Transform your home with a practical attic conversion. A loft extension is a great way to add extra space, whether you crave another bedroom, bathroom, office of playroom. But you need to be sure it’ll be worth the investment – not to mention the disruption. Be inspired by these brilliant loft conversion ideas to get you started.
They’re not possible for everyone, but if you’ve got the space, it’s worth converting your loft. Incidentally, the average UK attic contains goods worth an average of £2,000, so why not have a clear-out and see if you can boost your budget?
A good loft conversion can add between 10 and 20 per cent to the value of a home, with no need to sacrifice garden space as is the case with most ground-floor extensions. Conversions can range from £10,000 – £40,000 (depending on your location, the materials used and the size).
The good news is that you don’t need planning permission for most loft extensions. Adding up to 40 cubic metres in a terraced house, or 50 cubic in a detached or semi-detached house counts as permitted development, however the extension must not protrude beyond certain points.
A simple Velux conversion is often the cheapest solution and, as the roof slope is not altered, will maintain a property’s appearance but may also result in limited height. Alternatively, a dormer has vertical windows and doors, which allow full head room and greater possibilities when it comes to staircases. Mansard conversions look less boxy than a dormer, due to the 70-degree slope of the rear wall and raised party wall brickwork, but require planning permission.
First, work out your requirements and think about how you will use the space. Do you need another bedroom, bathroom or home office? Once you know, look at the floor plan to determine how best to use the room. Also, remember that most lofts will have angled ceilings, which could restrict the type of furniture you can have.
The rules aren’t too complicated – you will need a Lawful Development certificate from the local authority and the build will need to be passed by their Building Control Services (or an approved inspector). They will check it meets the basic standards for structure, ventilation, insulation, fire safety and so on. They are not responsible for checking the general quality of the carpentry and finishes. When choosing a company, shop around for quotes and better still, ask friends, family and neighbours for recommendations.
However, you may need a party-wall agreement. The party-wall is a shared wall, usually between a terrace or semi-detached. A Party Wall Agreement is a written contract from all owners that they agree to the work. A notice will be served to all affected parties in writing. The neighbour can ask for a party wall surveyor to be appointed to inspect the plans and to prepare a Party Wall Award (an agreed document outlining how the work should progress) or they can sign a waiver if the work is agreed upon.
Good insulation reduces bills and helps the environment, and it now also falls under regulations. There are a few options available, including wool, which is a greener option. Often, the building control inspector will specify what you require as the roof can be insulated in two ways – either filling the space between the rafters or installing insulation over them, which isn’t as practical.
Blur the lines between reality and illusion in an attic bedroom with wallpaper that isn’t what it appears to be. Bookshelves in an alcove aren’t an unexpected sight in a room, so it takes a second to realise that this bedroom’s books and shelves are actually two-dimensional. The wallpaper provides visual interest and creates extra depth in the room, especially against the white paint used on the adjacent walls.
Young & Battaglia at Rockett St George
Dormer windows extend out of the roof and create extra space. There is, however, more work involved and they can be more expensive than a Velux. You’ll need a proper staircases access with a dormer design, which can require permission. But the extra expense and work may be worth it with the added value the space will bring. A neutral scheme makes sure the space is kept light and airy.
Where space is at a premium, keep colour schemes simple. This attic-space bedroom features stained and painted wood and white, keeping the feel light, bright and effortlessly sophisticated. Leaving Velux windows undressed creates a modern look.
Don’t let awkwardly shaped ceilings and tiny spaces put you off. Whether you paper a small panel or a full room, use pattern to create a unique look. Wallpaper is great for adding instant personality to a space, so choose a design that you really love. Background colour has a big impact on the overall feel of a room – choose more muted colours in the bedroom for a restful feel.
Loft rooms can be tricky to furnish due to sloping eaves and low ceilings, so consider having bespoke storage built to fit the space. This will make the most of the space you have and allow you to get the exact storage you need. In children’s rooms, such as this one, keep cupboards and drawer storage low so they are encouraged to tidy toys away.
Place your bed under a sloped ceiling in loft conversions to make the most of the space. If the windows in your extension aren’t large, keep the decor pale to maximise light. Add interest with brightly coloured accessories and patterned bedding.
Install a mezzanine level. The height of this tall, narrow room is maximised thanks to the addition of a mezzanine room. This is great if you want to add extra space to a high-ceilinged, open-plan room. An engineer will need to calculate the strength of the floor and any alterations required to the building structure.
A limited footprint shouldn’t impact on your creative flair. Add value your loft conversion with a stylish bathroom. It is best for increasing functionality in the home – and added value too. The sloped ceilings create a dramatic frame for the stylish roll top bath underneath. For small spaces there’s no need to shy away from using bold wallpaper designs. A big-patterned feature wall adds personality in a compact room and gives the space a focal point.
In addition to pulling masses of natural light into this family room, the raised skylight also adds height to the space. It makes the room seem bigger and, despite having only one other window, prevents it feeling claustrophobic or dark. By installing dormer windows, you can increase head height and get the maximum amount of usable space in your room. Dormer windows create a statement in their own right, and can be clad to match the house or in contrasting materials.
Not just for bedrooms and bathrooms, use an empty loft space to create a bright, modern kitchen. This kitchen benefits from plenty of light, helped by the reflective surfaces of hi-gloss furniture and Velux windows. If you can’t use the full height of the room, consider how storage can double as display space and different heights can add interest. By varying the height of the units, you can prevent the room from feeling too closed in.