So you’ve decided on a loft conversion. Congratulations, you’ve made a great choice!
Loft conversions are cheaper and more flexible in terms of design than extensions or basement conversions for example, and can also add significant value to your home.
However, if you look up into your loft and see that it might be difficult to convert it for use as a fully-fledged room, you may feel disappointed. Either it has an incredibly small footprint, or there are a number of ‘W’ shaped roof trusses that form the structure of the roof, occupying the majority of the space at your disposal.
Well, don’t panic, in order to comply with Building Regulations, your loft only needs to be 2.4m at its highest point (measured from the top of the ceiling boards to the apex of your roof). In terms of final standing room after the conversion, there needs to be a minimum of 2m.
If you have trusses in your loft its good news too! Professional loft conversions specialists can remove these and replace with steel or timber alternatives that run the length of your loft, providing all the support necessary to ensure that your property remains structurally sound.
How to Get the Best out of a Small Loft
Beyond the minimum requirements, making a small loft feel big is all about design. Working with a loft conversion specialist that has a dedicated in-house architect is a must; so too is considered interior design. Here are some tips:
- Don’t Discount Larger Items of Furniture
With a small space, people often avoid buying larger items of furniture because they think it has a tendency to dominate the room. While this can be true, a large piece of furniture can sometimes provide a design centerpiece, reducing the need for other items in its periphery. As such, you will create maximum impact with a carefully considered piece and free up extra space in the process.
- Minimise Clutter
Necessity is the mother of invention, meaning that you have to be innovative when designing storage space in a smaller loft conversion. As a general rule of thumb, the trick is to reduce unnecessary clutter where possible, but if it is a child’s bedroom that you’re creating, the chances are that you will require a fair bit of storage space for toys etc.
If this is you, look into getting bespoke cabinets or shelving units installed. This will allows you to maximise storage space without comprising your loft’s sense of space.
- Install Dormer Windows
Dormer windows project vertically from a sloping roof and provide valuable extra loft space. Innovative placing of dormer windows is undoubtedly one of the best ways to create extra useable space in a small loft and they can be utilised in a whole number of ways.
The beauty of dormers is that they can create little nooks and corners of space with bags of character and can be used as a snug for example.
- Maximise Light, Use Mirrors
Smaller loft conversions can sometimes seem a little dark; maximising light is a must.
You can maximise light by avoiding heavy, thick wooden furniture, and by using glass or thin-framed pieces instead. Strategically placed mirrors are invaluable, they bounce light around the room.
Don’t hang curtains in loft conversions. The chances are that if you have Velux roof windows this is impractical anyway, but if you do have regular windows ensure that the entire pane is clear – open curtains should fall beside the window, not obscure it.
- Think Vertical
When floor space is at a premium, the only way is up. It worked for city planners and architects in Amsterdam in the 1700s and in New York at the beginning of the 20th century, and it will most definitely work for you. Storage that goes upwards rather than outwards will open up floor space. Consider installing a shower unit rather than a bath in en-suite bathrooms.
As house prices continue to rise, the case for improving what you have rather than moving is more and more compelling. And no matter how big or small your property, you can definitely benefit from a well-designed loft conversion – you just need to create a sense of space!