This question might present the biggest design challenge in finishing an attic.

There will inevitably be some alteration of the area where the stairs will begin. Since many attics are accessible through a stairway that drops down from the ceiling, you might find that you must take space from another room.

You will need to determine the most logical point of access to the attic from the floor below. You might choose to take space from a master bedroom, for instance, instead of taking it from your family room.

There is another alternative, which could actually solve more than one problem — this would be to add an enclosed stairway on an end of your home. Then create a door to the outside and into the house (at the end of a hall, for example) on the lower floor(s) and a door into the finished attic space. This would also provide an emergency exit.