If you have a loft space with sufficient height and it isn’t being used for anything other than storage, you may not be getting as much out of your home as possible. It might be that you would like to have a family room, a place for watching films, playing games and relaxing that isn’t as formal as a living room, or it might be that you could do with a home office, a playroom for the kids, or even an extra bedroom, by converting your loft, you will be making more of your home at minimal expense. The alternatives are to get a house extension, which can be a major building task, or moving to a new property, with all of the hassles that can entail. By contrast, loft conversions are affordable and fast, and they can even help to add value to your home.
It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that it is important to think carefully about the design of your new loft conversion, and whether it will make the best use of the available space. Here are some important considerations for loft conversions that will help to give you a new room that is fit for use.
Get the design right from the beginning
By planning your loft conversion carefully, and with a detailed understanding of the available space, you give yourself a better chance of creating a great new part of your home. It’s important to factor in the loft’s existing dimensions and to understand what this means in terms of livable space. Some questions that you should ask from the very beginning are:
Is there plenty of room for the access stairs?
You will need a height of at least two metres at the point where the stairs are to be accessed. This is a minimum statutory requirement, but it applies only to the area at the head of the stairs. As a general rule, however, two metres is a good benchmark for headroom in as much of the loft as possible, but there are plenty of things that can affect this.
How much space is available?
Remember that the floor space of your loft is not necessarily the same thing as its living space. If your loft has a pitched roof, the areas at each side of the lift may be unusable, although they might make for great storage spaces. Don’t forget that you will need to keep the loft adequately insulated – this is not only so that the loft will stay warm enough, but so that the whole house will not suffer from unnecessary heat loss. It’s essential that your loft conversion does not have a negative impact on the energy efficiency of your home. Roof insulation may result in thicker walls and ceilings, thereby reducing the amount of available space in the loft.
Is there adequate natural light?
If it looks as though your loft will be too dark, and there isn’t enough headroom in certain places, then you may want to consider dormer windows. These are an excellent means of bringing more light into a loft, and they are also a great way of adding more headroom to a loft with a pitched roof.
Dormer windows are particularly effective if you intend to use the converted loft during the day, perhaps as a home office or playroom. One thing to bear in mind when it comes to dormer windows is that they will have a significant impact on the external design of your home, and so it’s important to think carefully about the precise size and shape of dormer window; you need something that will suit both your loft’s internal requirements and your home’s outward appearance. An alternative to a dormer window that will help to bring in plenty of light is a roof window, although these will only add a slight difference in terms of extra headroom.
The answers to these questions, and others like them, should form the basis of your approach to the design of your loft conversion. When it comes to converting a loft, an intelligent approach to design can help you to increase your living space, and get a great deal more out of your home as a result.
Reference source: Architect Your Home