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Loft Conversion Design Ideas to Maximize Attic Efficiency

You need more space for your home. This may be because the existing living space has been cramped by the clutter you can’t just get rid of. This may also be due to an increase in your family’s head count, probably because you’ve been taking in relatives or are into having pets or kids. Another reason is probably that you simply want to see a lot more space.

Typical home extension where you stretch the perimeters of your house’s first floor may cost a lot of money, time, and effort, and as such, you’re probably thinking of not opting for it. If you have a high enough attic space however, you have a great alternative. You can convert that room above your top floor ceiling into a space fit for a person to live in.

What is Loft Conversion?

Of all the methods to increase one’s living space, a loft conversion is probably the most efficient, though this is limited to certain home designs. The efficiency of its construction lies on the fact that the attic already has a structure to support the loft room. All you need to do is to renovate this space in order to fit modern standards. This however can be costly, but then building a loft saves you a lot of time and effort.

Design Ideas to Maximize Your Loft’s Efficiency

You might be stuck in the design stage and are looking for some loft conversion design ideas. Well then, here are a few tips for you:

1. Install an efficient window.
A window is a legal requirement for every loft. This should provide not only natural ventilation and lighting, but also an avenue of escape in cases of emergency, specifically during a fire. Thus, set your loft window in an ideal location, particularly one that you can access from anywhere in the room.

2. Be clever with your furniture.
Let’s face it, lofts aren’t spacious. Thus, you should think well how you should arrange all those furnishings without sacrificing what little floor space you’ve got. Consider small, modular furniture, as those customized to fit well into the loft’s sloped walls. You should also opt for multi-functional ones, particularly those that provide storage aside from their primary functions.

3. Add adequate lighting.
Install lights that can instill the mood that you want your loft to reflect. Make it sparse and dim if you want it romantic, or you can make it as bright as you prefer it to be. However, make sure that you don’t have to flip the light switches at daytime in order to save electricity. Consider installing VELUX skylights and enjoy natural lighting at its finest.

4. Create an illusion of space.
Making your loft appear spacious is not as tricky as it sounds. Simply minimize the clutter and decoration. An orderly layout can also help, and so does a light paint scheme.

Optimizing your loft is what these loft conversion design ideas aim for. Following these can help you create a loft room that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also possesses a highly efficient design.

Should Your Home Undergo Loft Attic Conversion?

City life, for all its conveniences, certainly has a lot of downsides. For one, urban life can be so rushed and stressful. Also, there always is pollution, and those who live in industrial centers can especially feel this sad fact of urban life. Finally, living space outside of what you already have is very hard to come by.

Your home may start getting cramped for a variety of reasons, and you have little to no room to expand your house. Loft attic conversion is an ingenious way to address this rather common problem, without drastically breaking an entire wall section to extend your home.

An Introduction to Loft Conversion

The attic, as we all know, is perhaps the largest unused space in the house. Unfortunately, it is often used unglamorously as storage, if not left as it was during the home’s construction. Loft attic conversion aims to turn the attic space into a more functional and liveable room, complete with whatever useful feature you wish to install.

It is unfortunate though, that loft conversion may not be for every home. People often jump into conversion projects thinking that it’s just a matter of installing windows and floorboards. Well it’s not, as you have to see whether it is safe to convert your attic or not. There are a few things to take into consideration before proceeding into loft attic conversion.

Possible Loft Living Space

Usually, building authorities require headroom of at least 2.3 m. The width and length of the room usually depends on your preferences, but should be as far away from the eaves as legally possible and should not encroach into the support structure. If your room is found by the building control officer to be wanting, then you might want to ask for his advice or consider other ways to expand your home.

Type of Roof Support in the Attic

Roof support framework usually comes in two common variants, namely rafters and trusses. The simpler rafter framework runs along the roof’s underside and is supported by boards at the sides or near the top. Thus it already is spacious and may be converted given that legal conditions are satisfied. Meanwhile, trusses are uniform webs of boards that stand between the top of the ceiling and the roof. This support structure weaken when cut through, and is therefore not suitable for conversion.

Structural Strength of the Ceiling

The attic room is meant to endure the stress of daily use as much as your first floor room should. The ceiling as is, naturally can’t, and must be reinforced. It’s best to consult experts on this, if you want to know how much you should spend and how will you reinforce your ceiling joists in order to be up to standard.

You should not just do these assessments on your own, or risk making incorrect measurements. It won’t hurt to hire professionals to help you in this, especially since the end result will be a safe and efficient loft room.

Maximizing Space in Small Lofts

It is a fact known to many who are into loft conversion that you will never be able to occupy the entire floor space of any given attic. Building laws and regulations enforced by your local building control officer will prevent you from doing so. You just can’t secretly bypass these rules either. Do so and you’ll be risking safety and your house’s structural integrity.

While many certainly end up with a large fraction of their attic’s floor space, some get no more than a small space that can contain no more than a bed and a few furniture. Occupants of these small lofts, especially well-off ones, tend to get the room cluttered quickly as they give up a lot of space just for convenience’s sake. For most part, the problem here lies not on the size of the converted loft, but on how the place is organized.

Now you don’t have to be a professional or get a degree in interior design in order to figure this one out. You’ll just need plenty of planning and common sense. Here are a few tips to help you out.

  • Use Versatile and Moveable Furniture for a Small Loft
  • Furniture is one of the main reasons why small lofts get cramped so easily. They tend to be large, bulky, and occupy a good chunk of floor space. That said, you should start using furniture that is versatile, or can perform a variety of functions. Do away with furnishings like plain tables and start using ones with drawers or a built in cupboard.

    Furniture that can be tucked away whenever they aren’t in use are also highly recommended. Folding chairs or stackable plastic chairs can save you a lot of space that those heavy wooden chairs cannot.

  • Use Bedding that can Save Loft Space
  • Beds can truly take a lot of floor area in small lofts. Of course we won’t be suggesting that you go with bedrolls or sleeping bags this time. Rather, we say that you invest a fold down bed, one that is hinged at one end such that it can be stored in a wall or the large closet next to it.

    Otherwise, you can also opt for a trundle bed. This one is a pair of beds, with one usually lower than the other and can be put underneath the other, like a large drawer.

  • Paint the Loft Room with Light Colors
  • White or any other light paint can make small lofts feel a lot larger. The entirety of the room should be covered in light color. However, you should paint one small wall section with a different light color such that you won’t feel so confined.

  • Keep Things in Your Loft Neatly Stored
  • Last but not the least, don’t just keep your stuff lying around the place. Store them efficiently and in an organized manner, making use of containers that fit well in your shelves. Don’t just limit your storage on cupboards and shelves, but also make use of vacant and accessible niches.

One thing you have to remember when putting small lofts in order is that organization is the key. Without it, you’ll definitely end up with a messy, uncomfortable living space.

Loft Conversion Costs: Factors and Prices to Consider

Living space in one’s home decreases as time goes by. The whole place ends up cramped as the property is accumulated or as new members get added to the household residents. This can be a problem to some, for which there are varying solutions. One of these is moving to a new house and another is to extend the first floor. Many however, choose to have their attics undergo loft conversion.

Converting the Loft

Converting the loft is a very practical and popular way of extending one’s living space. This requires relatively less time and effort when compared to first floor expansion and relocating to a new home. Here you don’t need to build anything from the ground up as you already have the roof and ceiling serving as your loft’s structure. It just needs some serious renovation, and you’ll be good as done.

Factors to Consider when Determining Conversion Costs

The cost is always the first thing to be figured out by anyone planning to have their attic converted into habitable lofts. The price of conversion projects usually start from around £12,000 to £60,000. Of course, the price for the rest of the project can vary. When calculating the actual cost, these are the factors you have to consider:

1. The final product.
The end result of the conversion project determines how much the loft conversion costs. The rule is that the more complex the loft is, the higher it will cost. For instance, complete residential rooms with bathrooms and all can start at £12,000, while a simple attic storage costs a measly £1000 all in all.

2. The loft’s size.
As with every conversion project, the size dictates how much is going to be spent on various essentials, specifically materials used to reinforce the structure and finish up the interiors. There is no price estimate for these, as it all depends on price of the materials, which in turn depends on the manufacturer and the area.

3. Loft access.
Stairs are a primary means of access to lofts. The cost, like that of the entire loft itself varies depending on the stairs’ complexity. Traditional ones cost around £500, while spiralling staircases come at more or less £2000.

4. Windows.
There are two common options for loft windows. The first is the dormer, the entire construction of which costs at around £2000. The second is the cheaper skylights which double as daytime illumination, the price of which comes at around £600.

5. Professional help.
Certain tasks like plumbing and installation of electricity are required by law to be done by their respective specialists. Meanwhile, the design process and overall construction may be beyond your means. As such, you should hire the necessary professionals and possibly, blue collar workers. Their costs vary, but we recommend employing the services of conversion firms rather than hiring individual contractors which are usually cheaper.

Loft conversion costs are never cheap. The expense however is only for the short term and the long term benefits of owning a loft totally outweighs everything you’ve spent constructing it.

4 Qualities of a Good Loft Conversion Company

Your home may get a little too boring after a while. In that case, you should consider improving your home, maybe through some significant changes or even a major renovation. Change the décor, rearrange the furnishings, install new lights, and whatever you can possibly think of. You might as well want to add a few more square meters your home’s floor space. This can be done through home extension, and there are a number of ways to accomplish this endeavor. One of these is loft conversion, a very popular and efficient home extension method.

Home Extension through Loft Conversion

Many prefer loft conversion due to its apparent simplicity. With this home extension method, one only has to make a liveable loft room out of the usually ignored attic space. However, this task is never as simple as it sounds. Drastic changes are required to complete a conversion. This may be somewhere be somewhere in between simply reinforcing the ceiling’s topside to the complete reconstruction of the roof.

Some Qualities that Determine a Good Loft Conversion Firm

Most of the work in a loft conversion process can be treated as a DIY. However, not many have the sufficient skill and expertise to opt for this. Instead, the majority hires a loft conversion company to do much of the conversion work for them. If you’re thinking of doing likewise, here are a few qualities you should look for in a conversion company before hiring one:

1. Affordability
As with everything else, the budget is the first thing you should consider when hiring a loft conversion firm. Find a company that offers conversion services at a very reasonable price without sacrificing quality work. You can ask companies directly about this, as standard prices tend not to apply to most lofts.

2. Trustworthiness
Also, the company you should hire ought to be honest and trustworthy in all respects. Those with good reputations and those you can deal fairly with are the ones with whom you should do business, as they can deliver honest work – no cutting corners, unnecessary fees, and the like.

3. Efficiency
The company you should hire must be able to complete the task at the least possible time and with as little material resources as possible. Such efficient companies will save you a lot of money, as long-drawn work tends to drain a lot of cash from your funds.

4. Expertise
Know if the conversion company does their job really well. Find samples in their print materials and websites. If possible, you might even want to visit previous clients and check their lofts. Hire the company if you find their output satisfactory in terms of both function and form, but only if you can afford them. Remember, the best conversion company delivers the best possible output without being so expensive.

Before hiring a loft conversion company, always make sure that the contractor in question is trustworthy and can deliver great results in as little amount of time and resources as possible. To put it simply, the company ought to be honest and efficient, or you’ll end up spending more than you can afford.

Loft Conversion Building Regulations for a Safe Loft Design

There will inevitably come a time when you judge that the existing space in your home is no longer enough for you to live in. Such requires no simple solution. Will you just buy a new house and move out? It sounds easy, but it’s also a little too expensive in both the property purchase and moving costs. This option is best reserved when no renovation can fix the home. Will you just have to expand your house instead? Why not, as this frankly is a better idea.

Now what options do you have when extending your home? First you have a single storey extension where you basically add some square meters to your first floor. Then there’s a multiple storey extension, which is just the same as the first floor extension method, but applied to two or more storeys of the residential building. Fancy folks would resort to the conservatory, a sort of greenhouse extension. All of these however, take up much lot space, and may end up impractical, most especially when the house in question is situated in cramped urban areas.

Loft Conversion

If you have no way to add to the existing area covered by your home, then there’s no need to lose hope. A loft conversion can solve your house extension problem for you, provided that your home has a roof. This method is simply put transforming your normally ignored attic into a more valuable and useful top-floor room. It currently enjoys a lot of popularity thanks to its practicality, flexibility, and for its mere cool factor.

The attic’s conversion may be a lot easier and less time-consuming than the previously mentioned home extension methods, but it’s not really uncomplicated. It’s not as simple as reinforcing the ceiling and creating a semblance of a functional room out of the attic. It also needs to follow certain loft conversion building regulations, which is essential if you want to do the conversion correctly and up to legal and modern standards.

Lofts That Don’t Require a Permit

You can freely construct your loft and not be hassled by paperwork. That however is only possible if you restrict your design to the following regulations:

• The loft must never go beyond the roof’s existing dimensions.
• You need sufficient roof space: 40 cubic meters for terraced homes and 50 cubic meters for detached and semi-detached ones.
• Windows and other openings should be 1.7 meters above the loft’s floor; side-facing ones require obscure glazing.
• No open features such as balconies, verandas, etc.
• Apart from hip-and-gable, roof extensions like dormers should be no less than 20 centimeters away from the lower edges of the roof; all roof extensions are prohibited in designated areas like national parks.

These are just provisions to be followed in order to have a safe loft design. You don’t have to limit your loft to these rules. You can be as free as you wish when converting your attic, so long as you have the permit required and your design still follows the latest loft conversion building regulations. These laws, all prioritizing safety and practicality, vary from one area to another. It is thus best to consult the local building control officer for such regulations in your locale.

4 Practical Loft Conversion Advices

If you are looking for a great way to improve your home and add a great deal of space to it at the same time, look no further and convert your loft. This is because a loft extension is one of the most efficient home extension methods and is one that can produce outstanding results, often in the form of a comfortable loft room. A home within a home indeed.

Why Should You Choose to Convert Your Loft?

A loft conversion is one of the most efficient home extension methods, making it an amazing alternative to the likes of conservatories and single storey extension. For one, it does not take much time and effort to complete. Also, it may not cost you much money when planned properly.

Besides being efficient and cost-effective, loft conversion also offers a lot of side benefits. The first is obviously all that space it adds to your house. The added floor space amounts to more or less 30% in an average house. The presence of a functional loft room also increases the real property value of the house, meaning it can now be sold at a price a lot higher than how much it originally costs.

Some Advice Before Converting Your Loft

For some reason, you probably may also want to convert that useless attic space. If that’s the case, here’s some loft conversion advice:

1. Get assistance from the building control officer.
Before the actual construction could take place, make it a point to pay a visit to the local building control officer. Inquire about the regulations you should follow or if you already have a loft design, let him check on it and see if it fits your loft and is within the limits of existing regulations.

2. Plan carefully and in detail.
Be thorough with your planning. Assess your requirements and determine if it is practical with your loft and see if you can afford the conversion. Design the loft in accordance with the existing building regulations if you wish to build straight away. Going beyond the rules will require a permit, and that will take some time and may be costly to obtain.

3. Pay for professional help.
If you can’t do a certain part of the conversion, don’t be afraid to spend to hire professionals. Having someone who knows what he or she’s doing, work on that certain difficult task, can save you not only time but also money that could’ve been wasted if the problem delayed the conversion process. Employing an architect during the design stage is recommended, as this professional can create a design that’s within the limits of your budget, your loft’s dimensions, and the laws involved.

4. Remember: things don’t always go according to plan.
Be flexible. If some circumstances prevent you from proceeding to a certain task, do not linger on it and consider making some changes that you’ll still be satisfied with. Never force a solution, lest you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and effort for little gain.

Is the article too long? Here’s a short summary of all these loft conversion advice: know your limits, plan carefully, be flexible, and do not be too stingy to get professional help.

Loft Conversion: Roof Types and Their Implications

There are plenty of solutions to the problem of insufficient living space, but home extension is perhaps the best and most cost-effective way to address the problem. There are of course, many different methods to achieve this, but none is probably as popular as a loft conversion. There’s just a lot of reason why this home extension method is preferred by many homeowners.

Why Go For Loft Conversion?

Turning the attic into a decent, liveable loft room is what loft conversion does. This means to extend a house’s living space basically breathes life into the attic, that space between the roof and the ceiling that often falls to long periods of neglect and misuse.

In many occasions, loft conversion often comes at a great financial cost; sometimes, it may even be deemed as impractical. However, this home extension method is still very popular, and for many understandable reasons. For one, it does not consume a lot of space like first floor extension. As a result, no new construction is needed, thus saving a lot of money on building materials like wood and concrete. Also, a loft conversion is very flexible, and applicable anywhere with a sloped roof.

Types of Roofing Structure

We’ve previously mentioned that loft conversion is not always feasible. The possibility of conversion is decided by various factors, among which is the roof structure. There are three loft conversion roof types, each design dictating what type of loft can be possibly built into it:

1. Truss roof
The truss is a relatively modern type of roof support. Its use became common during the 1960s, and is now a common feature of houses built after the aforementioned decade. It is easily characterized by its W-shaped supports that connect the floor to the ceiling. This unfortunately cannot be converted into a loft, as the required modifications will significantly weaken it. As such, truss roofs are often replaced with better alternatives if conversion ought to push through.

2. Hipped roof
A roof is called hipped if it has sloped sides all throughout. It is also characterized by its rafter supports, and is often called the rafter-type roof. Such internal framework makes this very suitable for conversion as its obstructive beams can be cleared out without consequence. Given the present building regulations regarding head room however, converted hipped roofs do not cover much of the attic’s floor space.

3. Gable roof
The gable refers to one of those loft conversion roof types supported by two or more walls called gables. Converting this creates a loft that maximizes the ceiling space, unlike hipped roof conversions. The gable roof comes in three forms: the “gable” whose pitch or roof height is uniformed; the “gambrel” which has one section of the roof higher than the rest; and the “salt box” which is known for its randomly varying pitch.

Knowing which of these loft conversion roof types sits atop your house is important before planning any conversion project. It not only helps you determine the practicality of loft conversion, but also allows you to learn what sort of conversion is possible and what is not.

Loft Conversion: Stairs as Loft Access

Loft conversion has seen a growth in popularity this past half century. Once a practice reserved only for the artistic and resourceful, it has become a home improvement fad and a popular home extension method. Renovating the attic simply is a lot cheaper in non-monetary resources than many other ways to extend a house. Also, a loft certainly is a more pleasant place to live in compared to lower storey rooms and a lot more so than the basement, the conversion of which costs roughly the same as that of the attic.

Loft Conversion

Loft conversion is basically what its name says it is. It’s the total conversion of that dark, dusty space directly below the roof and above the original top floor’s ceiling into a stable and functional living space. This home extension method gives purpose to what is basically the largest unused space in the house. Once completed, the loft can account to more or less 30% of the total living space of a typical one- or two-storey detached housing unit.

Types of Loft Stairs

For most homes, the converted loft serves as the top floor. Naturally, it can be reached via an elevated access installed during loft conversion. Stairs is perhaps the most common, especially in lofts built into residential buildings. There are actually several types of stairs, and below are the designs most often used:

1. Straight run stairs
This perhaps has the simplest design, being stairs following a straight, elevated path. Straight run stairs have the advantage of being easy to use, but is known to take a lot of space on the floor below the loft.

2. Alternating tread stairs
It is designed in such a way that the steps alternate between each foot, this type of stairs is a good alternative to straight run stairs. Angled steeply, it costs less space and construction can be uncomplicated. This is not recommended to homes with handicapped or elderly residents however, as using this type of stairs can be very difficult for them.

3. Spiral staircase
When prioritizing space during loft construction, stairs of this design often comes to mind. Constructing a spiralling stairway is tricky and might require some outside help, but it saves a lot of floor space and can be made to look aesthetically appealing.

4. Pull-down loft stairs
Pull-down stairs are basically retractable ladders that can be stored at the ceiling. This is one of the cheapest options, and is best used on lofts that aren’t accessed often, like those used for storage.

5. Disappearing stairs
This type of stairs is so-called as it can be concealed in the ceiling when not in use. It may be an accordion or telescoping stairs. The former features hinged treads and can be tucked in a small area in the ceiling, while the latter unfolds one tread at a time. Both often includes safety railings for obvious reasons.

If you are planning to convert your loft, your choice of stairs is important. Always make sure that it is not only practical, but also safe and fits your mundane preferences.

Loft Conversions and Their Benefits

Many people who have lived in a single house for quite a while share a single problem. This is the ever shrinking living space that resulted from the gradual accumulation of material possessions and possibly an increase in the family’s size. Whether this is a bad thing or not is somewhat subjective however. There are just some individuals who like their cramped home the way it is, while there are many who feel like they can use a little more living space.
Like any other problem, this has several solutions. One option is to leave and move to a bigger house, but a change in address may lead to complications and new houses are expensive to begin with. Some try to alleviate the problem by enlarging their house, which, though cheaper than moving, takes a lot of time and effort to complete. The more practical ones however, resort to loft conversion.

Explaining Loft Conversion

Now what is loft conversion, you ask? Simply put, it is the conversion of the attic into a loft, thereby giving use to this often underutilized space between the ceiling and the roof. Loft conversions are popular in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, owing to the fact that this solution to the shrinking of household space is not as expensive as both moving and literal home expansion in terms of money, time, and effort.

Loft conversions in any form however aren’t merely done by setting up your attic such that it looks like a room. No, it’s not that simple. There are standards you are required by law to follow. Building authorities have issued building codes specifically concerning attic conversion, and these are enforced by the local building control officer, a professional in his own right and a person who can actually help during the conversion process. Don’t view the building rules as pointless restriction though; each paragraph aims to ensure that your loft is safe and stable.

The Benefits of Owning a Converted Loft

Experts will often recommend loft conversion not just because lofts are good to look at. A home owner can certainly enjoy several benefits associated with owning a loft. The first obviously is the additional living space gained from a loft. This amounts to what is basically somewhere around 30% of the house’s liveable space, which is a really big waste before the conversion.

Next, we have the fact that lofts increase the house’s value at more or less 20%, as it adds up to the usage of the house for every square meter its first floor occupies. Thus, those planning to eventually sell their home can benefit from owning a loft.

The last benefit is that you can make money from your loft, even before you could start thinking about selling the house. Get the right business papers, separate the loft from the rest of your home, and have it rented to individuals, small families, or short-term residents.

Loft conversion however, isn’t cheap. Fortunately, the price can be offset by the benefits a loft can possibly provide besides giving you that extra space you’ve always needed.