The nuances of arranging the attic

A residential attic has become almost an indispensable element of a country house. Thanks to modern materials and construction technologies, the rooms under the slopes of the roof are warm in winter and cool in summer. However, unusual geometry implies special solutions.

In central Europe, it is customary to build houses with gable roofs, the slope of which is at least 30 ° (in regions with higher snow loads – 45 °). At the same time, a vast space is formed under the roof, which prudent owners seek to turn into residential. A specific feature of attic rooms, which gives them comfort, but sometimes causes inconvenience, is a sloping ceiling. Many questions arise before the developer: what to do with that part of the room where the height is less than 2 m, how to arrange windows, partitions, doors, arrange furniture? The easiest way to find answers to them is at the design stage of a building.


Designers and architects have come up with many ways to avoid wasting usable space in an attic under a moderately sloping roof. Let’s take a look at some of them.

In those parts of the attic where the height is uncomfortable for movement, you can arrange niches with shelves and doors – this will provide additional storage space and solve the problem of cabinet placement. In the low part of the room, open shelving is appropriate, as well as decorative chests and chests.

To organize a sitting workplace, a ceiling height of 1.5–1.7 m is enough, and to put a bed, even less – 1.3–1.5 m. To maintain high ceilings in all rooms and thereby avoid wasting space, sometimes they make changes to the geometry of the roof, but this solution has disadvantages.

Increasing the angle of inclination of the slopes

With a very steep roof (more than 55°), the ceiling goes into the wall, and there are practically no dead zones in the rooms. But this method of construction is associated with a significant increase in costs: a warm roof is more expensive than a vertical wall. Another significant drawback is that the attic becomes less comfortable and loses a significant part of its charm.

Construction of a sloping roof

This option, in fact, resembles the previous one. Moreover, the walls of the attic do not have a slope at all, since the rafters become the basis of the inner lining. A sloping roof allows you to save material but is fraught with a loss of area. In addition, it turns out to be more difficult to mount a roofing cake with high quality: at the place of a break, it is impossible to ensure an overlap of insulation plates, so cold bridges often appear here.

Construction of a semi-attic

It is a floor, with low (1–1.5 m) vertical walls which pass into an inclined ceiling formed by the lower surface of the roofing. In buildings with similar architecture, the upper floor is equal in area to the lower one, but in the absence of rafter puffs, it will be necessary to strengthen the rafters and Mauerlat or use special structures (for example, the so-called scissor trusses). In addition, it is difficult to correctly position the windows in height.


When creating partitions on the attic floor, it is necessary to take into account the location of the bearing pillars and supports, as well as communications – exhaust risers and chimneys. The layout is considered traditional, in which the attic is first divided into two parts along the ridge, and then the remaining partitions are built. Modern building technologies make it possible to move away from the old canons. The number of supports can be minimized and, if desired, left (like pipes) open, turning them into a decorative element. Large spaces with windows facing different directions are not only more comfortable in terms of interior design but also better ventilated.

By the way, some companies offer special sliding partitions of variable height, which help to easily divide and combine attic rooms. Another architectural trend is to use the entire volume of under-roof space. The height of the room under the roof is almost always significantly greater than on ordinary floors. Previously, the attic ceiling was often covered, lowering it to the usual level (about 2.5 m), which created a feeling of tightness and discomfort: the trapezoid-shaped rooms seemed low. It is best to carry out finishing under the very horse. The increase in costs, in this case, justifies itself, since as a result, the comfort of the house is significantly increased. Moreover, on the second level, you can equip a residential mezzanine, which will expand the usable area and decorate the interior.

It is impossible to neglect the opportunity to let maximum light into the attic room. Lucarnes are not a very practical solution. It is better to provide window openings in the gables (ordinary vertical) and in the plane of the roof (inclined attic). And if the location of vertical windows is limited by a small area of ​​gables, then attic windows can be placed almost anywhere on the roof. When designing, it is necessary to follow the rule: the ratio of the glazing area and the floor area should be 1: 10. Since the roof windows have standard dimensions, the light opening area can be easily determined from the manufacturer’s table. For example, a window of 78 x 118 cm with glass of about 0.6 m² is suitable for a room of 6 m². One of the common mistakes when designing an attic is the use of windows of the smallest sizes (60 cm wide), creating the effect of loopholes (such models are intended mainly for bathrooms and pantries). Changes should be made to the truss structure, providing for wider openings (from 80 cm). In addition, it is undesirable to place windows too high – the sashes are inconvenient to open, and communication with the environment is also lost, because the surroundings are not visible from them.


The optimal location of skylights in height is 90-120 cm from the floor to the lower bar of the frame. In this case, the room will be well-lit, and it will not be difficult to control the flap and damper of the ventilation valve. If, due to the architectural features of the building, windows have to be installed higher (say, 130-160 cm from the floor level), then it is more convenient to use models with a handle not at the top, but at the bottom of the sash. When the window needs to be placed at a height of more than 160 cm, a special telescopic rod or stepladder is required to open it. In addition, leading manufacturers offer window models equipped with an electric drive with remote control, but their cost is more than 2 times higher than the price of conventional designs.

As a rule, roof windows open along a central axis and are designed so that their sashes can be deployed from the outside inward. Thus, there are no problems with washing glasses. Note that some slanted windows can be used as a roof hatch. And if you dream of a balcony, then you should install the VELUX CABRIO model. It is a combination of two windows: the upper one, on a hinged suspension, when opened, occupies a horizontal position and turns into a visor, and the lower one becomes vertical and functions as a parapet. Such a structure can be mounted if the slope of the roof is from 35 to 53 °.



Ordinary curtains and blinds do not fit well into the interior of the attic, and if the roof slope has a small angle of inclination, then they are unable to perform their functions. Therefore, to protect from the sun and prying eyes, they use special accessories that are developed specifically for skylights.

Roller blinds

Depending on the type of fabric, they can provide complete blackout or soft, diffused light. Their canvas moves along guides parallel to the plane of the window and retract into a compact box fixed at the top of the sash. Curtains do not interfere with opening the window for ventilation. 

Vertical and horizontal blinds

Blinds with rotary aluminum slats are recommended for darkening and protection from prying eyes in wet rooms.


Awnings are installed outside and are designed to protect the premises from overheating. Unlike curtains, they stop the sun’s heat before it reaches the window pane, lowering the room temperature by 5°C in hot weather. Translucent fabric does not interfere with the review and transmits light; if necessary (in winter or in the rain), the awning is completely retracted inside. 


In attic rooms, it is not always possible to organize good air exchange. Many builders rely only on ventilation through open windows and vent valves. But, according to building codes, in living rooms, it is necessary to ensure an inflow of at least 30 m3 / h of air per person. In addition, on a hot sunny, and windless day, the effect of ventilation is minimal or negative. The ideal solution for the attic is the installation of an air conditioning system with a mixture of fresh air. Do not neglect the device of forced hoods (from one to three per floor).

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