Small Addition, how small is bedroom too small?

enigmaquandryJune 3, 2010

We have a small 1200+ sq ft cape cod with the standard A-frame upper half story. We are planning on adding a shed dormer the length of our house on the back. This would buy us room too add a tiny bedroom (because of where the stairs and hvac is are located) that would be approximately 7'/11'. Is this too small for a bedroom? The upstairs now has just our big bedroom (loft style) and we want to have kids at some point and don't want them sleeping downstairs when we're upstairs at least when they're young.

So basically I'm asking, is a 7' X 11' room just too small to put a child until they're about 10? Has anyone any experience with a situation like this? Thanks!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would say not too small. I do not have kids but we did live in a house where lady had students staying with her,she was a teacher. The house was 1140 SQ FT and three and one. One of the bedrooms was 8 1/2 by 10 and had an 8 foot closet in it. I used it as my studio and had a loom and dressers and treadle sewing machine and a HUGE gun cabinet. I mean HUGE 5+ foot wide by 18 inches deep 6 foot tall.

There was room in there for a bed when she was there because there was foot prints on the wall. LOL The kids did it.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tredle and gun cabinet out of sight behind me to the left.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's probably about the minimum, but it's certainly workable. According to IBC, the minimum is 70 sq ft, so you've got that covered. My mother's old place had a room that was 6-1/2' X 8, and I never noticed while I was asleep! I regular bed was a tight squeeze cross-ways.

I often wonder why bedrooms are so big. I like the idea of a very small sleeping chamber, with a connected dressing room. Everything I've ever done in a bedroom took place in the bed itself, so the rest of the room is somewhat superfluous. I was just looking at a floor plan yesterday that had a 24 X 28 bedroom! Good grief!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

24 X 28...good heavens! That's almost the footprint of my whole house! I too really prefer a small room and I love the idea of a changing/sitting room adjoining. I know that children's rooms though are their little worlds...I would prefer them to be engaging with others in the house rather than always alone in their rooms, however I also see the value in them having a space for their toys and keeping them out of the rest of the house...sigh.

Chris that craft room is super cute, it does look quite spacious actually! Do you loom? That is a skill I have always ALWAYS wanted to learn. Do you sell pieces? I'd love to see some!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 12:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

enigmaquandry I do not weave any more. I have access to a loom if I want to use one but I sort of lost interest. I did sell several rugs. I also sold the loom a few years ago. That is not our house now. We moved from there in 2002.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 12:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In MoccasinLanding, I had a 3/1. There were no small kids to worry about though. The 3rd BR was 8 x 9 and I turned it into my study. However, my neighbor with the same floor plan had a nice daybed with a trundle in her small BR. There was room for a chest and a chair with a lamp table too.

IMHO, when the kids are small, there will be a crib. Some of the cribs now convert to YOUTH BEDS, which are the same actual size but without the bars--just a barrier to keep them from rolling off. Sort of like going into a tiny people room I suppose, there would be room for TWO of those in the same room, should you be so fortunate to have TWINS and only endure one pregnancy. :)

As grandparents, we took the crib of our youngest granddaughter and made it a youth bed for "HER" room at our house. She was very upset when we finally got rid of it and she had to sleep in a regular twin bed for sleep-overs.
So, yes, I'd say there was room.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 2:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mama goose_gw zn6OH

Hi, enigmaquandry, I live in a 1 1/2 storey with three small bedrooms tucked under the eaves. They all have 4' knee walls and sloped ceilings. The smallest is 8' x 11' with a 28"x58" alcove for a dresser. The alcove could also be a closet (no closet in the room), but leaving it open makes the room seem larger. The window is 58"x44", so plenty of light helps, too. I think my children were happy to have their own rooms, even though the rooms are small.

We once rented a home when our kids were small, where the owner had taken the dividing wall and closets out of two bedrooms to make one large room. We turned that room into a dormitory style room for the children, while my husband and I used a VERY small adjacent room. I'm thinking that might be a solution if you have several children, at least when they are small, to keep them close.

We are currently working on an addition, and we had the attic space framed in such a way that we can eventually finish it for another bedroom (my dream of having an actual guest room). Of course, that space, when finished, will put us over the SMALLER HOMES square footage limit. It will be a while, so I'm looking forward to watching your progress for ideas. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 6:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I rented a house yrs back that had a 9x9 bedroom my dd used. she had a single bed, dresser and dressing table - and had room for a few other things. not much tho... the room didn't seem crowded at all.

mama - just keep calling that future room an 'attic' and it won't count as space here - lol!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you everyone, I had the remarkable opportunity of going into our neighbor's house (which started as the same footprint as ours) that has this dormer on the back. It is set up exactly the same as ours so we got to stand in exactly what our bedroom would be like. It is just a little room tucked under the eaves but it would definitely be a fine nursery and probably children's room until they were several years old. What a great opportunity to see it! I wish I had taken picture, but that may have been a little strange. Thank goodness for such sweet neighbors!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 12:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Enigma, you'll have to keep on a neighborly basis with your house twin.

And Mama, don't you even think about leaving the smaller homes forum. A guest room is not occupied often enough to qualify as additional space, so you have a "dispensation."

I'm sure glad to see some posts on this forum, I've been bored all day. Too hot outside,so no gardening. Not ready to do any painting until after the tub is installed. And the new bed arrives NEXT Saturday. I'm tired of throwing stuff away so I will take the weekend off. I did get an estimate for fencing in our BACK FORTY. One more estimate before I decide. Maybe I'll get someone to help me move the bathtub into the house before it ruins outdoors.

Sorry to rant.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 12:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mama goose_gw zn6OH

EQ, what a great opportunity to see a 'model home'. I think your small room would make a lovely nursery.

Thank you, ML, I feel at home here. Even though we've added rooms, our house shows the original footprint--small rooms, circular traffic flow, low ceilings. Hope you enjoy your week-end off.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 10:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Gargoyle is correct, that building codes actually determine if it is an actual 'room'. Check with your town's building department for in MA, most town building codes refer to the state's requirements, where bedrooms must be 80 sq feet with a closet. But check...each municipality is different.

I'm struggling with the same dilemma. I recently purchased a 1,000 sq ft, 1.75 story farmhouse (2/1) in the Boston suburbs. The front bedroom is HUGE, the entire front half of the 2nd floor (12x18), and I'm thinking of dividing it up into 2 bds. Due to quietness, the back bedroom will be the master, and I think a 3 bedroom house has a much better resale value. And it's funny..I posted this dilemma on the main remodeling board, and immediate replies were 8x10 bedrooms are too small. Hah, here in Boston, a 12x12 bedroom (or one that can squeeze in a king bed) is considered oversized ;-)

Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 5:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

some people seem to need huge rooms. I have big 'ol antique stuff so I can't fit all my bedroom furniture in where I am but from what we measured I should fit it all in the new bedroom. I'll be glad to have use of it all again. I have stuff that's been packed away for 14 yrs now! geeze, I want it out and usable or I'm getting rid of it!

still my 'new' bedroom is about 12 x 14 I think. I don't have to share it with anyone tho - oh, my girl dog! I share it with her. She doesn't get any dresser drawers or room in the closet tho. i will make her a bed area on the floor tho as she is getting older now and has more trouble jumping up on the bed. will get her a ramp for that too.

my boy will get one of the back bedrooms. he has no need of dressers or closet either so I'll use those for extra storage... his 'room' and the other 2 bedrooms are 10 x 12 I think. 2' would be the closet area. they're plenty big enough for my uses.

here code says it's a bedroom if it has a closet.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 2:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

NaviJen, pleased to see you posting with us. Mass. is a whole different style of housing than what I'm used to in Alabama. Like lower ceilings, big basements, storm windows, dormers, angled ceilings upstairs. And I've been surprised at the absence of air conditioning (a necessity built into every home in south Alabama), and the intrusive nature of many heating systems--including radiators, baseboard heaters, boilers and oil tanks! Those things take up a lot of space and money to operate also.

As older folks who married almost four years ago (second spouses), my DH has a home up there, and I have one down here. That's why I sometimes do a flip-flop from north to south, you will notice. I've been redoing his house AND mine.

Jen, be sure to hang in there with us, a lot of creative ideas come from this group of folks.

And Steph, you are so unique, giving your boy his own bedroom!!! I'm thinking you need to get out more? hehehehe

Having huge antique furniture can be a drawback in a smaller home. Of course, ONE PIECE could fit, maybe, if it is a featured piece. Something that WORKS FOR ITS KEEP.
I do hope you have room for the things you've STORED FOR 14 YEARS?!! At least, put it in place and see if it leaves enough breathing room. After all this time, you may have fantasized it into something it can never be, and you've grown out of to speak. Dreams are hard to give up. If I had a good spot to put it, I'd be looking for a nice armoire...just because I like those. But I realize it won't fit my house or my lifestyle any more.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"And Steph, you are so unique, giving your boy his own bedroom!!! I'm thinking you need to get out more? hehehehe "

lol! he's more an outdoor dog. he'll have to share with my desk, bookcases and file cabinet. the center of the floor will be open so that'll be his 'space' inside. if he behaves himself he'll be able to come in more often... he's pretty rowdy!

it's too hot to get out more now!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 1:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The smallest bedroom in my house is 9 x 11.5 feet. It doesn't seem too small, but it would be better if the windows were larger. That seems to determine whether or not you feel closed in. Of course, kids don't usually care much as long as they have their own room.

I guess I'm the 'odd' one in the group. I've always had small bedrooms, but always wanted a bigger room. One year ago I used the adjoining room to enlarge my bedroom. It is 11.5' x 18' and I admit I just love it. I have room for a sitting area which gets heavy use. Down the line if (when) mobility becomes an issue, I have ample room to accommadate 'stuff'.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 3:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am renovating a house on the ocean. The original footprint had a long THIN bedroom. I am breaking it up....and will now have a mini 6' by 8.3' bedroom plus a 14' by 13 bedroom plus a hallway. I decided that a six foot bed will fit plus a dresser.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2015 at 5:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Enigmaquandary, I hate to be nosy, and this is completely unrelated, but what costs are you looking at for the room addition? Instead of messing around with my current floor plan, I Have this crazy dream of just adding no more than 100 sqft of space to our house, but I am petrified of calling in a contractor to get an estimate of what it would cost. I know costs vary widely, but a ballpark figure would be great. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2015 at 5:21PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What do you consider a 'big' home?
If under 2000sq ft is considered a "small"...
window in shower
We moved into our small ranch home (1000 sqft) about...
How many square feet is your "small home"
My house is 859sf. It has 3 bedrooms and 1 bath, but...
Tiny House Forum?
I like this forum- but I sometimes think that we could...
So where are you? New house? Still looking?
Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b
Sponsored Products
Adelaide King Poster Bed
$2,499.00 | Horchow
Axis Bar Stool by Copeland Furniture
$781.00 | Lumens
Brown & Gold Aria Rug
$16.99 | zulily
Onda Dresser
| Italy Design
Portia Brushed Pewter One Light Vanity with White Linen Painted Glass
$30.10 | Bellacor
Swirled Ivory Wallpaper R2042, double roll
Walls Republic
Futuristic Round Storage Cabinet in Black - 3 Level
$149.99 | Dot & Bo
Art Glass Wall Sconce by Hudson Valley Lighting
$198.00 | Lumens
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™