How to Decorate an Attic Bedroom

Two Methods:Wall and Ceiling DesignFurniture, Lighting, and Room Accessories

Attics have a bad reputation for being cramped and dark, which may make your attic the last place you want to move your bedroom into. If decorated well, however, you can transform your cobweb-ridden attic into a cozy, comfortable bedroom. Attic bedrooms are the perfect getaway for long-term guests as well as permanent family members, and an attic bedroom can be an especially useful addition for growing families.

Method 1
Wall and Ceiling Design

  1. Image titled Decorate an Attic Bedroom Step 1
    Keep things light. Many attics are relatively small and offer very little natural light. Dark colors tend to make spaces look smaller, but light colors can make a room appear larger and brighter. White and light yellow are especially effective at creating the appearance of additional light.
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    Make the slanted ceiling a lighter color than the rest of the room. A dark slanted ceiling can seem oppressive and may give the ceiling a “caving in” effect. Even if you put a medium or bright color on the wall, keep the slanted ceiling a light color to accentuate the room’s height instead of shortening it.
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    Paint the room one solid color to keep it as open as possible. If you are primarily concerned with opening the space up, sticking with one solid color is a good way to accomplish your goal. When the eye does not detect divisions, it perceives a larger space. If you keep the walls and ceiling the same color, the room itself will often look more expansive. This effect is heightened if you select flooring that closely matches the color of the walls and ceiling, as well.
    • Only try this tactic if using a light color. Painting all the walls and ceiling a bold or dark shade will actually make the room look smaller.
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    Add texture. Texture can alter the ambiance of an attic bedroom and act as a subtle decoration in a room with limited space. Stonework and brick from an exposed chimney can create a rustic ambiance. Similarly, textured paints and finishes can also add visual interest.
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    Create an accent wall. Select a vertical wall, preferably one of the two tallest ones where the slanted ceiling panels meet. Paint it with a bold color or use a metallic finish to reflect light and draw the eye. Painting all the walls with a bright color or finish can make the space seem "loud" and crowded, but an accent wall is a good way to introduce a splash of bright color without overwhelming a tiny space.
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    Paint a pattern or picture. Instead of worrying about how to hang decorations on your walls, decorate the walls directly with paint. Create a mural or a pattern on your wall. Simple stripes can heighten or elongate a room, depending on how you position them, and floral prints can create a whimsical, sophisticated getaway. This is another good way to balance openness and bright color in a small attic room.
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    Use paneling. Paneling placed vertically will heighten the room, making it appear taller. When placed horizontally, paneling can elongate or widen a room, which can be especially useful if the bedroom is located in a narrow attic space.
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    Accentuate exposed ceiling beams with paint. Leave the ceiling painted white or another light color and paint the ceiling beams dark brown or black. Doing so draws the eye to the beams. Since the beams slant upward, the eye looks upward, as well, causing the eye to perceive a taller space.

Method 2
Furniture, Lighting, and Room Accessories

  1. Image titled Decorate an Attic Bedroom Step 9
    Keep your furniture to a minimum. Since many attics are such small spaces, the last thing you want to do is clutter the room up with unnecessary furnishings. Opt for smaller pieces, such as a full-sized bed instead of a king, and only include what you need to make the space comfortable.
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    Match your furniture color to the walls to create more openness. This works especially well if you have white walls and opt for white or beige furniture. Some may find this style a little bland, but it can look chic and sophisticated as long as you choose high-quality pieces and fabrics.
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    Plan around your windows. If your attic only has one or two windows and you cannot remodel the room to add another one, place your furniture so that the natural light will rest where you spend the most time. Usually, this means placing the bed beneath the window, but you can also place a desk or chair in front of the window instead.
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    Give the space an old-fashioned cottage ambiance by opting for door-style shutters instead of drapes. Attic bedrooms have a naturally quaint appeal, which makes cottage-style decorations fairly appropriate for the space. Door-style shutters also add noticeable horizontal lines to the space, contrasting nicely against the high angular lines of the ceiling.
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    Consider hanging sheer drapes. Sheer drapes block out most of the light but not all of it, so your attic bedroom never gets too dark, even when the drapes are closed. Moreover, since the room is so high up, the privacy offered by thicker drapes and blinds is not as important.
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    Use checkered, plaid, floral, and other light prints to create a whimsical space. Look for patterned bedspreads, armchairs, and drapes. These patterns add visual interest to the room in a subtle, enchanting manner, but louder patterns, like polka dots or brightly colored plaid, can overwhelm the bedroom if it is located in a smaller attic.
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    Create built-in storage space. Install a window bench that doubles as drawer space, or look for a bed frame with drawer space built underneath.
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    Light up the room with a chandelier. Chandeliers and other hanging lights take advantage of the high vaulted ceiling and keep the floor looking less cluttered. If placed in the middle of the room, a hanging light can also disperse light more evenly than a floor lamp.
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    Add seating to turn the room into a cozy getaway spot. Attic bedrooms can already seem removed from the rest of the house. This “out of the way” sense makes an attic bedroom the perfect place to escape to for solace. If you have enough room, a comfortable armchair can make the room feel like its own complete space.
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    Place a trunk at the foot of the bed. Attics are typically used to store boxes and trunks of extra belongings. Play to this idea by placing a large trunk at the foot of the bed. Trunks can act as both storage and seating.
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    Try out a canopy bed. If your attic has a high enough ceiling, you can draw attention to this height with a canopy bed. The vertical poles pull the eye up and down, causing it to fixate on the height of the room, and the soft, draping fabric promotes a calm, relaxing ambiance.


  • If you plan on remodeling as well as redecorating, add built-in bookshelves, drawers, and closets. The more storage space you can build into the walls, the less you need to clutter your floors with.
  • If you can perform a more thorough overhaul of your attic bedroom, add a few slanted skylight windows and circular wall windows to let in as much natural light as possible. A large casement window will offer even more light.
  • Keep the air circulating by installing a ceiling fan. Good circulation is especially important during the hot, humid summer months.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Bed
  • Trunk
  • Closet
  • Dresser
  • Bedside table
  • Ceiling lights
  • Window bench
  • Chair
  • Drapes or shutters

Article Info

Categories: Bedroom Style