The charming attic bedroom, or the renovated bath tucked in among the eaves. They’re classic examples of using what space you have. Those charming spaces also tend to come with some unusual architectural features, the most challenging is the sloped ceiling. On the positive side, they can be cute and cozy, and may even include a skylight. On the negative, they can feel crowded and the lack of headroom on the sloped side can feel awkward at best. Instead of knocking out walls, or moving to a different home, embrace the ceiling and decorate around it.
There’s no getting around it, rooms with heavily sloped ceilings are best reserved for bedrooms, offices, playrooms or bathrooms. All spaces where people either don’t spend a lot of time, or they spend it seated, or lying down. Or, in the case of playrooms, they’re kids, so height is less important. The biggest trick to working with a low-angled ceiling is furniture placement. That low portion of the wall is the perfect place for your desk, or the head of your bed, places that you don’t need a lot of headroom.
For a bedroom
Make the most of floor space by placing the bed under the slanted part of the ceiling. If you’re using a twin, consider placing it lengthwise against the low wall; for larger beds, place the head against the low wall and use a low headboard, or none at all. Short dressers are also good placed along the low wall, or low bookcases.
Place the back of your desk along the low wall so you’re sitting in the more open space. That saves the rest of the floor space for other uses. Use the rest of the short walls for bookcases or shelving for books, display or computer gear (like printers).
For kids, a slated ceiling is less of a challenge, but to get the most from the room, use the low walls for bookshelves, storage bins and toy boxes. Consider building in a low storage bench. For older kids, or even grown-ups, place your tv (and game console, DVD player, etc) against the short wall and fill the room with comfy seating.
For a bathroom
Usually, the toilet or tub is under the sloped part of the room, leaving the rest open for standing. Try going really light and bright to create the feeling of an open, airy room. Use a light-colored shower curtain and light or even white linens. Keep things in scale with the room and avoid overcrowding the tiny attic bath.
Lighting is important in these spaces, especially if you don’t have skylights. Use lighter colored paint to make the room feel more open and airy but be careful of whites and super light colors if the room is naturally dim. Low lighting can make very pale colors look dingy and dirty.
Scale is important in a low-ceiling space to avoid overwhelming the room. Keep things low-slung and on the small side to help the space feel more spacious.
Don’t try to hide the sloped ceilings; embrace them instead. They add unique character to your space. Got wood beams? Leave them natural and embrace the rustic element. Interesting architectural elements or odd corners? Paint them to accentuate the different surfaces.