Creating a Storage Loft in a Larger Room

Reference Number: KB-03012
Last Modified: October 11, 2021

The information in this article applies to:



I have a large area that needs to have smaller office spaces within that have ceilings shorter than the main area. How do I create these shorter areas, while being able to create storage space above?

Commercial airplane hangar with office ceiling used for storage


Smaller, shorter rooms with storage above can be created within a larger room by using a second floor. For example, if the larger room is going to have 18' ceilings and the smaller rooms will have 9' ceilings, you would create the first floor with a 9' ceiling height and the second floor could be 9' minus the thickness of the ceiling structure of the smaller rooms.

To create the first floor

  1. Select Edit> Default Settings  from the menu.

  2. Select Floors and Rooms> Floor Levels> 1st Floor, then click the Edit button.

    Default Settings dialog

  3. In the 1st Floor Defaults dialog, specify the desired Ceiling height on the Structure panel.

    For this example, 109 1/8" is used.

    Change the ceiling height for first floor defaults as necessary.

  4. Click OK and Done to close the dialogs.  

  5. Select Build> Wall> Straight Exterior Wall , then click and drag to draw out the exterior walls.

    For this example, a 45' x 45' structure is drawn.

  6. Select Build> Wall> Straight Interior Wall  and then click and drag to draw the interior walls of the space.

    For this example, two 12 'x 12' rooms are drawn.

    Small first floor rooms inside a larger structure

To create the second floor

  1. Select Build> Floor> Build New Floor  from the menu.

  2. In the New Floor dialog that appears, select the Derive new 2nd floor plan from the 1st floor plan option, then click OK.

  3. In the 2nd Floor Defaults dialog, specify the Rough Ceiling height as well as the Floor Structure for the storage space above the smaller rooms.

    Build a new floor and set the 2nd floor defaults.

  4. Click OK when done to apply the changes and close the dialog.

  5. With the second floor now active, select Tools> Floor/Reference Display> Reference Display  to turn on the Reference Display feature so that you can see the placement of the walls on floor 1 while working on floor 2.

    Use the reference display to line up the railings with the first floor walls.

  6. Select Build> Railing and Deck> Straight Railing  and click and drag to draw a railing on top of the 1st floor interior walls along the storage area perimeter.

  7. Select Tools> Floor/Reference Display> Reference Display  to turn off the reference floor display.

    There should now be two rooms on the second floor: the smaller storage area above the interior rooms and the big room over the larger area.

    The second floor storage area surrounded by railings

  8. Using the Select Objects  tool, select the larger room on floor 2, then click the Open Object  edit button.

  9. On the General panel of the Room Specification dialog, use the drop-down menu beside Room Type to select Open Below, then click OK.

    Choose the Open Below Room Type in the Room Specification dialog

  10. Take a Camera  view to see the results.

    Camera view of a storage loft inside a larger room

A staircase can now be added going up to the storage area, and doors and windows can be added to the interiors rooms located on the first floor.