Sloped attic spaces call for creative solutions for craft storage.

How to Convert an Attic to a Craft Space

by Kathy Adams

An attic is one of those often forgotten "bonus" areas of a home with a decent amount of space not relegated to any real purpose... yet. Turning the attic into a craft space provides room to get as messy as you need to while working on projects, without causing a cleanup nightmare on the kitchen or dining room table. Keeping the attic's unusual angles and nooks in mind helps you determine ahead of time the ideal layout for your craft area.

1. Storage

An important part of any craft area is storage space for supplies. If the attic doesn't have anything resembling closet space, opt for short bookcases or filing cabinets to fit into every nook and cranny. Short bookcases sit neatly along walls with a sloped ceiling, keeping a maximum amount of floor space open and available. Plastic or fabric storage bins, shoe boxes stuffed with craft supplies, or sketch pads full of ideas all fit within the shelves of a bookcase, easy to find when needed. Two-drawer filing cabinets also fit the perimeter of the room along sloped walls, where taller cabinets do not. Towel racks installed near the work area, even on a sloped ceiling, hold materials such as fabric scraps, large sheets of paper or felt.

2. Work Station

A dedicated work area, most likely a desk, provides a space to express your artistic side. Fashion a desk from a set of two short filing cabinets for the legs, adding a salvaged door or generic countertop for the work surface. The cabinets provide space for storing tools, paintbrushes and the supplies you need most often. Repurposing an old door or countertop relieves potential worry about making a mess of the work surface; a little paint, dye or ink won't matter. A chair on wheels helps keep the noise level down for those on the floor beneath the attic, if the attic floor is not carpeted. Whatever your chosen desk material, position the desk in an area that eats up minimal useful attic space, such as along a sloped wall, with chair closer to the middle of the room. This way, the chair sits far enough from the lowest part of the slope that you will be able to stand freely.

3. Lighting

An attic often has less built-in lighting than other rooms of the house, making additional lighting a necessity. Task lighting comes in handy when working on intricate projects such as jewelry creation, scrapbooking or decoupage. A clamp-on or clip-on light with a mobile or flexible arm swings the light right where you need it most; opt for a design that also provides magnification if working frequently on tiny detailed projects. Battery-operated clip-on lights provide lighting where an outlet isn't readily available. Floor lamps -- or table lamps in areas of short, sloped walls -- provide additional ambient lighting if the installed overhead lighting is insufficient.

4. Climate Control

One drawback to many attic spaces is dealing with temperature extremes. In summer, the attic is the hottest area of a home, if no air conditioner or means of ventilation exist. Add a window unit air conditioner, if possible, or at the very least a window fan that features both intake and exhaust options. During cool weather, the attic may be cold if it has no heat registers. An oil-filled radiator-style space heater provides warmth near the work area without being a fire hazard, as there are no hot coils or hazardous fumes to deal with.

5. Flooring

If your crafting generally involves making a mess of the floor, involving tasks such as sanding or painting, leaving the attic floor in its existing condition may be a viable option for you; that way, there's no danger of messing up nice carpeting, for instance. If your primary craft activities are loud, you may want to add carpeting or at least an area rug under the work area to keep noise levels down for others on the next floor down.

Photo Credits

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