The short answer is “NO”. Legally it’s not required and without the closet, you can still call it a bedroom. Call your local building department or have a look at their website about the building requirement.
You will find a lot of conditions but nothing about a closet. No matter in which state you live, I am pretty sure it’s not a legal requirement there. A closet is simply your choice and there is a pretty good reason why you should have it to make your bedroom more organized. I will talk about them shortly.
What Are The Legal Requirements Of A Bedroom?
From the safety, valuation, and legal point of view, it is important to know when a room can be called a bedroom. I urge you to read this section carefully to clear some confusion.
Before I go to the point explaining why should you have a closet; let me explain first what are the legal requirements to call a room a bedroom. There will be a little different based on state by state, but the general law is the same. So, here are the preconditions to call any room a bedroom:
Among the 50 states of the U.S., they have their own differences regarding the building code and regulations. But they all agree with the International Residential Code (IRC) and as per IRC, there are no legal or technical requirements of a closet for a bedroom. FYI: If you live in Texas, you won’t find any legal definition of the bedroom there.
The IRC only covers the minimal regulations that cover not just the buildings, but the plumbing, energy, electrical, fuel, and gas provisions. Like the room should have at least 70 square feet to be considered as a bedroom, the ceiling height from the floor should be at least 7 feet, there must two exit points either in the form of window or door, etc.
Here it gets a little complicated. You see, states are free to modify such rules set by IRC. So, if you want to get the exact information you should contact your local building jurisdiction.
I know it’s so frustrating when some building officials do the mistake telling you that a closet is a requirement. If they insist, just ask them to show you the code section about the closet requirement for the bedroom.
Appraisal & MLS Listing Point of View
I believe I am done the IRC regulations requirement, right? Now, let’s talk about the HUD and FHA requirement when it comes to appraising the value of your home. Does a bedroom have to have a closet as per HUD, FHA, or FNMA (Fannie Mae) guidelines?
No. None of them require a closet to call it a bedroom. If it meets other regulations of the lenders’ without having a closet, it’s still a bedroom.
Now, some lenders may not bother about having a closet in older homes; some of them still may require it for a new home when it comes to appraisals. In the past, a closet was a requirement for the MLS listing but nowadays, it is not. Not in my knowledge, at least.
In the past, your bedroom without a closed would not be considered as a bedroom at all for the MLS listing, but now it’s not a requirement at all.
Even though it’s not a requirement as per the IRC or any other lenders; always check your local residential codes because your local residential codes may require one.
Different Looks Of Appraisers At Bedrooms
Though it’s okay not to have any closets in your bedroom if you live there, the scenario will be a little bit of a difference if you have the plan to sell it. Real estate market participants may have a tendency to look for a bedroom with closets and the appraiser takes this seriously.
Let’s say you live in a neighborhood where all of your neighbors have bedrooms with closets. You still can get away without a closet only if you live there, but if you want to sell it or go for the MLS listing, your bedroom should have closets.
For the valuation purpose, the appraiser definitely expects to see closets in your bedroom. No buyers in that neighborhood would like to buy a house without closets in the bedroom.
Why Should You Have Closet In Your Bedroom?
Forget all the legal and technical issues, you should still care about a closet for a tranquil and organized bedroom. Having the closets in the bedroom is not mandatory, but have a look at the following points why should you have it anyway:
For Better Organization
Keeping your belongings organized in one place is the secret key to have an organized and tranquil bedroom. A closet is exactly what you need for this. It can work as storage, shelving, and hanging space simultaneously.
Resemble Your Style
Not just for an organized bedroom, the closet can resemble your personal style in true sense. All the closet accessories, the materials from which it is made and its finishes – everything leads to such contribution. Put your luxury items there with an LED lighting arrangement – such things will take your style to the next level!
You would be needing a lot more furniture without a closet. With lots of hanging areas and storage systems – this is a great way to save space in your small bedroom. You no longer have to stress yourself with your messy bedroom.
Depending on the layout of your bedroom, you can have a reach-in-closet, walk-in-closet, or simply a wardrobe. When you have it your way, you can match it with other bedroom furniture to have your dream bedroom. Here is a virtual tour of a bedroom with a closet.
Whereas it’s true a bedroom does not have to have a closet, you should have it nonetheless if you have a choice. It increases the value of your property and solves your storage problem in a fashionable way. I would personally prefer the customized version of the closet made out of pure wood.