By Kay Hill
Want to upsize, but can’t face the hassle? Here are four top ways to make extra space
Moving house is such an upheaval – and expensive as well. It can cost more than £20,000 to upsize from a £350,000 property to a £450,000 one in the search for extra space1.
It’s not surprising then, that the number of homeowners choosing to improve their homes rather than move has risen fivefold since 2013, while UK councils have seen a 29% increase in planning permission requests for home improvements in a decade2.
Luckily there are lots of ways to gain extra living space without moving:
Kick the clutter out of your loft and create a bedroom or hobby room in its place. Prices vary according to the property and location, but as a guide, a conversion with a roof light might cost £20,000, up to £50,000 for one with a dormer window, and many don’t require planning permission (but check with your local council).
Points to consider: You will lose your loft storage (although you can put built-in cupboards in the lower height areas) and space to make room for the stairs. If you are using the attic as a bedroom, always include an en suite. You will regret scrimping when you fall over your feet going down the stairs in the middle of the night!
If you can’t go up, you may be able to go down – but the costs are likely to be double that of a loft conversion (up to £5,000 per square metre in London for a new basement) because of the extra structural work involved. Your space may be more flexible though – think home cinema, wine room, games room, gym etc.
Points to consider: Digging a brand new basement is major and expensive work, but waterproofing and renovating an existing cellar is more economical and may not need planning permission.
Whether you want an extra seating area, a dining room, a place to grow plants, a games room, a home gym or just a comfy place to relax with a book, a conservatory is perfect. Expect to pay from £6,000 up to £20,000 depending on size and style.
Points to consider: You want to be able to use it whatever the weather, so ensure your conservatory has good thermal properties and effective heating for winter plus shading for summer.
If you have a rear garden it opens up all kinds of possibilities for extra space – from a shepherd’s hut or wooden summerhouse that you could potentially take with you if you move, to a log cabin or contemporary portable building. Potential uses are endless: home office, craft room, sauna, gym, man cave and so on. Costs range from less than £5,000 for a shepherd’s hut, small log cabin or summerhouse up to £35,000 plus for a contemporary modular building.
Points to consider – most modest outbuildings less than 2.5m high, more than 2m from a boundary and with no kitchen, bathroom or sleeping accommodation, don’t need planning permission or building regulations but check with your council. If you don’t have easy access to the garden, crane costs can add thousands.