Inscribed attic surmounting the main cornice of the Arch of Titus, Rome, AD 81
Learn more about attic with a free trial on Britannica.com.
An attic is a space found directly below the pitched roof of a house or other building (also called garret, loft or sky parlor). As attics fill the space between the ceiling of the top floor of a building and most often a slanted roof, they are known for being awkwardly shaped spaces with exposed rafters and difficult-to-access corners. While some attics are converted (see loft conversion) as bedrooms or home offices, complete with windows and staircases, most attics remain hard to get to and neglected, and are typically used for storage. Attics can also help control temperature in a house by providing a large mass of unmoving air. Hot air rising from lower floors of a building often gets trapped in the attic, further compounding their reputation for inhospitability. However in recent years many attics have been insulated to help decrease heating costs.
In some places attic is used more specifically to apply to lofts which have boarded floors and ceilings, and usually windows or skylights, and then loft is kept to mean a dark, unboarded roof-space which lacks these features.