The attic used to be the place to store items you rarely – if ever – used. In horror movies, apparently, it was also the place where the boogeyman would rest and regroup. Perhaps as a result of this media portrayal, there was a tendency to avoid going up into the attic, if at all possible.
However, homeowners are discovering that the attic can provide a lot of usable square footage, creating new places to sleep, play, work or just hang out and do nothing.
“When it comes to utilizing the space in your attic, we are finding that a lot of people are taking the opportunity to go to the next level and add on a whole second story. They then transform it into a parents’ retreat complete with master bedroom, living area and bathroom,” says Matt Keogh, director of Nexus Homes Group. Below are some of the ways you can transform your attic.
“If it’s purely for investment purposes, it’s recommended you use the attic as an additional bedroom with plenty of storage available,” Keogh recommends. “Having an extra bedroom adds value to your home and will increase your rental income or sale price,” he says. Parents may also find that an attic basement can serve as a retreat from a noisy household.
“For an attic with sloped ceilings, place a large lighting fixture at the highest point in the center of the room,” advises Steve Brielmaier, CEO of LampsUSA. Many bulbs can start to heat when left on, so install LED light bulbs for added safety while also reducing energy consumption. Aside from the central lighting in the middle of the room, additional lighting should be added to darker corners to assist the space in appearing larger and less cramped.
“A home office situated in an attic with a windowed view can be a great secret getaway to work in peace – perfect for households with children or roommates,” says Brian Gow, president of Scheel Window & Door. “Complement the room with plenty of free space for storage, and try adding bright decor and wall paint to make it even more welcoming.”
If you need extra space to paint or work on your hobbies, consider carving out space in your attic. Make sure that your attic is light and airy. “Attics are known for being quite dark. Minor renovations will turn it from a roof cavity to a space that can be greatly enjoyed by various members of your family,” Keogh says. “Keep the furniture light and install light-colored carpet or floorboards (preferably carpet to reduce any noise).”
Karen Synder of Sanctuary Home decided to turn her family’s attic into a bunk room for the kids. “The attic bunkroom is the most popular space in our Montana ranch home, offering kids (and sometimes adults) a chance to escape to a ‘camp cabin’ with modern touches.”
Synder says there are three single beds along one wall – and one has its own bookshelf, cubby and electric lantern. “There are also two larger beds extending out from the opposite wall,” she says. “The other side of the room is a hangout area with a cozy couch that doubles as an extra bed, a game table and a desk.” Synder says all of the beds – and many of the walls – were created using locally-sourced barn wood.
Keogh says his company is frequently asked to convert an existing attic into a kid’s playroom or a game room for teens. “This involves making sure the area is secure (including the flooring, walls and roofing) and creating a warm, inviting space with carpet and large windows,” Keogh says. “Ensuring there is plenty of storage is a must. We also often recommend adding fold-out couches up there for the kids to have sleepovers with their friends. It’s a fun experience for them, and you get extra peace and quiet.”