Sometimes, it’s better to make do with what you have. Not only do you save money, but you save time and resources. When it comes to living space, you might feel limited by the floor space, but if you look up you might find just what you need. I’m talking about attic and loft conversions.

Attic Conversions

Most homes have an attic. Depending on your roof style, converting the attic could be quite easy. Here are a few things to look for and ask a contractor:

  1. Is there at least 7-feet of head room somewhere in your attic? Half of the finished space must meet this requirement in many areas (check with local building codes to verify).
  2. The finished attic must also be a minimum of 7-feet wide and have 70 square feet. This means you’re looking at a 7 x 10 room, or something similar.
  3. Have a contractor check out the house’s frame to make sure it can handle the weight of a finished room.
  4. Decide where you’ll access the room using a staircase. A switchback might make more sense if space is limited below, just be sure you leave room for maneuvering furniture up to the room.

Once you’ve determined you have the basic requirements, sky’s the limit! Check out these ideas from Houzz and This Old House:

Can’t convert the attic? What about adding a loft? Loft’s come in all sizes and shapes and can fit just about anywhere – as long as you have a vaulted or high ceiling. Adding a loft is also a lot less expensive than converting an attic, usually starting under $15,000.

Loft Conversions

Can’t wait to get started? Here are a few things to look for before adding a loft to your current space:

  1. A 17′ – 19′ ceiling height is ideal if you want to add a loft you can actually walk on.
  2. Don’t have that much ceiling height? You could still add a sleeping loft just tall enough for someone to sit up in.
  3. Usually, permits aren’t needed if you’re not changing the structure of the house, ie. raising the roof or breaking out walls.
  4. A sturdy staircase is required and ladders don’t count. However, if you’re just building a sleeping loft, you might be able to get away with a ladder as in the picture shown below. My guess is that when you go to sell your property, realtors may not acknowledge that a sleeping loft is a true “loft.”

Here are a few ideas from Houzz and Home Style Decor blog:

Beach Style Bedroom by Phoenix Interior Designers & Decorators Laura Kehoe Design
Another loft idea from Home Decor Blog.
Another loft idea from Home Decor Blog.

Are you running out of space? Have you thought about adding a loft or converting your attic?

10 Comments

  1. Those lofts look great. We don’t have any space right now in our condo, but it’s a nice idea if we ever live in a house again. Our old house has high ceiling and a loft would work well there.

    • @Joe – Maybe you could add a sleeping loft someday to free up floor space and include storage? But these do seem to work better in places with a higher ceiling.

  2. SuburbanFinance Reply

    We have a loft and I absolutely adore it. We’ve converted it into a master bedroom as it also has a bathroom in it. It’s perfect for us.

    • @Suburban Finance – We lived in an apartment once that had a loft and we also loved it. We used it as an office and then eventually as a bedroom. I think lofts are underrated!

  3. I love those! But I’m with Joe — I live in a condo, so there’s not much vertical space… in fact, there’s not much space at all!

  4. talkcarinsurance Reply

    If you design well and spend a little money loft space can be so lovely. We converted a loft apartment within a large property we had and didn’t want to come down anymore. Also, if you insulate the roof well when you are doing the roof conversion rest of the house will be warm as well. Insulation is generally cheap, use it generously.

    • @Talk Car Insurance – Great advice about the insulation. If the attic gets broken out or converted, definitely add in insulation!

  5. Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter Reply

    Those renovations look great! Our rental home has a great above-the-garage space for turning into an office or something, but we left it as storage space for renters. Our new home used all of the space it possibly could…the small areas left are being used for water heaters and a/c. But I’ll keep this in mind for future homes!

    • @Crystal – I love this loft/attic conversion idea for houses small on floor space, but long on ceiling or roof space. I hope to put this to use someday!

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