Here is the criteria for a bedroom in Richmond, VA

Tiny bedrooms are not unheard of. But is it small enough to make it not a bedroom at all?

With the amount of historic homes on the market in Richmond at any given time, I frequently field questions regarding whether a room is considered a bedroom. While a bed can be located in any space, it’s important to understand officially what constitutes a bedroom in Richmond, Virginia.

Richmond is an historic city. This means we have plethora of architecture, some of which has been around for centuries. Not surprisingly, definitions of what constitutes a livable space have changed.

Bedrooms must satisfy specific criteria

There are specific criteria for a bedroom outlined in the Virginia Building Code. While the majority of these stipulations are location agnostic, it’s important to understand that local zoning regulations can impact this list. So make sure you discuss the property with your Realtor.

There are 5 specifications for what defines a bedroom in Richmond, VA

  • The bedroom ceilings must be at least 7ft tall.
  • Egress (ability to leave) through a window or door (without bars.) It is important to have an escape option in case of fire.
  • Entrance from a hallway or living space, not from another bedroom. (This rule may fluctuate depending on the age of the property.)
  • Square footage must be at least 70 square feet. (That would barely fit a twin.)
  • Heating must be permanent, connected to the house. This could be a mini-split or central heating, but not space heaters.

The myth is busted

So we’ve got some common sense items, but what’s missing? Right—a closet! Nope! MYTH DEBUNKED! A bedroom does not need a closet to be called a legal bedroom. While you might think it’s crucial to have that superior walk-in closet, technically a wardrobe or chest-of-drawers will do just fine.

Homes with septic systems have additional parameters

If you are looking at a property with a septic system (think: more rural locations) you will need to know and/or adhere to the amount of bedrooms the home’s septic system perks for. Yep! Just because you have a 6 bedroom home, doesn’t mean your septic is built to support that. While hile everything may seem OK for now, that system can easily be overloaded.

But all is not lost! If you have a situation where the septic system isn’t built to support the current property, just give me a call and let’s discuss. We can maximize your home’s value, while letting it serve you while you live there. 

Disclaimer: I am not an authority Virginia Building Code, but have a cursory understanding for my business. This is meant to answer a frequently asked question. If you have questions, I can connect you to local builders or local permit inspectors who are experts in Virginia Building Codes.  

Anna Catherine “AC” Lake, Realtor

Author Anna Catherine Lake, AC to most, thrives on cultivating client relationships and connecting her clients to creative solutions for their real estate needs. Her goal is to merge her financial expertise with clear communication and extensive real estate knowledge for a successful transaction for all parties. She loves to help others, so if you have any questions about this article — or any other real estate topic — please reach out.

Editor – Mair Downing

Mair Downing is the editor at She oversees the development and creation of all of our articles, so if you like them, be sure to let her know!

Mair is also an amazing Realtor with The Beran Group. She’s never met a stranger, so it’s no surprise if you feel like old friends after the first meeting. Mair is passionate about helping sellers and buyers navigate the sometimes complex world of real estate. She is experienced in helping clients buy, sell, invest and rehab-to-sell. Mair is a born problem solver and relationship builder, which helps to make transactions go smoothly!

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