I am confused as to what rooms are habitable rooms in regards to permitting. According to ASHI

Habitable rooms are living, sleeping, eating and cooking rooms. Common terms for these rooms include living rooms, family rooms, dens, bedrooms, breakfast rooms, dining rooms and kitchens. ... Bathrooms, laundry rooms, closets, storage rooms, equipment rooms and hallways are not habitable rooms.

An answer, to a different question of mine, suggest that calling a room a study or a kids playroom would make in not be considered a habitable space. To me a study seems a lot like a den. Is there a list of room names that are considered habitable. Is there a list of features that make a room be required to have all the other features of a habitable room?

  • Yes there are legal parameters for a room to be considered, e.g., a "bedroom". The answer below is for Colorado. New Jersey has different laws. It is likely a state or even town differing trait.
    – Tommy
    Apr 26, 2017 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


You'll want to check with your local zoning people (city/county) for specifics on laws in your area, but this is what is required in Colorado.

This answer is specific to bedrooms, so I don't know what is code for other living spaces.

To be a legal bedroom, a closet is required. Doors are optional. Also, there needs to be an egress window and window well (if the room is below ground level) large enough for firefighters enter and exit easily, and the window well must be deep enough to be able to turn around with all their gear (specifically oxygen tanks on their backs). I can get exact measurements for Colorado code, if desired.

Also, it is code in Colorado and good practice regardless - a Carbon Monoxide detector must be within 10 feet of every bedroom door in the house. DO NOT buy the combo smoke/CO detectors. These can do one thing or the other, but not both. Carbon monoxide is a heavy gas and collects at floor level. Smoke and heat typically rise to the ceiling. These should be placed no more than 12 inches above the floor. If you have a combo detector on the ceiling and it goes off, you'd already be incapacitated (probably dead) from the buildup of carbon monoxide. (These combos are a serious pet peeve of mine, since people are basing their very existence on these working properly in an emergency.)

I hope this helps at least for your query on bedrooms.

  • 1
    I'm not sure if your conclusion about CO being a "heavy gas" is at all correct -- on a molecular-weight basis, CO is on par with N2, the most common atmospheric constitutent. (The difference is measured in fractions of an amu.) Apr 26, 2017 at 22:55
  • Thanks for the clarification, ThreePhaseEel. Seems I was misinformed about CO at some point and have been sharing this misinformation. Apr 28, 2017 at 19:22
  • Hmmm...where in the code is a closet "required "? I only see that a 7' ceiling, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector if there is an appliance if it creates produce of combustion and a means of egress is required.
    – Lee Sam
    Apr 29, 2017 at 0:43

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