You’re building an attic bedroom or apartment, or maybe you’re starting to have more trouble accessing your attic for storage. Perhaps there’s a draft coming from your attic steps, and you need to fix or replace them. Either way, you need to improve your attic access. Try one of these Attic Stairs Ideas to see if any of them fit your needs.
1) DIY Pull-Up Bar
If you already have to replace your attic stairs, consider doing a few modifications as you do. You can use this tutorial by Jerred Moon from End of Three Fitness to install a pull-up bar on your attic stairs. This is an exciting way to use the attic stairs as part of your exercise routine or encourage yourself to exercise, and it’s a simple and easy way to make a homemade pull-up bar using the unique design of an attic staircase or ladder.
2) Play Area
Most attics have steep folding stairs or ladders leading up to them, so if you’re building a full set of steps, you’ll need to think about how you use the space underneath. First, build the stairs somewhere that they won’t be in the way. Second, make use of the space under your new stairs. For example, you can build a small play area or seating area like the one shown in this video. This is a great use for attic stairs in particular since they’ll probably be narrower than most.
3) DIY LED Lights
If you need to access your attic at night, whether it’s because there’s a bedroom or apartment up there, or because you need to access storage areas for holiday decorations, you’ll want light fixtures in the stairwell. While any lighting can work, attic stairs tend to be narrow and steep, so stair lighting is a great way to keep them safe. You can design LED staircase lighting like the lights in this video by tinker.fun. The lights can even have motion sensors so that you don’t need to hunt for a light switch.
4) Space-Saving Stairs
If you’re adding attic stairs or replacing old ones, you probably need to take up as little space as possible. To conserve space, try using unique ideas like this open spiral staircase. While this isn’t the best idea if anybody in your home has mobility issues, it’s a cool and exciting way to get to your attic for most households. It has a sleek and modern look that’s unobtrusive and blends with modern or industrial decor. Design one with treads like the one in this picture so that people are less likely to slip and fall.
If your attic stairs are steep, you’ll want to make sure nobody trips or slips on them, because there’s a higher chance of somebody injuring themselves on steep stairs. Get treads like these from Walmart to keep people from slipping and reduce wear on the steps at the same time. This is particularly important for a narrow staircase since people likely step on the same spots each time they go up them, instead of walking on one side or the other. Make sure to measure your stairway to ensure that the treads you get will fit.
6) Fold Up Each Stair
Stairs that fold up are often used in attics for a reason; they take up little room and make the attic entrance less noticeable. Attics are also accessed less frequently than other areas, though that might not be the case with your attic. In any case, this video features a unique way to fold attic stairs to keep them out of the way. By designing them so that each stair folds into the wall, you can make room underneath the stairs and still have permanent access to the attic if you want.
7) DIY Home Automation Integration
If you like home automation and integrating technology into your everyday life, you’ll probably love this attic stairway idea. You can use this instructable by DarrenF6 to design and build an automated staircase for your attic. The great thing about this is that it functions as a normal attic stairway, staying out of the way when not in use, but you don’t have to struggle to pull the stairs up or down or unfold them as you might with other stairs.
If you have space to get creative, consider building or rebuilding your attic stairs in a unique manner like the curved stairs in this picture. In the image, each stair is wider on one side so that they curve as they ascend. While your attic stairs may look different, or even be in a cramped space, you can design them in a similar way so that they curl tightly and take up a minimal amount of space. This will look neat and take up less room overall than a straight set of stairs if done right.
9) Behind a Door
If you want your attic stairs to be discreet, there are a variety of ways you can hide them. While it may not seem that unique, hiding them behind a door could be the easiest way to make them both convenient and unobtrusive. Having a staircase hidden in what looks like a closet is also a cool feature for a house, and will undoubtedly entertain any children living in the household. This is a great setup because it works for a stairwell that gets used often, or for one that’s almost never used.
10) Bent Lamination Wall Light
If your attic stairwell is narrow, you’ll need to find a way to light it that doesn’t interfere with walking space. While you can have overhead lights and a light switch or pull cord, wiring one can be a lot of work. Instead, use this video to make a wall light with a smooth edge that protects the light bulb from damage. This way, if you bump into the light, you won’t injure yourself or break it. You can use this video to build the light, and design it with battery power, a pull cord, or write it to a switch.
If you have steep attic stairs, your main concern is probably getting stairs that are safe while still being convenient. One way to do this is to install a handrail like this one from Amazon. The rail will give you something to hold on, whether you’re climbing steep stairs or an unusual staircase with one open side. It’ll take up some walking space, so make sure your stairwell is wide enough to use comfortably with the railing installed.
If you’re just looking to replace your stairs, sometimes a simple wood setup is best. In a traditional home, you’ll want a wood ladder/staircase like this one to get into your attic. These are the simplest and easiest way to put in a cheap attic stairway, and they’re more traditional. That said, you can also opt for a full set of wood stairs to give yourself more room and a better-looking stairwell without losing the classic look.
13) Full Carpet
Attic stairs are at the highest part of your home. This means that every time you take a step, your footstep echoes down into the rooms below. One way to combat this is to carpet the stairs. This cushions your steps and absorbs sound at the same time, with the added benefit of providing cushioning if you fall on steep attic stairs. For the soundproofing effect, you can also make sure the underside of the stairs is insulated. Use these instructions from Bob Vila to learn how to carpet your stairs.
14) Open Side
If you want to make a big change from traditional attic stairs, try an open, modern design like the one in this picture. While the image shows basement stairs, you can make your attic stairs similar, with one side against a wall and the other open to the rest of the room. This is different from most attic designs, giving an open and modern look, but it’ll work best if your attic is insulated. Otherwise, you may need a design that lets you close the attic off when you’re not using it.
If you still want your attic steps to be hidden from view most of the time, you’ll want folding attic stairs. That said, you may be looking to replace bulky and heavy wooden stairs. Rather than buying a new set of wooden stairs, get aluminum stairs like these that will be lighter and easier to handle while still hiding your staircase in the ceiling. Despite the lighter weight, they’ll carry a 350-pound person, so they’re durable enough for most people.
16) No Kickstops
You attic stairs reach into the highest parts of your house. If you’re building a loft apartment or bedroom, you want to take advantage of that effect as much as possible. Design your stairs with no kick stops, like the stairs in this photograph. This creates a feeling of walking on air and being higher than everything else as you walk up the stairs. While this can be scary for some people, it takes advantage of an attic’s unique aspects to form a beautiful modern/industrial design.
17) Insulated Cover
If you have fold-down attic stairs that have a draft, you might not need to replace them just yet. Instead of doing costly renovations, try getting a cover like this one from Amazon. This cover will help insulate the attic stairs since any insulation your attic has won’t cover the stairway. This should eliminate any draft and keep the whole house warmer if your attic isn’t heated. Since it has a zipper, you’ll still be able to get in and out of the attic without removing it.
18) Stair Lights
Attic stairs can be narrow and steep, and many of them don’t have lights. This can be dangerous if you use them often, such as for an attic bedroom or apartment. Add stair lights like these from Walmart to clearly mark the edges of each step and make the stairway safer. With these lights, you’ll be able to see where you’re going, and since they have motion detection, you won’t have to hunt for light switches of pull cords in the dark
19) Dress Them Up
Sometimes what your attic stairs need is just a cosmetic makeover. Do your stairs look old, dingy, and ugly? Instead of replacing or renovating them, try dressing them up a little with some patterned tiles like the ones in this photograph. You can choose any tile pattern that fits your home and make the whole stairway look better. Tile is an excellent choice for kick stops, but you won’t want it on the stair treads, so try getting decorative non-slip treads to go with the tile.
20) Tread Tape
Treads are important for steep permanent attic steps, but some attic stairways are too narrow to fit a standard-sized tread. Instead, try getting tread tape like this from Walmart. The tape has a rough surface to keep people from slipping, and you can cut it to fit any sized stairwell. While the color isn’t overly attractive, you won’t have to worry about slipping, and the attic stairs probably aren’t visible enough that you need to worry about their appearance.
A spiral staircase is a classic design that lends a dramatic air to any room it’s in. A metalwork staircase like the one in this picture is a unique and dramatic way to access your insulated attic, and it doesn’t take up as much room as a straight stairway would. Depending on the style you pick, you can create a traditional, modern, or industrial look to match your home’s style and decor. Make sure that each step has a rough surface to keep people from slipping on the smooth metal.
22) Clear Anti-Slip Strips
If your attic stairs are steep, but you don’t want ugly tread tape marring their appearance, try getting clear anti-slip strips. These strips have the same benefits as tread tape since they can be cut to fit any size stair, but they’re less visible since they’re clear. This keeps the stairway looking nice and keeps people safe on steep attic stairs. These are best for stairs that you often use, since there’s a better chance of somebody slipping, and since you’ll want the steps to look nice.
23) Fold Up Set
One way to design stairs so that you can easily access your attic, but have the option to fold them up out of the way, is to build a stair set that folds sideways. While most attic stairs fold up into the ceiling, you can design stairs like the ones in this video that will fold against the wall. These take up almost no room, but they’re easier to fold down than ceiling staircases that can be a pain.
24) Carpet Runner
If you use your attic stairs often, you’ll want some amount of soundproofing on them. Wall to wall carpet can be expensive, but a runner will be cheaper and dampens some noise. Since the runner will be in the center of the steps where people are likely to walk, it’ll cushion footsteps on the stairs, while also looking nice. This is great for an attic bedroom, as it’ll also keep your feet warm if you go downstairs in the night. You can use these instructions by diy network to install a carpet runner on your stairs.
25) Clear Tread Tape
If you use your attic a lot, you’ll want the stairs to look nice, and you’ll want the steps to be safe. These two desires can conflict when it comes to a steep, narrow attic staircase. Treads don’t fit in narrow stairways, and they don’t always look nice, but you can use clear tread tape like this to give people tractions as they walk up and down the stairs. This tape can be cut to size, so it’ll cover the entire stair without being too long, and it’s almost invisible when it goes on.
26) Avoid Obstacles
If you need to build new stairs, you might not have a good spot for them. After all, your attic was probably designed to have a set of fold-down stairs that come from the ceiling. No matter your situation, you can find a way to build a permanent set of stairs coming from the attic. Try curving the stairs using diagonal cuts like the ones in this picture, or hiring somebody to shape your stairs around any obstacles.
27) Motorized Steps
Whether you like home automation or not, automatic stairs are a great idea. You can hire somebody to install steps like these that swing down from the ceiling in one piece and are lowered and raised by a motor. This makes it much easier to use your attic stairs without struggling to lift them up and pull them down. These stairs also look nicer than most folding attic stairs since they don’t have hinges, making them excellent for an area that gets used often.
What attic stairs do you have now? Will you use any of these ideas when you renovate? Tell us about it in the comments below.