Dividing a bedroom

brinkempJanuary 10, 2011

We have a two story Cape Cod style home with a (L)19X(W)14 bedroom and a (L)19X(W)13 bedroom, both upstairs on gable ends of the home running from front to back of the house. We are trying to figure out what to do to make our home a 3 bedroom instead of a 2 bedroom. One idea is to take the 19X14 and divide it into two 9X14 bedrooms.

Has anyone have any experience with doing this? Is this a wise thing to do (too small of rooms, losing a large bedroom, etc.)?

Adding a wall is more budget friendly to us than putting on a complete addition.


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It would depend on who was going to occupy the rooms and the window, door, closet, heating and lighting sizes and locations.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 9:17AM
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It will be occupied by children. There will be two windows available for each room. There is a large closet 3x5 already occupying one of the rooms, I imagine this would have to be downsized a little. Electrical and heating will have to be modified.

All of these are good questions. However, my main focus is on the size. Would the size proposed be adequate for children. I am of the belief a bedroom is a bedroom, not a living room.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 9:55AM
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9x14 seems pretty big to me! Standard 1950s bungalow ("ranch") bedrooms here are 10x10. Assuming the kids don't have queen sized beds, there should be lots of space.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 11:44AM
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Again, it depends on the layout of the room - where the windows and doors are and the size of the furniture you plan to put in it. My daughter had a 4 post double bed when she was 6.

You need to desgn the whole room rather than ask if the space is large enough. I've designed apartments where 9x14 would be the largest bedroom, but if the windows, door and closet are not in a good place it might be close to impossible to furnish.

Get a pencil, paper and architectural scale and draw it up.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 12:30PM
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I was only looking for general advice and experience of anyone with this situation. Not looking for an architect to come on board.

Thanks to all those who provided a good opinion.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 3:44PM
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The room sizes won't be fine if there is no place for a closet or enough room on a wall to place a bed. And, they'll be on the small size even if you do have enough room to site a closet and bed. Most home shoppers today would consider anything under 12" in width to be small, regardless of how long the room might be. You're creating two small office sized areas instead of today's sized bedrooms. Most folks would rather have kids share one large bedroom rather than have two too small and poorly laid out individual rooms. It'd be better to look at the upstairs as a whole rather than muddling it up by just inserting a wall and thinking that has "solved" any problem.

Plus don't forget the fact that your local building office will need to approve any alteration to your home, and upstairs bedrooms will need some type of acceptable emergency escape through a large enough window. If you are on septic, creating more bedrooms may mean enlarging your septic system, as those are typically sized on the number of bedrooms your home contains.

This isn't a "simple" remodel, if it's done right. And done poorly, it's going to lose you value on the house rather than add anything to it.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 10:17AM
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collins design

OK, well, I didn't read all the posts, cuz I could tell it was getting ugly.... but here is my answer to the initial post:

I would do it. We bought our 1950's 2 br house intending to put an addition on it. We realized it was going to be too expensive to do so, but we really needed a 3rd bedroom. The master bedroom wing was a previous addition and the bedroom measured 14.2" x ~25' long (not including massive closets on each end!) It was a weird long, skinny space, where it was difficult to arrange furniture to utilize the space well. We put up walls to create a hall and small 3rd bedroom/office. The new master bedroom is now 13.2' x 14.3' (plenty big in a small home!) and the office is a small 10' x 9+' with a big walk in closet. it suits OUR needs but I was a little worried about resale.

Last summer we had 3 realtors look at the house. All three talked about what a big improvement it was. It increased the value of the home more than I thought. I'm so glad we did it. It cost us a few hundred dollars in 2 x4s, drywall, and a new door... and is SO much better!

In your case, the master will still be big at 19 x 13, and the two new kids rooms will be plenty large at 9 x 14.

If your resale market is similar older homes or a mixed selection of older and newer, I'd do it. If it's all new homes with huge rooms, maybe not.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 2:51PM
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From one homeowner to another, split the room. I'm not an architect, contractor, or whatever. I'm just another homeowner who, like you, sees a problem and a reasonable solution. So I say, split the room. If you can't fit a closet in there, so what? Sell it as a 2 bedroom with a sewing room (needs closet to technically be considered a bedroom for real estate purposes). Give the kid an extra dresser or, even better, a bed with drawers underneath and he/she'll never miss the closet. Heck, make it bunk-beds and I think you could fit two kids in a space that size. Kids used to sleep in a loft with beds of hay. I'm sure your kids will manage just fine without a closet. I think 9x14 is more than ample space for one (if not two) kids.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 3:40PM
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Staceyneil and Spafrica2003, thank you!

Still pondering what to do, will be difficult decision, but this is a good starting point.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 11:55PM
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100% split the room and add a small closet, just make sure a single bed, dresser and night stand or small bookcase can fit in there, perhaps make a closet from half of one wall 4' and add a 5' nook on the remaining part to fit a standard dresser or desk - or build a cute desk in.

We are considering a move and have been looking at 2800 sq ft homes with 4 bedrooms. The last one I was in had small kids rooms, one was 9 x 11 (99 sq ft) and the other 10 x10 (100'), even with 4 x 2.5 taken out for a closet, your room would still be 10 sq feet larger .

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 12:24AM
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Split the room! We bought our house over all the others because the previous owner took the larger of what used to be two bedrooms upstairs and made it into three small bedrooms, each with window and tiny closet. It works for our family and two bedrooms up there would not have.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 9:05PM
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