Does a bedroom have to have a closet?

Does a bedroom have to have a closet?

Most people believe that a bedroom has to have a closet. However, it is actually not part of the legal requirements that define a bedroom. Nevertheless.


Does a bedroom have to have a closet

Having a closet has many perks, and if you are one of those people who love a bedroom with a closet, then you will have to take your time finding one with it.

However, if you are willing to settle for a bedroom without a closet, there are different requirements a room has to meet before it can be considered a bedroom. These requirements can vary based on the region the house is located. Only when a room meets these requirements can it be defined as a bedroom.


The requirements before a room can be called a bedroom –

  • Ample floor space

The layout of a bedroom must meet the size of 70 to 80 square feet, which is the minimum size requirement. The bedroom shouldn’t be built just for someone to sleep in it, but also it must be a space someone can live in comfortably. Apart from having a bed in this room, you should also be able to add other pieces of furniture such as a nightstand, dresser, shoe rack, and so on.

The worth of a home increases based on how big the square footage of the bedroom is, and the more bedrooms a home, the more its worth also increases, regardless of it having a closet or not.

  • Horizontal footage

Apart from the 70 to 80 square feet, there is an additional requirement of at least 7 feet for horizontal footage. This footage can go in any direction. It ensures that a bed will actually fit into the bedroom. Also, it prevents real estate agents and landlords from categorizing other small rooms or hallways as bedrooms.

  • Ceiling height

The ceiling of a bedroom also has to be considered. It has to be at least seven feet tall because this also adds to the comfortably of the bedroom.

  • A Window

It is dictated by the IRC that a window should have a minimum size of 5.7 square feet, a minimum opening width of 20 inches, and a minimum opening height of 24 inches. The sill of the window should be around 44 inches if measured from above the floor.

  • Egress

There must be at least two means of egress in a bedroom so that you can quickly exit during an emergency. One of these exits should lead directly out of the house. The means of egress a bedroom has doesn’t have to be used regularly. The important thing is that they should be functional in case of an emergency. A window and a door are usually the main means of egress in most bedrooms. However, in some homes, you might find a skylight which can also be used as a means of egress.

  • Temperature Control

Temperature control is also crucial in a bedroom. You will need a heating and cooling source. A space heater can’t be used because the heating system has to be installed in the room. Your cooling source can be an AC, or you can open the window to let cool air inside.


Building a closet

Now that you know whether a bedroom needs to have a closet or not, you can now choose to install one yourself if you still desire a closet in your bedroom. Closets can be custom-built based on the modifications you want.

There are two types of closets you can consider. For small bedrooms, a reach-in closet is preferable. It is usually rectangular. In contrast, a walk-in closet is a better choice if you have a master bedroom suite. The closet can be rectangular, squared, or L-shaped.


Measurement of a closet

The measurements of closets can differ a bit based on different factors, such as the region where the house is located and guidelines formulated by the governing body. However, there are some standard measurements you can use.


1- Reach-in closet measurement –

Does a bedroom have to have a closet

It should have a length of 6 ft, a height of 8 ft, and a deepness of 24 inches. You can fit it with a high door opening of 80-inch. Reach-in closets are suitable for single occupant bedrooms.


2  – Walk-in closet measurement

Does a bedroom have to have a closet

  • Width

For a width that will make room for storage on the three walls, it will have to measure 6 feet, and for a width that will give you sufficient space to include a seating area in the closet, it will have to measure10 feet. For a clear walkway space, you will need 24 inches so that you can walk between shelves and rods.

  • Height

You can opt for the double-hang position whereby two rods will occupy just a wall. One rod will be above the other. The bottom rod standard height is 40.5 inches while the top rod standard height is 82 inches.

The shelves that are above the rods will have a depth of around 14 to 16 inches because this allows it to accommodate big items.


Measuring a closet system

You will need to take some measurements before installing a closet if you think your bedroom have to have a closet. This will determine if the closet will fit into space you dedicate to it. There are two types of measurements you can use –

Types of measurements

  • Hard measurement

If your closet will be installed from one wall to the other, then you will need a hard measurement. Make sure the measurements are precise. Hard measurements are recorded to the nearest 1/4 inches.

  • Soft measurement

If your closet will float on the wall or it will be against one sidewall, then a soft measurement is what you’ll be using. This is often used for a walk-in closet. Soft measurements are rounded down to the nearest whole number.


Process of measuring the closet system

You will need some tools before you start. Using the right tools will not only make things easier but also make you get the right results. Make sure you limit distraction when measuring.

Things you will need –

A 25-foot flat tape measure.

Electronic measuring tools (for measuring long walls quickly)

Two acrylic square finders (these will help determine whether the corners in a closet are square so as to make adjustments. Using the two squares will make it easier to determine the point where two closet systems have to join in a corner.

Angle finder (useful for slanted ceilings and determining the dormered roofline angle)

Closet drawing software (closet drawing tool for speeding up the designing process of a closet. Using this will eliminate the need for graph paper. Nevertheless, make sure you enter the accurate measurements into the software)

Graph paper (for writing all measurements down and then drawing out the closet based on the measurements)


Step 1 – Measure the width

You will measure the width of the wall that you want to place the closet. You will have to measure it three different times in different locations (high, middle, low). The smallest measurement should be recorded as your width. When you’re taking the low measurement, make sure you do it above the baseboard if there is any.

Makes sure to use an acrylic square finder to ascertain that all corners are square. However, if the sidewalls angle in, then you will have to reduce the back measurement. In the case that they angle out, you won’t need any reduction because all there will be is a gap between the closet and the sidewalls. If the gaps are unsightly, you can use a piece of trim to cover them.

Step 2 – Measure the height

You will measure from the floor to ceiling so as to ascertain if the closet will fit the space height-wise. If you will be installing a top-shelf, then make sure it is mounted at the height of 84 inches for standard closet. If you want the closet to reach the ceiling, then make use of a soft measurement. If there are any gaps, you can use crown molding to cover it.

Step 3 – Depth

The closet will also need clearances for drawers, doors, and adjoining walls. This is where you will consider the depth because it is what will make the drawers open without being obstructed by walls or the door. Also, choose the type of door you will use and consider the location that the door will be placed.

If you will be installing the closet on more than a wall, then the closet will need to have enough clearance of adjacent walls. The hanging section has to have a clearance of at least 25 inches in an adjacent or corner closet.

Step 4 – Repeat the measurements

A mistake might have occurred that went unnoticed, so taking multiple measurements will make you know if there are variations in the former measurements and the present one. If you will be doing the building yourself, you will need to sketch out the closet system using the measurements which will be on a graph paper, or you can use the software-based design tool.

Things to note

  • If after the measurements you realize a closet can fit into your bedroom, and you still feel your bedroom have to have a closet, then it is essential that final measurements are taken after the drywall has been installed.
  • If the closet system will go down to the floor, but you have baseboards, this might be a challenge. If you don’t want to remove the baseboards, then some modifications will have to be done. You will need to measure the baseboard. Use the measurement to include cutouts in the closet system for the accommodation of baseboards. Also, if the baseboards are oversized, you might need to move the drawers a little bit upwards.
  • Watch out for obstacles such as light switches, laundry chutes, electric panels, and so on. Make sure you note the obstacles in your sketch.
  • It is imperative to check the corners where the closet system will be and ascertain that they are at least 90 degrees.


Closet Alternatives

If you feel your bedroom have to have a closet, but due to several reasons you can’t install one yourself, then you can opt for these alternatives—



Does a bedroom have to have a closet

Whether a bedroom needs to have a closet or not shouldn’t worry you much, because if it doesn’t have, then you can just get an armoire. There are various designs, styles, and colors of armoires you can get. Make sure you check the size and ascertain that it will fit into your bedroom comfortably. Opting for an armoire with a sliding door will also help in conserving the space in your bedroom. Armoires have a section where you can hang clothes, so you don’t need to iron every time a folded cloth gets rumpled, and some have drawers too where you can store the clothes you aren’t wearing frequently. To make it complement your room better, you can paint it the same color as your bedroom.


Clothes Rack

Does a bedroom have to have a closet

With a clothes rack you won’t need to worry whether a bedroom have to have a closet. Using a clothes rack will save you more space than a closet, especially if your room is small. Moreover, clothes that are hung on a clothes rack won’t grow mold, because unlike closets, clothes racks are exposed so they receive ventilation and light. The best part is that the clothes racks are very budget-friendly. You don’t need to break the bank to afford a stylishly one.

Does a bedroom have to have a closet

Floating shelves make your bedroom look sleek. Furthermore, they are suitable for small bedrooms because you wouldn’t be making use of floor space. It’s the wall that the shelves will occupy. Make sure you choose a good quality so it will last long. Also, make sure that you install the shelves correctly. You can install the shelves across the width of a particular wall of the room, or you can install them from the ceiling to the floor. Besides, if your walls need painting or they need an upgrade, you can use the floating shelves to block the imperfections of the wall.


Bed with storage drawers

Does a bedroom have to have a closet

Choosing a bed with storage drawers is practical for all bedrooms, no matter how elegant it is styled. Also, it is an excellent choice, especially if you want to declutter your bedroom a bit. You will be freeing up space for other things. Since you will have to be folding your clothes into the bed drawers, you can also opt for a mini clothes rack for hanging clothes you don’t want to get rumpled, or clothes used frequently. Either you want a more traditional looking bed with opulent fabric, or you want a contemporary looking one, the storage drawers won’t affect the design or overall style of your room. Instead, it will add a bit more detail to your bed.



Now that you know whether a bedroom needs to have a closet or not, and you know the measurements to use if you need one. You can easily plan things out without having to look so hard for a bedroom with a closet. If your budget is a constraint in setting up a closet, our closet alternatives are cheaper and easier to set up.

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