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Milwaukee/NARI Offers Ideas For Attic Living Spaces

May 16, 2012

The attic is often untapped space that has a lot of potential for an extra living area. It is an opportunity to add square footage to the home and creatively use the space to fulfill homeowners’ needs. Members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., celebrating 50 years as the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource, offer ideas for transforming attic space.

Before deciding how to renovate the attic, there are some considerations. First, it’s important to keep in mind the ceiling height before choosing a new purpose for the attic. It’s also essential to understand if the floor can support usable living space. It may need to be reinforced or replaced before proceeding. Almost every project will require insulation, ventilation, drywall, and better accessibility. Ask a professional to weigh-in on whether or not the attic is suitable for living. Once homeowners have addressed these logistics, they should make a plan for how they want to use the space. Here are some transformation ideas:

1. Bedroom
If the attic is large enough, it can be an ideal space for a guest bedroom or privacy for an older child, and it offers optimal views of the outdoors and extra square footage. Proper insulation, drywall, and sufficient ventilation are the key to creating an attic bedroom. Homeowners should also consider options for bringing natural light into the space – skylights, dormer windows, and solar tubes.

2. Office Space
If a person needs to concentrate on work items, the attic is a great spot for a home office. It’s quiet and away from other rooms in the home, so there’s less opportunity for distractions. Make sure the space is wired for a computer, Internet connection, telephone, fax machine, and other technologies. It’s also important to plan where task and natural lighting is needed.

3. Upstairs Sunroom
Add dormer windows and skylights to flood the attic with light. Create a cozy sitting room for family members. Complete the area with couches, chairs, wicker furniture, or other pieces to create a place to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

4. Bathroom
Consider transforming the attic into a private bathroom. Add closets or shelving for towels and other items that need to be stored. Also, make sure that a ventilation fan is incorporated into the project to avoid mold issues. Use the attic’s architectural details in the space’s design, such as putting a bathtub by a sloped ceiling or wall since little head space is needed.

5. Playroom
Give the kids a space of their own to have fun with their toys, play games, and enjoy other activities. Use built-in shelves to store toys or books, so they don’t take over other spaces in the home. Add a table that they can use for arts and crafts. Improve the space with paint and natural light. As the children grow, the space can be converted into a study room or “hangout” for friends.

6. Bonus Room
The attic is a great space for a “bonus” or entertainment room. It could include a home theater to watch movies and play video games. Think about adding a mini-bar or pool table to create a fun retreat for family members.

7. Hobby Area
The attic can give homeowners extra space to enjoy their indoor hobbies. They can spread out their scrapbooking materials, add workout equipment for exercising, or make room for arts and crafts projects. This type of space usually requires some work tables and storage for supplies.

8. Reading Nook
The attic is often quiet and removed from other rooms in the home, which is ideal for getting lost in a book. Add decorative, functional bookshelves to store reading materials. The room will also need proper lighting and comfy seating for readers.

9. Laundry Room
Homeowners can create an attic laundry room by relocating ductwork, adding a dormer window, incorporating electrical wiring, and adding space for folding and hanging laundry.

10. Extra Storage
Turn the attic into a walk-in closet for seasonal clothing, including summer clothes or winter coats. The attic could also be transformed into general storage. Add shelves and hooks to store holiday decorations, garden tools, sports equipment, and other items.

The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 800 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.

For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414-771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at

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