Published on December 25, 2020

So your house has the quaintest pitched roof—which means your upstairs bedrooms have angled ceilings dropped so low that half the space is virtually unusable. What do you do? Sure, you may not be able to walk around the entire perimeter without bumping your head, but you can use the space in other clever ways.

Take note from these four designers and homeowners, who have turned less-than-ideal rooflines into walk-in wardrobes, reading rooms, window nooks, and secret passageways. All you need is a little imagination to combine function with your asymmetrical architecture.

Work With Your Architecture

Slanted dressing roomPin It
Photography by Simon Brown; Design by Beata Heuman

In this London Victorian terrace house, designer Beata Heuman extended her client’s main bedroom into the roof cavity to add as much storage as possible, creating a compact dressing room. The diagonal angles of the built-in closet are a result of working around a sloped chimney stack that runs behind the narrowest shelves (and allows for deeper drawers on either side). 

Let Go of a Smidge of Square Footage

Yellow kids roomPin It
Photography by Zack Dezon; Design by Moore House Designs

Syeda and Michael Lewis’s son’s room on the top floor of their 1800 Colonial Revival in Park Hill, New York, had a sloped ceiling that almost reached the floor, making furniture layouts extremely challenging. That is until Blair Moore of Moore House Design came up with the idea of enclosing a portion of the space. The move lost them a few square feet, but they gained a headboard-height wall. Canopy bed frames hug the room’s awkward angles, making them feel intentional. The best part: A portal under the desk brings their son behind the faux wall into a Narnia-esque, kid-friendly cubby.

Keep an Open Mind

Kids libraryPin It
Photography and Design by Joni Lay

When Joni Lay approved the plans for a second-story extension on her Atlanta house, she planned to turn the pitched nook next to her daughters’ room into a walk-in closet. But when she entered the space for the first time, it was clear that the sloped angles wouldn’t work with standard wardrobe heights—and she didn’t want to block the window. So she turned the niche into a kids’ reading room instead, using low bookcases on wheels to maximize floor space for sprawling out. 

Break From Tradition

Window nook with velvet seatPin It
Photography by Karla Graves

Sloped ceilings didn’t deter Karla and Ray Graves from building a dream playroom for their three boys in their Birmingham, Alabama, cottage. They carved out a circular enclave to frame the window under the eaves, padding it with a rust-colored velvet cushion that runs up the walls on either side for optimal coziness. Open storage above and below houses their ever-growing book collection. 

Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.

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