Need that one extra bedroom but don’t want to move? Convert your attic!

In the current financial climate people are understandably opting to stay put rather than try and climb up the property ladder. But if you are desperate for that extra room and you don’t have the external space to use then an attic conversion could be for you. It can often work out cheaper and can be far less of an upheaval than converting the basement or extending out downstairs. Loft conversions can be extremely simple and have no or very little impact on the external aesthetics of your property. And they also have the potential to be the best value home improvement you can make just now. You can achieve the space without having to move and if you ever did sell up, your house is a four bedroom priced just above a three bedroom, it’ll be the first to sell in the street.

There a few key things you should consider if you are planning a loft conversion. All of which can be discussed with an architect, and they can offer the best possible advice depending on your location, budget and requirements. But there are a few things you can do yourself just to help you understand the implications of what you are considering and if it’s at all possible.

Is your loft suitable?

Not every property is set out for an attic conversion, so find out if you have enough space by checking the height. If you measure down from the apex of the roof to the floor: you need a minimum of roughly 2.3 metres. You should also consider the pitch of the roof - at what point does it become an awkward space? One of the major problems that occur when trying to convert an attic is comes from the amount of floor space that cannot be used i.e. it doesn’t have enough head height or the access becomes extremely awkward.

How will it affect your existing house?

Consider how you are going to get up to your new room. Where will the staircase go? Will you need to sacrifice valuable space in an existing bedroom? A spiral staircase can often help when attempting to save space.

What is it for?

Generally the most common use for a loft conversion is a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. If not a bedroom then a study or studio space is especially popular in urban areas. An option that is frequently suggested is a playroom for the kids, but one thing worth considering is, will you here them from downstairs? Also the option of a living space often becomes unworkable as it is just too far away from the kitchen.

If you are just in a position where you would like some extra space but are unsure exactly what that space could be for then there always more imaginative options. You could create a small gym studio or a wet room instead of your standard en-suite. This is where an architect can help make the difference between just an extra room to creating something extraordinary.

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