When done correctly, an attic conversion can add significant value to any home. When done incorrectly however, the result is often little other than an expensive headache.
Due to the limited space of the average attic and those pesky sloped ceilings, attic design isn’t all that straightforward. In fact, it’s arguably the most difficult room in your home to remodel from a design standpoint.
Should you be considering turning your existing attic into a bedroom or office, quite a bit of time should therefore be spent in the design and planning stage. Attic conversions aren’t cheap and neither are mid project changes.
Here are seven tips for getting the most out of your new attic.
Take Advantage of Slopes
If you want to make the most of the limited space available to you, you need to make the most of your attics outer edges. The typical sloped ceilings make such spaces unsuitable for standing but they are perfect for storage. They are also ideal for desks and window seats.
Less is More
Another design tip related to the limited size of the average attic is to be careful of how much furniture you add. In general, if it doesn’t have a distinct necessary purpose, it doesn’t belong in an attic conversion. The more furniture you add, the more claustrophobic your attic is going to feel. Less is very much more.
Install Skylights Carefully
One significant benefit of remodelling an attic is that by it’s very nature, there’s nothing above it. Skylights are therefore both possible and highly recommended. When deciding where to install skylights, it’s important to consider the planned layout of your conversion.
- If you plan on turning your attic into a bedroom, install a skylight over the bed.
- If you plan on turning your attic into an office, install a skylight over the desk.
If you’ve got the funds, and the planning permission, adding a dormer or two to your attic can do wonders in terms of both space and light. Cleverly placed dormers can not only increase the head room available in key areas, it can also help to get rid of that bowling alley look that some attics fall victim to.
Use Bright, Neutral Colours
If you want your attic to feel bigger than it actually is, consider painting the walls and ceiling the same colour. Bright, neutral colours are ideal. In doing so, you are subtly drawing attention away from your attics lines and thus increasing the perceived level of spaciousness. Though not absolutely necessary, you can take this one step further by choosing flooring that is also both bright and neutral.
Invest in Insulation
If you want your attic to be comfortable during Winter, don’t skimp on insulation. Most attics are not insulated as much as the rest of the house and you can therefore expect pretty chilly temperatures if extra insulation isn’t added. The small matter of energy efficiency is also worth noting. A lack of insulation in your new attic will send your heating bills skyrocketing.
Don’t Forget About Planning Permission
Finally, there’s the small matter of making sure that your new attic will meet local planning standards. Before you hire a contractor, it’s important to establish whether what you plan on having built is actually legal.
If you want to put in skylights or dormers, you’re going to need planning permission. And assuming you want a stairs, there are quite a few safety standards that it will have to meet. Some homeowners don’t bother with these issues but it rarely ends well.
James Barry is a home improvement expert and is fond of giving tips on cheaper ways to furnish homes. He has been designing custom homes in Fargo for his esteemed clients at affordable rates.