Originally posted on: www.homeguides.sfgate.com by Jennifer Blair
How to Make the Most of Your Attic Space
No matter how big your house is, it often seems like there isn’t enough space to meet your family’s needs. Whether you need an extra bedroom, a quiet home office or a spacious playroom for the kids, converting your attic space is an ideal way to add an extra room to your home. To get the most out of your attic, there are a few key changes that you may want to make so the space is as comfortable and inviting as any other room in your house.
Whether you plan to use your attic an extra bedroom, home office, playroom or home gym, it should be comfortable for year-round use. If your attic is not insulated, it may be too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer because air can easily pass in and out. You can use either loose-fill or batt insulation for your attic, though loose-fill insulation is usually less expensive and provides more effective coverage if it is installed correctly. In addition to adding insulation, make sure that exhaust fan duct work is properly sealed inside the attic so air can’t escape or enter through it. To ensure that the attic is a comfortable temperature throughout the year, you may also want to install a separate new heating and cooling system. Hot air rises, so you might strain your existing air conditioning system by using it to cool your attic in addition to the rest of the house.
Adjust the Stairs
If your attic stairs take up a great deal of floor space in the room, you may want to update them so you can actually use some of that space. In many cases, it’s best to place your attic stairs on the low roof side of your home. Typically, this requires breaking the staircase into two smaller flights that go in different directions and are connected by a landing. This type of staircase will take up less space in the attic, so you have more room for furniture and storage options. Depending on its size, you may even be able to use the landing itself for storage by adding built-in bookshelves.
If your attic is dark, you may have a hard time convincing your teen to use it as a bedroom or motivating yourself to do a workout in your home gym. Natural light helps open up a space and makes it feel brighter and more inviting. If your space lacks natural light, you can add windows or skylights. Dormer windows, which protrude slightly from the roof, are an ideal option because they provide additional space and ventilation while allowing natural light in. You can add built-in features beneath dormers, such as a desk, drawers or shelves, or use the windows to provide more headroom for a seating area. If you plan to use traditional windows, opt for the tallest and widest style that will fit to maximize the amount of light that enters the attic.
While your new guestroom, playroom or home office may be a converted attic, there’s no reason that it should feel like an unfinished space. Simple decorating touches can go a long way to make it feel like another cozy, inviting space in your home. Start with color — if your attic doesn’t receive much natural light, it’s especially important to choose a light color for the walls so they reflect the light that is present. White works well, but it can make the space feel a little stark. Instead, opt for a soft yellow or peach shade to add warmth and color to the room. You can incorporate even bolder shades through accessories like window treatments, throw rugs, pillows, and artwork so the space has a welcoming vibe that makes your family want to spend time there.