What makes a room a bedroom in San Carlos?

June 3, 2009

A Quiz…

True or False?  A room must have a closet to be recognized as a bedroom.

Hmmm….  The answer to this question may surprise you, and it serves to point out that there are some misconceptions about what is required for a room to be recognized as a bedroom by the San Carlos Building Department.

The Guidelines.

While San Carlos Building Department doesn't have an iron-clad definition in writing of what constitutes a legal bedroom, they tend to use the following guideline from the Sonoma County Building Department:

Bedroom: any space in the conditioned area of a dwelling unit or accessory structure which is 70 square feet and greater in size and which is located along an exterior wall, but not including the following: hall; bathroom; kitchen; living room (maximum of one per dwelling unit); dining room (in proximity to kitchen, maximum of one per dwelling unit); family room (maximum of one per dwelling unit), laundry room, closet/dressing room opening off of a bedroom.  Sewing rooms, dens, studios, lofts, game rooms, and any other conditioned room along an exterior wall which is 70 square feet or greater in size will be considered to be bedrooms unless the room is specifically exempted. If a home office, library or similar room is proposed, it may be exempted from being considered a bedroom if there is no closet and at least one of the following is present: a) permanently built-in bookcases, desks and other feature that encumber the room in such a way that it cannot be used as a bedroom; b) a minimum 4 foot opening, without doors, into another room; or c) a half wall (4 foot maximum height) between the room and another room.

So if you answered “True” to the quiz question above, you're not alone.  This is probably the most common misconception that homeowners have about what's required for a room to be considered a bedroom.  But as you can see from the guideline, having a closet is not a firm requirement by itself.

More Questions?

If you have additional questions about what constitutes a bedroom, or if you have a room that you'd like to have the City evaluate whether it can be recognized as an actual bedroom, contact Chris Valley in the San Carlos Building Department at 802-4262, or you can drop him an email at cvalley@cityofsancarlos.org

(Note:  The information described in this post is intended to be informational only, and does not constitute legal advice.   Interested parties should consult the City of San Carlos with any/all questions pertaining to these guidelines.)


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