Many people face the challenge of choosing between a house extension or loft conversion when they need more living space. Both are good solutions if you don’t want to move out of your home but you need the extra space. While there are cases when a house extension is the best choice, most people are choosing a loft conversion as the solution to extending their home. A house extension is great for adding a dining room to your kitchen, or a conservatory, but they will also take-up your garden space. If you don’t have a large garden, you may not want to do that. Instead, choosing to build upwards, and use the existing house structure and convert your attic into a livable loft. You will gain precious livable space, and even some outdoor space if you go with a terrace or balcony.
When first looking into this, you will notice there are many loft conversion ideas to get inspired from. It will also help if you take a walk and see what loft conversions are there in your neighborhood. You should know that some conversions are simpler, and don’t change too much the appearance of the house. Others require more work and change the structure of the roof and may require planning permission. This is important for you to know as you can then better estimate your costs and effort.
A London loft conversion can be an excellent idea if you like the house and neighborhood you are living in, but you just need some extra space. Expanding your home upwards instead of outwards will leave your garden space intact while solving your increased living space needs. If you later decide to sell your home and move to another place, your loft extension will make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
Before starting to look for a loft conversion idea, you should determine what your housing needs are. Do you need a master bedroom, a home office, a play room? Will you add a shower room as well? Once decided on the destination of your new space, you will be better focused on getting the right design ideas. You should look for several factors when going ahead with this attic conversion. As stated before, the most important is to know what you want from this new space. Then you should consider what your current house structure and roof offer. You can have a conversion that does not change the current sloping ceilings and only has windows and stairs added, and minor interior work to make it livable. Or, you are choosing a loft that changes the roof structure and the look of the house, thus increasing the costs and time needed for completion, and require planning permission. But it may very much worth it in the end because of the great enjoyable and functional space you will gain. The loft conversion design should match the design of the house so your attic conversion will not feel detached from the house, rather an integral part of it. The design should reflect your personal taste and create a space you will love working in or living in.
Let’s go through the main types of loft conversions to get you better idea on what options are there:
- Roof light loft conversions imply the addition of windows to your current roof. They are the easiest, fastest and cheapest of the loft conversions. The addition of windows will allow plenty of natural light coming in, transforming your attic into livable space.
- A dormer loft conversion means adding a box-shaped structure to one or more parts of your roof, to add extra space and natural light coming through dormer windows. They are very popular because people enjoy the headspace they get and familiar feeling of a rectangular space.
- Hip-to-gable conversions are typically found at the sides of semi-detached houses. In this conversion, the sloping side of the roof is removed to add a vertical gable
- A mansard loft adds the most volume as they are replacing one or both roof slopes with steep almost vertical sides with an almost flat rooftop.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information and choices, you know that it is best to discuss all of these with a professional, so you can get the necessary guidance. Look for specialists who have done loft conversions in your area before, as they can answer your questions and help you design your space.
All loft conversions must follow building regulations making sure your new space and the construction site are safe and follow all the standards. In case you live in a conservation area, your loft conversion will most likely require permission planning. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached house, and you will have to get a Party wall agreement with your neighbor(s). These are elements of the project a professional or an experienced company can help you with, leaving you to focus on gathering ideas for the loft design. You will need to contact the local authority building control department about our plans, and your architect or construction company can help you deal with these things. They mostly involve the structure, materials, insulation and ventilation of the roof. Access and proper fire escape are other important elements. Plumbing, electrics, windows are doors are also elements that need to be covered by your plans. It is important to know the destination of your new loft not only for these reasons, but also to get the optimal design and execution of your place.
Your London loft conversion must fulfill its need
You must decide, before you design and build the loft, what purpose it will serve. Most of the times, people need an extra bedroom. In that case, you may also want to add a bathroom, with a shower. If you doing a loft bedroom, it is best to think of the furniture layout, or sockets and switches. Windows are also very important to allow plenty of natural light coming in. Make sure you provide enough maneuvering space around all these. Your new attic bedroom will need a connection to the rest of the house. You will want easy access with stairs. But placing them in an optimal way and utilize the existing space the best can be a challenge. A conversion company can have a lot of expertise in this area and support you in making the right decisions. Attic space in a home is usually used for storage, and although you are planning to create extra living space, you will still need some storage. Consider having built in storage. You can utilize those awkward spaces in your loft to add bespoke cupboards and storage spaces that offer storage space to your loft.
If you need it, you can include a dressing room, practical for using that awkward sloping roof part of the loft. Add built in storage and skylights to allow light coming in, and you will have the luxury of a walk-in closet. Look for ideas on how to plan and decorate your dressing room, as even a smaller space can become practical and fulfilling with the good planning. Always look for that loft conversion idea that is tailored to your space and your needs.
You could add the bathroom where the slope of the roof is. But remember to plan the placement of the shower or hand basin in the part where there is enough head space for that. Adding an en suite to your bedroom will definitely increase your quality of life but also add value to your property. It can be totally separated from the bedroom, with stud walls, or you can go with an open plan en suite if you don’t have privacy issues. This will make the space roomier, perfect for someone who does not like tight spaces. The design choices are up to your taste and budget. You can go with something practical and easy, or the total opposite. You can create your little luxury spa at home. The design can complement the bedroom, or, it can be different. Lighting is important when creating a wet room, as it must be both practical and safe. There are factors like type of light that can be used or distance from the water source.
Don’t let a small space for your bathroom be an obstacle for you. It just means you will have to be more clever about the layout, design, color choices, fittings, but in the end you can get a beautiful and practical bathroom in your loft bedroom. Wall hung fittings and a minimalist design are great for smaller bathrooms as they create the illusion of a larger space. You could go with a frameless shower to add more to the feeling of space. Choosing the right size and color tiles for a smaller bathroom can again help with making the space feel larger and easy on the eye. Shelves can be the perfect solution to eliminate large boxy shapes from your bathroom. Generally a light palette goes well with a smaller bathroom, but you will be amazed of some of the design ideas with bold colors and patterns. In the end, with creativity and problem solving, any bathroom can look out of the ordinary and be very functional.
Depending on the loft conversion type you are choosing, adding one or even two bedrooms with an en suite will increase the quality of your home life and also the market value in case you choose to sell the house in the future.
If you plan to add a home office instead of an extra bedroom, then your needs will be different. A home office in your attic will be perfect for working from the comfort of your home in peace and quiet, but still be able to keep an eye on the children for instance. You will want plenty of natural light coming in, so plan your window placement carefully. In the same time, you will want to avoid too much sunlight coming, reducing the glare. You can consider having storage space in the eaves of your new office space. If your work requires more privacy and solitude, then a garden office might be the right solution for you.
Loft conversion ideas to start from
In general, you must think of your office space needs, what is your working style, what equipment you need to use, how you can easily access everything that you need. Your home office can be taking advantage of an unutilized space in your loft of bedroom, or creating a bespoke space for your office, with careful placement of sockets and windows and storage space.
Your new loft can also be your hobby room, perfect for crafting or painting. Converting a loft to any of these spaces will add valuable space to your home and solve your housing needs in a cost effective way, without the need for you to move to a bigger house.
Let’s say you have a newly born, in that case, adding a nursery in your loft can solve your spacing problems. Or it could be a playroom, or a kid’s room or a teenager room. You get the point, you can plan your loft space to your exact needs. A bespoke design can offer you the space fitted to your needs and the image in your head. Hiring a team of specialists will make your dream come true, if you have the right designs and planning in place first.
Your design should be adapted to the loft size and shape and get the most out of them. If you create a small spare bedroom for instance, go with a lighter color scheme and a cozy feeling, this way the room will look inviting and won’t feel crammed.
An open plan loft conversion has the advantage of creating a pleasant aired space with plenty of light coming in. This loft combines several rooms into one, with the great advantage of a large space with few or no dividing walls. The results in terms of design and feel can be truly spectacular. The most popular choice is an open plan kitchen and living room or other inhabitable space, but there are other room combinations as well. But there are some challenges as well when you are choosing such a design. Any loft conversion must follow building regulations, regardless whether it needs planning permission or not. The more open the room is, the more challenging will be to build it and meet the safety standards. It is important to discuss such plans right from the beginning with the building inspectors or specialists.
I hope these thoughts have highlighted the importance of contacting an architect or a design and build company who have all the specialists, this way you can get the advice you need and help with any permission and building regulation tasks. The right team will be able to get your loft conversion completed in the least amount of time possible, meaning you will have less disruption. Depending on the impact of the work needed, you can still live inside the home while the loft is being built, or if you have to move, then it won’t be for a long period of time.
When your housing needs change, a loft conversion can almost always be the right solution if it comes from a specialist, especially if your home is in London. You will appreciate the increase in livable space and home value, and the fact that you don’t have to move to a new home. Get an initial idea of what your new loft must be, and then contact the right team to start the attic conversion. If the loft conversion has some odd spaces due to sloping ceilings, you and the architect or designer can come up with solutions on how to make best use of this tricky loft space. Ideally, you’ll want your loft space to feel part of the entire house. The design and flow should match from the ground floor up to the roof, and that covers stairs placement as well. They should feel like as they are continuing the stairs from below, while in the same time while taking the least amount of space possible. A successful loft conversion will always feel like it is a part of the existing house and not an addition.