Converting a loft into a bedroom

Wanting a new master suite, Shelagh Pymm and Peter Norris decided the best solution for their property was to extend upwards and convert the attic. The resulting room a small but functional en suite and is well-lit by rooflights.

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Wanting a new master suite, Shelagh Pymm and Peter Norris decided the best solution for their property was to extend upwards and convert the attic.

What they spent: Just over £43,000, with £36,000 taken up by the loft conversion to a bedroom and en suite bathroom, and around £4,500 to fit out the new space

The problem

‘Our house is spread over four storeys, with the bathroom and kitchen on the lower-ground floor, a large living room on the next floor up, two bedrooms above that and then the loft. This meant we had to go down two flights of stairs to get to the bathroom from our bedroom. What we really wanted was a new master bedroom with our own en suite.’

Shelagh Pymm

What we did

‘Converting the loft had always been something we’d thought about doing. With plenty of head height, it seemed liked the logical thing to do to create an extra bedroom suite. However, we didn’t get round to it for ages. To be honest, it was the disruption as much as the money that was putting us off. We both work from home quite a lot and just couldn’t face all the mess and noise.

‘I’d actually kept a leaflet from a local building company that came through the door two years previously, and last spring I got in touch. I asked them to come and assess the space, and give us a quote for the work, which came in at £36,000 for the conversion. We went to see a local project that the team had worked on, which seemed great – so we gave the job to the company.

‘The builders came up with a design and submitted the plans for approval. We were delighted when this came through without any problems. We also spoke to our neighbours to make sure they would be happy with the proposals and to let them know about the potential noise and disruption during the build.

‘The loft had previously been used for storage only and it had two windows already in place at the back. Room needed to be found to allow access, so our office on the floor below would need to be reduced slightly in size to allow for a new staircase. But we’ve made the most of the space underneath these stairs with lots of cupboards for storage.

‘With the roof sloping at the front of the house, therefore reducing head height in that area, it seemed logical to locate the bathroom here, leaving more useable space for the bedroom area. Despite space being tight in the en suite, with clever planning our builders have managed to fit in a shower, WC and, of course, a basin. To bring in extra light they suggested fitting two more VELUX rooflights, a brilliant solution.

‘Once the work on the main shell of the room was under way, I turned my attention to all the finishing touches. I wanted a warm, cosy feel to the bedroom, so nothing too stark or white. I chose dark walnut for the flooring and it really set the tone for the scheme. In fact, then decided to stain the other two flights of stairs in the house to match.

‘A powerful shower, a neat white hand basin and toilet were all we needed in the en suite, and we added some colour and texture here with chocolate-brown and beige tiles inside the shower cubicle.

‘Our bed already had a reasonably new mattress, so we didn’t need to replace it. Unlike many new beds, however, it is all in one piece and so had to be carefully lifted up into the new loft via a pulley rope system. We bought new bedding from Habitat in greys and pinks, aiming to replicate these colours throughout with cushions, lamps and accessories. We stuck to dark wood for the blinds and the bedside tables, so everything would blend in. We’d already decided to keep the walls a neutral cream and let the floor be the focal point.

‘We were very lucky that everything ran to time and pretty much to budget. The only unforeseen cost was £2,500 for a new hot-water boiler and soil stack, which we realised we’d need as there was no water supply or sewerage connected to the loft.

‘The builders were easy to have in the house and very quiet and neat, so I was hardly disturbed. The project has also spurred us on to make other changes – we had built-in wardrobes put in both the other two bedrooms. This is where we store our clothes now, so we can keep our space in the loft free of clutter.

‘It has certainly been money well spent. Our home is now exactly as we want it and it’s so nice to have a relaxing space at the top of the house.’


Fixtures, fittings and appliances£2,158
Furniture and accessories£1,322
Walls and floor£1,044