When it comes to finding more storage in our homes, the attic is often the last frontier. We turn to it when there is simply not where else to go with all our stuff. At first glance, it may not seem ideal. But last does not always mean least. Although they’re dark with funky slopes to the ceiling and often unfinished, an attic can become a very nice closet. Whether you dream of a large walk-in attic closet that spans the width of the house or garage or something smaller, take a look at these attic closet ideas. The answer to your storage problems may be waiting overhead.

Before you begin your attic to closet renovation, make sure the ceilings are high enough. You don’t need a full eight-feet. However, check that you can stand fully upright in the center of the attic. If the space is tall enough, it will probably make a good closet. If not, you’re better off just using it to store boxes and finding another location for your closet. Your attic closet will also need to be to be “finished,” meaning the room needs insulation, dry wall, electricity for lighting, and a solid floor.

Planning an Attic Closet

Take accurate measurements.

Low slanted ceilings are the most common challenge when converting an attic into a closet. Overcome this challenge through planning. The key to dealing with slanted ceilings and all sorts of odd-shaped spaces is accurate measurements. If you have a sloped ceiling, such as those found in an attic closet, use your angle finder to determine the degree of pitch. Create a sketch of the slope that you can refer to later. Notate the distance from the bottom to the floor and the degree of angle to the top. If ceiling heights vary for each wall due to the slope from an eave or other irregularity, note the ceiling height for each wall. This information is essential when you later lay out the type and location of your storage components.

Take accurate measurements of the slope of attic closet ceilings.
Empty unfurnished attic room with slanted ceiling and a knee wall of 42-inches

Measure the knee walls.

Be sure to take note of and measure the height of any knee walls in the attic. Knee walls are the short perpendicular walls that extend from the floor to meet the slanted ceiling. Some attics may not have a knee wall. However, if yours does, it can make planning the closet easier. If the knee wall is 42-inches-high or greater, you can install a traditional closet organizer for hanging clothes along this wall. If it is shorter than 42-inches, shelving is your best bet with clothes rods extending from the slanted ceiling. When installing your hanging rods against the sloped attic ceiling, be sure to use a cleat anchored to the rafters and place closet rod support brackets every 30-inches for support.

Hanging rods against knee wall in attic closet with slanted ceiling
This closet features traditional closet organizers installed against a 42-inch-high knee wall.
Attic closet with organizers designed to fit around the slanted ceiling.
The slanted ceiling in this small attic closet extends nearly to the floor. It’s too low for most closet organizers. But it can still become a nice closet. Place a couple of shelves with a hanging rod suspended from the ceiling in front of the attic shelving. This does the best job of maximizing the space.

Use a closet design tool or seek help from a professional closet designer.

If it all seems confusing, don’t worry. A closet design tool can help you with the layout of your attic closet. Add your closet measurements to the program and begin to lay out your storage components. If you have a lot of angles to deal with, it may be better to seek the help of a professional to ensure everything will fit the space properly.

3 Examples of Inspirational Attic Closets

Put your master closet in the attic

Many older homes lack the large master closet that has become de rigueur in most modern bedrooms. An attic closet may be the only way to add this space without going through a major redesign of the entire interior floor plan. If you’re lucky enough to have an attic with enough headroom in the center to stand up, you’re in business. Use this attic space to create a large walk-in master closet. Don’t worry if the pitch of the roof lowers the height along the sides. Simply fill that space with attic shelving or other closet organizers.

Luxury attic closet that also functions as a loft getaway.
This attic closet features a stairway from the master bedroom. The owners vaulted the ceiling in their master bedroom and created this luxury loft closet space in the previous attic that spans the width of the home. New sky lights provide natural daylight supplemented by to electric lighting.
Large master closet in attic over the garage
If you have unused attic space adjacent to your bedroom, use it for a new closet. This closet makes use of an attic over a three-car garage. A door from the master bath opens into the new space. Notice the rolled towels in the island shelving. The new closet is convenient for storing bath linens in addition to clothes.
Attic closet dressing room designed by Patti Powers of Closet Works
Inspirational attic closet ideas include this elegant closet dressing room created from a bungalow attic. A built-in closet dresser and island with storage dominate the space.

Tips to Maximizing the Available Space

Some attic closets are small while others are large. But no matter what the size, attic closet ideas should always include organizers sized and cut to fit the slant of the attic ceiling. This will maximize storage.

There are tricks to making a small attic closet seem larger. One of them is making use of the space behind the knee wall. Builders often like to route air conditioning vents or pipes inside a knee wall. But beyond this use, the area is often mostly empty space.

You’ll get a larger open area in the center of your new closet when you recess your organizers. Maybe even enough to add an island in the center of the closet. If your space has 42-inch-high or greater knee walls, consider recessing your closet organizers into the wall. The depth you can recess the organizers will vary from a few inches to a foot or more. It will depend on the size of the organizer and the pitch of your roof. Just be sure to provide access to the pipes and vents in the event your home’s mechanicals need servicing. This access can be in the form of a small crawl-through door or a cut-out in your closet organizer.

Closet organizers recessed into knee wall of attic with access for pipes
This attic conversion features closet organizers recessed into the knee wall. Cut-outs in the back of the closet provide access for pipes used in the radiant heating system. A lot of center floor space was gained by recessing the storage into the wall in this manner. So much open space was created that the owners were able to use the attic room as a complete nursery rather than just a closet. The extra bedroom increases the value of the home significantly.

Maximize your storage space with an attic closet!

A cramped closet is no fun. But neither is driving to a remote storage locker to stash your “stuff.” If you’ve nowhere to go in the house with all your possessions, it may be time to think outside the box. Put that empty space overhead to use. Let these attic closet ideas can get you started on your way to organizational bliss. You may even find that your home has a lot more to offer in the way of storage than you first thought.

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