a common area
Another requirement is that bedrooms must open to a common area of the house. And that might not be good news, because it’s not uncommon to see a bedroom opening into another bedroom in vintage homes. These rooms-off-of-rooms can be considered a sitting area or study, but not bedroom.
Lastly the room must be heated…
If you would like more details on bedrooms, or if you have some other questions about vintage homes that you think might stump me, please reach out and ask!