How to ensure your loft conversion goes without a hitch

A loft conversion could be just what your home needs. Not only do they provide you with useful additional space, but they can also add tens of thousands of pounds to the value of your home. But before you get to work on making that dream loft conversion a reality, you’ll need to do a bit of planning first. There’s plenty to consider in terms of what you want from your loft conversion, how much it’ll cost you and whether there are any regulatory issues to overcome.

By working out what you want from your loft conversion and how to go about getting the job done, you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary hassle and stress later on.

Covering the cost of your loft conversion

Perhaps the first question to consider is where you’re going to get the money from to cover the cost of your loft conversion. Many homeowners simply tap into their equity to pay for the work. However you raise the money – whether you borrow it or save up out of your own money – stringent budgeting is crucial. Lots of different elements will have an impact on the total cost. These include the size of the conversion, the number of rooms you want to divide it into, and whether you want to add additional features such as skylights or Juliet balconies, for instance.

It’s wise to do some research in to how much loft conversions typically cost, and how much value they add. Be sure to seek the opinion of an expert – they’ll help you get the most bang for your buck.

Regulations and red tape

It’s also very important to familiarise yourself with the relevant regulations before starting work on your loft conversion. The chances are that you won’t need planning permission, but you should get in touch with your local council to see exactly what you have to do to avoid breaching any rules. For instance, the design will need to incorporate adequate means of access and escape from the loft space, as well as structural stability and ventilation. Should your loft conversion not meet the standards set out in the regulation, you won’t be able to market it as an extra bedroom should you come to sell the property – which means you won’t get the value add that means your loft conversion work effectively pays for itself.

If your home is a listed building or is situated in a protected area, you may require special permission to proceed with the work. Again, it’s always advisable to contact your local council to see what you need to do to ensure your loft conversion complies with the appropriate regulations. If you don’t and you later find that you should have done, you could find that the council takes action against you.

The best thing you can do is to seek specialist advice before attempting to do anything else. Here at Econoloft, we have four decades’ experience in completing loft conversions. Just get in touch with our friendly and helpful team, and we’ll be more than happy to take you through the process of converting your loft.

 

Top tips for turning your loft into the ideal study space

 

One of the many advantages of having your loft converted is that you can then put that space to a wide range of uses. You could turn it into a playroom for the kids, you could transform it into a home entertainment paradise, or you could simply use it as an extra bedroom – it’s entirely up to you. There are numerous options to consider. One such option is turning your loft into a home office or study space.

More and more of us are working from home these days, so it could be very useful to have a quiet spot to work in. Your newly-converted loft space could fit this bill. Here are some of our top tips for turning your loft into the perfect study space.

Give yourself enough space

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is how you’re going to get enough peace and quiet. There’s not much point in having a home office or study space if it isn’t peaceful enough to work in. This is why a converted loft space could be well suited to this role – it can provide a quiet little hideaway just when you need it. The fewer distractions you have to hand, the more efficiently you’ll be able to work.

You should also try to avoid letting things get too cluttered. Tidier surroundings should allow for sharper focus on your work. You’ll need to make sure you have all your books, papers and equipment close by, but make sure you keep clutter to a minimum. Bookshelves and storage racks can help you keep things orderly. An array of papers, open books and notepads can just make you feel that bit more stressed.

Let there be light (and heat, but not too much)

It’s important to ensure adequate lighting in any room where you’re likely to spend a lot of time – but particularly so if you’re going to be working in there. Not only are dingy and dark surroundings a bit grim in general, but they can also sap the energy out of you and make you feel more tired. When you’re designing your loft conversion, you must ensure that you make the best use of natural light. Unnatural light can be harsh on the eyes, so it’s no substitute. Blinds can help you keep natural light out whenever it gets excessive, though.

Make sure you’ve got the temperature right in your study space, too. Keep a fan or heater to hand just in case you need it. If it’s too hot or too cold, you won’t be comfortable and you won’t be at your most productive because you’ll struggle to concentrate. Think carefully about your décor too – if it’s too loud or if you’re not happy with it, it’s probably going to be a distraction.

Access and furniture

If you’re going to use your converted loft as a home office or study space, then don’t forget about how you’re going to furnish it. Your home office space needs to be comfortable and spacious. Make sure you’ve got a desk that you can sit at with your elbows resting on it comfortably. You’ll also need a chair that you can adjust to the right height – an ergonomic chair could do the job. Foot rests are also handy for getting more comfortable while you work.

You might also want to invite clients round to your home office to show them what you’re working on – so you should think carefully about access to your converted loft. A ladder simply won’t work if you want your converted loft to be a habitable space; for one thing it won’t comply with regulations. Spiral staircases are attractive and classy, but take up a lot of space. Nevertheless, a staircase of some sort would definitely be the best option, depending on the space available.

Of course, you’ll want to put your own stamp on your new study or office space, so exactly how you go about creating it is up to you. Still, you should seek the opinions of a professional loft conversion specialist before you do anything else. The team here at Econoloft are always on hand to provide you with useful insight into how to make best use of your loft, as well as taking care of all the practicalities involved in making your dream loft conversion a reality. Get in touch today.

 

5 tips – Pulling off the perfect loft conversion:

Loft conversions can add thousands of pounds to the value of a home. Of all the home improvements you could make, none will boost the worth of your property like a loft conversion. Even if you’re not planning to sell up any time soon, converting your loft into another room could provide you with valuable space – just what you need if you have a growing family and you’re struggling to find room.

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There are some key points to remember before you get started on creating your own loft conversion, though. Here are some of our top tips.

Work out what you actually want to do with your loft conversion before you do anything else.

1. Don’t start designing your loft conversion without knowing what purpose you want to put it to. Your choice of use for your converted loft space will have a big influence on its design. The great thing about loft conversions is their versatility – you can use these converted spaces as chill-out rooms, as studies, as kids’ playrooms, and so on. But if you don’t have a clear purpose for your loft conversion, you won’t get the end result you really want.

  1. Is your loft more useful to you as storage space or for something else?

If you really need your loft to store belongings in, then a loft conversion might not be for you. But the chances are that you can afford to get rid of some of your old bits and pieces to create a bit more space. If you really aren’t prepared to get rid of the belongings you’ve stored, though, you can always have some of them sent off to self-storage instead. And you could always use part of your newly-converted loft space for storage while you use the rest for something else

  1. Think about the cost.

Typically, loft conversions cost around £40,000 including décor, furnishings, a bathroom and the various finishing touches – and while that’s a substantial amount of money, you need to weigh it against the likely benefits. Loft conversions could add an extra 20 per cent to the price of your home, according to research from the Nationwide Building Society. You should also consider whether you want to add other features to your loft conversion, like skylights or windows. These will add to the cost, but they’ll also add more to the value in the end. Budget carefully – it’s worth having a buffer in case of emergencies. You could add an extra ten per cent to your budget so you have some leeway in case of unforeseen expenses.

  1. Think about access to your converted loft space.

Before you get to work on your loft conversion, you’ll need to consider just how people are going to get in and out of it. You’ll need generous access to your converted loft space so you can get your furniture and belongings in without too much hassle – so stairs are the only way forward. Staircases can be as practical as they are attractive. Ladders won’t be up to the job if you want your loft to be a habitable space. Think about what sort of stairs you want to complete the job – hardwood stairs are more expensive, but they look great. If you have a small box room, you could do away with this to create a more spacious landing. While you’ll lose some space, it should ensure that more light fills the landing making it more airy. If thought out properly, you could also use the remaining space as a small library or study.

  1. Don’t do anything until you’ve spoken to an expert first.

Loft conversions are challenging undertakings and it’s always best to have an expert cast their eye over them. Get in touch with an experienced loft conversion specialist and discuss your plans with them. They’ll provide you with essential insight into how you can make your loft conversion work for you and to get what you want from the project. They’ll also take you through any regulatory requirements you’ll need to abide by.

Turning your loft into a sporting paradise

If you’re a dedicated armchair sports follower, you no doubt like to make the very most of your viewing experience. One way to do this is to create a dedicated home entertainment space at home purely for watching sports, films and so on. A converted loft could be ideal for the purpose.7

 

Lighting and ambience:

To get the best results from your home entertainment space, you need to make sure you get the overall ambience right. Lighting is crucial to this. Too much light can ruin the whole vibe, so think carefully about how you arrange the lighting in the room and also how much natural light enters the loft space. If you do choose to include a skylight or window in your converted loft, make sure you’re able to black the light out when you need to. There are specially-designed blinds and curtains you can use for this. You’ll also need to consider how to make the best use of lighting. A dimmer switch allows you to select the right amount of light to suit yourself.

Furniture and equipment:

Another important factor to consider is how you furnish your new home entertainment zone. Obviously, you need to ensure that it’s comfortable enough for you and any guests who join you – after all, there’s nothing like slobbing around in front of the football. But at the same time, it’s worth taking care to leave plenty of space to spare for additional seating as and when you need it. That way, you’ll be able to get more of your mates in without packing them in like sardines.  Beanbag chairs are great, and fold-up chairs are practical because when you’re done with them you can just put them away without any fuss.

You’ll also need refreshments for when you’re watching the big match. So how about a beer fridge stocked full of ice-cold ales? A snack bar could also come in very handy. Why not add a small fridge – perfect for storing ice cream, should you feel the urge – and maybe even a microwave oven you can whack some burgers in while you’re watching the game.

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Once you’ve got that sorted, it’s time to think about the equipment you’re going to kit your loft out with. It’s well worth doing some research online – there are lots of reviews to read – to help get a better idea of what’s out there and at what price. Before you splash out on top-of-the-range gear, though, make sure you’ve taken wall measurements so you know how much room you have to play with.

You don’t have to be a technical wizard, but at the very least you’ll need a high-definition TV and quality speakers (so consider surround sound). Think also about how the acoustics of the room work – acoustic panels could help to reduce echo. There are also some amazing projectors out there if you want that big-screen sporting experience.

So what are you waiting for?

If you’ve got your heart set on transforming your loft into a sporting sanctuary, you can make that vision a reality. First of all, what you need to do is get in touch with the team of specialists here at Econoloft. We’ll discuss your ideas with you in detail and suggest some of our own, so we can help you get the loft conversion you’ve always dreamed of. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy all the big sporting events in maximum comfort.

Taking advantage of the planning amnesty

So you’re struggling for space and you need more room as a matter of urgency. You won’t be surprised to hear that you’re not alone. With demand for accommodation in the capital reaching astronomical levels in recent years, Londoners in particular are hard-pressed to find the space they need. This is a problem facing more and more homeowners outside the capital as well, though.

Loft Conversion Planning

A loft conversion could be just the solution to your problems. But perhaps you’re wary of having to trudge through all the paperwork just to obtain planning permission. You could, however, be in luck. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is offering homeowners the opportunity to take advantage of a planning amnesty covering certain types of domestic redevelopment work.

What does this mean?

This planning amnesty means you can undertake substantial work to your property without having to go through the hassle of getting planning permission – allowing you to convert your loft with the minimum of hassle. But the amnesty is currently due to come to an end next spring, so don’t hang around. It’s possible that it may be extended, but as yet there’s been no confirmation – so if you want to make that long dreamt-of loft conversion a reality, now’s your chance.

What should I look out for?

It’s worth noting that the amnesty does come with some caveats attached. The permitted development (PD) scheme stipulates certain size limits and a style guide, while people living in conservation areas or listed buildings are not covered by the planning amnesty. Plus, you’ll still have to apply to your local authority for a Certificate of Lawfulness before going ahead with the work, although the process of obtaining one is generally straightforward.

So long as you stay within the size limits laid out by the PD scheme and make sure your redevelopment work is in keeping with the rest of the property, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the green light.

Loft Lounge

Consult an expert

It’s always wise to consult with an expert before you undertake such a substantial revamp of your home. A specialist can help you ensure that your loft conversion lives up to your expectations. A good loft conversion can seriously boost the value of your property, so it’s well worth taking the time to get it right. Get in touch with Econoloft’s experts today to find out more about what sort of loft conversion would work best in your home.

 

Basement vs Loft Conversion – Which is Best for You?

More and more people are choosing to improve their existing home rather than moving on to pastures new. Still, finding space can be a big problem. Thankfully, there are solutions to this problem that don’t involve moving to a new home. Loft conversions have been commonplace in UK cities – London in particular – for a number of years, though more recently more homeowners are opting to dig down into their basement to create more space.

 

Loft Roof Interior Conversion

 

So if you’re struggling for space and you’d rather not have to uproot yourself and your family, you can have your loft converted or you could convert your basement instead. But what are the pros and cons of each? Let’s take a look.

Affordability and convenience

When it comes to cost, there’s really no contest – loft conversions are much cheaper than basement conversions. It could cost you up to £2,200 per square metre to have your basement converted into additional living space, depending on the extent and the nature of the work that needs to be done. Another key advantage to opting for a loft conversion is that it’ll most likely be ready a lot sooner. Completing a loft conversion can take between six and eight weeks.

Obtaining planning permission for loft conversions is also pretty simple. There are some restrictions in place when it comes to head height, for instance, but when it comes to loft conversions the planning regime isn’t particularly strict. You should still, however, familiarise yourself with it first. It’s worth running your ideas past an expert to see what they think – and if you do need planning permission, you must make sure you obtain it before starting work.

It’s worth noting that basement conversions also tend not to need planning permission – though there are other guidelines you need to stick to – and you can usually dig as far as you need to or your budget allows. Building regulations still apply though and you’ll need to make sure an inspector improves the work. Work on basement conversions can be disruptive, so you’ll need to think about the effect it’ll have on your family life while it’s ongoing.

Space and liveability

One important difference between loft and basement conversions is that with the latter, you can take advantage of natural light. This is obviously not possible with basement conversions underground. By positioning windows and skylights in the right places, you can effectively control how much natural light enters your converted loft space. Converted basements, on the other hand, require artificial light. Some people find that artificially-lit spaces are little too claustrophobic, so an airy loft conversion is more likely to be the better bet.

Roof Loft Conversion

Both options have their advantages, but basement conversions at present are a bit of an elite concern – they don’t come cheap, so they appeal mainly to the very wealthy. Loft conversions, on the other hand, are popular, inexpensive and most of all very practical.

Get in touch with Econoloft to find out more about how you can transform your loft. We’ll take you through every step of the work to help you get that are right for your home.

Avoiding Common Loft Conversion Pitfalls

Loft conversions can make a fantastic addition to any home. Not only are they proven to provide property values with a powerful shot in the arm, but they also provide much-needed space – ideal for those struggling to find the room they need at home. That said, it’s important to plan properly before starting work, because there are plenty of potential pitfalls to avoid.

 

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According to a survey carried out by Direct Line Home Insurance in May, 36 per cent of British tradesmen questioned named loft conversions as the single most problematic home improvement. Bathrooms followed on 26 per cent, while kitchens were cited as the most troublesome job by 19 per cent of traders.

 

 

None of this need put you off making your dream loft conversion a reality, though. Thankfully, with a bit of careful consideration, you can bring that perfect loft conversion you’ve always wanted to life.

 

There are certain questions you should ask yourself before you get started on your loft conversion. First of all, you need to think about the relevant building regulations and planning permission. Make sure you’re clear on what legal hurdles you need to climb over before starting work. Once you’ve got the necessary approval, you’re good to go. But if you live in a terraced or semi-detached house, you’ll need to inform the neighbours about the work first – this is a legal requirement.

Another issue to consider is access to the loft. Finding room for stairs can be tricky and you’re also going to need to make sure that you’ve got enough space to get your furniture and other belongings into and out of the loft space. Purpose-built staircases are more expensive than standard off-the-shelf varieties, but they are more likely to provide a practical solution.

You’ll also need to have a clear idea of how much headroom you’re likely to have in your converted loft space. Lots of people who have their loft converted find they have less standing room than they’d expected. Get in touch with a professional and ask them to work it out for you – this should help to avoid any disappointment further down the line.

Insulating converted lofts can also be a challenge. Still, there’s no reason why converted loft spaces should be inefficient. The best way to ensure this is the case is simply to recruit the services of an expert firm. A loft conversion specialist will be able to ensure that the loft is properly insulated first time, saving you unnecessary aggravation later on.

 

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You might think you’ve got your loft conversion mapped out in your mind, but you shouldn’t do anything until you’ve got in touch with a loft conversion expert. They’ll be able to take you through every aspect of the job until you’ve got the results you want.

Amazing Ideas to Inspire your Loft Conversion

Need more space around the home without having to move house? Want to add value? Or does it just feel like the time’s right for a big home improvement project?

A loft conversion could be the perfect choice for you. Whatever you choose to do with it, a converted loft space could be just the ticket for revitalising your home.

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But before you roll your sleeves up and get stuck in, you need to think carefully about what you want to do with your loft conversion. Having a clear idea of what you’re looking for in advance can help you get the best end results. Here are a few design ideas you might want to consider before you start work on converting your loft.

 

  • Turn your loft into a handy office or study space. Finding the opportunity to work or study in peace can be difficult when you’ve got a house full of people to contend with. A converted loft, situated above the melee, could be ideal if you’re looking for somewhere to escape to. The calmer and quieter surroundings should help you be more productive and, hopefully, less stressed out.
  • How about an open-plan loft bedroom? By taking a minimalist approach to your loft conversion, you could make it look spacious as well as sophisticated. Think sleek, simple modern furniture and whitewashed walls, along with bare floorboards. This way, you can make even small loft spaces look positively spacious.
  • A rustic spare bedroom could add a touch of class and charm. Wooden beams are always a reliably charismatic feature, especially in a converted loft space. Complement them with stripped-back wooden furniture and muted décor for added allure. The end product should be a timeless and cosy converted loft.
  • Alternatively, you could turn your loft into a fun playroom for the children. Any kid would love to have their very own playroom to lark around in, so why not give your children the playroom of their dreams in your converted loft? Your best bet would be to keep the playroom nice and bright – so you could have a skylight to let in natural light as well as a bold colour scheme.
  • Perhaps you could turn your converted loft into a cool, charismatic and modern dining room. Why cram yourselves in downstairs when you can dine in style by turning your loft into a spacious dining area? If you’re going for that rural rustic vibe, wooden dining furniture could be ideal for rounding off the whole look.

 

broomfield bathroomOf course, there are lots of other factors you need to consider before starting work on a loft conversion. You should think about how you’re going to take advantage of natural light, how you’re going to accommodate a flight of stairs, how you’re going to retain privacy, and so on. But these design ideas are just a few suggestions to help you get started. Good luck!

Decluttering your home with minimum hassle

It doesn’t take much for household junk to accumulate over time. And the longer you leave it, the worse the problem is going to become – so it’s up to you to make sure you keep on top of things.

Fortunately, decluttering needn’t result in too much drama. Why live your life surrounded by junk when you don’t need to? In fact, you can keep your home spick and span with the points we’ve outlined below.

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Get the family involved!

Given the sheer volume of junk generated by the typical family, keeping things in order is certainly easier said than done. Still, by being organised you can make your life a lot more comfortable and a lot less stressful. Make sure you rope in other family members to help you with tidying up – don’t let anyone shirk their duties. They might not appreciate it at first, but they’ll soon come to realise that you’re right. This all helps to inculcate good habits.

 

Staying organised

Try to avoid procrastinating, too. It might be tempting just to let things slide, but it really is a slippery slope – and before you know it, your home’s a bit of a mess again. If needs be, it’s good to organise a rota so that everyone knows what they have to do and when (this is particularly valuable if you’re living in a house share).

 

Take it one room at a time

There’s nothing quite like a good old clear-out, however long you might put it off for beforehand. But before you pile in, it’s worth thinking about how you’re actually going to go about it. Don’t do it in a haphazard manner – instead, take it one room at a time. Then, once you’re happy that you’ve cleared away everything you need to, you can move on to the next one. Think about what you do and don’t use. By all means hang on to those belongings which have special sentimental value, but those that don’t you can do without.

 

If you do unearth old belongings you can’t bear to part with, find a big box to put them in and put it up in the loft out of harm’s way. That should at least help you keep everything organised. You’ll find that once you’ve decluttered, you’re left with more space than you had before – so give any newly-uncovered floors, walls and shelves a good sprucing up. You’ll soon see that a little effort goes a long way, leaving your home a fresher and more pleasant place to be.

What you need to consider before your loft conversion

Of all the ways to transform your home, a loft conversion is one of the wisest investments you could make. There’s been a real surge in the popularity of loft conversions over the last couple of decades, and it’s not hard to see why – not only do they provide useful additional space, but they can also add thousands of pounds to the value of a property.

But before you get to work, there’s a lot you need to think about.

A bit of careful consideration can help you make the most of your loft space. Here are some particularly important points to mull over

  • Think about what you actually want from your loft conversion. What do you intend to use it for? How much are you prepared to spend on the job? Try to formulate a clear vision of how you want your completed loft conversion to look, as this will all help you to end up with a finished product that you’re actually happy with.
  • Familiarise yourself with the relevant building regulations first. Before you start on your loft conversion, you’ll need to obtain planning permission from the local authority. Failure to do so could have unpleasant repercussions further down the line, so make sure you tell your neighbours about your upcoming renovation if you live in a terraced or semi-detached property.
  • Make sure your home can actually accommodate a loft conversion. Your converted loft will add weight to your house, so check that the building can actually support it. If your house needs underpinning, it’ll likely cost you quite a bit more to have the work done. Also, check there’s sufficient head height so you know how much headroom you’re likely to have once the loft conversion is complete.
  • Think about how you’re going to maximise the amount of natural light entering your loft space. Which windows would be best suited to your converted loft? Skylight windows are the most obvious choice, as they’re fairly easy to fit. Alternatively, you could go for dormer windows – but as these need walls and a roof, there’s a bit more work involved. Do some research into which different types of windows are available.
  • Another important issue to consider is access. How are you going to get in to your converted loft space? Finding space for stairs can be tricky, and purpose-built staircases don’t come cheap. You could go for a winding staircase, but carrying bulky items up such narrow spaces is often difficult.