How to Convert a Sloped Attic to a Functional Closet

Unfinished attics frequently are used for storage. Holiday decorations and plastic bins full of out-of-season clothing find their ways into the space above where you live. In order to create more functional storage space, however, you can build a closet in your attic. Sloped ceilings often limit what can be done, but you can make the space work if you take a few things into consideration.

Floor Load

Transform your attic into a more functional storage space.

Before beginning your project, consider whether the attic floor can support the weight of what you plan to store in the closet you are building. Some attics floors are not built to the standards of the floors in the living area of your home. In these cases, your attic floor requires reinforcement.

Ventilation and Insulation

Properly venting and insulating the attic space helps control the temperature and humidity in the space, enabling you to store a larger variety of goods in a closet. Some attics are equipped with eave vents and a ridge vent that allow cooler air to enter near the eaves and hotter air to escape at the ridge. Other attics, however, may require a specialized fan to ensure proper ventilation. Properly installing insulation on your attic’s ceiling further assists in maintaining a consistent temperature.

Locating Your Closet

Consider locating your closet in an outside corner of the attic. This allows you to utilize your home’s existing framing as part of the closet. After framing a 3- to 4-foot knee wall into the under-eave space, you only need to frame two additional walls to complete the closet. The gable wall provides vertical space, while the sloped ceiling above your knee wall offers ceiling joists into which you can tie the closet’s framing.

Utilizing Under-Eave Space

While the attic’s sloped ceilings limit the overall height of the closet, the low space under the lower parts of the ceiling, or the eaves, can be utilized for storage. Shelving or cabinetry can be built into this space within the closet. Another option in under-eave space is to install a closet pole at a height just high enough to keep clothing off the floor.

Knee Walls

Building a 4-foot or higher knee wall under the eaves, whether inside your closet or in another part of your attic, provides the opportunity create built-in storage. Build doors into the knee wall to provide access to the under-eave space, or build drawers into it that function as a dresser while providing a finished look with the drawers flush against the wall.

About the Author

Matt Brown has been writing professionally for more than 15 years. He shares his experience in home remodeling and do-it-yourself projects with his readers. Brown earned his bachelor of arts in communications from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

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