Suppose you represent a seller who says they would like to sell their three-bedroom home. Upon visiting the home, you find two bedrooms on the second floor of the home and another room with a bed in it on the first floor of the home. Does that room count as a third bedroom? Whether a room in a home meets the definition of “bedroom” can vary from locality to locality, as zoning codes govern such a definition.   

Virginia law, however, does provide some basic requirements for a room to be considered a bedroom.  First, for the room in question to be a bedroom, it must have direct access to the rest of the home. So, a detached guest house, shed, or garage could not be considered a bedroom of the home. Likewise, for a bedroom to have “direct” access, its access to the rest of the home cannot be via another bedroom. So, a large walk-in closet would likely not be able to be counted as a bedroom.  Additionally, the room must also have independent means of exiting the home. This could be via a door or window, so long as anyone in the bedroom could exit the room to the outside in the event of a fire or other emergency. 

Bedrooms also have square footage requirements proscribed by the Virginia Code.  Virginia Code § 36-105.4 states that a bedroom “shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and each bedroom occupied by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant.” Bedrooms must also have ceilings that are at least 7-feet high; typical crawl spaces, for example, cannot be considered bedrooms. 

Lastly, for a room to be a bedroom in Virginia, it must have access to natural ventilation (i.e., the ability to open a door or window and access outside air), as well as a source of heating, whether that be through central air, a radiator, or other fixed means; the presence of a space heater is not sufficient.    

The above are requirements throughout Virginia; however, remember that your locality may have additional zoning requirements for a room to be considered a bedroom. Check with your local zoning office if you have any questions about the zoning code in your area.