Does a Bedroom Have to Have a Closet? (We Asked Around)

Does a Bedroom Have to Have a Closet

Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or are just remodeling your home, you might be wondering whether or not a bedroom has to have a closet. Many people assume a bedroom needs a closet, but this isn’t always the case. So does a bedroom have to have a closet?

According to international and U.S. state building codes, a bedroom does not have to have a closet.  Most states do not require a closet in a bedroom. However, some states require an area for hanging clothes or storing clothing. It’s important to check the local codes in your area.

In this blog post, we will discuss what to do if your bedroom doesn’t have a closet and how to make the most of the space. We’ll also go over when to add a closet to a bedroom and the costs associated with this.

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

You don’t have to have a closet in every bedroom, but it might make a difference in your house’s appraisal. 

If you decide to put in a closet, here are some items to help you:

1. Eledom Pipe Clothing Rack: This set comes with two heavy-duty rods to hang up to 130 lbs. All the hardware is included. It’s also a vintage and modern look to fit a variety of styles. 

2. Little Seeds Closet Organizer: This organizer has shelves, clothing rods, and a drawer. The shelves and everything can be used for your specific needs. Additionally, it was designed with children in mind. 

3. ClosetMaid Adjustable Closet Organizer: This organizer can fit any space. It’s good for organizing inside an installed closet and, on its own, simply mounted on the wall.  It has clothing rods at different heights and shelves for shoes, accessories, and bags.

Legal Definition of Bedroom

In this section, we will go over the legal definition of a bedroom and if the definition includes a closet. We will also look at some state laws as well. 

Does a Bedroom Require a Closet?

The International building code (IRC) for a bedroom does not require a closet. However, some states do not recognize a bedroom unless it has a closet. Additionally, even if a space legally counts as a bedroom, you may have issues selling it. 

In some states, building a home with bedrooms that do not have a closet is illegal, but the state may not recognize the room as a bedroom when you get ready to sell it. Check your local zone guidelines to see how an appraiser would label your bedroom. 

Can I Have a Bedroom Without a Closet?

You can have a bedroom without a closet. Additionally, you might be able to sell a house and advertise a room without a closet as an extra bedroom. However, not all lenders and appraisers accept rooms without a closet to be listed as a bedroom. 

It might be tempting to list an office space without a closet as a bedroom in order to increase the house’s value when you get ready to sell.

However, if lenders and appraisers do not agree, the buyers will not want to pay that higher price. Check your zoning laws in your area. 

Is a Bedroom Still Legally a Bedroom if it Doesn’t Have a Closet?

Legally speaking, a bedroom is not defined by whether or not it has a closet. The IRC specifies that the width needs to be 70 sqft and at least 50 sq ft per person in the room. It also specifies the need for two exits; one window and one door. 

However, many areas will not recognize a room as a bedroom if it doesn’t have a closet, making it hard to sell.

Check your local zoning laws and lenders in the area to see if the house’s value will reflect the number of bedrooms you want to list. 

Is it Code to Have a Closet in a Bedroom?

The International Building Code does not mention the requirement for a closet in a bedroom. Closets are considered features and luxury. However, many areas in the US do expect a bedroom to have a closet.

If closets in your area are expected, then an appraiser and a lender will not count a room without a closet as a bedroom. Check your local zoning laws. Or ask a local real estate agent.

Additionally, check to make sure the room meets other requirements. 

You might also enjoy our post on If a Walk-In Closet Needs to Have an Outlet

What are the Legal Bedroom Requirements?

According to the IRC, a bedroom must be at least 70 square feet. If the room is meant for more than one person, the room must have at least 50 square feet per person. A bedroom also must have two exits. One exit is usually a door, and the other is a window.  

There is no specification for a closet needing to be in a bedroom. Some state laws require a space for hanging clothes, but most states leave that up to local areas to decide.

However, most local areas do not recognize a bedroom without a closet.

What is Considered a Bedroom in an Appraisal?

A bedroom is widely defined as a room with a door, a window, and a closet and meets IRC requirements. Some appraisers will not count a room that must be passed through to get to another living area. 

However, some lenders and appraisers will consider a room without a closet a bedroom if it meets all other requirements.

Check your local zoning laws and real estate agents to see what qualifies as a bedroom in that area. 

What is the Legal Definition of a Bedroom?

The legal definition of a bedroom is a room that is at least 70 sq ft with 7 feet in each direction, has a door, and has a widow. In some states, they do not recognize a bedroom without a closet. 

However, if a room meets all other bedroom guidelines, sometimes lenders will count a bedroom without a closet. If your area requires bedrooms to have closets, you can install one fairly simple and not at too much of a cost. 

What is Classified as a Closet?

There isn’t a code or specifications for closets. However, real estate agents and lenders look for a space with an installed rod for hanging clothes. To have enough depth to hang clothes, you need 24in.

If you want a linen closet with only shelves, it can be 18 inches in depth. However, to get your money’s worth out of installing a closet, you should have it against the wall and of a full height in the space. This way, there’s no question about whether it’s a closet. 

Adding a Closet to the Bedroom

Adding a closet to a bedroom doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are a few ways to go about it. This section will cover how much it will cost and what is needed to add a closet to a bedroom. 

Do Closets Add Value to a House?

Closets can add value to a house. If you live in an area where it is expected to have a closet in a bedroom, then adding a closet to a spare room can increase the number of bedrooms to list when you sell.

Walk-in closets are also sought out on the market. Increasing your closet space without taking up too much of the bedroom might raise your house’s value as well.

Putting in a linen closet will help the house sell, but it may not increase its value if it doesn’t add to the square feet.  

You might also enjoy our post on If a Closet Can Have a Window

Can I Add a Closet to a Bedroom?

Yes, you can add a closet to a bedroom as long as the bedroom is still large enough with it. The IRC requires a bedroom to have 70 square feet in floor space, not including closet space. 

Adding a closet can raise the value of a house if it turns a spare room into a bedroom. In some areas, adding a closet doesn’t change the number of bedrooms there are, but it might help it sell faster. 

How Small Can a Bedroom Closet Be?

A bedroom closet must be at least 24 inches in depth to hang clothes. If there are specifications for a bedroom closet in your area, it will be that it needs to have a space to hang clothes. 

Other closets can be smaller and only 18 inches deep. For example, a linen closet doesn’t need to have hanging space, but it holds folded items that only require 18 inches in depth. 

How Do You Add a Closet to a Small Bedroom?

To add a closet to a small bedroom, you will want the closet to be small as well, but you want it to be at least 24 inches deep to hold hanging clothes. Additionally, homeowners can do this themselves, which can take four to five weekends to finish. 

Building a closet is as simple as framing a wall and installing a door unless you want a light installed into the electrical system.

In that case, you will need an electrician’s permit. However, there are many good battery-powered lights to use instead. 

Can You Make a Bedroom Closet Bigger?

You can make a bedroom closet bigger as long as the bedroom is still 70 sq ft, not including the area for the closet. 

How Can I Add a Closet to My Bedroom?

You can add a closet to your bedroom without a license unless you want to install lighting. You just need to frame the area for the closet against the existing wall and use either panel boards or drywall. 

You will also need to frame out a space for a door. Standard closet doors are usually bypass or bi-fold doors because they don’t require extra space.

However, you don’t have to add a door if you don’t want one.  

Where Should I Put a Closet in My Bedroom?

You should add a closet where it will not take away needed space in the bedroom. You have to have space to put on your bed and be able to walk to it. Additionally, you need a space for a chest of drawers or, at the very least, a nightstand. 

Every bedroom must be at least 10 feet long and 7 feet wide. Additionally, a bedroom must have a window large enough to exit through and a door.

Adding a closet cannot take away any of these details in this case. 

How Much Does it Cost to Put in a Closet?

A small closet can cost around $200 if you do it yourself, but a standard-size closet that’s done by a professional cost around $1000 or more. Additionally, large closets with other features can cost $6000.

It doesn’t take much time to put up a closet. A professional can put up a small closet in a day. However, a large or standard-size closet could take a week or more.

Additionally, a DIY job for a standard-sized closet can be completed in four weekends. 

How Much Does it Cost to Add a Closet to a Bedroom?

If you are putting in a standard-sized closet, it will cost around $1000. If you do it yourself, it can cost closer to $800. Larger closets with added electrical, ventilation, windows, and custom shelving can cost around $6000. 

A small closet, like a linen closet or a child’s clothes closet, can cost as little as $150. Building a small closet can be a DIY job for a few weekends, and you can save money on labor. You can also DIY a standard-size closet as well. 

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Wall Closet?

To build a reach in the closet using an existing wall will cost around $800. You will need to frame the side walls and door opening. You can use paneling or drywall to fill in the frame. Then, the doors can be installed.

Before putting up the doors or framing for the doors, add any shelving or hanging rods you want to use to organize the space.

Additionally, if you want a light in the closet but don’t want to wire for one, you can mount a battery-operated one. 

Wardrobes Vs. Closets

Wardrobes are basically closets in cabinet form, and in this section, we will cover when you can use a wardrobe instead of a standard closet and the benefits. 

What Can I Use Instead of a Closet?

You can use a wardrobe instead of a closet if there are no local building codes that require an installed closet in a bedroom. However, this only matters when you decide to sell the house. Then, you will need a closet space because a wardrobe will not count. 

If you need closet space, to list the room as a bedroom, then installing a closet is not as difficult as you think.

Most people with good energy can frame and put up a closet and save money on labor. 

Can a Wardrobe be Considered a Closet?

Even though a wardrobe does the same thing as a closet, a wardrobe doesn’t count as a closet. A bedroom closet has to be installed in the room. Additionally, some states say bedrooms need rods for hanging clothes. 

The IRC does not mention a need for a closet, but local building codes might differ, and lenders are allowed to say a room is not a bedroom without a closet.

Check with your local real estate agency for the guidelines on closets in bedrooms. 

Are Wardrobes Better Than Closets?

The good thing about wardrobes is that they can be moved into different rooms where it’s needed. The downside is that if you use it as the only closet space in a bedroom, the bedroom might not be considered a bedroom when you sell it. 

Check on your local building codes, but even if there’s nothing about a closet needing to be in a bedroom, you might be surprised by what an appraiser says when you go to sell the house.

In many areas, lenders will not accept an appraisal of a house with a bedroom without a closet. 

What is the Difference Between a Closet and a Wardrobe?

A wardrobe is a freestanding cupboard meant for storing clothing items and accessories. In many cases, they are the size of a linen closet, but some have a clothing rod. Closets typically have a clothing rod and a shelf, but some have more complex designs. 

A wardrobe can be used in the absence of a closet, but it will not change the value of a house.

If you add an installed wall closet, you can list the room as a bedroom as long as it meets the other bedroom requirements. 

Related Questions

Does a Bedroom Have to Have a Window?

A bedroom must have a window according to IRC codes. Additionally, the bedroom window needs to be large enough to exit through. Also, a bedroom needs a door to exit out of and must be at least 70 sq ft. 

If you do not want a window in the bedroom, you can cover it with a black out curtain.

You cannot cover it with anything permanent unless you don’t plan on calling it a bedroom if you try to sell it or rent it out as a bedroom. 

Does a Bedroom Have to Have a Door?

The IRC code states that there have to be two means of egress. So, you don’t technically have to have a door if the room still has two openings. One means of egress has to open to the outside, which is why most people use a window and a door. 

If you want to hang a curtain instead of a door, you can. Additionally, if you’d prefer a door with a window than a window to open to the outside, you can.

If you don’t want a widow at all, you will need to cover it with a blackout curtain. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this didn’t kill your plans of sticking a freestanding wardrobe or closet organizer in a room instead of installing a closet.

We hope this brought you good information and some fun closet ideas as well!

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