Reader SOS – Attic Turned Speakeasy


I’m back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space”. My plan for this series is to take a reader’s space and (virtually) offer design tips and tricks on how to improve it.

Here are some of my favorite design solutions from this series…

How Do I Convert Our Attic Into a Speakeasy?

Get ready for a fun design dilemma today! Courtney wants to turn unused attic space into a grown-up lounge and speakeasy, while also using it as a functional guest room. I’ve never designed a space like this and when I read her submission my wheels were turning. How freakin’ fun! I want a secret attic space that can be an adult lounge! Let’s take a look at her design dilemma and my plan for this attic turned speakeasy…

Courtney’s Design Dilemma

Attic turned speakeasy before

We moved into our 1912 home in downtown Naperville in 2021 and are ready to tackle the unfinished “secret” room. Our third-floor attic is a finished space that we use as the playroom for our son. There is a second room that has flooring, but needs to be framed, dry-walled, and made functional.

Attic turned speakeasy - before

This room gives us the opportunity to be more creative. We plan to put in a bookcase door to keep up with the fun of this “secret” room.

Attic turned speakeasy - before

We want the room to be able to function as a guest room, but also a speakeasy (not a full bar by any means but a “grown up” lounge space). We don’t have many guests but when we do, our guests need to use an air mattress.

The Gameplan

Courtney is already working on getting the space drywalled and they’re building a bench over the ductwork near the window wall. Oh, and don’t forget the bookcase that serves as the door into the room. How cool! So once that’s finished, it will be time to design and decorate the space. Since they’re going for speakeasy vibes, I would definitely lean into art deco style with rich colors, bold geometric patterns, and a luxe sophisticated look.

  • Paint the walls a rich dark navy color and add picture frame molding
  • Add an 8×10 art deco rug
  • Incorporate a leather Chesterfield sofa, that pulls out for guests
  • Add a green velvet bench cushion, marble table, and low bookcases against the walls
  • Incorporate multiple lighting sources for moody vibes
  • Finally, bring in a geometric bar cart!

Speakeasy & Art Deco Inspiration

First, let’s review the look and feel we’re going for with this space…

Image via Foxglove // Image via Crowell & Company Interiors

speakeasy basement design plan
Image via Kate Pearce Vintage
Crowell molding
Image via Crowell & Company Interiors

As you can see from the above inspirational photos, we’re going for moody and elegant vibes in this attic-turned-speakeasy for Courtney. Therefore, I think a dark color on the walls is a must. I would opt for a deep navy like this “Goodnight Moon” paint color from Clare paint. Since we’re dealing with the slanted walls in here, I think it would be nice to jazz them up a bit with some molding, similar to the inspiration picture above. Courtney could follow my tutorial for picture frame molding to really take those walls to the next level!

The Layout

Attic turned speakeasy layout

Here’s my proposed layout for the space. It was hard to determine the exact location for items with slanted walls, so these pieces might have to float out a bit to make enough headroom near the sofa.

I would incorporate an 8×10 rug and I really like the look of this one. It definitely gives off those art deco vibes. Then, I would go for a leather Chesterfield sofa. It’s tough to find pull-out sleeper sofas in the Chesterfield look, but this one seems like a good fit!

For the built-in bench, I would opt for a green velvet cover on top and lots of pillows. Above that, I would go with two sconces on the wall, on each side of the window. This pair looks fantastic. In the middle, I’d choose a large marble coffee table. I can’t get over the beauty of this one!

On the final wall, I would add this geometric gold bar cart and fill it with lots of goodies. Courtney could then add low cabinetry along the wall to hold pretty glassware. This black and gold sideboard would fit those moody vibes beautifully.

Attic Turned Speakeasy – The Design

An attic turned speakeasy

Wall Color, Clare “Goodnight Moon” // Sofa // Rug // Bench // Bar Cart // Sideboard // Marble Coffee Table // Sconces // Floor Lamp // Glassware

Isn’t it so glamorous? Man, this is one room I would love to recreate in a home someday. It’s not necessarily my go-to style, but for a secret room, I think you can definitely think outside of the box. I really hope Courtney keeps us updated as their attic-turned-speakeasy comes together.

Casey


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.