Guest post by Johanna Cider
Do you ever feel like the walls are closing in on you? Perhaps you may feel this now as you sit there, hunched over at a cramped desk? Even if your situation is not quite this dramatic, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that expanding your home does not have to be an expensive project. With some strategic planning and creative thinking, it is easy to create a comfortable, functional and spacious home.
There are many reasons to expand. Some people may need to accommodate agrowing family or are looking for a way to add value to their home.This article outlines two ways to achieve this – make the most of theexisting space and addfloor space,either indoors or outside. Before you begin major renovations, remember to researchlocal building regulations and codes to prevent any costly mistakes.
Make the most of the existing space
Crafty and ingenious, doubling up the functions of several rooms allows you to repurpose existing areas into a functional space. Common combinations include merging the dining room/kitchen, the guest bedroom/study and the laundry/garage. This is also an ideal time to complete any repair and maintenance work, such as upgrading plumbing and lighting systems.
The first step in home remodelling is to throw out, recycle and donate everything you no longer need. Don’t panic – although this task may seem daunting, it is both possible and satisfying!
The easiest way to do this is to tackle each room individually. Donate clothes that haven’t been worn in years, recycle the dozens of half-used bottles under the bathroom sink and repurpose excessive utensils and pots in the kitchen into a new lightshade, artwork or creative storage system.
If you are on a very tight budget, this process is free (who doesn’t love free stuff?), and you might even make a dollar or two from a garage sale!
All of the “stuff” that survived step one can then be organised to use existing space effectively. Adding storage is an inexpensive way to increase the value of your home and is an easy do-it-yourself home improvement.
Shelving and floor-to-ceiling cupboards are useful in utilizing wasted vertical space. Nooks and crannies, such as under the bed or the stairs, are ideal for transforming into hidden storage units. For example, you can install a rotating cupboard into hard-to-reach corners or raise the bed onto a platform with pull-out draws.
Light colours create a fresh, clean and spacious feel whereas dark colours can make a room feel cramped and dingy. Replacing furniture with smaller, light-coloured versions and hanging strategically placed mirrors are several decoration ideas that will create the illusion of more light and space.
Consider installing windows or skylights to bring additional warmth and natural light into your home. Solar tubes may also be a cost-effective alternative.
Add additional floor space outside
If you have your heart set on expanding laterally, it’s time to step outside. Decks and patios are among the quality home improvements that will add the most value to a home appraisal. For a cozy living space, furnish with comfortable chairs, a table, a barbecue or even a fireplace.
French or sliding doors create a smooth indoor-outdoor flow and allow easy access. Top it all off with a sun shade or an awning so you can enjoy your luxurious and functional expansion rain, hail or shine.
This is the gold standard of home expansions and a sure way to increase property value. If you have extra space in your backyard, a guest bedroom, conservatory, playhouse, office or workshop can be built as either a separate building or attached to a wall.
Many of these can be purchased as pre-made structures and may not be as expensive as you think. Shipping containers are becoming more popular as a cheap and stylish framework for a guesthouse, office, playhouse or garden shed.
Add additional floor space inside
Knock down a non-load bearing wall to create an open-plan living space.
Open-plan living is an increasingly popular choice, especially in smaller homes. An experienced tradesman can advise on which walls are load bearing and able to be knocked down safely.
Add a loft if there is extra roof space
Do you have high ceilings or extra roof space? If so, building a loft may be a viable option for adding square footage. These cozy hideaways can be used for storage, a playroom, reading room or extra bedroom.
Johanna Cider is a New Zealand based writer with a love for home designs. You can read more of her work on her Tumblr.