Are you looking to convert your small attic to gain additional space in your home? A loft conversion is always an attractive and practical way to add value to your home by up to 20%, but the challenge is how would you convert it to gain additional space out of a limited loft space.
In this article, we’ll share with you a series of small loft conversion ideas that will guide you in creating and transforming the small space in your loft, to multiple different opportunities, from a new small bedroom, extra family bathroom and wash area, to a storage area with sloping eaves, it’s always helpful to have the extra space.
What loft conversion types are suitable for small loft spaces?
Roof Light/ Velux Loft Conversions
Installing a Velux window to transform your attic into a livable space is one of the most low-cost loft conversion options for small houses that don’t require any external alteration to your roofline. It will work well if the attic has enough headroom.
Adding roof lights can introduce natural lights to your space, making it more spacious and airy. You can incorporate new technologies in your loft, such as a thermostat that automatically opens or closes Velux windows when your room reaches the pre-selected temperature. Or you can fit rain sensors so that it will close on its own when it detects rain. These would be of good help if your ceilings are high, and reaching the windows is difficult for you.
Of course fi you’re not planning on using your loft as a regular room and rather storage, there are cheaper options, in which you won’t have to spend added expenses on larger windows.
Dormer Loft Conversions
If you want to gain additional space and headroom out of your small loft area, then a dormer loft conversion would suit you. It basically adds an extension to your attic’s square footage. It’s often placed at the rear part of your roof.
The space you can gain from it is ideal for an additional bedroom, study room, home office, or nursery. You can also add an ensuite or use it as a walk-in closet or separate dressing room. Many customers love the idea of a loft bathroom added to their loft extension.
If you live in a conservation area and prefer a mini extension to your loft, a single dormer would do for you. But if you want to maximise the space and achieve a completely different feel in your area, then a full-width dormer may be the right choice for your small attic conversion.
However a double room or two seperate rooms such as a study & a bathroom may be added expenses for your small room conversion, so it’s important to shop around and really look for what will benefit your home & fit your needs.
Mansard Loft Conversions
If you need a full-scale extension to give you maximum space, this option may be the best for you. It usually requires planning permission and a bigger budget since you’ll have to do a significant alteration to the roofline of your attic. But the wider livable area, light and impeccable design a mansard attic conversion can give can make it worth the investment.
A flat roof usually characterises a mansard loft conversion with a sloping back wall that forms 72 degrees. You can also upgrade it by adding more features like Juliet Balcony to enhance the aesthetics further and maximise the natural light that enters the loft. Incorporating a Mansard loft conversion can typically include loft conversion stairs, the staircase can be designed beautifully to match your new lofts aesthetic, although the job may take longer than expected, however this is one of our all time favourite conversions
Hip-to-gable Loft Conversions
Most houses with hipped roofs like those in a semi-detached home have small internal volume. So if your property has a semi-detached design, this conversion type which involves changing the sloping roof to a vertical gable structure, is a practical solution to gain more space in your loft.
Terraced House Loft Ideas
No matter what your loft conversion plan maybe, it’s always good to have an idea of what you want your new space to incorporate.
Using your loft as a storage space for all your stuff might be the answer to your storage problems, and the good news is it isn’t an expensive option. However, you need to bear in mind that not all lofts can carry heavy loads of heavy objects. So, you need to ensure that your newly converted attic space is safe to use.
If you want a space dedicated to your hobbies, like playing video games or watching a movie, then you can make use of your loft to relax and unwind or pursue your passion. With some bean bags, cupboards, modern floor lamps and a few personal touches, you can transform your loft into a relaxing place in your home.
Turning your loft into a playroom for your little ones is also a good way to make use of your attic space. The slanted walls look similar to a big tent, giving them a camping vibe. And with creativity and a little enhancement with interesting wallpapers and chalkboards, you can bring magic into their play area.
Since kids want a space to stretch and play, you don’t need to fill the loft with furniture. A table with comfy stools, accessible toy storage, bookcase and soft rugs would already do to add colour and decor into it.
If you need an extra bedroom for your family members, friends or visitors, a loft conversion bedroom is a great idea. But your attic must have enough headroom to make it a comfortable space. If your ceiling is too low, you can either alter the roofline and install dormers or mansards or lower the ceiling to the room below. Still, you need to consult with professionals regarding your plans to ensure that the project and alterations comply with the building regulations.
When it comes to styling your bedroom, you can either incorporate a classic design or a contemporary one that’s more in today. Since your loft is a blank canvas, you have a wide range of styling options for the interiors to make it your comfort space.
If you have no plans to make your loft a cosy bedroom, how about an epic home cinema? You may need to do some soundproofing, though, to avoid causing hassle to your neighbours. It would be best to use a dark colour scheme similar to a real cinema, but it doesn’t always have to be black. You can go for the dark blue, mossy green, or crimson for a classical cinema feel. Add some blinds or a black curtain, and your cinema room is good to go.
Home Office or Study Room
A home office or study area requires less space and is a lot easier and cheaper than converting a loft into a bedroom. Therefore, it’s a practical option for a smaller budget. Natural light is crucial for work since it can make you feel productive, so why don’t you install more Velux windows or dormers to let more natural light enter your room? It can also make the area look more spacious, and it’s less harsh than conventional office building lights.
Semi-Detached House Loft Conversion Ideas
Most people want to add a spare bedroom in the loft of their semi-detached family home. If you want to make use of the limited space well, we recommend placing your sitting bed under the eaves so that you could make room for a wardrobe or an ensuite. You can also create bespoke storage around the nooks and crannies of your loft.
Extra bathroom ensuite
An extra bathroom should go hand in hand with an additional bedroom in your loft if possible. But to maximise the space well, it’d be best to place bathtubs or storage drawers under the eaves and put shower stalls somewhere where the head height is enough.
Since more and more people today are working from home in the midst of the pandemic, it would help if you have a room dedicated to work or studies, and a loft is an ideal place for home offices. Many people prefer installing floor to ceiling windows in their dormer conversion, while others opt for sliding doors if their property has a Juliet balcony.
Extra living room
Living space at the loft where you can overlook the cityscape or eye-pleasing landscape is an ideal space for relaxation, and you can make it possible by converting your attic into a living room. If you want to place and highlight wooden furniture’s beauty, white paint can keep it balanced and not clinical. But if you’re going to upgrade your look’s interior, adding bold accessories like pouffe or fixtures with striking patterns is the way to go.
If you’re looking for space where you can store your clothes and accessories, then look no further than your attic. You can make use of its quirky angles to create a beautiful and organised walk-in wardrobe. However, proper ventilation is vital to make you feel comfortable and prevent moulds. And if you want to try on clothes up there, you’ll also need a handy mirror.
Basic or tiny loft conversions are relatively cheaper. It can take as little as £15,000 to £17,000. But a middle-sized room with a double bedroom and two windows will cost around £18,000-£25,000, and an attic space with two large bedrooms and ensuite can cost you anywhere between £25,000 to £40,000.
But if we would take the loft conversion types into account, these numbers can easily fluctuate depending on the kind of work you’re planning to do. The cheapest and least disruptive conversion is the Velux loft conversion, costing around £15,000-£20,000.
On the other hand, for a dormer loft conversion that can significantly increase the amount of headspace in your attic, you can expect to pay £30,000 to £60,000.
A hip-to-gable loft conversion which works well with detached and semi-detached homes can provide a lot of extra space, but since it requires roof alteration, it can be more expensive, ranging from £40,000 to £65,000.
The most expensive option is the Mansard attic conversion because it will incorporate changing your roof’s whole shape, making it look flat or almost vertical from the outside. It can cost anywhere between £45,000-£70,000.
Loft Conversion Insulation
Regardless of the type of loft conversion or how large the area is, insulating is essential for every project in your home. Since attic conversion became more popular in the UK, the regulations also became more stringent. Even modifications done a decade ago are not likely to meet the standard these days if it has very little insulation.
Building regulations state that your roof’s u-value (thermal transmittance) must be 0.18W/m2 or less, which means that the insulation layer should be 270mm thick with a 175mm rigid board or a spray foam filling of about 125mm thick. If your existing loft insulation doesn’t meet these standards, then you may need to retrofit new insulation when you convert your attic. It can help reduce the amount of heat loss in your roof. Hence the amount of fuel needed to burn for heating will be reduced, and you can enjoy lower energy bills and a better energy-efficiency rating for your home.
If you need a step-by-step guide in DIY loft insulation, you may find this article helpful in getting the job done yourself.
But aside from loft insulation, there are many more regulations that you must adhere to when converting your attic space.
Loft Conversion Building Regulations
Building regulations created by the government set standard building works a loft conversion to ensure that every work is structurally sound. The elements that will be assessed if it meets the building regulation approval are the following:
Fire safety: Installing fire-resistant doors is crucial to ensure that the new room is safe from fire, and mains-powered alarms are also necessary to send a signal in case of fire.
Floor and beams: Adding new floor joists is also necessary to support the room’s weight and everything in it.
Sound insulation: The loft will also be assessed to make sure it is sufficiently-insulated.
Stairs: Staircases or stairs often provide an escape in case of fire, and retractable staircases or ladders are usually not acceptable.
Walls: The external and internal walls need to be checked to ensure that they can carry the load and structural stability. It must also be examined for thermal efficiency and weather resistance, and it was re-rendered or cladded well. The new walls must also support the existing or new roofs if the previous supports have been removed.
Doors and windows: You’ll also need to ensure that your windows and doors are energy-efficient to prevent thermal heat loss.
Roof: Inspecting it is also crucial to see if there’s a movement in the alteration that can cause cracks in the walls. It must also be checked to ensure that it would not collapse and it has proper support.
Electrics: The electrics in your loft must also comply with the building regulations. So, you may need to pick a qualified or registered professional to do the notifiable works such as the fuse box or consumer unit installation and fitting of a new circuit or alteration to an existing one.
Drainage: You’ll also need to increase your rainwater pipes and gutters if the roof size was increased because insufficient drainage can put you at risk of flooding.
Height: The minimum headroom height for a traditional roof is usually 2.2 to 2.4 meters, while for a modern trussed roof, it has to be around 2.4 to 2.6 meter high.
Kitchen and bathrooms: Inspectors don’t necessarily need to check your kitchen and bathroom, but the ventilation, thermal performance, drainage and fire safety in it must pass the requirements stated in the building regulation.
But aside from these regulations, there are other things worth considering before converting your attic.
Other Things To Consider Before The Loft Conversion
Party Wall Agreement
This agreement is necessary if the work will affect the wall that joins your house to your neighbour to ensure that it will be fair and won’t put your neighbour’s property in danger. So, you need to give a Party Wall Notice that will summarise the proposed work and provide copies of your plans to your neighbours before the work could commence. If they have some concerns, they may ask an independent party wall surveyor to inspect the projects, ask for reasonable amendments if needed and approve the work.
If bats live on your roof, you need to have a bat survey because they are a protected species, and you may need to get a mitigation license to carry out the work if you found out that your loft shelters them. The survey can cost you around £300 to £400 or more.
Complying with building regulations is undoubtedly tricky and time-consuming, but they are made to protect you and give you peace of mind knowing that your loft meets the standard. If you want to avoid issues and delay in the project, you’ll need to hire a competent builder or professionals that truly understand these building regulations and provide quality output and excellent quality.