Three options for expanding on existing home space

Homeowners who are considering expanding the space in their properties first need to consider the cost against the potential gain from their improvements and to bear in mind that projects may be restricted by planning laws. It is important to hire an architect because, otherwise, there is a strong possibility that the result could be a space that is badly-designed and unusable. Architects will also be able to outline the variety of options available when it comes to increasing the space in a home.

1. Remodelling the interior space

The removal of internal walls and ceilings, whether in part or in full, can free up lots of extra space and may also add more natural light to a home. Having some spaces in the house of two storeys high can allow taller items of furniture to be installed and could also increase storage options. There is also a psychological aspect associated with opening up views across and through the home. The feeling of having more space that this typically results in can make a big difference. When areas that were formerly hidden away are brought into full view, this can lead to them being used more often. Conventional staircases can have a negative impact on the useful space and natural light in a house, and they may be successfully replaced by alternatives with a smaller footprint. Glass staircases, although not for everyone, can be an excellent way of saving space and allowing more light to travel through a home, perhaps from an upper floor with large windows into rooms below.

2. Physically extending outwards

Extending a home out into the garden area is generally more straightforward and less costly than extending up or down and this is the most commonly chosen option for increasing space. One downside is losing a substantial amount of the garden and an architect might suggest extending across instead, into a passage that runs alongside the property, if such a space exists. This can be a suitable way of enlarging a kitchen while retaining a garden at the rear of the house. Whatever option is chosen, it makes sense to link an extension with the remaining garden space in a way that provides natural light and views, increasing the feeling of spaciousness. Full height windows facing on to the garden can help to achieve this. Other considerations for this type of extension include whether to build it as a single or double-storey structure, and the need to choose its style – should it be modern or more in keeping with the house’s existing architecture?

3. Extending up or down

It is possible to expand internal space by extending upwards, either by building an extra floor or simply adding height to the existing upper level, but this may be a costly undertaking and, with an extra storey, the space lost from staircases may need to be considered. Of course, it is also possible to convert an existing attic to create extra space. Extending a house downwards is generally the most expensive option of all. This could involve excavating an extra storey underground or merely deepening an existing ground floor to add extra height to rooms. In some homes, it may be possible to convert a basement into a usable space.

Posted by Matt Hughes
February 15, 2014

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