Renovations

Does a bedroom have to have a closet?

June 21, 2023

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We recently removed the closet in our daughter Faye’s bedroom and revealed that we don’t plan to build a new one. The amount of DMs I received informing me of bedrooms requiring closets was through the roof! So I figured we should clear the air once and for all by answering the tale old question, “Does a bedroom have to have a closet?”

Here’s a before and after of Faye’s room with and without the closet.

Before

After

Farrow & Ball Wallpaper

Does a bedroom have to have a closet?

The short answer? No. While there are requirements that make a bedroom a bedroom, according to Realtor.com, having a closet isn’t one of them (at least in most states). This story we have all heard about a bedroom requiring a closet is simply lore, and I’m here to put an end to it! This article published by Rocket Mortgage also says that by national standards, “A room does not need a closet to be a bedroom.” So there you have it.

How did this rumor get out of hand?

This myth was spread through the Real Estate perspective of the ever-used term “resale value.” We’re all told to be concerned about resale value and design our homes from the perspective of what other people might like vs. how we want to live our lives! But unless you’re in the industry of flipping and selling houses, I recommend designing a home you love.

Casa Florentina Armoire

There were some issues with the symmetry in Faye’s room, and we played around with three different layouts, but ultimately removing the closet was the best decision. We thought about building a new one in a new location, but our favorite solution was to nix the closet altogether and use an armoire and dresser for storage instead.

Shop Faye’s Room

I’m so glad we did it because this armoire is darling (it comes in other colors and finishes), and it’s the perfect size for her little girl wardrobe. My favorite part is the mirrored front doors!–So practical and cute.

Another reason why we decided against the closet was that Faye was adamant about having a dresser in her room. With the closet, there was never enough room for a dresser, but the new one from our Pottery Barn Kids collection arrived just last week, and I can’t wait to show you! A lot of the contents in this armoire will get transferred to the dresser.

Medium White Baskets | Large White Baskets

So tell me, do you have a bedroom in your house you would ever remove the closet from?

Catch up with renovating Faye’s bedroom

Faye’s new bed
The Original Mood Board
Three Layout Options for Faye’s Room
Wallpaper Options for Faye’s Room
Revealing Faye’s New Wallpaper

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What do you think?

  1. A bedroom absolutely requires a closet! The real question is whether it needs to fit larger than a twin bed? I recently purchased a thousand square foot mobile home and, with a little elbow grease, it is now listed as a 10-bedroom estate with ocean views (neighbor has an above ground pool). Our orthodox concepts can be silly in both directions.

  2. Kinga says:

    I think having a closet in a bedroom is typical for US/Canada and this is not an issue in most of other countries. I’m in UK now, lived in France and Poland before that. Just do what you like. I adore this wardrobe and this wallpaper was in my top 3. Great job Faye 🥳

  3. Karlenn Smith says:

    We’re moving into a mid-century split-level house, which means we have three living rooms, but not enough bedrooms for our big fam. The very bottom living room is going to be my young adult son’s new bedroom for now. There’s this old wet bar with a big old cabinet behind it; we don’t drink, so I was like, “Here’s your closet, sweetie!” Lol We’ll have to get him an armoire at some point.

    • Cici Haus says:

      We also turned two unused “formal” rooms into two bedrooms at our last house and it was great. It was a huge benefit to resale value to have two additional rooms and no one cared there were no closets.

  4. R. Baine says:

    That wallpaper is so pretty. Unfortunately, you should have kept the closet as it diminishes the value of the home. The armoire as beautiful as it is does not replace the value of a closet especially for a growing child. I understand that most if not all of the house is designed for the Gram and for swipes I honestly would have worked with the original floor plan.

    • Taylor Gayhart says:

      The mention in this blog post the reason why it doesn’t matter to them in their home. If you are concerned about that, then definitely keep your closets!

    • Amber Marlow says:

      I don’t think that anyone with three children *could* design exclusively for “the gram”. They’ve been candid about doing things that work for their family that might not be the ideal design. They’ve also inspired me to not lay out my house for “resale value”.

      Resale value isn’t a priority for everyone, and I’m so thankful that that mentality was one of the things being a CLJ reader helped me shake as a homeowner. In my previous homes, I was so worried about designing for my personality and “bringing the value down”.

  5. Melissa says:

    Julia, I am so inspired by this “thinking outside the box.” My daughter moved out about two years ago, and I have been slowly refreshing her old room to be a guest room. It is a very small room with a queen bed. Removing the closet (which is currently empty) would create more space for a cozy sitting area. I am seriously considering removing it now. 🤗

  6. Amanda H, says:

    No. We designed the four bedrooms in our house to each have large, walk-in closets, all of which are set back so they don’t impact the room shape. And while we only use two of the bedrooms, I love having all the storage in the other two closets and cannot imagine not having them!

  7. Joy says:

    I have always owned antique houses which have few closets. Armoire are perfect & fit well with the more minimalistic lifestyle many are choosing. I love Fay’s armoire!

  8. Lauren says:

    Readers Please – do not go ripping out your closets. This is incredibly misleading information especially from an appraisal perspective
    Having lived in multiple states and sold many homes I can attest the FIRST thing any realtor or appraiser looks at to count a bedroom TRULY as a bedroom is : window, closet, size (can this space hold a bed)
    Just because the homeowner calls it a “bedroom” this does not mean it will APPRAISE as a bedroom.
    Being a designer myself, I can say – absolutely it looks stunning and suits your needs BUT please don’t offer this up as a solution for a bedroom layout.

    • Kay says:

      I came here to say the same thing. When it comes to appraising, when you tear out that closet, that room might not appraise as a bedroom.

    • It’s actually not accurate though. A bedroom, legally, doesn’t need to have a closet.

      • Kay says:

        No. I do not agree with you, Julia. You are talking about state and city legal code, and we are talking state and city housing market. For example, in Los Angeles, California (where I live), closets are not a legal requirement, but buyers will expect a closet in a bedroom. I bedroom without a closet in Los Angeles is definitely going to appraise for less.

    • Taylor Gayhart says:

      Building codes are set by state laws, some building codes require a closet, but most don’t. The main thing they require is an exit in case of emergency, ie a window to the outside. They also usually can’t access anything *but* a closet, ie they can’t lead to another room. Some states require they have AC and some require just heat. Every state is different and their state doesn’t need closets. No big deal.

  9. Jeannine520 says:

    I agree, a bedroom does NOT have to have a closet. There are thousands of historic houses in the country and many of their beautiful and grand bedrooms don’t have a single closet. There are plenty of creative ways to store a wardrobe, no need to keep a closet that protrudes out into the room and gets too close to the window.

    The closets in my house are all walk-ins that have a single door and don’t encroach into the rooms so for me, it’s not relevant but if I had a bad closet that wrecked a rooms looks, I’d absolutely consider getting rid of it.

  10. Nicole says:

    Julia! This makes me so happy. I just dove into removing my daughters closet because it took up soooo much space in her itty bitty thimble sized room, and my friends are SHOOK over the prospect. I shall be sending this post to them ASAP. PS what’s the most snug looking emoji, just curious

  11. Tarynkay says:

    Neither of our kids rooms have closets or even dressers. We actually keep all of their clothes in the laundry room. There is also a bathroom in the laundry room so they shower in there as well. This has been amazing bc they do their own laundry so they can just put it away straight out of the dryer. And they never change clothes in their rooms so there are never piles of dirty clothes on their floors!

    We have a large closet with windows in our room (it’s actually the size of our kids bedrooms!) but we have an armoire inside of it where we keep our clothes and we use the rest of the “closet” as an office. We just don’t have that many clothes to warrant a bedroom sized room to store them.

  12. Couldn’t agree more with this. And if you need a closet, we love it where it’s off of the bathroom :)

  13. Wanda says:

    I am in the closet camp for a legal bedroom. That said an armoire solves the issue as it is a closet….it has a door and is used for storage.

  14. Kristi says:

    It’s so pretty. My concern would be what to do with hanging clothes as my child gets older. My daughter has a closet that’s smaller than the one your took out and she is busting at the seams with her jackets, dresses and shoes. She’s 17 and I guess it’s a reason to keep it pared down?

  15. Jess says:

    I went through childhood and teenage years with just a dresser and armoire. It worked perfectly fine for me!

  16. Jolijn says:

    Hey Julia,
    Totally agree with you that a bedroom doesn’t need a closet. I’ll even tell you that in Europe most bedrooms don’t have a closet, we always use an armoire and or dresser for storage. In all my life I’ve never had a closet in one of my bedrooms :-) And the armoire does look super cute in her room and with her clothes in it. Can’t wait to see the full reveal of her bedroom!

  17. Kate says:

    What a breath of fresh air to see homes just living their best lives. I’m so tired of hearing people talking about making decisions based on the “resale value”. I’m here for the “my value”. ;)

  18. Alex S says:

    I love the layout of the room! I personally have too many clothes to not have a closet but I love the look of her dresser though!

  19. We have removed all of the traditional closets in our bedrooms and replaced with Built In Armoires or Wardrobes. So much better than those dark and tight reach-ins. We have never looked back!!

  20. Kristen says:

    My husband is a realtor in NC and SC and verified that you do need a closet in the room for it to be considered a bedroom, at least in NC. Both articles sited encouraged the reader to check with local codes.

    It’s a beautiful room!

    • According to the North Carolina Building Code, having a closet is not a requirement to be considered a bedroom.

    • Tarynkay says:

      I live in NC and we just had our house appraised. They counted both of our closet-less bedrooms as bedrooms. Trust me, I would be thrilled if they didn’t count as our property taxes would be lower for a 2 bedroom house vs a 4 bedroom house. In NC, a bedroom just needs to be at least 10×7 and have 2 means of egress (a window and a door)

  21. Lee Ann says:

    Our main bedroom almost doesn’t have closet space, so yes, I would consider it. The reality is that most Americans who live in older houses do NOT have the room-sized closets (or laundry rooms) that are included in many newer houses now. We’ve all learned to “make do” without gigantic closets that include sofas and other furniture INSIDE the closet.

  22. Kim says:

    I removed a bedroom closet to make my tiny kitchen a bit larger. When I went to sell (well before the pandemic-fueled crazy seller’s market) I had a contract on the first day.

  23. Jocelyn B Richgels says:

    Unless you can have a perfectly designed closet, I think they can be worse than having one. We just removed the closet from our daughter’s bedroom and replaced it with an IKEA pax system, with custom doors. The closet was poorly designed as it was an add-on to an original 1915s 12″ deep “closet” and took up so much floor space. The IKEA system holds so much more and is not nearly as big.

    • Ellen says:

      Amen! dry-walled and framed closets waste sooooo much space, especially vertically. Ikea Pax system is the BESSSST way to get an organized clothing storage system without wasting so much space!

    • Miruska says:

      Agreed. I did the same thing for bedrooms in my apartment. I removed build-in closets, which only had one shelf and a hanging bar and were poorly placed in the room, and replaced with Pax systems that more than doubled up my storage space and allowed me to reconfigure the bedrooms. So.Much.Better. I think as long as there is storage in the room, as needed, should be fine. As Fay grows and needs more space, they can install additional storage whichever way they please.

      • Alesha Thompson says:

        I LOVE the armoire!! I think y’all definitely made a good decision to nix the closet, her room looks huge now! And to everyone losing their minds over it, it would not be difficult for them to add one back if they needed/wanted to. Goodness. 😅 All that really matters is that Faye loves it and so far it’s looking darling!

  24. Sunny says:

    We loved in a closet-less house for years and all had antique armoires. We loved it! I do personally prefer a closet now as an adult, but as a kid/teen I never thought about it. Plus the armoires were so gorgeous and a focal point of our rooms.

  25. Anna says:

    My money is on you putting a closet back in by the time she’s a teenager. Love the wallpaper and how everything is shaping up!!

  26. Sarah Hina says:

    Hi Julia,
    I remember when you finished the pocket doors on the new study I had asked you if that change made it a legal bedroom and you said no bc I didn’t have a closet. I wonder with this new lore information that if in NC that room could now be considered a bedroom and then in theory increase your home value?? Thanks for sharing.

  27. Sonia says:

    How as there never enough room for a dresser? Just put the dresser where the tiny stupid armoire s now? Insane behavior to be honest. I’m sure she’ll love her plethora of storage options when she gets older.

    • Rebecca says:

      Well, this is a *thing* to feel so strongly about, Sonia. I hope your day starts going better, but taking it out on others isn’t going to help long-term. Being kind or just moving on will help :) All the best and hoping it gets better for you.

    • Nicole says:

      LOL Sonia get a hobby ya maniac

  28. Lauren says:

    I do! My son’s room is about half the size of my daughter’s and the closet bumps out right next to the door. His room is already at the end of a standard hallway, making entry to his room cramped and awkward (especially with laundry). In it’s current layout there are only two options for bed placement, neither of which are ideal- and neither one offers space for him to sprawl out with his legos the way he wants. Poor guy cramps himself into a ball and makes it work. After seeing what you’ve done in Faye’s room, I can’t stop thinking about the precious square footage removing his closet would offer, and the layout options that would make far more sense. I appreciate the way you push the envelope of popular opinion and bring us along with the process. Every time there’s a solution with a stroke of genius that challenges the status quo, and I’m here for it in a big way!

  29. Linda says:

    That so interesting to hear! We moved from an apartment that had a huge bedroom with no closet. It was so big it acted as our kids’ bedroom and playroom. It would have been awkward to add a closet based on the layout so we never did. We called the place a 2 bedroom when we listed it even though only one room had a proper closet. Good to know the rules aren’t actually so strict!

  30. Elizabeth says:

    This is so cute! I definitely believe designing for what YOU want in your own home rather than some other random people in the future is great advice!

  31. Andrea says:

    Yes! Took it out of our small guest room to make more room for suitcases. Replaced it with a bench with drawers that suitcases can sit on + hooks above.

  32. Liz M says:

    I am planning out our basement reno – we have a ranch with a full basement that will eventually have 2 bedrooms down there. I was originally planning closets but it was an awkward layout and took up alot of room in the space. Our 2 boys will eventually move down there and honestly I have decided on a PAX system built in to maximize the space. We may build them in to look more custom but its going to hold more and take less space overall!

  33. Becky says:

    I can’t imagine not having a closet, especially as an adult. I’m super curious to see if that will be enough storage for her as she becomes a teenager and acquires more things.

  34. Nancy says:

    Hear, hear! I totally agree with you about designing a home for you to live in, and not just prioritize about resale value. We will be in my current home a minimum of 15 years before considering selling (unless life throws us a curveball!) I’ve made changes that work for our family now, not a hypothetical buyer a decade from now.

  35. Allison Santos says:

    I could totally be fine with my own kiddos not having a closet. They don’t have a TON of clothes so it would all fit nicely in a beautiful armoire. Closets can definitely feel a bit like wasted space for some. It’s YOUR home and you shouldn’t have to do every project based on re-sale value.

  36. Evelin says:

    So wonderful and classic! This is a totally normal way to live and store your things in Europe. Flexible if you move or change layout. And less space is wasted. Shelfs are for books, trophies and toys, armoirs for clothes, dressers if needed for toys, stuff, gear, and clothes again. Congrats, to beautiful!!

  37. Louize says:

    From a European perspective the closet debate is fascinating! I don’t think I have ever lived in a home in any of the 5 countries I have lived in with built in furniture/closets. I have a couple of wardrobes I move from house to house!

    • Monica says:

      I don’t think the debate is really about closet or no closet. It is about a room HAVING a perfectly good and useful closet, that CLJ removed it for “symmetry” (like a girl their daughters age really cares about symmetry) and replaced with something much less useful and at the same time gave theri daughter a smaller bed. They are supposed to be a DIY blog and they did not even really use this for DIY content, instead they used it to link their line at Pottery Barn stuff, as they are really just a “shopping” account now. The true test will be what happens when they replace their master bedroom closet! I would like to see Julia using armoires instead of a traditional closet!

      • Darling Monica,

        Whoa, hang on a second, sister!

        It appears they did the decorating on their own without the help of a professional, therefore, it is very much a DIY project. DIY can apply to decorating just as much as it does to building, remodeling, or structural renovations.

        As for shopping. Yes, this website is how the family earns a living. And yes, they need to furnish their daughter’s room. So, all things being equal, there’s nothing wrong with them choosing products that they love and also contain an affiliate link. That’s what I and thousands of other bloggers do. It’s a win-win-win-win sitch.

        What’s wrong is that you get on someone’s personal blog and attempt to shame them for their choices. Why are you doing that? Do you think they or anyone else cares to read your callous remarks? If you don’t like the content, have you ever considered not reading it?

        While you might do things a different way, that is, of course, fine and is your choice. Please allow this darling couple the freedom to choose the way that suits them and might help others having a similar issue.

        Everyone from birth onward cares about symmetry whether they realize it consciously or not. It’s hardwired into our brains, from birth. Look up the golden ratio.

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