Transform an Attic into a Guest Room and Office

Walk up attic spaces are wonderful for storage but they can also be made into all the rooms you are lacking downstairs!

I have never lived in a home with an attic like this home.  It had its own staircase right up to the third floor. The walls were finished, painted at least, and it had a painted wood floor.  There was a good sized window in the stairway that brought light to the space and then two small windows at either end.  They were windows that reminded me of the Amityville Horror house, but this was a friendly and welcoming house, so never fear!

This home belonged to a very young couple. (Thus the attic wasn’t filled with years of accumulated junk!) They were interested in creating a combination guest room and office space up here since they were using the other three bedrooms on the second floor as a master and children’s rooms.


I always recommend starting with an inspiration piece and we found two coordinating, not matching, twin sized quilts to use on two twin sized beds.  I did purchase two matching yellow and white checked neck roll pillows and matching sheets and dust ruffles to use to let everyone know we didn’t match the quilts on purpose.

These pieces set us up for the pretty yellow paint we selected for the end walls and ceiling and the rich emerald green carpet remnant we had bound to use at the “bedroom” end of the attic.


For the low short walls that ran the length of the attic, we added a fabric to soften all the hard surfaces up there.  Basically we stapled quilt batting to the wall first to give it some pouf.  Then, I sewed a number of panels together that were tall enough to fold over at the top and the bottom and we stapled this really long strip of fabric in place.  You can cover over the staples with braided trim using a hot glue gun to keep the trim in place.


After adding an antique table as a night stand along with a lamp and a couple accessories, the bedroom side of this attic couldn’t have been more inviting.  Now it was time to turn around and fix up the office of the room.


The office end of the attic started with this cool antique desk and desk chair.  We placed it on an angle to help break up the long narrow feeling of the attic and set it on another piece of that emerald green carpeting that we found.


In the corner we added an extra chair for relaxing.  (There’s more room between the chair and the desk than it looks.) Also in this shot you can see the fabric a bit better and that we painted the window trim in a green to accent the fun shape of the windows and pick up on the greens used in the carpeting and fabrics.  We also painted the floor with a diagonal checkerboard pattern.  I think I can show you a better shot of that.


This was actually the first project we did and let the floor dry for a while before we started everything else.  The hard part about this job was the measuring and drawing.  I think a few choice words were used if I remember correctly! Then, it was just a matter of taping off the blocks to be painted and we simply rolled the floor paint on.


In the opposite corner a small armoire served as filing and storage for the little home office.  The addition of a silk plant and fabric covered boxes gave some hominess to the space and softened the blunt or harsh lines of the furniture.


Immediately to the left, where the green wall is located was the stairway down to the second floor.  So, as you came up to the attic, you saw the office first and then a turn to the right would reveal the bedroom area.

It turned out beautiful and we remained friends with this couple long enough to know that this space worked out very well for them in the years that followed.

So, if you are considering turning a walk up attic space into something other than storage, here are some tips:

One: start by getting the room down to bare bones.  It gives you a better perspective on what you have to work with and you need to find places for all that junk anyway!

Two: Don’t cut corners, freshen up every surface from the walls to the ceiling to the floor and consider adding soft materials like the fabric we added and bound carpets.  They go a long way to make an unusual space seem more like home.

Three:  Usually an attic will have few windows, so natural light is at a premium.  Allow all the natural light you can to get into the space and then augment with general, task and accent lighting.

Hope that helps those of you already involved in an attic renovation, and maybe even inspires others to give it a try!


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