Looking for the cheapest way to finish attic space


Here we have an extra 900 sqft unfinished attic space. It is a rental property, So I'm being cheap here ;) Possible 2k or less. Looking to turn this into playroom or storage or huge closet for tenant. I'm Open to option and creative idea. Attaching pic to the space.

q looking for the cheapest way to finish attic space
q looking for the cheapest way to finish attic space
q looking for the cheapest way to finish attic space
q looking for the cheapest way to finish attic space
q looking for the cheapest way to finish attic space
q looking for the cheapest way to finish attic space
  16 answers
  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jan 07, 2021

    I would insulate between the rafters first. The area will be rather useless if you don't. The floors look good so you could either paint or stain them. Sheetrock is probably the least expensive if you can find some "seconds" of 1/4". We bought some last year from a mobile home manufacturing surplus store. It has wallpaper on the side you normally show but it was defective. We turned it backwards, then primed and painted. It was $4/sheet.

    You could consider luan or other wood then painting it as well.

  • FrugalFamilyTimes.com FrugalFamilyTimes.com on Jan 07, 2021

    What a fun project! How is the temperature up there? My first suggestion would be to build storage for along the bottom of the angled walls. It will help you hide stuff, of course, but it will also force people into the middle of the room so they don’t hit their heads on the angled ceiling. Looks like there needs to be a railing by the stairs to for safety. And add lots of lighting! Fun space. :)

  • You'll first have to verify that the attic floor/structure can withstand the weight of new activities so consult with a structural engineer. Some weren't built to handle use. Talk to your landlord before you do anything to avoid trouble. Who knows, they may want to chip in.

    As you're not entirely sure how you want to use this space, do some research first. And while I appreciate that you want to do this cheaply, do it thoughtfully so you're not spending twice as much for having cut a few corners.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 07, 2021

    You should talk to your landlord first. Find out if the addition was permitted. Sometimes a landlord will buy the materials if you do the work and since this is a permanent improvement to their property this is a good thing to bring up. This also shows that you are willing to put some work into their home.

    Bead board or even tongue and groove could be possibilities but if you can talk your landlord into paying for that perhaps even drywall.

    Couldn't tell from the pic but how well is that room insulated and does it only have one small window?

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on Jan 07, 2021

    why not leave it as is and let your renters decide how to use it? it could be storage or a sleep loft or anything

    • Flipturn Flipturn on Jan 08, 2021

      As the attic is not habitable in its present state, I am assuming that it is not being included in the total sq footage being rented out as living space. If this is so, then I am wondering why do you feel that you need to show it to potential renters?

      I agree that the space does have possibilities, and that if it were finished, then you could possibly ask more for rent on the unit, as the space would be greater. However, depending on how much more you would be able to receive in rental income, it may take a long time to completely recoup the money you spent just to fix up the attic.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jan 07, 2021

    It all turns on the landlord's decision, so get anything you agree on in writing.

    Insulation needs doing, air conditioning or heating? If for storage, then how about dressers with their legs cut off so they will fit up against the low walls, get them from a restore of flea markets.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 07, 2021

    Hello, how about you put a light colored paneling on the walls, panel around the window too, and put a cage to prevent anyone climbing through., paint the flooring a nice white color as well , hen put some of the nice spongy tiles down. Light the area with hanging lamps for the safest bet.


  • Seth Seth on Jan 07, 2021

    You will need a permit appropriate for rental units if you turn it into "habitable" space. You may need to install some type of fire protection beyond just a smoke alarm. You will also likely need two points of egress and a fire escape on the outside of the building. Your 2k project will become an 8k project in a heartbeat. Unless you really feel there is enough value at that price level, leave it as storage space. Over the long term, you may recoup the money. Do your homework and make sure the numbers work for you. If you are the landlord and turn it into habitable space without a permit, you will be on the hook for anything that happens and your insurance company will not pay a claim on non-permitted space.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 07, 2021

    Lowes has cheap paneling for $25 a sheet. Your local big box store might even be cheaper.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jan 07, 2021

    You could just paint walls but it will be could in the winter you could just get paneling and put it up with insulation under it

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jan 08, 2021

    I agree with Seth's comment.

    To remodel this attic space into room considered 'living space' and not only just 'storage space' I would not say that 2K would not be a sufficient amount of money to bring it up to standards required (fire, HVAC, egress, etc.).

    If there ever was a fire or accident and it was determined that this attic had been rented as habitable space, or if work done in the attic did not meet codes, then your home insurance policy likely will not cover, and you may also be liable for damages incurred by your renters.

  • Dee Dee on Jan 08, 2021

    First talk to your landlord. Second consult with a contractor to see if you need permits to turn this area into a room. which I am sure you do. It needs ventilation, probably a window of some sort, insulation, electrical for lights etc. I would just use the area for storage with those plastic bins that you can stack. No need asking for trouble

  • Catherine Deirdre Rodden Catherine Deirdre Rodden on Jan 12, 2021

    While it is a large area that is tempting to be used as another "room", it isn't really feasible in your budget. If you tried to bill it as a play area for children because of the low ceilings, you'll need secure railings/stairs. I'd leave it as it is for a renter and simply allow them to use as storage space. Holiday decorations and bins of seasonal clothing/toys will have plenty of space so renter won't need a storage unit.