Converting an attic into a living space, such as a bedroom, has become a popular tactic among homeowners who want to add space and resell value to their homes. On the other hand, this transformation comes with many added costs, some of which may not even cross your mind.
So, before deciding whether turning your attic into a bedroom would be beneficial to you and your property, take a look at some of the main pros and cons that you can expect when taking on this modification.
Attic bedroom Pros include increasing the home’s value, adding functional space, and providing lots of natural light and tranquility. Cons include added costs, challenging temperature control, limited space, and being prone to damage.
If you want to go through a deeper analysis of each advantage and disadvantage, keep reading.
The Pros of Attic Bedrooms
Increased Home Value
When building an attic bedroom, you can expect your home’s resale value to increase by $30,000 to $50,000 (source). The reason for this jump is the fact that today’s buyers appreciate and actively search for this type of renovation, as it fits most millennials’ space needs and aesthetic preferences.
So, although the modification process may be costly, as you’ll see in one of the following sections if your long-term plan is to resell your property, you may gain part of your investment back.
If we take into account the fact that by that time, a homeowner will also have taken advantage of the added space and comfort, for some, this financial commitment may even feel like it yields a profit.
If you’re looking for a way to gain extra space in your property without taking up garden space or obstructing your neighbors’ view, given that your budget allows for it, an attic bedroom is an excellent investment to make that can pay off in the long run. As a rule, it costs less to build up than it does to build out.
This is arguably the most important advantage that an attic bedroom has to offer and the main reason why so many families choose to take on this financial and physical challenge to make the transformation happen. Millennials today are opting for smaller houses than their predecessors, with the average size home being around 11% smaller than their parents.
Inadequate space can be very limiting for a family, often posing the need to move when a new member is added to a family. When faced with this challenge, many homeowners prefer to go the budget-friendly route of using an attic bedroom rather than building a costly extension or even buying a new house.
A space transformation also poses fewer logistical challenges than renovating your house’s structure, such as building permits, running into brick walls, etc. Also, if you have garden space that’s valuable to you, you won’t have to sacrifice it in order to add a living area to your house. When you convert the attic, the general footprint of your home won’t be affected; therefore, you won’t lose any yard space.
The added space can help accommodate a lot of life changes. One of the most common reasons why families gravitate towards attic bedrooms is the flexibility it gives them to expand their families further.
Providing your children with adequate space will help them feel more comfortable and free while still sharing communal space with their siblings. If your particular attic is big enough, you may even be able to convert it into two separate bedrooms, which would be ideal for families with multiple children.
Attic bedrooms are also often used by freelancers and employees who work from home, as they feel like the quiet and tranquility that this type of room offers makes it an ideal space to work and focus without distractions.
An attic bedroom can serve as a guest bedroom too. You may even use the space to accommodate another family member temporarily or permanently. This solution has been gaining popularity with many budget-conscious extended families that choose to live together.
As you can see, this added space can serve a multitude of functions. Whether it’s used to accommodate a growing family, as a place to study and work in peace, or as housing for your loved ones, there’s no doubt that transforming your attic into a bedroom will add valuable extra space to your property.
Lots of Natural Light
The positioning of an attic isn’t generally ideal, as it can be susceptible to weather conditions. Having said that, you probably won’t be able to find better natural lighting in your entire house. Given that this room will be located on the highest floor of your home, chances are it’ll get lots of direct sunlight, as it’s less likely to be blocked by nearby buildings.
This also means that you’ll be more likely to have an enjoyable and unobstructed view of your surroundings, making the space more enjoyable and pleasing. The benefit of natural light isn’t only aesthetic, though. Several studies suggest that adequate natural light can significantly improve mental health by decreasing the chances of experiencing depression, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, etc (source).
Added Privacy and Tranquility
As I mentioned, an attic bedroom is located at the highest point of your property, giving it unique qualities that can’t be found in any other space of your house. This position makes the area quieter and less distracting, as it’s further and more isolated from the noise.
Therefore, this bedroom can be ideal for working, studying, or relaxing. We use our attic room as a combination office, exercise space, and guest bedroom.
This quality would also be preferable if a house member is a light sleeper who needs the utmost silence to fall asleep. More introverted people would also appreciate this space, as it gives them a sense of privacy and quiet while knowing that they’re still connected with their loved ones.
An attic bedroom can also come equipped with a terrace. A spacious terrace will make for an enjoyable open space that the family can use for almost everything from small gatherings to taking in the sun. Not to mention that a bedroom directly connected to a well-furnished terrace can drive your property’s value up even more.
We didn’t do this but only because we didn’t think of it.
The Cons of Attic Bedrooms
The biggest drawback of an attic bedroom is its price. Although it may increase your property’s value, sometimes just building, furnishing, and maintaining a new living space isn’t financially feasible for many owners.
Going through a transformation like this is a process that comes with many added expenses, many of which are hidden.
Therefore, you’ll need to thoroughly conduct a cost analysis before deciding whether this project is ideal for you and your budget.
First, the building costs may be the most significant expense of the whole process. You’ll need to hire a contractor and pay for proper insulation in order to turn an attic into a living space adequately. Afterward, renovations probably are in order.
Given that the space has been previously used as a storage unit, structural renovations, such as new floorings, wallpaper, heating systems, electric and hydraulic installations, etc., will need to be made.
This alone can cost you a pretty penny as you will probably need to change the foundation altogether. Depending on the size and shape of the space, finding and moving furniture that fits can also be challenging, and you may need to pay a premium for specific pieces.
After the bedroom is ready to be used, you’ll need to consider the fact that your energy needs for this part of the house will be higher. We actually have a separate HVAC for the upstairs.
Summers tend to feel hotter in an attic, while winters tend to feel colder, making temperature control more challenging (which is the next disadvantage). This means that you’ll spend more energy regulating the temperature in this space, which will make your electricity bills notably more expensive.
An attic is also more prone to deterioration compared to the rest of the house, meaning that higher maintenance costs can be expected. These expenses can sometimes seem insignificant, but they add up over time and can affect your finances.
Whether the added living space and property value justify this extensive list of costs depends on each homeowner’s budget and needs.
I want to reiterate that it’s crucial to calculate every single expense that I mentioned and use the data to conduct a thorough cost-reward analysis. This is the only way to ensure that you’re making a choice that is in your family’s best interest.
Temperature Control Is Challenging
As I mentioned, attics tend to be outside of a home’s thermal envelope, which leads them to become colder than the rest of the property in the winter and hotter in the summer.
Not all families can afford to take on a project like insulating and cooling/heating a new bedroom.
Your energy needs, along with your expenses, will increase by extended usage of air conditioners in the summer and heater systems in the winter.
Although building a bedroom in your attic will add living space to your house, the room in itself isn’t comparable to a traditional bedroom when it comes to square footage and convenience. The unique shape of an attic bedroom, caused by the notable slope in the ceiling, reduces the overall space and can make finding adequate furniture, as well as moving around, taxing.
Sometimes the lowest part of the room can reach a height of fewer than four feet, making it a tricky part of the room to be freely navigated by adults. You should also take into account how the decreased storage space will affect your efficiency and organization.
As I mentioned, attics are usually used as storage areas. When you convert them into a living space by turning them into a bedroom, you’ll suddenly find yourself in search of new storage space.
Because of this, before making the transformation, carefully think about what will happen with all the items previously stored in your attic, as finding a place for them may be more challenging than you’d think.
You can restore some of the lost storage space by installing built-in cupboards at the lowest point of the room. This will allow you to turn an otherwise useless area into valuable cupboard space.
You’ll probably need to get rid of some of your belongings or even rent a new storage unit. If so, add these costs to your cost-reward analysis.
Not every attic is suitable to be turned into a bedroom. Depending on the condition, size, positioning, and structure, sometimes the transformation may not even be feasible. In some other cases, structural remodeling may be needed, adding to the extensive list of costs.
Prone to Damage
The fact that the attic is positioned at the highest point of your house brings challenges along with its advantages. The close contact with the outside world and its elements make this room more prone to weather-related damage. Heavy rain, direct sunlight, and everything in between can wear and tear the outer wall of your attic bedroom.
You may need to frequently maintain and repair these damages in order to preserve adequate living conditions in this room, which can be consuming physically as well as financially.
Building and maintaining an attic bedroom is a process that can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Whether transforming an attic into a bedroom is the right choice for you depends on your needs and priorities.
If you have an adequately-sized attic, and your budget allows for it, turning it into a bedroom can be a great way to add living space while increasing your property’s value.
Otherwise, if your cost-reward analysis shows that going through this process will come with expenses that cannot be justified by the added property value, building a bedroom in your attic won’t be the best choice for you.
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As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.