How To Finish An Attic Into A Bedroom

Having an extra bedroom in the house has never been a bad idea, regardless of what your reasons are for wanting to do so. Perhaps one of the kids needs his or her personal space or you want to have space for an Airbnb room in your house, we support your decision to carry out an attic conversion and while we help you on your journey.

How To Finish An Attic Into A Bedroom

Usually, basements and garages are the go-to areas of the house for bedroom conversions. However, attics provide a unique looking bedroom once you are done converting it into a living space. 

This conversion seems like a lot of work to carry out but if you take your time to plan it properly before its inception, you will realize that it isn’t as complicated as you think. And if done right, you might end up having fun in the process. Now let’s get to it.

Plan It Out 

Before commencing with your conversion, there are some considerations you need to make in order to make it a hitch-free project. Working on a whim has never ended well when it comes to construction. So, first, narrow down the materials you will need in the process of your conversion. Also, consider things like how much will the flooring cost you? Do you need an extra window? And so on. 

The average cost of converting an attic is around $75,000. Keeping that in mind, you should document the expense of everything to the last dollar.

The floor joist of your attic should also meet local codes and be able to support the extra weight that will be placed on it during conversions. You can consult a structural engineer about your floor joist before the project commences. Note that the services of a structural engineer can cost between $50 and $150 per hour.

It might seem unimportant but budgeting goes a long way in the conversion of your attic to a bedroom because finding out you do not have enough resources to complete your attic when you are halfway through the process is just heartbreaking.

Also, you have to consider extending several systems such as; HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical systems, into your new bedroom during conversion. And all these add to make the cost what it is. 

Research On Permits Needed

You should make inquiries at your local municipality as to whether or not you will require a permit before you can commence with your attic conversion. You most likely will require one if you are going to be altering the exterior of the house, such as placing extra windows.

Understand The Building Codes

During the planning stage of your project, you are required to consider building codes and local building permits when getting involved in any kind of home conversion or renovation. 

These building codes are a guide on safety standards required to ensure the stability of your property and its safety. Things like the square footage of your house, the height of the ceiling, the width of the room are all included in the building code. For instance, the ceiling height is generally required to be 7 feet high over at least 70 square feet.

Therefore, it is important that you meet the standards of the building codes before proceeding, especially if you intend to sell your property in the future or rent out the newly converted bedroom

Commence With Your Attic Conversion

After the planning stage has been completed, it is time for you to begin implementing your vision for your new bedroom. This is why we have put in place, several steps for you to follow while working on your attic.

Steps To Follow To Properly Convert Your Attic:

Head clearance is a must


Set up an HVAC system

Proper flooring

Add a bathroom (optional)

Natural light is key

Make entries and exists


Head Clearance Is A Must

We all know how attics tend to have slopes and nobody wants to go around banging their head against these slopes while trying to access their bedroom. Like we stated earlier, the general building code height clearance for an attic is 7 feet, and this is after you must have finished with the ceiling. 

Therefore, if your attic is lacking in height, we recommend that you raise the roofline of your house or lower the floor. It will add to the cost of converting the attic but the important thing is that you get enough headroom while also meeting the standards of the building codes.

Please be advised that you will require a skilled contractor to get this done. This is a real house not a block of Legos and safety is paramount. 

How To Set Up Insulation For An Attic

During the hot months of the year, the attic is usually the hottest room in the house and also the coldest during winter, for obvious reasons. This is why you have to make use of high-quality insulation in the attic space as it plays a major role in how comfortable your bedroom will be.

To ensure that your attic is comfortable all year long, we recommend that you make use of foam insulation rather than the traditional fiberglass batt insulation. Foam insulation might be more expensive to use but it is your best bet as it covers every crack and cervices in an airtight barrier and it can’t be penetrated by rodents and insects. Also, foam insulation takes up lesser space than fiberglass batt insulation.

HVAC Cannot Be Excluded

Depending on the HVAC system in your house, you could just have an HVAC specialist extend the existing HVAC system into your attic space by creating a new HVAC zone. It is cheaper to have this done before you must have had the attic finished because doing so would cost less compared to creating a new zone after the attic conversion has been completed. 


To avoid noises below the attic from moving around, we recommend that you lay some soundproofing on the attic floor. You can decide to add a carpet with thick underpads to further eliminate the noise.

Keep it in mind that while flooring your attic, you still need to stick to building codes. Make sure that your floor joists can carry the weight. 

The generally accepted floor decking for an attic living space is a ¾ inch tongue-and-groove subflooring, which has to be glued and screwed to the joists.

Add A Bathroom

Unless you like being woken up by the sound of someone moving around during the night to use the downstairs bathroom, we would recommend that you install a bathroom on the attic floor. It is also convenient for whoever is going to be staying in the attic bedroom.

Natural Light Is Key 

Attics are usually the locations of kids’ horror stories. And for a good reason. As beautiful as a finished attic might look, it will still be lacking if you do not add a window or two to give it some natural light.

It can be expensive to install dormers to your attic bedroom, which is why we recommend that you make use of skylights. Not only do skylights give you adequate light but they also provide you with fresh air and a beautiful aesthetic feeling to your new bedroom.

To decide on how many square feet the skylight of your new room should be, ensure that is about 15% of the total floor size of your new bedroom if it has a few windows in it.

To help you create the best skylight you can, we recommend you watch the video below:

You Need Exits

The standard practice is to have two exits in your attic bedroom. You can achieve this by adding a staircase to the lower floor and using your skylight window as a secondary exit for your new living, which can be accessed by your in-wall escape ladder, which you can place behind a cabinet door.

How To Properly Finish Your Attic

You can design the walls of your new living space to match the rest of the house. For instance, making use of plasterboards and adding a veneer coat of plaster to it. Afterward, you can add some trimmings to the walls if you like. 

You cannot have a finished attic bedroom if you do not add some color to it. Therefore, you should add 2-3 coats of paint on the walls to give your new living space some personality. 

If you want to find out how to properly finish your new bedroom, we recommend you check out this article: How To Paint A Bedroom, and this article- How To Design A Bedroom. Both of them will help you get started on how best to paint and arrange your bedroom. 

Photo by Emre Can from Pexels

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An attic conversion is an amazing idea in multiple ways as it provides you with extra space in your house. Even though it might cost a lot, an entire conversion can add as much as 60 – 84 % of its cost to the value of your property which means if you decide to sell, you’ll be getting some extra ROI on the property. 

Also, it saves you the stress of finding a new home as your family grows. This means that you don’t have to worry about having to uproot your ties from your community. This is a good thing for the kids, especially.

In regard to converting your attic, we strongly recommend that you outsource the project to a contractor to ensure that you get an excellent job done and minimize the risk of causing an injury to yourself and also doing damage to your property. This does not mean that you cannot still be involved in the conversion of your attic, you can do that in a supervisory context.

We hope you have fun converting your attic. 

How To Finish An Attic Into A Bedroom – Frequently Asked Questions

Can I finish my attic?

Of course, you can finish an attic.

Finishing an attic transforms the finished parts into standard living spaces just like any other room in your home. No exceptions. Although, some elements must be addressed in the finishing plan. Some of which are the electrical and plumbing elements.

Not only that, but the following should also be in place to show that the attic is finished: natural light (from windows), heating (the rooms must have a means for heating air), ventilation, and emergency openings.

How do you finish an attic entrance?

  1. Find a discreet area away from busy rooms. Choose an area where you won’t have problems with not having enough headspace when you climb into the attic.
  2. Locate the wood framing behind the covering of the ceiling and find places where the ceiling sounds feels hard. 
  3. Find a framing member by driving a nail through the ceiling once you get a rafter. If you get a framing member, the rest should be about 16 or 24 inches apart.
  4. Measure the ceiling to the size of the attic entrance and slice through it using a knife.
  5. Cut two boards to fit the width of the space on both sides.

How much does it cost to turn an attic into a bedroom?

Turning an attic into a bedroom is quite expensive. You have to consider the cost of getting an architect to model it for you and also pay for the renovation process. Hiring an architect costs about $60 to $125 an hour. Hiring them for the renovation process costs about $2.014 to $8,375, depending on how complex the renovation process is.

Turning an attic to a bedroom cost about $75,000. 

As earlier stated, it’s quite expensive but studies have shown that turning an attic into a bedroom yields a modest return on investment.

Can the attic door open by itself?

An attic door can open by itself for the following reasons:

  1. If you don’t have sufficient attic ventilation. When the attic gets hotter, the expanding air creates enough pressure to open the door.
  2. If you have an automatic fan that starts on temperature. Ensure that the fan is installed to exhaust air, not take it back into the attic. If the fan is backward, it might pressurize the attic space and push the door down.
  3. If the springs are not tightly adjusted.

Can all attics be converted?

Not all attics can be converted.

Some attics rooms are considered storage rooms rather than living areas. If they are to be converted to living areas, they should have the following: built-in ventilation, insulation, electric, and plumbing. But not all attics can get access to these elements.

Also, under building regulations, for an attic to be converted into a living area, more than 50% of it should have a ceiling height of 2.2m.

Finally, converting an attic can be quite expensive and very tasking.

Can I turn my attic into a loft?

Turning an attic into a loft is a very smart move, especially for homeowners looking for additional space. Because as your family grows, an attic loft might be the alternative instead of moving. All you’ll need to do is hire a professional to do the job right.

Moreover, turning an attic to a loft also adds value to your home. Some organizations have revealed that the return on investment for an attic loft is 65%, which is a benefit.