The attic is one of the most under-designed and unused spaces in the entire home. Most people use the attic space as a storage area where long forgotten antiques, clothes, photo albums and assorted junk gather dust and cobwebs. However, this needn’t be the case, for the attic can quite easily be transformed and remodeled into a usable space such as a spare bedroom, playroom or home study. The following are some considerations you need to take into account before you plan your next move in regards to refurbishment of this area.
The most important rule to abide by is the local building code applicable in your area. These are usually pretty much the same nationwide but there can be variations. Most building codes in the United States require the height of any room to be 7 1/2 feet over 50% of the living area. This means if the highest point in your attic space is 6 feet, then you might face difficulties in developing it much further.
Lighting will be one of the most important interior design considerations for a remodeled attic. If you can get planning permission and have the means and structural ability to install a window or skylight, then this will be perfect. Otherwise a lot of artificial lighting will be needed and whilst this will be more than adequate for a bedroom, it will mean the attic won’t be such an attractive interior to be used for long periods of time during the day. Natural light really is better if you’re going to convert the attic into a playroom or study area and is indeed, much more healthier for your emotional well-being.
Heating in the attic will be required for the colder months of the year. As mentioned in an earlier post (winterizing your home), it will be wise to install a thermostat which will keep the interior at a temperature above freezing so as to avoid damage to pipes, furniture and precious items. Think about running new ducts and check the state of the existing insulation. Replace if necessary.
Another heat-related aspect to take into account is the temperature the attic could reach during the summer months when the sun is blazing down upon the roof. Correct ventilation, fans and protective layers can all help keep the temperature down in this situation.
The floor material might need to be changed or strengthened depending on the type of room that will be created. For example, if the attic is to be changed into a bedroom, then heavy furniture pieces such as beds, chests and wardrobes will need to be carried by a strong and sturdy floor, as well as the extra human traffic.
One of the most difficult and possibly most expensive alterations to the attic will be the creation of an access route. In many cases, the attic is reached via a ladder, which won’t be suitable unless you’re a tree-house crazed child. If there is an existing stairway then you’re in luck but if not, then one will need to be created. This could be a problem depending on the interior architecture of your home.
When all the above considerations have been taken into account and the attic has been transformed into a study, playroom, bedroom or even a meditation room, then the only thing left to do is decorate. This is the fun part and one you can find inspiration for by reading through the posts on this blog.