Planning on moving up in the world? A loft conversion can add space and extra rooms to your home, but also help to increase its value. However, its important you get the basics right and not just the final design details. Here’s our guide to getting it right when you’re thinking of making an extra room in the attic.
1. Get the right staircase
Make sure you factor in your staircase at the very start of the planning process. It can take up more space than you think! To prevent your precious floor space being eaten up by stairs, make sure you think carefully about where you’ll put them – the best solution is usually to place them in line with the existing stairs. In rooms where space is really tight, a spiral staircase can be an elegant and neat solution.
2. Check your headspace
It’s important that you can stand up straight in your new room, so work out at the start how much standing room you can create. Adding a mansard roof is one solution, but will require costly alterations. Instead consider dormer windows which will protrude from the roof line, but allow you to stand and look out – making the space feel much larger.
3. Add sky lights
Roof windows are another great addition to transform the space. Set into the roof, they will help to bring light into the room and can be easily opened. Window dressings can be tricky however, so think about blinds for privacy, and consider adding a black-out lining.
4. Create an extra window
Another alternative is to add an extra window in the gable end wall – this will open up the space hugely and give a good view – unlike a roof light. Finish the transformation by dressing the new window with pretty shutters or neat curtains.
5. Paint it spacious
As attic conversions tend to have sloping roofs and exposed beams, it’s a good idea to paint everything in one colour. It doesn’t have to be white, but a light colour on all surfaces will help the room feel coherent and more spacious. It you want something bolder however, consider a feature wall colour or wallpaper on one gable end – the unusual wall-shape will look even more dramatic when highlighted with your décor. And for a cosy, more rustic feel, consider using painted tongue-and-groove panelling on the walls and ceiling.
6. Get the floor right
After making sure your new floor has been properly insulated for sound, pick a flooring that helps to enhance the sense of space. Both vinyl and laminate floors are hard wearing and durable solutions. Pick a bright, colour patterned option for a playroom, but if a restful bedroom is the space’s main function then stripes or vinyl wood-effect planks will enhance the sense of space.
7. Create a bathroom
A loft conversion can be the perfect opportunity to add an extra bathroom – which in turn will add additional value to your home. A bathroom in the eaves will require some clever planning. Positioning it above an existing bathroom will help to make plumbing much easier (and less costly). It’s important to think about the room’s layout too – don’t forget you’ll want to stand up in the shower! Placing a shower directly under the apex of the roof is the best idea, while a bath can be set under the eaves, below a roof window.
8. Add smart storage
Don’t let space be compromised by clutter. Tall furniture such as wardrobes can sometimes be difficult in an attic space as there are no tall corners. Plan storage into your design from the start, making the most of the eaves space with built-in cupboards and adding details like trucks and under-bed storage for storing items such as spare blankets and suitcases – the sort of things you probably already keep in your unconverted attic.
9. Build in multi-functional furniture
A loft conversion could be used as a playroom, a guest room, an office – and quite possibly all three at different times. It’s a good idea to furnish it in a way that makes switching between functions easy. A small desk can double as a dressing table, and investing in a good quality sofa bed means it can suit visitors who come to stay, as well as kids and teens when they need some chill out space of their own. Moveable stacking storage is also a good option, and can serve as a useful room divider for even greater flexibility.
10. Pick clever lighting
A loft room can be an unusually large space, and the sloping ceiling can seem hard to light. Plan in layers of lighting to mix according to the use the room has. A line of recessed spots in the tallest part of the roof will give an unobtrusive general light source, but think about adding wall lights on the gable walls, and directional spots on exposed beams.
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