What To Expect When Remodeling Your Home For An Attic Bedroom

A Guide To Attic Remodeling

There are many reasons  you might find yourself needing some extra room in your home. Maybe your older parent is coming to live with you, or your oldest son is at that age where he needs his own space. But no matter the reason, adding an extra bedroom, or additional living space to your home can solve your need for more space, and add significant value when it comes time to sell. 

Many homeowners choose to build an addition onto their house. A full addition can sometimes be a costly and involved process, especially if your community has strict building codes. This may be true if homes in your neighborhood are close together, or your budget is limited. That said, it is important to speak with your design-build-remodeling team. Often, with a little creative thinking and an excellent design-build contractor, you can find the extra space you need right in your home's existing floor plan.

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For example, the attic can be the perfect solution. Even if your attic has a low, oddly shaped ceiling and all sorts of weird angles, your attic might just be the ideal place to add that extra bedroom!

The Benefits of Adding An Attic Bedroom

Your attic can be a perfect space for that additional bedroom. Attics are cozy and airy all at once. They're warm (heat rises) and private. Plus all of those odd angles can inspire some genuinely creative design ideas. Skylights can add natural light, and white walls and floors can give the impression of clean open space. Built-ins in some of those nooks can ease space constraints, and those impossible angles can be transformed into funny little closets, or a stylish, funky bathroom.

An attic bedroom is undeniably romantic and no matter what the style, offers an away from it all feeling. 

Finishing your attic can offer significant cost savings over adding an addition to your home. With ceilings, walls, and floors already in place, you'll save significantly over having to start from scratch, like when you add an addition. Plus, because you are working within the existing footprint of your home, you'll avoid many zoning and easement concerns that are common issues when adding on to your home.

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Before You Begin: Basic Consideration For an Attic Bedroom

While adding living space within the footprint of your home means that you won't have to deal with zoning issues, you will still have to meet your local building codes. Safety and durability are the mission of building codes, and local laws can vary widely. You local building inspector can provide you with a list of applicable codes for adding an attic bedroom. In any case, you'll need to consider:

Ceiling codes – typically ceiling codes require a height of 7'6” over a minimum of 70 square feet of floor space. If your attic ceiling doesn't meet code, there are ways to increase ceiling height, for example adding a dormer.
Joist codes – A structural engineer, design-build contractor, or architect can tell you if your floor joists meet local codes and can support the additional weight of a remodeled attic space. They will determine if your existing rafters can support drywall, lighting, electrical, plumbing and HVAC components.
Egress codes – Bedroom egress codes typically require at least two exits – usually a doorway and a window. An attic bedroom needs a window and a staircase to the lower level. It's always a good idea to include an escape ladder by the window.

Meeting local building codes is the first step toward remodeling your attic. If you meet these codes, and your structural framing is correct, you can proceed with your project. 

Converting Your Attic

Once codes are met, it's time to work with your design-build contractor to create the perfect bedroom. One of the benefits of converting your attic is that much of the infrastructure may already be in place. Here are some ideas for creating the perfect bedroom in your attic space.

Ceilings – The ceiling is a focal point for anyone entering your attic. A sloped ceiling can be an exciting and unique architectural detail for your room. Your designer will make the most of your space by finishing it in a way that compliments the overall style of your design. For a traditional room, using strategically placed molding is a way to add elegance. It's a classic finishing touch. For more of a country style, try beadboard paneling. If you want a classic, one of a kind look, wood paneling is incredibly versatile. With different wood species and a variety of stain colors, you can create any look from modern, to rustic.

Walls – While the ceiling is a dominant design feature for defining the space, your walls become a supporting feature. Many attics feature “knee walls” which are short walls, typically under 3 feet. When you have these small spaces, maximize your walls by creating built-in storage or seating.  Oddly shaped areas can become built-in shelving. If you need closed storage, drawers and cabinet built-ins are an excellent option for those awkward spaces. Built-in seating against short walls can be functional, and free up the center of the area for larger pieces of furniture.

Flooring – Flooring is a critical element in an attic. Think about how your attic relates to the rest of your home. If your other bedrooms are directly underneath the attic space, keeping noise to a minimum is essential. This makes carpeting the obvious choice. It absorbs excess sound and is the perfect option for an attic bedroom. If you're set on using a beautiful hardwood, bulkier floor joists and heavy insulation can absorb excess noise.

Windows – Windows open the room to natural light which can make your space much more enjoyable. Dormer windows and skylights are two options that can not only add plenty of light but can help yo define your space. Dormer windows can create a small amount of additional floor space and can be the perfect spot for built-in window seating or extra storage. Skylights are a great option for adding light, without having to alter your home's original roofline.

Creating a bedroom in your attic is a great way to add functional space to your home affordably. If you have teens, an attic bedroom can give them a little more privacy and independence. If you're considering adding a bathroom, make sure to plan it so that it's lined up above another bath. This can keep plumbing costs down and make renovation easier.

If you live in the greater Madison, Wisconsin area and are considering an attic conversion project, give the experts at Degnan Design-Build-Remodel a call. We can help you achieve your creative vision, and our designers are expert at creating the perfect attic bedroom space. We're always happy to answer any questions you might have, so give us a call and set-up a free, no obligation design consultation today!