‘Don’t try to cram too much into your space’
Hugo Tugman (tugman.co.uk), founder of Architect Your Home and MD of Tugman Architects & Designers, gives his tips on converting your space:
‘Several factors need to combine for a successful loft space. Layout, daylight, orientation, structure, headroom and staircase are all important – it’s no use getting only one right. For example, you can work out a layout for a new bedroom and landing. However, when you figure out how the stairs will arrive on the floor below, it does not work. You then change the position downstairs and it ruins the arrangement above.
‘Some lofts are not worth converting, usually because there is not enough height. It is rare for planning authorities to let you raise the ridge height of a roof. While the Building Regulations have no minimum ceiling height, they require a minimum of two metres of headroom over a staircase. In some lofts with restricted height, the top of the stairs often take up the best space, leaving the room you’re trying to convert as an awkward space. The best way to get additional height is to consider lowering the ceilings of the rooms below.
‘Don’t try to cram too much in. Often a loft is compromised because people try to shoehorn two bedrooms and a bathroom in. Beware: plans for lofts can make them look bigger than they really will be as they show the whole floor space and don’t indicate the areas under low parts of a sloping ceiling that are unuseable as accommodation, though these low areas do afford great storage opportunities.
‘A common mistake is to think about the cost of the main moves and ignore the sum of all the smaller bits. A lot of companies give a price for the ‘shell’ as the shell represents 50 per cent of the cost – but all the wiring, heating, basins, tiling and so on will add up if you’re not careful.’
‘A bedroom should be luxurious and organised’
Sara Pomfret, founder of luxury bedroom furniture company Raines & Willow (rainesandwillow.com), worked for Harrods and The White Company before starting up her own business. She shares her expert bedroom design advice:
‘If you have a large master bedroom, buy the biggest bed you can afford so it’s the main focal point. In larger rooms, include more colour as well as some armchairs and footstools in bold prints for that wow-factor.
‘When planning the décor of a small guest bedroom, don’t minimise the space by using dark colours on the walls and furniture – muted natural colours in fabrics and furniture, such as white, ivory and stone, create a light romantic style.
‘I live in an old cottage and my problem is storage. Our bedroom doesn’t have space for a wardrobe, so I use a chest of drawers and interchange my clothes throughout the year. A bedroom should feel luxurious and organised. When planning storage, don’t feel compelled to buy large plastic containers and storage units – deep ottomans and divan bases with drawers provide excellent storage.
‘Experiment with lighting. We’ve installed tiny spotlights which give our room an amazing warm glow in the evening. Bedside lamps and floor lamps help accent a dull space.
‘For a classic look, try a Scandinavian-style bedroom. It can be created easily by incorporating clean textures and colours, and works in large and small spaces. A white bed features in most designs, but the look can still be achieved with an upholstered bed to avoid creating a cold space.’
‘Maximise space and choose clever storage’
Simon Glanville, MD of Store (aplaceforeverything.co.uk), a company specialising in space-saving products, shares his ideas:
‘When you’re de-cluttering, follow the Three Box Rule: label one the Definitely Keep Box, another as the Attempt to Sell Box and a final one as the Charity/ Recycle Box. Then start reorganising.
Choose storage containers that are transparent so you can easily identify what’s inside. Store possessions you use daily in accessible places to save valuable time. Invest in storage that is flexible like our modular Elfa shelving system. As your needs change over time, flexible storage will continue to work for you.
‘Now move on to individual rooms. Maximise space in the bathroom with corner-fitting laundry baskets. Keep toiletries in large cabinets that can fit under sinks and along free wall space.
‘Bedrooms offer potential – store seasonal clothing, bedding and items needed at certain times, like Christmas decorations, under the bed. Boost your storage with hanging sweater or shoe organisers inside the wardrobe and over-door hooks. Sitting rooms can get untidy, so containerise magazines, DVDs, CDs and remote controls in dual-use coffee tables with internal shelving, or use storage cubes that can be used as side tables. In hallways ensure there are coat hooks and a shoe rack.’
All prices and stockists correct at time of publishing