9 Small Attic Ideas That Just Work Despite the Lack of Square Footage

When we’re lucky enough to live in a home with even a semi-functional attic space, a few different decor plans come to mind. And, yes, usually these crafty small attic ideas involve storage, storage, and (you guessed it) even more storage. Attics tend to be places where memorabilia, holiday decorations, and old furniture that we swear we will repurpose go to collect delicate layers of dust that quickly become overpowering.

But what if there were a way to convert even the tiniest upper levels into functional and, dare we say, inviting spaces perfect for lazy afternoons in? Whether you’re working with a low roof or some particularly sharp architectural angles, you’re in luck.

We put together a collection of small attic ideas that will help you take your space from drab and dusty to dang near delightful. (And, while you’re at it, why not refinish that old antique table? Your future oasis will thank you.)

1. Embrace a bold wallpaper pattern.

Small attic ideas for a room with a complex wallpaper pattern and study desk.
Image Credit: Cameron Ruppert Interiors

It can feel risky to really follow your heart and embrace bold patterns β€” particularly in your most lived-in spaces. But one of the benefits of decorating a small attic is you can finally let your inner interior designer loose. So, grab a bold wallpaper with a light base color that calls out to you, and commit to it from floor to ceiling. If you want an extra pop, consider adding patterned tile with a similar (but quieter) pattern to the floor.

Get the Look: Throw Pillows, Coffee Tables, Rugs.

2. Dream up a little bed nook.

Small attic ideas for a small nook converted into a bedroom
Image Credit: Alex Geerts

When it comes to attic ceiling heights, it often seems like they’re either super tall and narrow or bump-your-head-on-a-rafter low and wide. So, if you find yourself with an attic that sports some extra headroom (but space for little else) consider slipping a simple mattress and bedframe up there and creating a makeshift sleeping nook that’s perfect for naps or last-minute guests.

Get the Look: Throw PillowsPillow Shams, Rectangular Pillows, Duvet Covers, Comforters, Throw Blankets, Blackout Curtains.

3. Lead with an accent wall.

Small attic ideas with blue accent wall and two white fabric armchairs.
Image Credit: Roost Interiors

Just because you’re decorating an attic space doesn’t mean all the design tips and tricks you know should go out the window. Accent walls can bring attention to the more interesting parts of your space while also making the room feel a bit bigger. Adding a bold blue color to a windowed wall, for instance, will help emphasize the gorgeous view rather than the low ceiling.

Get the look: Mini Art Prints, Framed Mini Art Prints, Art Prints, Framed Prints, Canvas Prints, Metal Prints, Wood Wall, Art Posters, Wall Hangings.

4. Combine a guest room with storage space.

Small attic ideas for white painted walls and a minimalist oak-framed bed.
Image Credit: Jacqueline Marque for Hunker

Sometimes you can design your attic in a way that gives you the best of both worlds: a livable space and adequate storage. Consider adding custom wall cabinets for all of your childhood knickknacks. Then you’ll still have the perfect space in the middle of the room for a modest guest area. Bonus tip: If you’re working with an attic that has limited lighting and a low roof, embracing a bright paint color will help bounce light around.

Get the Look: Throw PillowsPillow Shams, Rectangular Pillows, Duvet Covers, Comforters, Throw Blankets, Blackout Curtains.

5. Create a book hideaway.

Rustic wooden small attic ideas for space converted into a book den.
Image Credit: Jonathan Borba

Storage doesn’t always have to mean putting all your favorite things away into boxes. If you’re a bookworm, or simply a collector of anything that takes up a significant amount of space, create a book hideaway (or, you know, a display area for your favorite knickknacks, vinyl albums, porcelain LladrΓ³ figurines β€” whatever you please). Just be sure there’s some sort of temperature control so your favorite things won’t get damaged if the climate suddenly changes.

Get the look: Mini Art Prints, Framed Mini Art Prints, Art Prints, Framed Prints, Canvas Prints, Metal Prints, Wood Wall, Art Posters, Wall Hangings, Rugs.

6. Put together an attic playroom.

Small attic ideas for playroom with checkered floor and chalkboard wall.
Image Credit: Coats Homes

Anyone with kids knows how important it is to give them enough space to play and explore on their own. And since attics already come with their own mysterious, forbidden allure, why not convert the elevated space into the perfect kids’ playroom? Little ones will never complain about the lack of vertical height, and you can avoid tripping over toys in the rest of the house (in theory, at least). Just be sure to make the entrance or stairwell kid-safe!

Get the look: Rugs, Floor Pillows, Outdoor Floor Cushions.

7. Go vertical.

Small attic ideas in a space with vertical lined wallpaper, matching lounge chair, and gold accent lamp.
Image Credit: B. Berry Interiors

If you’re working with a particularly small attic, create the illusion of height with the help of vertical lines. And when you don’t have a lot of room for tall furniture, the next best way to bring some vertical lines into your space is with wallpaper. Find a delicate stripe pattern for height in even the most cramped areas.

Get the Look: Throw Pillows, Rectangular Pillows, Side Tables, Coffee Tables, Blackout Curtains, Throw Blankets, Coffee Mugs, Coasters, Serving Trays, Credenzas, Benches.

8. Make sharp angles work for you.

Small attic ideas with nautical decor in light blue with hard edged walls.
Image Credit: Witten Architects

At first glance, small attics with a lot of architectural complexity (i.e. jutting walls and sharp corners) don’t seem to be the best candidates for livable spaces. But fear not! There are ways to make the extra angles work for you. Just reconsider the way they divide up space. Maybe one area is the perfect shape for a built-in bookshelf, while another could be just the right size for a small bed. Reimagine your space, and embrace it from every angle!

Get the Look: Throw PillowsPillow Shams, Rectangular Pillows, Duvet Covers, Comforters, Throw Blankets, Blackout Curtains.

9. Try a rustic wood look.

Small attic ideas for a space with high angled roof and wooden paneling along the ceiling.
Image Credit: Martha O’Hara Interiors

With their old wooden floorboards and exposed rafters, some attics just want to be attics. So why not take a cue from the space, and decorate with natural woods from floor to ceiling? Then add a few pops of soft color with the help of cozy accent furniture, and you’ll find yourself with a lovely, rustic small attic worth cozying up in.

Get the Look: Throw PillowsPillow Shams, Rectangular Pillows, Throw Blankets, Blackout Curtains.