From Constrained to Spacious: How Extending Upward or Outward Can Revolutionize Your Home

Depending on why you need more room in your home, you may decide on a loft conversion or a ground-floor extension. Either one will provide more living space, enhance your home and ultimately add value to your property. However, an important but often ignored aspect of expanding your home is how it can impact your quality of life.

Moving Up

So you’ve decided to extend your home upward and convert your underutilised loft space. This approach offers you an excellent opportunity to add an extra bedroom and bathroom, thereby increasing both the living space and the value of your property. One of the determining factors in house prices is the number of bedrooms and an extra bathroom is also a big selling point.

But if you already have all the living space that you need, you’re not restricted to putting in a bedroom and bathroom. Instead, a dormer loft conversion can be used as a home office, yoga studio, study, library, games room, home cinema or hobby room.

Yes, extending your home does add value and will give your property more saleability but it can also revolutionize how you live in the house. Improving your quality of life with a practical space that is not limited in its functionality gives you the flexibility to change the usage of the room.

As children grow up, you no longer work from home or you switch hobbies, the loft conversion can serve whatever purpose you choose. When grandchildren come along you can reinvent the loft conversion as a guest bedroom or playroom. As your life changes and your priorities shift your home should follow suit, matching your needs and growing with you.

Moving Out

Extending your home outward does two things. It provides you with the opportunity to increase the footprint of your home but simultaneously reduces the outside space. When planning a new kitchen/diner, extra living space or an additional bedroom it can be easy to forget that to gain the new interior space you need to sacrifice part of your garden.

If the outside space forfeited was unused anyway such as with a side return extension that typically swallows up an underutilised side alley there is no real loss. Your bins and neglected bikes will find homes elsewhere. However, a rear extension often eats into your garden to a greater extent and this is worth considering.

Young parents in particular may want to provide extra living space for their growing family but need to balance this with having enough garden left for their kids to play outside happily. Some extension plans can allow you to combine the indoor and outdoor spaces such as a kitchen/diner with bifold doors. This can mitigate the loss of some of the garden by blending the two.

Of course, practical issues such as the need for more rooms and adding value to the property are essential considerations. But don’t forget the positive consequences of spending time outside either pottering around in the garden or just enjoying the fresh air and sounds of nature.

Whichever way you choose to extend your living space, upward or outward don’t neglect the impact that these extensions will have on your quality of life and factor that into your decision.

- by Matt Watts