When buying a house, you usually consider your current situation, the number (and size) of your family members, and possibilities for remodelling. With time, your family will grow larger, your kids will grow up, an elderly parent might move in with you, or you will need to set up a home office. Regardless of the situation which caused the need for a change, you will need to add extra rooms to your home. While a basement may be a good place for a playroom, it is slightly too gloomy for a bedroom. This leaves you with an attic. There are a couple of things you can do to use that storage space and turn it into living space.
Start by making a plan
Hire a professional to come and assist you with making a plan for your attic conversion. The most important thing is whether your house can support the project. You need to make sure to leave the load-bearing walls intact and to reinforce any supporting beams so they can carry the weight of the new room. The engineer’s job is to tell you whether this is doable and which actions you should take. Ask yourself whether the roof is tall enough and whether there is enough usable space once you deduct the surface covered by steep slopes. If need be, and if your house allows it, you can lift up the roof to make your new bedroom taller and more spacious. Before you start doing any actual work, check with your local council whether you need a building permit for this project.
Think of the layout
Once you know the size and the features of the space you are going to have for your new bedroom, think of its layout. If it is possible, build a bathroom so whoever is using the room does not have to go downstairs. Use the short walls around the room and below the slopes to create storage space. This is the most common solution as otherwise you probably won’t be able to make much use of it anyway. Consider the entryway to the room. You are lucky if you have proper stairs and a door. Most attics are usually entered through a hole in the floor and accessed via a ladder. You should consider changing this unless you are planning on making a room for a teenager up there who is very excited about the ladder. If you have little space on the floor below to fit in a staircase, consider making spiral stairs as they take up the least space.
Make sure there is enough light
Attic windows are usually tiny so what you can do to change this, is replace them with bigger ones. Build dormers, skylights and decorate your windows with curtains to control the light and increase your home’s value. The position of the attic windows will sometimes make it difficult to hang the standard drapes, so you might have to look for the best place to buy curtains in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne or other major centres since that way you will ensure your attic space has the most functional protection from the sunlight.
Work on Cooling, Heating, and ventilation
As attics are usually not properly insulated, make it your priority to insulate the roof, primarily, as well as the walls. The insulation should be done carefully and set up not too close to your roof tiles as it has to allow the house to breathe. The attic will be warmer than the rest of the house so you will need a smaller heater. Depending on the number of windows, a ceiling fan may be sufficient to help the air circulate. Otherwise, the safest would be to install an air conditioning.
Thoughtful choice of colours
Paint your new bedroom bright colours. You want those using the room to forget they are in an attic. Use neutral or light warm hues for the base and play with bright accent colours. An attic has a number of beautiful angled wall and ceiling features which can be truly decorative if accentuated properly.
Please do not forget about safety and secure the entrance and the stairs leading to it, particularly if it is a room for your children. The attic bedroom will probably end up being the most spacious, the best lit and the most vibrant one in the house.