Property wishlist: A space-making loft conversion

Create extra room for storage or a home office with a modern loft conversion

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Create an extra room in your home for use as storage or a home office with a loft conversion.

Why put it on your wishlist?

Converting your loft gives all the benefits of extra space and the bonus of a clear physical separation from the rest of the home. This can be particularly desirable if you want an office you can leave behind at the end of the day, if your kids – including grown-up returners – need space to call their own, or if you’d like the luxury of a bedroom with en suite and dressing space.

What’s new?

‘One of the biggest trends among our clients is to expand existing lofts to maximise what they currently have or add another room or a bathroom,’ says James Gold, Chartered building consultant and director of Landmark Lofts. ‘Another trend for some clients is to incorporate a terrace into their loft conversion as a result of limited outdoor space.’

loft convesion

What you should consider

‘At least 2.1 metres of head-height is required within the loft itself, and is measured from the ceiling joists to the ridge,’ explains James. ‘If you don’t have this, you can consider lowering the ceilings of the floor below, but you will need to factor in the additional cost of altering built-in wardrobes and complex lighting, which can add between £12,000 and £15,000 to a project.’

A loft conversion alone may not need planning permission, subject to some conditions (check with your local authority), but incorporating a balcony would. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached house, party wall notices will need to be served. Good insulation is vital. ‘As much as 25 per cent of the energy used to heat your home could be escaping through the roof, so the right insulation could save you hundreds of pounds a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust,’ says Jonathan Younger, marketing director of Mark Group.

‘You can insulate the roof of the loft instead of the floor by fixing insulation boards between the rafters. They can then be covered by plasterboard. It’s important to think about how you’re going to heat your extra space early on, whether it’s connecting a new radiator to your existing system or installing an electric heater.’

Need to know

‘Involve an architect as early as possible, as this will make a huge difference to how the space is planned and eventually used,’ says James. ‘It will also work out cheaper in the long run, as you’ll have expert plans drawn up that are fully functional.

‘It’s still possible to get funding to help you install loft insulation for free,’ adds Jonathan. ‘Visit markgroup.co.uk to see if you qualify based on your area postcode.’

How much will it cost?

‘On average, a loft conversion will cost between £45,000 and £55,000,’ says James. ‘If you are converting an existing space the price could start at £30,000, but large projects, with multiple dormers or balcony extensions, for example, may cost £100,000 or more.’

Featured image: Landmark Lofts created a smart and striking loft bedroom and bathroom for designer Ben de Lisi. The project took around three to four months from start to finish, and cost around £50,000