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How to turn your attic into living space

Turning your attic into a functional living space sure sounds nice. After all, by doing so you’ll be using the whole potential of your home. But, as you will soon learn, this is not an easy thing to do. There are a lot of things you need to do in order to make any space livable, and attics are no exception. So, let us not dilly dally, and let us look into how to turn your attic into living space.

Things to do before turning your attic into living space

So, what does it take for a space to be considered livable? Well, it depends. Do you plan on spending a couple of hours per week in that space, or you do you plan on making it a fully functioning room? If you plan on simply turning your attic into a makeshift workspace, then you need not change much. But, if you plan on making your attic into a functioning, livable room, you will need to deal with quite a few things.

Clear out

Before you do anything else, you need to make sure that your attic is cleared out. Any item that you’ve stored in your attic needs to go. You can choose to donate it, sell it or throw it away. Do what you need in order to make your attic completely cleared out and ready for renovations. Don’t shy away from also cleaning it properly.

A girl carrying cleaning tools.
Roll up your sleeves and make your attic completely clean before doing anything else.

Use a storage unit

If you have items in your attic that you don’t want to get rid of, you can always use a storage unit. It is always a good idea to make your relocation safe even if it’s local and hire a moving company to transport your items. A storage unit is a great way to clear out your attic and save your possessions.

Get a permit

If you plan on installing wiring or adding insulation to your attic, you might need to get a permit. Head on to your local permitting office and see what is required. The last thing you need is to run into legal issues while turning your attic into living space. Keep in mind that you might also need an official to verify that your attic is up to the code for it to be considered a living space.

Heating and ventilation

In order to turn your attic into living space, the first thing you will have to consider is the heating and the ventilation. Attics are not usually made with heating and ventilation in mind. Therefore, they can be quite inconvenient to spend time in, especially during the colder months. So, first, try to figure out how to ventilate your attic. You can consider putting in windows, but that will require you to redo your roof. Secondly, you need to figure out what to do with heating. If you have a heating system, you can try to connect your attic to it. But, again, this will require major renovation.

On the other hand, you can consider implementing some cheaper solutions, like electric heaters. These heaters can be much cheaper to install, as they do not require any renovation. But they might end up costing you more in the long run, so weigh out the pros and cons carefully.


Next comes electricity. Again, there are two ways in which you can deal with electricity. You can get a long extension cord and extend electricity to your attic. This is only viable if you plan on making your attic into a single room. For anything else, you will need to hire a professional to install wires. Proper wiring is necessary not only for the ease of use but also for safety. Faulty wiring is the main cause of home fires, which is why you should hire a competent electrician to help you.

A professional electrician installing wires in order to turn your attic into living space.
Get a professional to install your wiring properly.


For insulating your attic, your best course of action is to use batt insulation with a vapor-retardant facing. This insulation is flexible and easy to install, which makes it great for a finished attic. But, in order to install it properly, you will need to follow a guide. You will need to clear out your walls and make sure to place your insulation properly. Make sure to place double insulation behind pipes or electrical wiring.


How good is the access to your attic? Most attics either have a staircase that pulls down or they can be only accessed with a ladder. Well, if you want to turn your attic into living space, you will need a decent staircase. Remember, if some emergency happens, people need to be able to quickly and safely go up/down that staircase. So, do yourself a favor, and figure out how to build a functioning staircase to your attic.

Turn your attic into living space

Now that you’ve brought heat, electricity, and insulation to your attic, it’s time to make it truly livable. So far, we’ve talked about renovations that require professional help. But, the rest of the process is something that any amateur can deal with. All you need to do is take your time and remain attentive while working.

A couple of girls working on an attic.
Only with dedication and care will you turn your attic into living space.


Painting your attic is absolutely vital if you plan on turning it into a living space. By doing so you will not only make it look nicer, but you will make it healthier. People forget that painting your walls is necessary to reduce the dust in the room and to help keep moisture at bay. So, make sure to paint your attic.

Furniture and carpets

Furniture and carpets are also quite necessary in order to turn your attic into living space. Carpets will not only provide comfort and further insulation, but they will also reduce the noise of walking. Furniture is also necessary, but it can be hard to bring in. This, of course, depends on the access you have to your attic. If you have a wide staircase leading to it, bringing in the furniture will be no problem. But, if you have a narrow, winding staircase, you will have quite a difficult time bringing in large pieces. So, when buying furniture for your attic, try to focus on smaller pieces.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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