Over the years, many families begin to outgrow their homes and look for ways to increase their living space. Converting an unfinished attic to a usable room is an effective way to maximize the space in your home and create an extra bedroom, home office, play room or workout room. If you are interested in converting your attic to a functional room but are unsure where to begin, a few ideas can help get your project off the ground so you can enjoy the additional space in your home as soon as possible.
When converting an attic to a usable room, one of the first issues that you may encounter is how to access the space. Many attics can only be reached via pull-down stairs or a trap door, which is not only inconvenient but is not permissible by many local zoning and building codes when using the space as a functional room. If your attic features this type of access and you want to convert the space into a usable room, you may want to appropriate space from a closet or existing room below the attic to build a staircase. Typically, you want at least 2 to 6 feet across to accommodate an attic staircase, so examine the area beneath your attic to determine where you have the necessary space.
An attic usually only has enough insulation to protect the rest of the house from becoming too cold. If you are planning an attic conversion, you will likely want to increase the insulation in the space, or you may find that the room is too cold to be comfortable. Consult a contractor or insulation specialist to determine how much insulation your attic requires to be warm enough for use as a room. In most cases, the attic will not only require additional insulation layers but will also need drywall to cover the exposed wooden frame. These layers should prevent cold from seeping into your converted attic and trap the heat already inside the room so it is comfortable during colder months.
Lighting is usually an issue in a converted attic because many attics do not have windows. While light fixtures can help brighten the space, you may want to add skylights to your converted attic so it receives natural light as well. Positioning the skylights on opposite sides of the room can help maximize the amount of light that your converted attic receives. In addition to providing light, adding skylights can also give the illusion of a higher ceiling if you are unable to raise the roof above the attic.
Choose Low-Maintenance Flooring
When choosing flooring for your converted attic space, select an option that matches the rest of the room's decor and provides warmth in case the space is drafty. However, you should also choose flooring that is easy to clean because it may be difficult to bring your vacuum and other cleaning tools into the space. Tile flooring is an effective option because it is relatively simple to clean but can be covered with throw rugs to provide additional warmth if necessary.
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