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Things to Consider before Converting your Loft

A loft conversion can be a great asset to any home, creating an additional bedroom, den or study for the family to enjoy. The great thing about loft conversions is that they provide the same great space that is offered with an extension, however they don’t always need planning permission and usually require a lot less work – reducing costs significantly.


A Thousand Questions to Ask before Planning 


Ideally the area between the floor and ceiling needs to measure 2.3 metres or more to ensure adequate headroom. How steep is your roof? – In order to not require planning permission, you cannot extend the height of the highest point of your roof. If you have a steep roof you’re more likely to have a much bigger space and may be able to install a mezzanine level for a sleeping area, whilst still keeping the floor space in the main part of the conversion.

If you’re using the room for a study, will the desk fit once the windows and stairs have been installed? Will the bed be accessible from both sides? Can you easily fit enough plug sockets in the room? Is it sound proof – can you hear the neighbours or the rest of the house from the attic and will they be able to hear you? Is there enough room for radiators or a heating system – will your current boiler be able to handle the additional radiators?


Why are you choosing to install a loft conversion? – Is there a new addition to the family? Do you require a study or playroom? Is it simply a man cave or den for gaming? How much will the room be used – will it still be being used in five years’ time? If you’re installing a bedroom because your children are too old to share think about how long it will be till the eldest leaves home or moves on to University and what the room would be used for when that happens.


When you replace your loft or attic with a room you lose a lot of storage space – have you planned for this? Are you going to have to pay for alternative storage or can you get away with using the space that is available after the conversion is finished? – For example, if your roof has a deep slope it will be impossible to ‘live’ in some areas as the ceiling will be so low but it will make for perfect storage!


Installing a ‘Loft Friendly’ Bathroom


If you’re installing a bathroom, will it severely compromise the size of the room – does it fit comfortably in a corner or does it jut out into the room? Can you stand up at full height and still have a couple of feet until the ceiling – would a shower, with a raised tray, fit? – Is it easy to install a water and waste pipe? Is there enough natural light – are you going to have to install an extensive lighting system – could you place a sky light above the bathroom to make it feel bigger?

Think about installing a wet room instead of a bathroom, especially if your ceiling is particularly low, as a shower or bath can take a foot or so away from the height of the room. If a wet room isn’t for you try to choose a shower with a low set water catchment tray or a lightweight bath. Furnish the bathroom with undersized fixtures, especially if the bathroom is small. The small fixtures will make the room feel bigger overall.


Once you’ve really done your research and determined how well the existing loft space will let itself to your desired outcome, you can get to the fun part: design! Depending on your budget and location there will be many ways to make your loft what you’ve always wanted it to be. 

Image credit:  ParisSharing on Flickr

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