What is a Pass-through Bedroom?

Things to consider with a pass-through bedroom

You may not have heard it called a “pass-through bedroom” but I’ll bet you know what it is.

Things to consider with a pass-through bedroom

If you’ve ever been in a house where you need to pass through one bedroom to get to another one then you probably know what I’m talking about. These are more common in older homes or homes that have been added on to.

In newer homes, where the floor plan is more functional, each bedroom is entered from a hallway or other non-bedroom part of the house. This is the preferred configuration because no one is disturbed in one bedroom when someone wants to go into another bedroom.

This may not be a major problem if the house has sufficient bedrooms to match what is typical and expected in the neighborhood. It can have a negative impact on the marketability of the home if this arrangement reduces the number of usable bedrooms from what is typical.

A case of functional obsolescence

This type of flaw in the floor plan falls under the category of functional obsolescence. I described what this is in a prior post which you can read here.

Some forms of functional obsolescence can be fixed but each situation is different and the cost to fix the problem can vary. If the home has sufficient bedrooms to meet what is typical then you may not want to “fix” it but just leave it like it is.

Whether the floor plan is modified so the room can be used as a bedroom or just left as-is the square footage will still contribute to the property’s overall value. Again, depending on the number of bedrooms the property has compared to what is typical for the area an additional bedroom may or may not add significantly to the value.

The cure

So how can a pass-through bedroom be fixed? As I stated previously it will depend on where the room is situated in the house and what the adjacent rooms are.

It may be possible to move the entry to the bedroom to another wall if there is access and close the existing door. This would be the easiest fix if it is possible.

If this is not an option it may be necessary to to make more extensive modifications.

The cost can vary depending on what needs to be done so a cost-benefit analysis should be done to determine if it would be worth doing. If the value added to the home is greater than the cost to fix the existing floor plan then it would be a good candidate for the floor plan change.

If it turns out that the cost would be more than the value-added you may still want to consider the value it brings your family over an extended period of time. Your final decision will depend on how long you’re going to be in the home as well as the cost.


  1. The floor plan layout of a home can have an impact on its market value: The impact on value is determined from market data and how buyers perceive it. Did the home sell for less because it has a different floor plan than what is typical and expected?
  2. The cost to fix can vary: Depending on the current floor plan configuration and the location of the bedroom in relation to other rooms the cost can vary widely and this should be taken into consideration when comparing it to the value added by fixing the problem.
  3. The time in your home will affect your decision: The decision you make may be influenced by the time you plan on being in your home. If you want to sell your home in the near future you will probably want to pay closer attention to the cost vs value approach.

If you are going to be in your home for a long period your decision may be different depending on the value your family gains from changing the floor plan.

As you can see there are several things you will need to consider if your home has a pass-through bedroom. By knowing what options you have you’ll be able to make a better-informed decision.


Do you have any other questions about pass-through bedrooms? If so leave a comment below and as always thanks for reading.

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  1. What if the house has a lot of character like mine has? It is a two bedroom walk-through. All my friends that come into my house say how beautiful it is. It is only 1000 square feet but has wood beam ceilings in the living room and the dining room. It also has a fireplace and a closet door that doesn’t look like one – meaning everyone thinks that it is a bookcase until they see a little handle and then are amazed that this bookcase (opens!) to reveal a closet! I’m wondering if I should make the dining room a bedroom and then the walk thru bedroom a dining room? I could have doors put on the dining room that would be converted into a bedroom and then it would have privacy. The drawback to this would be that the bedroom would be small. (How big does a bedroom have to be to be considered a bedroom?) The other alternative would be to put a bedroom in the basement. Anyone have suggestions? You can also reach me via e-mail. My e-mail is bniufan929@gmail.com. Thanks!

    • Hello, Michael. It sounds like you have a very interesting house. Keep in mind that there is always going to be someone who loves a certain home for its unique characteristics, however, the number of potential buyers may not be as many compared to a home that has a more conventional floor plan. An example I always love to give is a home with a pool. Everybody loves a pool, right? Most people do, but when you start discussing everything involved with having a pool, such as upkeep, safety, etc. the number of actual people that would buy a home with a pool is usually not as many as a home without a pool. Not that there is anything wrong with a pool but they are not for everybody. Same thing with you house. I am sure it has a ton of character based on your description but when you look at the number of potential buyers it may not be as many as a home that has a more conventional layout without a pass-through bedroom. You may have a family with kids that would need something larger or with more bedrooms. Whatever the reason, the number of potential buyers that would actually buy your home is probably less than a similar size home that does not have functional issues. Because the number of buyers is less, the demand is less and this can effect the home’s value and the price people may pay. There may be a way to “cure” the functional problems of the house either by reconfiguring the existing square footage as you suggest or adding on to the home to make it more comparable to other homes in the area. You might want to speak with a contractor or architect to see what they think may be a viable alternative to make the home more functional. Good luck in your endeavors!

  2. Michael Matusik says

    I have a home like this. It is 1,000 square feet but the home is lovely and the outside shows well. The passthrough bedroom (both rooms are huge) is connected by French doors. I bought this home when I was in my late 20’s and single. After I got married, I only had 1 child and so it was sufficient. I guess if I wanted to have more room, I could have remodeled my basement, but I never did.
    The house has character – curved archways, cute front porch, beamed ceilings in the living room and dining room, fireplace in the living room, bookcase in one of the doors that leads to a closet! I of course do not intend to sell my home but interested in seeing what you think of my situation. Also, have a huge 2-1/2 garage that some people think is another home in my backyard! Can I send you pictures of my home and get some ideas from you as to what you think?

  3. Dan Forrester says

    The 55 years that I have been in this business, we have called this bedroom a “tamden” bedroom. As you say, privacy of the original bedroom is interrupted, making this bedroom a liability. I guess my question , especially in today’s market with construction price increases happening faster than it takes time to do a comparative cost analysis, is it worth the effort. Remember, if there are sufficient bedrooms to meet the market expectations then the tandem bedroom is accounted for in the room count and GLA. If not, a functional utility adjustment is justified.

    • I agree, Dan. I do believe that the market (buyers) would see that bedroom as a negative unless there were enough other bedrooms then the one-bedroom might be used as a sitting room, etc.

  4. That’s a good term to call this type of room, Tom. As an appraiser I typically “pass” on calling this a “bedroom”. It’s just an awkward layout void of privacy.

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