Studies have shown that the average homeowner stays in the same home for approximately 13 years. To put this in perspective, if you bought your house 13 years ago, you could have been watching Kelly Clarkson compete on the first season of American Idol while getting ready to go to the movies and see My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It goes without saying that a lot can change within the period you own your home. What seemed like ample space when you moved in can soon become cramped, especially as your family grows. On some properties, a good way to increase the livable space without expanding the home’s footprint is to convert the attic into a bedroom. Here’s what you need to know!
Determining if it can be done: First & foremost, not every attic can easily be converted into a bedroom. That’s because many building codes dictate minimum heights and widths of an attic bedroom. You may also be required to have a professional evaluate whether or not your home’s foundation and framing is robust enough to handle the additional weight of a finished attic. Furthermore, an attic bedroom needs a staircase access point to meet code.
Insulation: Because your attic is located at the top of your home, it gains and loses heat quickly. This makes proper insulation quintessential to your comfort throughout all four seasons. Seek out the services of a licensed professional that can assist you in assessing the caliber of your current insulation and determine where improvements are needed.
Lighting: Attics are notorious for poor lighting. This trend can be reversed with the inclusion of skylights which will allow more sunlight and heat to filter into this area. (Just be sure to invest in shades for them as well, so you aren’t being woken up by copious amounts of sunlight, flooding the room.) If your current attic does not have windows incorporated into its design, they will need to be added in order to allow for an evacuation route in the event of a house fire. Multiple windows and a ceiling fan can allow for cross ventilation which is helpful during the warmer months.
Flooring: It’s likely that the current flooring in your unfinished attic is unsuitable for the weight of an entire bedroom full of furniture. This obstacle can be overcome by adding supplemental joists and a subfloor. Because attics rest at the top of the your home, it’s important to select a flooring material that will not amplify footsteps. Carpeting not only provides warmth in the winter months but also muffles sounds when it is properly padded. Vinyl & linoleum also have soundproofing qualities, when used in tandem with an appropriate underlayment.
Storage: Finding a place to stash your stuff is tricky, but not impossible in an attic bedroom. In fact, unconventional storage solutions can actually be a way to embellish a room while staying organized at the same time. Our top picks are built-in shelves, beds with storage, antique chests and oversized wicker baskets.