If you are in the process of looking for a house, you might come across a listing that you love and see that it has a bonus room. Or, perhaps, you have a house and you know it has a bonus room. At the same time, what is a bonus room, and what does this mean?
The good news is that the bonus room can be just about whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t fall into the category of other rooms in your house, such as the kitchen or the living room, and it definitely does not count as a bedroom. Even though it might not count as a bedroom, it does add value to your home. The reality is that people like to have more space, and your bonus room does exactly that.
On the other hand, turning your bonus room into a bedroom might add even more value to your home. Therefore, it is important to take a closer look at what your bonus room is, why it isn’t a bedroom, and how to make it a bedroom, if you want to.
What Is a Bonus Room?
A bonus room is a room in your house that does not count as a closet, a hallway, a family room (or living room), a kitchen, or a bedroom. While a lot of people certainly use the bonus room as a guest room, it does not count as a bedroom in terms of the number of beds and baths in your house.
Of note, you might also hear a bonus room referred to as a FROG, which stands for a “finished room over garage” or a “front room over garage.” In this case, your bound room is probably longer and narrower than the other rooms in your home because of the shape of your garage and the roof above.
A bonus room adds value to your house because it is incredibly versatile. You can use your bonus room as a home theater, a home gym, or a game room for the kids. Some people even put a bar and a pool table in the bonus room. The possibilities are endless for your bonus room. You simply need to make sure you do not do anything to the bonus room that leads to code violations (which is highly unusual)!
What Is a Bedroom?
So, if you can use the bonus room as a guest room, why doesn’t it qualify as a bedroom? It is important to take a closer look at what makes a bedroom a bedroom. After all, if you can count the bonus room as a bedroom, it could increase the value of your home when you list it for sale.
There are a few requirements you need to meet if you want to count the bonus room as a bedroom:
- First, a bedroom has to meet the minimum square footage requirement. Usually, it needs to be at least 75 square feet in size and it needs to be at least seven feet wide. The bedroom also has a minimum ceiling height requirement, which is usually seven feet (but this can vary from country to country).
- The bedroom also has to be powered by the home’s HVAC system (or it needs to have another way to be heated or cooled).
- Next, the bedroom also has to have a closet. If there is nothing in the room that can qualify as a closet, then it doesn’t count as a bedroom. The bedroom also has to have a window that is large enough to serve as an emergency escape.
- Finally, the bedroom has to have a door as well. This door has to seal off the bedroom for privacy purposes when it is closed, meaning that there cannot be a second open entryway to the bedroom when the door is closed.
- As a side note, depending on the location in which you live, there might be certain rules regarding the number of outlets the bedroom has to have.
- Some locations have rules about the number of outlets that must be present per wall, while other states have rules about the number of outlets that need to be present depending on the size of the walls themselves.
Why Does a Bonus Room Not Count as a Bedroom?
Now, with the requirements above, it is possible to understand why a bonus room might not count as a bedroom. Some of the biggest reasons why a bonus room usually does not count as a bedroom include:
- A bonus room does not have a closet, usually, which is required for it to be counted as a bedroom.
- A bonus room might not have a door. Or, if it has a door, there might be a staircase that does not have a door, making it impossible to close off, which is required for a bedroom.
- If the ceilings are sloped, they might not meet the requirement of the average ceiling height.
- A bonus room might not have a window that is large enough to be used as an emergency escape.
Because of these issues, a bonus room usually does not count as a bedroom. If you are looking for a way to add value to your property, you might want to turn your bonus room into a bedroom. There are a few key points to note about this process.
How To Turn Your Bonus Room Into a Bedroom
If you want to turn your bonus room into a bedroom, there are a few points you need to follow. They include:
- The Ceilings: If you want to make sure the ceilings are high enough for the room to be considered a bedroom, you might need to reach out to a contractor who can help you through this process. The ceilings are probably sloped because that is the way the roof is designed. Fortunately, the ceilings are rarely the reason why a bonus room is not considered a bedroom.
- The Closet: If the bonus room does not have a closet, take a look at the sides of the room. There might be a small door that leads to a storage area. If possible, see if there is a way to make this door large enough to match the other doors in the house. Then, you might need to finish this storage area to turn it into an actual closet. This could be an easier task than changing the height of the ceilings.
- The Door: If the bonus room does not have a door, take a look at the entryway. See if there is a way to finish off the entryway to add a door. If there is a gap in the wall, you might be able to get a special door that runs from the floor to the ceiling. If you want something with a bit more aesthetic appeal, consider getting a sliding door, or one that is partially see-through.
- The Window: It is unusual for a bonus room that is above-ground not to have a window at all; however, if the window is too small, you might be able to widen the opening to add a larger window in its place. Remember to measure twice and cut once. Make sure the frame fits the type of window you want to add. Keep in mind that the window needs to open to meet the requirement.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to turn your bonus room into a bedroom. This is a great way to add value to your home because you can increase the number of bedrooms on the listing. Keep in mind that if you want to use a bonus room as a guest room for your own personal use, you do not necessarily need to do any of this. You can just put a guest bed in the bonus room and use it to host your guests. If you want to save space, you can use a Murphy bed instead.
What Are Other Potential Uses for a Bonus Room?
If you decide to use your bonus room for purposes other than a bedroom, there are a few potential ideas. They include:
- If There Is No Closet: If you do not have a closet, you can use your bonus room as a media room or a home theater. If you want to create an actual theater setup, the room has to be large enough to place the chairs far enough from the projector screen for comfortable viewing. Even if this is not possible, you can turn the room into a game room for the kids. They can hang out and watch TV or play video games while the adults are downstairs.
- If the Ceilings Are Low: If the ceilings are sloped or low, you can turn this into a workroom. You can use this area as a home office. Or, the kids can use it as a spot to do their homework. This is particularly useful if there is not enough room for a desk in their bedrooms.
- If There is No Window: If there is no window, you can turn the room into a music room. This is a great use of the space because the lack of a window will keep the noise from bleeding in either direction. The person using it will have more privacy, and they don’t have to worry about distracting other people.
These are just a few of the best ideas for how to put your bonus room to use if you do not have the time or money to turn it into another bedroom.
Frequently Asked Questions About Turning a Bonus Room Into a Bedroom
Some of the most common questions people ask about turning the bonus room into a bedroom include:
Yes, a bonus room usually counts as square footage. Just as there are other rooms in the home that are not bedrooms but count toward your square footage, a bonus room falls under the same category. This is included in the square footage of your home.
A FROG room is a specific type of bonus room. This is a finished room over the garage. These are always bonus rooms, but not all bonus rooms are FROG rooms.
Yes, turning the bonus room into another bedroom usually adds value to the home because the owner can list another bedroom on the home when he or she goes to sell it. Usually, people want to have more bedrooms in the home, so this can increase the list price of the house when it is sold.