Lofts are an untapped space that can be used to increase storage or the number of rooms in your home. Often, it’s more cost-effective than moving house, making it worth the time and effort. For this reason, you may be considering converting your loft in the near future. But how can you make sensible use of it, and what should you factor in? Let’s look at three good ways to use your loft space and what to consider before you start any work.
Make more storage
The cheapest and easiest way to make use of your loft space is to create valuable storage space. Something that most of us are short of in our homes. But there are some basic things you’ll need to do to your loft to make it suitable for storing your bits and bobs.
First, it’s a good idea to make sure your loft insulation is adequate before you start filling it with your stuff. Then you’ll need to board it over to allow you to walk around safely. To ensure your boards aren’t squashing the insulation between the joists, you should use loft legs to rest your boards on. You may choose to do this simple conversion as a DIY project or get someone in to do it for you. Boarding and insulating a loft typically costs £600 for materials and labour.
What else will you need? Well, you may need better loft access, so a hatch with a pull-down ladder is a good solution. And, of course, you’ll need some shelving to keep your storage organised. Simple aluminium shelving is a popular choice as it’s strong yet lightweight.
Create a master bedroom suite
If money is no object, then creating a master bedroom suite is the ideal way to make use of your loft space. Not only will this add monetary value to your home, but it will add practical value to it. The luxury of a master bedroom with its own bathroom is the dream space for many of us. And in a family home, it can be a sanctuary for parents.
If your loft feels a bit enclosed, then going for a dormer or mansard conversion will add space and light and give you a view from the window. You may even be able to fit in a larger window and install a Juliette balcony. But all of this will depend on the type of house you have and where it’s located.
Proper staircase access will need fitting in, as will plumbing to the ensuite bathroom. Not to mention roof insulation, electrical wiring and some form of heating to make it comfortable. So, calling in the experts to plan and design your space will help you get the most out of your loft. The average cost of a conversion is around £40,000, which means you’ll need a generous budget.
Design a dedicated home office
Of course, with many of us working from home these days, a dedicated home office space is often the most practical loft use. Having your office on a different floor helps to keep work and home life separate.
As with a master bedroom loft conversion, you’ll need proper staircase access as well as decent insulation, ventilation and heating. Although Velux-style rooflights may give you enough natural light during the day, it’s wise to think about decent electric lighting too. And you’ll need plenty of plug sockets available for powering things like laptops and printers. Despite all of these considerations, you could still convert your loft space into a useful and good-sized home office for between £15,000 and £20,000 if you budget wisely.
What you need to consider
Turning your loft into a liveable space will need building regulations approval. This is to make sure it’s structurally sound, thermally efficient and fire-safe. There are minimum requirements for the head height, and larger conversions and homes that have already been extended may need planning permission. If you share a wall with your neighbour, then you’ll also need a party wall agreement.
Aside from the rules and regulations, you need to bear in mind that adding staircase access to your loft will take up some space. This could mean stealing space from one of your existing bedrooms. If it isn’t your forever home, you’ll also need to consider whether you’ll get back the money you’ve spent when you sell. Although loft conversions add value, there’ll be a ceiling price for homes in your area. So, check if a loft conversion is right for your situation before you start.