Conforming vs Non-conforming bedrooms

You’ve found the perfect house or condominium online listed as a 4-bedroom/2-bathroom house, in the perfect part of town and in your price range! The pictures look amazing and you call up your agent that day to see if you can go see the place for sale. When you get there everything seems good until you look at the 4-bedrooms and realize, some of them are non-conforming. This happens a lot more these days and people are always wondering what it means to have a conforming bedroom and what it means to have a non-conforming and if each can be advertised as a full bedroom or not.


A lot of the times in older homes, these bedrooms were made before there was such a thing as conforming and non-conforming. Back then, those were bedrooms and only as laws and rules have changed in the past years have these bedrooms ben given specific titles and rules to go along with them.


For a room to be considered a bedroom it must have these four things:


1.     Entrance – A bedroom must have two methods of egress (such as an egress window as most basement bedrooms have these days) meaning they have to have two ways to exit the room. Usually the first is the door that leads into the house but another method has to be used such as a window that a person can actually fit through. Many basement bedrooms especially have windows that are not egress or condos in downtown have another room with no windows, while they aren’t technically labeled bedrooms then, they are still used as such.

2.     Ceiling height – Bedrooms are supposed to have a ceiling that is at least 7 feet tall while portions of the ceiling can be under this, at least half of the ceiling has to be that tall or taller.

3.     Escape – In case of an emergency where the person in the room could not get out the main door to the room, there needs to be another available way to escape. Either an egress window that is 24-44 inches from the floor of another opening or door needs to be in the room.

4.     Size – We’ve all walked into a few very tiny rooms and wondered how it could possibly be a bedroom. Technically, the room needs to be 70 square feet and it cannot be smaller then 7 feet in any horizontal direction.


As someone who sells a lot of condos and lofts in Downtown Denver that is one thing I have run into with a bunch of clients – a lot of the bedrooms are non-conforming. This doesn’t mean they cannot be used as bedrooms or they won’t be registered as bedrooms by an appraiser, but it is good to know before going in that these bedrooms can be advertised as such. But it’s something to keep in mind when you are out looking with your realtor, they might be advertised as full bedrooms but technically might not be conforming.