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Loft conversion ideas

Loft conversion ideas

Transform your home with a practical attic conversion. A loft extension is a great way to add extra space, whether you crave another bedroom, bathroom, office of playroom. But you need to be sure it'll be worth the investment - not to mention the disruption. Be inspired by these brilliant loft conversion ideas to get you started.

They're not possible for everyone, but if you've got the space, it's worth converting your loft. Incidentally, the average UK attic contains goods worth an average of £2,000, so why not have a clear-out and see if you can boost your budget?  

A good loft conversion can add between 10 and 20 per cent to the value of a home, with no need to sacrifice garden space as is the case with most ground-floor extensions. Conversions can range from £10,000 - £40,000 (depending on your location, the materials used and the size).

The good news is that you don't need planning permission for most loft extensions. Adding up to 40 cubic metres in a terraced house, or 50 cubic in a detached or semi-detached house counts as permitted development, however the extension must not protrude beyond certain points.

A simple Velux conversion is often the cheapest solution and, as the roof slope is not altered, will maintain a property's appearance but may also result in limited height. Alternatively, a dormer has vertical windows and doors, which allow full head room and greater possibilities when it comes to staircases. Mansard conversions look less boxy than a dormer, due to the 70-degree slope of the rear wall and raised party wall brickwork, but require planning permission.

First, work out your requirements and think about how you will use the space. Do you need another bedroom, bathroom or home office? Once you know, look at the floor plan to determine how best to use the room. Also, remember that most lofts will have angled ceilings, which could restrict the type of furniture you can have.

The rules aren't too complicated - you will need a Lawful Development certificate from the local authority and the build will need to be passed by their Building Control Services (or an approved inspector). They will check it meets the basic standards for structure, ventilation, insulation, fire safety and so on. They are not responsible for checking the general quality of the carpentry and finishes. When choosing a company, shop around for quotes and better still, ask friends, family and neighbours for recommendations.

However, you may need a party-wall agreement. The party-wall is a shared wall, usually between a terrace or semi-detached. A Party Wall Agreement is a written contract from all owners that they agree to the work. A notice will be served to all affected parties in writing. The neighbour can ask for a party wall surveyor to be appointed to inspect the plans and to prepare a Party Wall Award (an agreed document outlining how the work should progress) or they can sign a waiver if the work is agreed upon.

Good insulation reduces bills and helps the environment, and it now also falls under regulations. There are a few options available, including wool, which is a greener option. Often, the building control inspector will specify what you require as the roof can be insulated in two ways - either filling the space between the rafters or installing insulation over them, which isn't as practical.

Loft conversion with bookshelf wallpaper and iron bedstead (above)

Blur the lines between reality and illusion with wallpaper that isn't what it appears to be. Bookshelves in an alcove aren't an unexpected sight in a room, so it takes a second to realise that this bedroom's books and shelves are actually two-dimensional. The wallpaper provides visual interest and creates extra depth in the room, especially against the white paint used on the adjacent walls.

Wallpaper

Young & Battaglia at Rockett St George
Wool carpet
Alternative Flooring

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Photograph by David Giles

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