How to Turn a Finished Attic Into a Nice Living Space

A home’s attic may just be the most overlooked space of the house. Often used simply for storage, this space has the potential of turning into a sleek living space, hobby room, home office or even a guest bedroom, if given a good amount of tender love and care.

Most people don’t consider using their attic space due to the absence of finished walls and proper lighting. But with the right knowledge and some fairly small additions, you can convert your attic into an elegant getaway that not only adds value to your property but that can also be used as a place to relax and unwind.  

Wondering what it takes? We thought we’d give you a hand by looking at some of the most crucial elements you need to consider if you’re thinking about turning your attic into a living space.

Turning your attic into a livable area

Now, while there are quite a few elements involved when converting an attic, taking them one step at a time — maybe even spacing out the work and giving yourself lots of time to get it done — will make the whole process seem less daunting. Here are some of the major improvements you need to account for:

Wire your attic for electricity

While this isn’t an extensive project, you will need to hire a professional to help you out and get this one out of the way. Whether or not your attic is already wired, you’ll need to hire an electrician to check your wiring and make sure it’s up to par; and if it’s not, they’ll have to wire it altogether. Either way, get this one out of the way well before you start working on the walls or floors, otherwise you might find yourself in a position to ruin your freshly redone walls to set up wiring.

Strengthen the attic’s floors

If you plan on adding furniture to the space, especially larger pieces like a bed or an armoire, you’ll have to account for the extra weight and strengthen the floors. This is another aspect you might want to contract out to a professional, given that you need to make sure both your floors and your home’s foundation and framing can handle the extra weight.

Insulate the attic

Since all the walls (along with the roof) are exposed to the outside, your attic is likely the hottest and coldest room of the house, depending on the season. That’s why you’ll want to take extra steps to insulate it properly, and depending on the area you’re in and how cold/hot it gets, fix the space up with PTACs (package terminal air conditioners) to maintain the right temperature. You might also want to consider adding drywall or add extra wood or shiplap to the exterior walls.

Install plumbing

If your attic conversion also involves adding a bathroom to your newly created living space, you’ll need to account for plumbing. This part might add up and bring your expenses up considerably (especially considering all the other elements you’ll have to purchase and install in your bathroom, from the toilet to vanity, fixtures etc.) so think it through before adding it to your wish list. Especially since you can’t really space them out very much, and you’ll need to buy the toilet/bathtub and all the other elements before plumbing starts — as you’ll need to connect them. Also, remember we were talking about strengthening the floors of your attic? Water adds tons of weight, so you’ll have to plan your structure reinforcement accordingly if you’re gonna move forward with the addition of a bathroom. For more info on what it entails to install a bathroom in your attic, here’s a handy guide.

Get proper lighting

If you’re going all out with your attic conversion (and have the funds to back it up), you’ll want to consider adding some nice skylights or windows. But this can ramp up your costs considerably, and make the whole process far more complicated. So instead, why not flood the place with light through some good old light fixtures? Mix things up with a combination of LED lights, overhead lighting, and tall lamps — and pick bright bulbs to get as much light in as possible.

Paint the walls and ceiling

You’re almost done with your DIY attic remodel, so now it’s time to start making it look pretty. Even if your attic has finished walls and ceilings, you’ll want to add a fresh coat of paint to make the space look brand new and inviting. To make the space appear more airy and to compensate for the lack of windows, choose bright colors for most of the walls (though an accent wall that stands at the opposite end of the entrance is always a stylish addition).

Add furniture, appliances & décor elements

The next step in setting up your attic living space is to make it practical and beautiful. This entails adding furniture, design elements, and whatever appliances you think you might need for the space. Think TVs, a mini fridge, a nice stereo system, low, sleek A/C units, whatever you find most practical depending on how you want to use the newly-created room of the house.

Maybe you want to have it ready as a guest bedroom, or a teen kid’s room, a hobby room, a much-needed home office or a place to relax and meditate in. Each potential use comes with its own individual needs, so it’s up to you to get creative from this point forward (though here are some great tips if you’re setting up a meditation room).

Last but not least…

If you’re seriously considering turning your attic into a living space, there’s one hurdle you need to get out of the way before embarking on any of the above changes: checking with your local permitting office to see whether or not you’ll need a building permit for converting your attic space. Not all cities require their residents to pull out a permit for this, but it’s better to know for sure instead of winging it. Your home insurance and later property valuation might take a hit if you don’t account for this aspect.

Keep reading

The 6 Best Hot Tubs You Can Get On Amazon — Without Breaking the Bank
8 Money-Saving Tips for Improving Your Bathroom’s Design
How To Set Up a Killer Smoking Room at Home
What Your Home Office Would Look Like If They Were Designed by David Lynch, Wes Anderson, and Other Iconic Movie Directors


6 Products You Need to Keep Your Home Germ-free and Sanitized in 2020


Looking to turn your house into a healthy haven to protect your family from COVID-19? Green Builder, an award-winning trade magazine dedicated to responsible and sustainable construction, has some ideas for you. The magazine has been named “Best Residential Trade Magazine” by the National Association of Real Estate Editors for seven straight years. Recently, managing editor Alan Naditz posted a list of eight “standout, pandemic-proof products” for a healthier home. We wanted to share our favorite products from that list with you:

Smart Toilet

Kohler’s new intelligent toilet, Eir, has a one-click sanitizer button that activates electrolyzed water and ultraviolet light to clean the unit for what Naditz said is “unparalleled hygiene” against bacteria and viruses. There’s a bidet function, too. It uses a water filtration system that removes impurities, residual chlorine and heavy metals. Also included is a heated seat, customizable cleansing, a night light, hands-free lid opening and closing, automatic flush and a remote.

kohler smart toiletkohler smart toilet
Source: Kohler

Read: Remodel Your Bathroom for Less Than $1,000

Open Sesame

The Wave Switch from Legrand allows you to turn lights on and off with the wave of your hand, minimizing the need to touch germ-prone surfaces. And, as Naditz points out, the switchless design makes it easy to turn on the lights when your arms are full or your hands are messy. It’s an easy, 15-minute do-it-yourself installation available in several colors. But, keep in mind, it does require a special wall plate.

legrand wave hand activated motion light switchlegrand wave hand activated motion light switch
Source: Legrand

Divide and Conquer

Bosch’s Climate 5000 series is designed for individual living spaces and rooms. It’s multi-part filtration system acts as a defense against allergens, odors, viruses and bacteria. In warm weather, the system sends inside heat outdoors. In cold months, it uses refrigerant that is naturally colder than outside temperatures to absorb the heat from outside and transfer it inside. The system does not require large-diameter duct work, so it can be retrofitted into existing homes with minimal construction.

A Clean Bathroom Leads to a Healthy Human

Broan’s Surface Shield Vital Vio® Powered exhaust fan has one light mode for standard illumination and another to kill bacteria. The modes can be run individually or together. The new model can be upgraded with an LED grille cover and light module, or you can install the unit with your choice of inclusions: just the fan, just the LED light, or just the standard bright while grille.

air exhaust fan filters germs and bacteria out of bathroom sanitized homeair exhaust fan filters germs and bacteria out of bathroom sanitized home
Source: Broan

Germ-free Surfaces

The World Health Organization says the coronavirus can live on stainless steel surfaces for days. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to try out a hands-free faucet! Sonoma Forge’s Sans Hands model features an electromagnetic sensor to turn the water on and off, and the finish has antimicrobial properties. When your hands approach the faucet, the magnetic field is interrupted which signals a valve to release the flow of water. When you move away, the water stops. Simple, clean and germ-free!

sonoma forge sink handless germ freesonoma forge sink handless germ free
Source: Sonoma Forge

Read: How Have Cleaning and Hygiene Habits Changed During COVID-19?

Pure Kills

Included with each of Carrier’s new flagship air conditioning and heat pump units is an air purifier that uses “capture and kill” technology to trap up to 95% of pollen, animal dander, bacteria and other pollutants. An electric charge then zaps the cell walls of the pathogens. Note: The purifier has not yet been tested against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Lew Sichelman

See more posts by this author

Syndicated newspaper columnist, Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing market and all it entails for more than 50 years. He is an award-winning journalist who worked at two major Washington, D.C. newspapers and is a past president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.



A September State of Mind

Hi friends. So sorry to go completely MIA on you. Between attempting online school with a five-year-old, much of California burning to the ground, and the general state total chaos in which we find ourselves, getting to the computer for any length of time has been a bit of challenge, to put it mildly. And then I blinked and summer is officially over.

But I had to finally get on here as I have big news for you!

They say you shouldn’t make major life decisions during times of extreme stress, right? Well, we decided to throw all caution to the wind and instead have purchased a coastal cottage in Washington State! Apparently a global pandemic, homeschooling a kindergartner and the most consequential presidential election of our lifetime wasn’t enough to keep me busy.

coastal cottage mood board on Apartment 34

In all seriousness, if the past seven months of Covid have taught us anything, it’s the importance of friends and family and so we decided to create a gathering place that can bring together those we love most for years to come. Nestled within the myriad of inlets and islands that dot the Puget Sound north of Seattle, the cottage enjoys sweeping views of the Olympic mountains and Hood Canal. I consider it my official respite from the impending doom. Sadly it looks nothing like the inspiration images I’ve collected here.

Instead, it is going to take a LOT of work to get our little coastal cottage visitor ready – and in a very short period of time. Over the coming weeks, I plan to take you along on the entire design journey. I will be sharing everything with you – from the cottage’s current state, to all of my design inspiration and through the remodel process. If all goes according to plan, I’ll share a major before and after reveal in time to spend the holiday season with our family rather than more than 800 miles away.

coastal cottage mood board on Apartment 34

Trust me, we’re going to have plenty to discuss, as I have to pick an entire household’s worth of things – from paint colors and kitchen cabinets down to dishware, bedding and everything in between. No design decision will be left unturned. It’s both exhilarating and incredibly daunting. These mood boards are just part my first ideation session for my dream vibe.

I’m hopeful sharing this process with you will offer you some fresh design ideas and positive inspiration as we all hunker down to weather what will undoubtedly be a stormy fall – be it literally or just politically. It’s been a rather dark year and I feel like this might be a way to share a little bit of light. I know I am very happy for the creative distraction. I hope you are too.

I can’t wait to share more very soon!

The post A September State of Mind appeared first on Apartment34.