Create more space in your home

Create more space in your home with some simple tips. If you plan to up-size you may not have to rent a bigger (and more expensive!) apartment.

Feeling like you don’t have room to swing a cat? Don’t worry – you don’t have to move. We’ve got the lowdown on creating more space in the home you’ve got. Property prices are on the rise again – which isn’t great news if you’re planning on up-sizing. But if you need more space – and can’t afford to move – what’s the solution? “Whether you’re spending more time working from home and need a dedicated area, have just started a family or still have older family members living at home, it can prove more cost-effective and convenient to extend your current homestead”, advises Adrian Hateley, technical expert at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre. But the big question is, which way do you extend?

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Converting your loft or attic space

Once you’ve established that there’s room to move around without banging your head, you can start planning. “Homes come in all shapes and sizes it’s important to think practically and creatively when planning a loft refurbishment”, says Simon Meyrick of bespoke furniture designers Neville Johnson. “Consider the design by starting with the layout and existing facets of the space. Awkward sloping ceilings, architectural features and restricted room configurations are easily dealt with by bespoke fitted furniture”.

Ask yourself…
Think about how you’ll use the room – as a bedroom, office, or even a library? And what will you do in it: watch TV in bed, use it as a haven of peace, have a mirror for makeup or hairstyling… these things all make a difference to light, sound and space. “If it’s an extra bedroom you’re after, the bed size and position is a major consideration”, Simon reminds us. “If two people are using a bed, make sure there is enough space to get out on both sides”.


  • Loft conversions don’t usually need planning permission but check with your local planning department or your architect.
  • Appoint an architect or designer to draw up plans.
  • A structural engineer is required to check the existing roof structure and viability for a loft conversion – your architect or designer will probably arrange this for you.
  • Get multiple quotes – three if possible.

Creating extra space at the rear of your property

If you have land to the rear of your property, building onto it can be a great way to give yourself some extra space. A bigger kitchen, a conservatory or another bathroom could all make for a more comfortable home. But it’s a big undertaking. “Ask yourself do you really need the space, what it will be used for, and will it add value”, advises Adrian Hateley. You’ll need to look into planning restrictions carefully too – and double check if you are in a conservation area or if your house is a listed building.

Ask yourself…
Materials will need to be delivered on a regular basis – so think about whether you have suitable access from the roadside to the rear of your property. You’ll also need to consider if the extension will blend into the existing building. And don’t forget your neighbours – it’s always wise to inform them of your intentions in the early stages.


  •        Check planning regulations.
  •        Investigate ground conditions – are there any trees in the immediate area?
  •        Set a realistic budget and allow for a  contingency fund.
  •        Find out if your existing heating system/boiler will be able to take the extra
  •        heating capacity.

Find out about how to child proof your home

Delving down into basements

If you live in a Victorian terrace or period property, a basement may already have been created with adequate foundations. If not, unless you are building a new property, the cost of adding a basement living area is restrictively high. But if you’re lucky enough to have a basement, converting it into a living space will not generally need planning permission.

Ask yourself…
The very nature of creating a basement means there will be a lot of earth to move so think about whether you have suitable access and provisions for skips and contractor vehicles, and consider how will all this affect neighbouring properties. “Make sure the ventilation is thought about – controlling moisture is a must for basements”, advises Adrian Hateley. Allowing natural light through the space is essential, so investigate using walk on rooflights and internal glazed screens – IQ Glass ( have a huge range.


  •        Check your waterproofing system is adequate.
  •        If you have any existing basement provision, do you have adequate headroom?
  •        Are there adequate positions/wall space to create natural light through windows?
  •        Always use a specialist contractor for basement conversions.

Taking the inside outside

If you’re running out of space, and you have a garden, why not invest in a new structure completely? Alex Murphy of Dunster House (, specialists in wooden outbuildings, saunas, home offices and playhouses, explains the advantages. “Firstly, these are far less costly than a traditional extension or loft conversion, and are not subject to the same complex building regulations. In addition, they lack the associated construction mess and disruption that building work on the home structure itself can incur.” That’s not all – whether your outbuilding is to be used for a hobby hideout, a personal gym or simply storage space, building in your garden gives you the benefit of tranquil surroundings.

Ask yourself…
“Decide how you want to use the space – and for how long”, suggests Adrian Hateley. “To avoid regular trips down the garden, think about installing a kitchenette and bathroom”. Consider the materials, too – timber is often the best option because of its thermal conductivity. Finally, establish if your office has correct security and check your insurance policy for the equipment you’re going to keep in it. For more advice visit


  • Check planning and building regulations.
  • Work out how can you get power to your outbuilding and whether you can connect to your broadband.
  • Talk to your neighbours: will there be enough privacy for you – and for them?
  • Check your soil structure and that adequate foundations are provided.

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