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Homes Extra: Expanding Space

If you need some extra space in your home but do not want to shoulder the burden and expense of moving, then look to a small extension or home improvement, says Sara Whatley

Many of us could do with a little extra space in our homes. It might be as simple as having a good clear out and finding some new storage solutions, or you might need to invest a little further.

In this article I will be looking at small home extensions and improvements that make a big difference. Read on for some space enhancing inspiration.

Let’s start at the top of the home with the ever-popular loft conversion. Using this often-wasted space can bring a whole new element to your home, and typically can add 20% to its value as well. There is no doubt a loft conversion is a sizable investment, but it can be less expensive and daunting than moving house and less disruptive than an extension to an existing living space.

If your home already has a converted loft, adding a box dormer can really open up the space and gain some extra head height. You could even look at putting a bathroom into the new space.

Staying up high, lets look at mezzanines. If you have high ceilings or a vaulted space, lucky you, you could add a mezzanine! Ideally you would have a ceiling height of no less than 14 feet, or 4.2 metres. This will give you ample room above and below the mezzanine. Create a cosy bedroom or a spare sleeping space; a den for teenagers or a hide-away book nook; whatever you choose to use the extra space for I’m sure it will be well appreciated.

Does your property have a cellar? Or the potential to dig down and put one in? Extending a property downwards is increasingly popular in places where space is at a premium. It can also make a really multifunctional space for your family; an entertainment area; home office; subterranean kitchen; or, if you give it a separate entrance, even a self-contained annex.  

Adding a porch to your home can be a great way to create a buffer between the outdoors and indoors, especially if your front door opens straight into your living room. It can also extend a small hallway and afford you much needed storage space for coats and shoes. Let’s not forget the impact a porch can have on the aesthetics of your house too. Use it to convey your style, make a statement and add interest to your home.

From the front to the back of the house; have you considered a sunroom? Similar to a conservatory but with an insulated roof, sunrooms can be used all year round and are a relatively inexpensive extension to choose. 

If you are already in the process of extending it’s an ideal time to assess the layout of the existing space as well. By knocking down or adding walls and looking at entry points in particular you can improve the flow of a space and make it appear larger too.   

How about building into a side return, the little used space that runs down the side of your home? This is a great way to open up a kitchen or create a functional utility room.

Convert a garage or outhouse. If it is attached to the home – an integral garage – simply knock through to incorporate it into the home, or if it is set away from the building consider using glazed linking to bring an element of contemporary design and bring the two buildings together.

Flooding your home with as much natural light as you can will make it appear lighter, brighter and larger. Perhaps you have a single story kitchen extension where you could replacing a section of the solid roof with a glazed panel or a roof lantern, or extend up to create a vaulted ceiling with large windows.

Making windows bigger where possible, or even extending them to bay or box windows will give you a little extra space as well as a beautiful feature in your home. 

Could you open up your room even more by installing patio doors? Opt for sliding, French or bifold doors to create a flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces of your home. This flow can be further enhanced by using indoor/outdoor flooring across the whole space, making a seamless transition from home to garden.

The garden can also benefit from some simple extensions and improvements. Structures such as verandas or canopies can make the outdoor space more user friendly in all weathers. In our increasingly hot summers make the most of being outdoors with an outdoor kitchen, fire pit and some weather resistant sofas and chairs.

In all cases of conversion or extension, make sure your project is covered either by your home’s Permitted Development rights, and check if you need to apply for Planning Permission. If in doubt check with an architect or professional building company.

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