When you’re looking for a new home, you might come across listings that mention both bedrooms and dens. While they may seem similar, these two types of rooms have distinct characteristics that set them apart from each other. Understanding the differences can help you make the most of your living space.

What Is a Bedroom?

A bedroom is designed for sleeping and must meet specific building codes for safety, for instance, it usually has two exit points. That’s right. Windows aren’t just there to let in natural light and fresh air. They often serve as an emergency exit and must meet minimum size requirements. Also, bedrooms will typically have closets and they must meet minimum square footage requirements.

What Is a Den in an Apartment?

In the context of apartment living, a den is a smaller, more flexible space that serves as an extra room but doesn’t necessarily meet the legal requirements of a bedroom. Unlike bedrooms, dens in apartments don’t always have closets or windows that can serve as emergency exits. This makes them less suitable for use as a primary sleeping area but highly versatile for other purposes.

Dens in apartments can serve a variety of functions. They can be transformed into a home office, a study area or even a home theater space. Some people use them as a guest room, adding a sofa bed to accommodate visitors. Others might turn the den into a hobby room, where they can paint, craft or read without being disturbed..

Is a Den the Same as a Living Room?

A den and a living room are not the same. Although they both serve as communal spaces within a home or apartment, they differ in their intended function, formality and design features.A living room is generally a larger space used for entertaining guests, watching television or spending time with family. It’s often one of the first rooms you enter in a home and may be decorated to make a good impression. Living rooms are designed to fit comfortable furniture like sofas, armchairs and coffee tables.

A den, on the other hand, is usually a more casual and versatile space. It doesn’t have the formal air of a living room and is often used for activities like reading, working or playing. Unlike living rooms, dens may not have features like large windows or elaborate decor. They are more functional and can be personalized to suit individual needs. Home office or hobby room, anyone? 

Can I Use My Den as an Extra Bedroom?

A den can offer extra space without significantly increasing the rent. However, be sure to read the lease terms carefully to understand if there are restrictions on how you can use a den, especially if you’re considering it as a permanent sleeping area. Having an out-of-town guest stay the the den for a week is different than having a roommate or family member use the den as their bedroom indefinintely.

Key Differences Between a Bedroom vs. Den

The difference between a bedroom and den often comes down to factors like safety features, square footage and how the space will be used. Let’s dive into some of these key differences.

Safety Requirements

Bedrooms must meet specific safety codes, including two forms of egress and possibly a smoke alarm, depending on the local fire code. Dens do not have these stringent requirements.

Size and Space

Bedrooms are generally larger to accommodate a bed and other essential furniture comfortably. Dens don’t always have enough space for a full bedroom setup.


Dens can be outfitted to meet a variety of needs, such as a home office or playroom. Bedrooms are less versatile due to their primary function as a sleeping area and their proximity to the sleeping areas of others.

Find a New Apartment With Southern Management

Understanding the differences between a den vs. a bedroom can be beneficial when apartment hunting or considering how to use the space you already have. 

Looking for a new place to call home in the Baltimore or Washington, D.C. metro areas? Southern Management Companies might be the place for you! Contact us today to learn more about our beautiful apartment homes, many of which include dens for added space and convenience.