Home improvement can involve anything from turning unused areas in your home into livable space to replacing windows, doors, and siding.
When you think of adding value to your home, you may be tempted to replace heating and cooling units, add a luxurious sunroom, or an extra bathroom. But, according to Luke Mullins in the Money Section of U.S. News, these are some of the worst ways to add value to your home.
Converting unused space into an additional bedroom, however, is one of the better ways to increase your home’s value. The most frequently converted areas are attics and basements.
Before Converting Your Attic into a Bedroom
Josh Karskof, writing for This Old House Magazine, says there are important things to consider in finishing off an attic to turn it into a bedroom.
- Check your local building codes.
Most localities require that you have at least 70 square feet in the attic in order to convert it into a usable room. They further define this space as needing to be a minimum of 7 feet wide. It must also be 7 feet 6 inches high.
- Evaluate your home’s structural foundation.
All of the wood and other materials used in finishing off an attic will weigh more than the few things you currently have stored in your attic. It is prudent to hire an architect or structural engineer to inspect your home to determine if it can handle the extra weight of a refinished attic.
This will include checking the floor joists to see if they are close enough together and can handle the extra load. You may need to add more joists or shore up the ones you have.
- Check local building codes for egress restrictions.
Many local building codes require two exits from a bedroom. This does not have to be two doors but can be a door and a window.
- Evaluate your roof.
You may have trusses or W-shaped framing supporting your roof that would need to be altered for your attic bedroom. It may not be practical to alter these roof supports.
- Check your electrical system.
Determine whether your current breaker box can handle the addition of attic bedroom circuits. You may need to get an electrician to modify your electrical system.
- Evaluate your HVAC system.
Can your current system handle the addition of vents to the attic for heating and cooling? If not, there are fairly inexpensive wall units that provide both heating and cooling. You see them in many motels.
- Is there access to the attic?
If you are in an older home, there may already be stairs leading to the attic. If not, you will need to install stairs.
- Is the attic entrance big enough to bring furniture, a mattress, and personal belongings through?
Even after meeting building code space requirements, many attic bedrooms are small. They would benefit from a minimalist bedroom design.
Doing the Attic Bedroom Conversion
- Be sure to insulate with R-30 insulation before you panel the ceiling and walls.
- Ceiling panels can set the whole tone of your attic bedroom.
- Bead board panels in white are tongue-in-groove panels that are a good choice.
- V-Groove wood paneling is a good option also, whether you stain it or leave it bare.
- If you have the head room for it, a ceiling fan is a wonderful addition to your attic bedroom as it helps with climate control.
- When you panel the walls, space in the eaves can be turned into drawer space, or closet space. You can have a built-in desk, book shelves, or cabinets. What you build into the walls is only limited by your imagination and your carpentry skills.
- When you get ready to put a mattress on the platform bed, built-in bed, or bunk beds you have chosen for your attic bedroom, be sure to review types of mattresses in order to get the one that will help you completely enjoy your new attic bedroom.