It’s a common concern: what if I think a room in my home is considered a bedroom when it’s really not?
Or, worse yet: what if I invest into setting up an extra bedroom just to learn that it doesn’t meet the minimum legal requirements of a bedroom?
Believe it or not, there are a lot of myths floating around about what constitutes a legal bedroom in MN. You might think that some requirements exist when, in reality, there is absolutely no evidence of them anywhere.
All of that said, please note that the legal definition of a bedroom is primarily defined by local ordinances. That, of course, means that the definition of a legal bedroom can vary from city to city. Before making any costly assumptions, it is best to check in with an official from your city that can help you to determine what you need to do to stay on the safe side.
In this article, we’ll be using ordinances from the cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul as our general guide. Minneapolis & St. Paul both have a fairly straightforward definition of a bedroom that keeps close to what the national standard is.
One of the most essential pieces for any bedroom is an egress exit. No matter where you live in the USA, it’s almost certain that an egress exit will be necessary for any bedroom to be considered legal. In Minneapolis, either a window or a door will do.
If you’re thinking about adding a bedroom in your basement, this is probably the biggest thing you’ll have to consider. Not all basements have windows, and not all windows are egress either. To be considered as egress, a window must be a certain distance from the floor, have the ability to open up wide enough, and contain a certain amount of glass. According to Minneapolis ordinances, the window must also provide natural light.
In many places, a bedroom isn’t a bedroom unless it can be adequately heated. The city of Minneapolis requires that the room can maintain the temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s essential due to the infamously cold winters that MN faces.
Most houses in Minnesota have a heating system that works sufficiently across every level. That said, if you’re considering adding a bedroom in the basement, you may want to ensure that you have the ability to require an adequate standard for heating there.
Sufficient Square Footage
If a bedroom is going to be legal, it must have a minimum of 70 square feet to accommodate one person or 90 square feet to accommodate two people (at least in Minneapolis – the same 70 sq. ft. minimum is also enforced in St. Paul.)
If you’re not able to set up a space that’s at least this large, you may have to find another way to classify the space when you go to sell your home.
Another essential for a bedroom in Minneapolis is outlets – two working duplex units must be included in the room. That said, of all of the requirements you see here, we’d propose that this is the least likely to be upheld in all Minnesota localities.
For instance, the city of St. Paul seems to indicate that the only electrical requirement for a bedroom is one working light fixture. That said, city codes and ordinances contain many nuances – make sure to check with the city of St. Paul before constructing a bedroom there.
Minimum Ceiling Heights
Finally, another common requirement for bedrooms lies within the minimum ceiling height they require. The city of Minneapolis insists that the bedroom have at least half of the space topped by a 7 1/2 foot ceiling (with slightly different rules for attics.)
St. Paul has a very similar ordinance but requires only 7 foot ceilings.
We can help you to add a beautiful bedroom to your home. We’re experts in installing egress windows, repairing foundation (if needed), and working with remodels. If you’re considering adding a bedroom – give us a call. We’d be happy to talk with you if you’re located in the Twin Cities south metro and are ready for an upgrade.
1. Bob Vila