Can You Live in an Attic? Pros and Cons of Attic Living Spaces

Whether you need more living space or you just want to make good use of your attic, you might have asked yourself at least once if you can live in your attic. It certainly seems cozy up there!

Attic apartments have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking for a cozy, private place with natural light, converting an attic into a living space can be a fantastic idea. Just be aware of hazards like asbestos, insufficient attic insulation, and wild animals seeking to take shelter.

The article below will detail the pros and cons of converting your attic into a space you can live in.

attic bedroom

Should You Convert Your Attic?

There was a time when all houses were built with an attic. Making an attic space directly under the roof gave the home added protection against the elements and provided homeowners with valuable storage space. Being able to store items in an attic is very practical, but what about keeping your bed in there?

If your attic is valuable to you as a place to keep items you do not use or might want to dispose of later on, there is no reason to change it. However, if you need extra living space, you certainly can turn your attic into a living area. Just be aware that converting an attic in this way can be expensive.

Before you start moving a bed and other furniture into your attic, look into this:

Ceiling Height

attic ceiling height

If your home has an attic, your roof is probably slated, meaning that there are areas such as the corners where an adult cannot stand up straight. You should be able to walk around most of the attic without bending over or kneeling. You might have to lower the floor, which can be very expensive.

Flooring Strength

You have to make sure that the attic floor can support enough weight. You will not just be moving furniture and appliances up there, but possibly also drywall, lighting, and more to make it as comfortable as possible. 

The attic floor joists might have to be replaced to ensure that the attic floor stands up to building codes and never comes crashing down.

Asbestos

asbestos

If your home happens to be more than a few decades old, asbestos insulation might be an issue that makes living there a massive health hazard. For your own health and peace of mind, be sure to look into this before you convert.

Advantages of Living in an Attic

Attic living definitely has its perks, namely coziness, lighting, and privacy. 

Coziness

Depending on how big your attic is, you can turn it into a bedroom or a small cozy apartment. You can even use wall cavities for bathrooms and other amenities to make it more complete.

Natural Light

attic window with natural light

Your attic probably already has at least one window. Adding more windows will allow you to take full advantage of natural light and reduce your energy and heating costs. Natural light will also provide a soothing and gentle atmosphere.

More Privacy

No matter how much you love your family or other people in the house, having personal privacy is essential. Living in the attic will give you more privacy than any other room in the house. With this in mind, you might also want to look into soundproofing.

Disadvantages of Living in an Attic

While attic living certainly has its upsides—namely privacy and coziness—there are also several downsides to living in an attic space.

Insufficient insulation

Attics tend to be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. You will probably have to replace the insulation to make it a comfortable living space.

Rain

When living in an attic, rain can become a significant issue in several ways. To begin with, if your roof suddenly starts to leak, some of your electronics or other items could suffer water damage. 

Another matter is that the sound of rain pounding against the roof can drive people mad if they are trying to sleep.

Flooring

Aside from making sure that your attic floor can hold sufficient weight, you will have to factor carpeting or other flooring options into your budget to make it more presentable and easy on your feet.

Is it Safe to Live in an Attic?

white attic room

It is generally safe to live in an attic as long as you follow some safety precautions. Aside from ensuring that the space is structurally sound, you should clean it thoroughly to ensure there are no pests like spiders.

Another important thing that some people initially fail to realize is that there should be at least two exits in case of an emergency. Make sure you can get out not just through the stairs or ladder but through a window as well, should an emergency arise.

Conclusion

You can live in an attic and make it a wonderful experience, given that you follow some sensible advice first. Always prioritize your health and safety over a converted attic’s aesthetics or practical advantages.