11 Finished Attic Design Ideas – Some Lofty Ideas


Some Finished Attic Ideas and How to Get There:

Are you hunting for some unused space in your home and you are on a tight budget? Well the answer might be hanging right over your head. Following a brief description regarding attics you will discover 11 finished attic design ideas. This is not usually the case but in some older homes that have a stair ascending to that underused storage area may allow for a quick loft conversion affording you a great sitting area, retreat from the kids or maybe even a little guest suite. Sounds like a simple solution but let’s think it through… is the existing stair you have accessible directly from the hallway or is tucked in a corner of an existing bedroom? If it is directly off the hallway you have hit the jackpot! Whoa, not so fast you will need to take a careful look at the structure above, as well as the head room clearances. Typically, you have structure that will impact headroom either collar ties or the rafters themselves. There are structural solutions to increase ceiling height or you can even opt to create additional space by incorporating dormers into the attic.


Of course headroom is not the only concerns you will have. There are multiple issues to consider when taking on such a project and an architect is the person you should speak with to determine what needs to be done to make a safe space. Most likely the ceiling over your second floor, which also happen to be the attic floor structure most likely inadequate to support a room so this structure will require reinforcement. In doing so you may end up increasing the floor to floor height which in turn will impact the existing stair.

Natural Light

How about some natural light and ventilation? As per the International Residential Code Section R303 a habitable room shall be provided with a glazing area of not less minimum of 8% of the floor area of any given room as well as natural ventilation. Well if we design those dormers previously mentioned that would be a great place to install some new windows.


Many homes do not have the luxury of a full stair up to the attic, since when new homes are constructed they only require attic access which in some cases can be just be an opening in the ceiling with a minimum opening of 22 inches by 30 inches. In these instances, you will need to sacrifice space on the floor below to create a new stair. This access may not even be in ideal location to create your stair. An architect will lay out your floor plan and show you the ideal location for a new stair based on the way you use your home.


Most likely your existing insulation may have been installed in the attic floor so that will need to be removed and new insulation installed in ceiling.

Some Lofty Ideas…

The Bedroom

The Playroom

The Office

The Reading Area

The Library

The She Room

The Man Cave

The Music Room

The Media Room

The Exercise Space

Art Studio

Here is an example of a finished attic design and how it’s executed by master builder Matt Risinger: https://youtu.be/n6Z8E0I-q2Y


The House Addition – Your Solution to Living

Is your home falling short on providing you with the space you need to live comfortably? What can you do? Some people will start searching Zillow for a new home and will need to visit many houses taking away all of their weekends to find just the right fit, that charming neighborhood, the right price and the ideal town that makes them happy. Guess what… it might not exist! If you love your current location, then there is obviously another option! Call an architect and start talking about what you want to achieve and how you can find the proper path to getting to that final destination. Architects who specialize in house addition projects can help you discover hidden spaces and where to add more!

Identify Your Needs

This house ran out of room. Solution house addition!

First thing is to identify what you are lacking. In the photo above it was obvious that this family needed more storage space. But everyone’s circumstance is different… has your family grown and you need more bathrooms, bedrooms or do you just need that space to escape to? Are your parent aging and thinking of moving in with you? Have you always wanted a big kitchen to entertain? After all this is where everyone gathers these days. Whatever the reason an architect can help you generate a design solution.

Identify Location

Where should that house addition take place?

Where does it make sense to create this expansion of your house? There are many options depending on your existing home. For instance, is your home a ranch style (single story)? Then perhaps going up is your solution. How is that even possible? It will take some reconfiguration of your existing floor plan because now you will require a stair to get up to the second floor and a stair takes up quite a bit of room. Do you have a two story house and maybe just an attached garage with no living space above? Voila, here is an ideal spot to create some more space. Of course if you are looking to make a bigger kitchen neither of these two suggestions are ideal but maybe all it takes is opening up some rooms and add a little bit to the first floor. Or maybe you are looking for an entire new in-law suite on the first floor so it might be feasible to convert your existing garage and building a new garage. The possibilities are endless… sometimes.


So you decide on the idea of a house addition, how is this going to impact your life and what is the impact of the project? Will the location of the work displace you during construction? If so you’ll need to make alternative living plans. Does your property have room for what you want to do? There is this pesky thing called zoning ordinances that could slow you down. Setbacks, lot coverage, habitable floor area, impervious coverage are just a few items to be considered when you identify the location of the project. An architect is going to guide you through this and if you want to avoid the costly delay of seeking a variance this will be a priority in determining how the project will go forward.


Once you have determined the best plan of action then the integration of the addition to the existing house is key. It is important to understand what adjacencies are important to you and how spaces are going to flow from room to room. A typical house addition will impact one to several rooms to accommodate new circulation patterns. For instance, if you built out over your garage in a typical center hall colonial you would end up eliminating a bedroom or decreasing it in size to get a hallway to the addition. Or if you are just adding on to the rear of your house an existing room may grow or be designated as something else.


From my experience every project is different and every client is unique in what they want to accomplish. I have been creating solutions for house additions for over twenty-five years and of course not one project is the same. Some have similarities such as a second floor addition or bi-level house may have parallel solutions but in reality they are all different as are clients’ visions.


Modern Yankee Builders – Great Room Addition Timelapse a great house addition in progress

I tell my clients to think about what it is they are trying to achieve by having long discussions and making a list of their priorities as well as seeking out inspirational photos of how they envision their ideal house. Great resources for photos are Google and Houzz. Take a look at this great timelapse video to see how an addition  to this home manifests itself!


The approach to the solution is a team effort. An architect is going to listen to your needs and interpret them to best of his/her ability. The process is a back and forth discussion. I believe a good architect doesn’t want to insist on being the final say but wants to incorporate your vision into his/her design and figure out the best way to get there in this wonderful journey! So call an architect today and see how thank can help you on an amazing house addition adventure!