Attic bedroom ideas offer the perfect opportunity to expand the available living space in your home. Separate from the rest of the house, your attic can be transformed to cater to whatever you need, from creating a cozy master suite to providing a welcoming space for guests to come and stay.
Unlike other bedroom ideas and guest bedroom ideas, attic bedrooms have unique requirements. Sloping ceilings, unusual floor plans and the need for additional storage all need to factor into the design.
'When working with an attic space you often have to contend with challenging architecture like slanted or low ceilings,' says Kim Meardon, designer at M + M Interior Design. 'Lean into those details and accentuate them with paneling and beams. It will call attention to the architecture and even serve as a safety feature, helping you to avoid hitting your head in low areas.'
Attic bedroom ideas: converting your attic
Before you start designing your attic bedroom ideas, you must check that your attic is suitable for conversion. In order to convert an attic you need to make sure the space complies with regulations for minimum room areas as stipulated by the International Residential code.
These regulations state that your completed attic conversion needs to have:
- At least 70 square feet of floorspace
- At least 7 feet in any direction – this works out at a bare minimum of 7′ x 10′
- At least 50% of the floor space has a ceiling height of over 7 feet
These restrictions ensure that your attic bedroom ideas are safe and habitable. If you are unsure whether your attic has the potential for conversion, consider commissioning an architect, who will be able to advise.
'There are so many different potential sizes and layouts for an attic bedroom, that it really will be a case-by-case basis, but there are a few things to consider. Attic ceilings are mostly made up of your homes rafters which can pinch down the usable space. If you’re creating a room in the attic it’s best to not let any wall be shorter than about 50”. This will greatly reduce the potential for hitting your head on the ceiling,' says Ben Neely, founder of Riverbend Homes. 'All bedrooms in a home are required by fire code to have an operable “egress” window in them for a quick exit. You’ll want to keep access to that window in the main area of the room, not in a closet or a bathroom.'
1. Use your attic bedroom ideas to create your dream space
Converting your attic space to incorporate attic bedroom ideas will bring with it the opportunity to create your dream bedroom. It gives you the chance to design your space from scratch and incorporate interesting features. This bedroom designed by M+M Interior Design is flooded with natural light from the trilogy of windows while an elegant fireplace and exposed roof beams offer a heritage touch.
'This room was blessed with high ceilings and an incredible view so the intention was to draw your eye out to the lake which we did by keeping the palette very light and neutral. We have small pops of color with the fireplace surround, pillows and rug but they are muted and feel lived in. There is nothing jarring that pulls your attention so it becomes all about the view,' adds designer Kim.
2. Maximize light by installing skylights
Prior to conversion, your attic will be devoid of light. Therefore, factoring ways to increase natural light into your attic bedroom ideas is key. The most common window solution is to insert rooflights that follow the roof pitch between the rafters.
Another option is to install a dormer window. ‘This innovative alternative to a traditional dormer lifts the windows out of the roof, increasing useable space while creating a bright and airy atmosphere,’ says Jolanda de Gooijer, senior regional product manager windows at VELUX.
There are a number of styles available – from flat-roof construction, to cottage-style pitched-roof dormers, which are more sympathetic for period properties, but provide less usable space. Where the style of the property permits, full-length glazed doors along a gable wall, with a Juliet balcony, will maximize the sense of space.
Also consider integrating technology into your skylight. 'Pick a skylight with a sensor to detect rain. They will automatically open when things are getting hot, and will close on detecting rain to stop any flooding inside,' recommends Aaron Barnett, builder and founder of Banging Toolbox.
3. Create a luxury environment
Located at the top of the property, attic bedroom ideas give you the opportunity to create a true sanctuary. Slightly separate from the main house, attic bedrooms have an innate sense of privacy and serenity, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
When selecting your attic bedroom ideas, opt for little touches of luxury such as cozy quilts, faux fur throws, and delicate linen curtains. Since this room is detached from the wear and tear of the household, you can select a lighter color scheme of gray and white, with accents of light wood to create a peaceful oasis that you'll love to retreat to at the end of a busy day.
4. Opt lower furniture to create the illusion of higher ceilings
Attic ceilings are often lower than those in the other area of the house, and sloping ceilings will further increase the illusion of truncated rooms. Therefore, it is important that your attic bedroom ideas work to visually accentuate the height of the space. One of the best ways to deal with this challenge is to opt for lower furniture to maximize the head-height in the room – especially when it comes to bed ideas. You can also install a skylight in between the rafters to bring in natural light and create the illusion of more space.
5. Create a cozy guest bedroom for visiting family
If you’re looking to create an extra bedroom for visiting family, attic bedroom ideas offer plenty of potential. Make the most of awkward eaves by positioning children’s beds underneath and dress in matching bedlinen to create a harmonious scheme.
There are plenty of twin bedroom ideas to help you decide on the perfect decor. If you have regular guests, such as grandchildren, nieces or nephews, you can curate the design to reflect their tastes and character too – making for a space that will only add to the excitement of their stay.
6. Create a statement with an antique bed
When decorating a new attic bedroom, you are starting from scratch with your interior design. The opportunities that this presents can be exciting but it can also be daunting. Don't be tempted to overfill the space with different attic bedroom ideas, instead focus on a few interesting features and make these the heart of your design.
Bed frames occupy the greatest footprint of any piece of furniture in your bedroom and therefore should stand out. One great way to add instant character to your attic bedroom ideas is to add an antique bed frame. Offering a rich patina that is impossible to replicate, antiques are both a sophisticated and sustainable way to furnish your home. 'Antique beds inject so much personality into a bedroom. They are often unique pieces that can instantly add romance, luxury or fun to an otherwise featureless room,' says Shabs Kay, founder of Victorian Dreams.
7. Opt for designs that accentuates the height of the room
Accentuating the height of the room is key when selecting your attic bedroom ideas. In this bedroom, a four poster bed creates the focal point of the space. However, unlike heavier traditional designs, its slim, white metal frame doesn't overwhelm and instead draws the eye to the top of the canopy and with it accentuates the height of the room.
Continue the accentuating treatment by making a design feature out of roof beams by leaving them exposed. Rather than covering or painting these characterful features, let the rich tones of the textural wood channel the warmth of rustic bedroom ideas.
8. Maximize space with built in storage
While trading your attic for an attic bedroom brings additional living space to your home, it also means a loss of storage space. Therefore, storage ideas must play a significant role in your attic bedroom ideas.
'Fitted wardrobes are the perfect solution for individuals looking to store lots of items, without dominating too much space in the bedroom. The big advantage of fitted wardrobes is of course that they can fill any available space while also being able to cope with any idiosyncrasies in the room,' says Simon Tcherniak, senior designer at Neville Johnson.
9. White color scheme to brighten the space
Attics have a reputation for being dark and unwelcoming spaces; the antithesis of the you dream bedroom. Therefore, it is important to find ways to increase natural light within your attic bedroom ideas. One of the easiest ways is to opt for a light, bright color-scheme.
In this bedroom, walls are painted white to maximize the light reflected back into the room, while a panelling adds texture and interest. Opting for vertical paneling is a great choice for attic bedroom ideas as it helps to make the room seem larger and more welcoming. Large windows with voile blinds provide the perfect balance of privacy and light, with the semi-translucent fabric softly diffusing natural light into the room for a bright and airy atmosphere.
10. Factor in practical elements
From chimney flues through to heating pipes and boilers, your attic is likely to be home to a whole host of structural elements alongside your attic bedroom ideas. These structural elements are likely to be difficult to remove or reroute and therefore need to be incorporated into your design.
Here, a flue pipe has been painted in a chic black shade and is an unobstructive addition to the corner of this room. Alternatively, consider boxing in awkward elements so that they seemingly disappear into the walls, or hire a professional designer to incorporate boilers, water tanks or pipes into built-in storage.
How do I maximize space in my attic room?
There are plenty of ways to maximize space in your attic room, from adding clever-built-in bedroom storage ideas through to adding a dormer window.
'Make use of the seemingly awkward contours of the room to your advantage. A little creativity and you can transform the eaves of the attic as built-in storage,' recommends Giovanni Scippo, director at 3D Lines. 'You should also consider ditching the bed frame completely. Choose low furniture so it feels less cramped and maximize the vertical space on your wall with lighting and shelves.'
Adding roof windows are also a great way to maximize space in your attic room. 'Roof windows are the ideal solution for any loft conversion to add light from above into areas of your home that may not have as much access to daylight,' says Jolanda de Gooijer.
Where should a bed be placed in an attic?
You should place a bed so that it backs onto one of the non-sloping walls. This will ensure that you have enough head height to sit up in bed and will prevent the space from feeling too cramped. If you have a full wall with a window, consider putting your bed up against this as it will help to draw the eye and brighten your attic bedroom ideas.
'If you have ample headroom in the attic, the bed can really go anywhere. If you’re pinched for headspace and you want to maximize the feeling of the room, moving the bed to a lower ceiling area is ideal as you’ll spend most of the time laying down so ceiling heights aren’t as big of a concern,' says Ben Neely.
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Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature.
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