Last edited 01 Jun 2018

Loft v attic

The terms 'loft' and 'attic' are often used interchangeably to describe a large void under, or partly under a roof, but above the main occupied spaces, that it is possible to access.

However, some definitions suggest that the term ‘attic’ refers to the entire storey of a building under the roof, whereas the term ‘loft’ refers to one or more rooms or spaces under the roof, but not the entire storey.

According to the government, the difference between a loft room and an attic room is:

  • A loft room is accessed by a fixed staircase and has the whole loft area converted to a living space including the sloped eaves if the property has a pitched roof.
  • An attic room is accessed by a fixed staircase and has the eaves area of the loft squared off to create a box room in the centre.


The term attic derives from the low decorative columns that often appear in the top storey of a building above the main façade in classical architecture. It was then adopted to refer to any decorative facade above the main story of a building, and subsequently, the space enclosed by such a facade.

The word 'loft' is thought to derive from Old Norse word 'lopt', meaning the upper chamber, upper region or sky, similar to the Old High German word 'luft', meaning air.

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