Turning your loft into the perfect chill-out room

After a long and stressful day at work, it’s always important to be able to unwind. But finding the space to get some much-needed time to yourself can be tricky in a busy and bustling household, particularly when there are kids running around. That’s why it’s worth setting aside a space dedicated purely to chilling out in – but the trouble is finding somewhere that’s suitable, where you can really escape the racket for a while.

Chill Out 1

Chill-out rooms can also be great places to entertain friends and family – as well as getting away from them when you feel the need for some ‘you’ time. A converted loft, isolated from the rest of the fray, could be the perfect spot for a chill-out zone. Here are our top 10 tips for helping you make the most of it.

 

  1. Make sure your chill-out room is well away from the other distractions around the home. If you’re going to relax you need somewhere you won’t be pestered (which is why a loft space would be ideal).
  2. Think about the mood you want to create. Choosing the right décor and lighting can help in this regard. Blues and greens can help to create a spa-like vibe, while pastel shades also help to keep things relaxed. Muted and subtle lighting can also ensure a laid-back atmosphere.
  3. Make sure you provide comfortable furniture. After all, it’s going to be difficult to relax if you can’t get comfortable. Plush sofas are great, but make sure you have some bean bags on hand for when you’re entertaining guests in your chill-out room.
  4. Include a few tables as well so you and any guests have somewhere to put your drinks and any other belongings you might have with you.
  5. It’s also worth investing in a home entertainment system for your chill-out room. That way, you can kick back with your favourite movies or music until you’re feeling suitably refreshed.
  6. Think about how you decorate the room. Interesting and quirky objects can add a bit of variety as well as helping you put your own personal stamp on it.
  7. That said, don’t go overboard. The more objects you have in your chill-out zone, the more effort you’ll have to go to when you’re cleaning it – probably not what you want from a room intended as a chill-out space.
  8. It’s worth adding some art to the walls of your chill-out space. Paintings can complement the ambience perfectly, although it’s best to avoid anything too intense and striking.
  9. Consider how you’re going to make use of natural light. If there’s too much natural light pouring into your loft space, it’ll be hard to relax there. Too little and you’ll be relying on artificial light, which can be harsh on the eye. Skylights and Juliet balconies can help you let the light in (and keep it out, when you need to).
  10. What sort of flooring are you going to go for? Hardwood floors are an old favourite, and thick rugs can add a touch of cosiness.

Chill Out 2

If you’re thinking of having your loft converted, then the friendly team of experts at Econoloft can help you get the most out of it – however you intend to use the space once the job’s done. Just get in touch with us to make an appointment and we’ll help you make that loft conversion a reality.

04.03.2016 No Comments

Loft conversion or extension?

When considering a home improvement project, it’s important to think very carefully before you commit to anything. If you play your cards right, you could end up adding tens of thousands of pounds to the value of your property as well as making your home more spacious. However, if you’re going to invest big money on a home improvement then it’s essential that you get as much bang for your buck as possible.

Loft conversions and extensions can both be value-adding and practical home improvements. But which of the two is better suited for your particular needs and budget?

Questions to consider

Before starting work, there are a few key questions you’ll need to think about:

  • How much money are you prepared to spend?
  • How much value can you expect the work to add to your home?
  • Do you have enough space to accommodate it?
  • What do you intend to use the space for?
  • How will you integrate the new space with the rest of the home?
  • Do you intend to carry out further home improvement work in future? How will that fit in with this project once it’s completed?

Considering the pros and cons of cost and practicality is always essential as a first step. Asking yourself these questions should help you get a clearer idea in your mind’s eye of what you want from this home improvement project.

Which should you go for?

Both loft conversions and extensions have their respective advantages. Generally, extensions tend to provide more space, as they’re less limited in terms of size and can be built across more than one floor. The problem is, however, that you will need to obtain planning permission before you can start work. Local authorities don’t always grant it, which could effectively send you back to square one. Another major disadvantage to having extension work done is that it tends to be quite expensive. In addition, many properties simply lack the room to accommodate an extension.

By contrast, there’s far less red tape to worry about when you go for a loft conversion. In fact, you don’t always need planning permission to have your loft converted – although it is wise to check with your local council first. Loft conversions are also generally much cheaper than extensions – all you’re doing is converting existing space instead of building more from scratch – as well as adding more value to your property than any other home improvement.

Of course, you should consider all the options available to you before you start work on improving your home. But there are good reasons why millions of homeowners across the country have opted for loft conversions – and they could be just the solution for you too. Get in touch with the friendly team of experts here at Econoloft to find out more about how together we can make your dream loft conversion a reality.

04.03.2016 No Comments

Cash in the attic: finding valuables in your loft

It’s well known that loft conversions can provide a huge boost to the value of your home. According to one survey carried out by the Nationwide Building Society in 2014, loft conversions can add more value – up to 20 per cent of the house price – to your home. That can amount to a major cash windfall. Perhaps you’re getting ready for a loft conversion. Before you start work, though, you’ll need to clear the loft out first – and you might be surprised by what you find in there.

There are some real valuables lurking in the lofts of Britain. Landlord Insurance warned in 2013 that many landlords were failing to capitalise on the valuable items stored in the attic – including collectibles as well as family heirlooms. So what valuables should you be looking out for before you get cracking on that loft conversion? Here are our top tips.

Valuables to watch out for

  • Books – if you’re a bit of a bookworm then you’ve probably got a fair few books stashed away in your loft. Most of them aren’t worth much of course, but you may well have a few collectors’ items lurking somewhere among the more obscure reaches of your collection. Particularly rare books can fetch big money at auction. A hardback first-edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold for £10,575 at Sotheby’s in 2002. Maybe you’ve got a copy of a book that’s been signed by the author. You never know what’s in there until you start rummaging around.
  • Records – committed music lovers are also quite likely to have some collectibles among their collection. According to the Telegraph, a 1977 first pressing of the Sex Pistols’ controversial hit God Save the Queen could fetch around £8,000 at auction while a 1963 copy of the Beatles’ Please Please Me would be worth around £3,500. A first pressing of the Rolling Stones’ self-titled album from 1964 could sell for £1,000. More recently, Oasis’ limited edition vinyl box set from 2009 – of which only 1,500 copies were printed – could fetch around £300.
  • Sporting memorabilia – the increasing popularity of online auction sites like eBay has resulted in an explosion in demand for sporting memorabilia. The most expensive sporting memorabilia can fetch millions of pounds, and it’s safe to say that the kind of stuff most of us have stored in our attic probably isn’t of that magnitude. However, there may well be real valuables among your old belongings. For example, signed football match programmes or replica shirts can usually be relied on to fetch a decent amount.
  • Comic books and annuals – there’s been a strong revival of interest in comic books over the last decade or so. Perhaps you’ve still got a stash of old comics and annuals you’ve kept from your childhood. If so, you should probably start looking through them to see just what you’ve got in there because your collection could be a veritable treasure trove. In 2004, an ultra-rare copy of The Dandy dating from December 1937 (and still including the original free gift packaged with it) sold for a record price of £20,350 by auctioneers.

Hopefully, these examples should give you all the inspiration you need to get clearing out your loft ahead of that big conversion. You just never know what you’ve had locked away for all these years. So get up in that attic and find out what you’ve got!

26.02.2016 No Comments

Making space for the boomerang generation

 

Boomerang Gen 1

If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the last few years, then you surely won’t have missed all the talk about the so-called ‘boomerang generation’ of young adults in their 20s and even their 30s who find themselves driven back into the bosom of their families. Mums and dads entering their golden years might have hoped that they’d finally got a bit of peace and quiet at home, only for their offspring to suddenly turn up on their doorstep – carrying with them a lot more belongings than they first went away with.

Finding space for boomerang babies and all their bits and pieces can be tricky. Fortunately, there is a solution at hand – a loft conversion.

What it means for parents

Research has indicated that returning adult offspring can place a significant financial burden on their parents. This is through no fault of their own, of course – young people today face intense competition for the best graduate jobs, stagnant wages elsewhere and soaring rents. This is clearly a major phenomenon. According to a survey carried out by TopCashBack earlier this year, three-quarters of parents with offspring aged over 18 had at least one son or daughter still living at home.

The return of adult offspring to the family home also adds pressure in terms of space. Parents who’ve got accustomed to not having their grown-up children around suddenly find themselves struggling to accommodate them again. Old bedrooms get put to new purposes, after all. A loft conversion, however, could be just the ticket.

Boomerang Gen 2

A solution that works for everyone

Converting your loft into additional living space could provide your grown-up children with some private space for when they need some quiet time alone or for when they have friends round. Their parents, on the other hand, are likely to find that they have more space around the rest of the house and that they also get a bit of peace and quiet. Lofts can also make great bedrooms to accommodate boomerang babies. Alternatively, you could convert the loft into office space to free up another room for a returning son or daughter to sleep in.

On top of all that, loft conversions can add tens of thousands of pounds to the value of a property – indeed, they can do more to add value than any other home improvement. That alone makes them a worthwhile investment, so once the boomerang babies have boomeranged off again, their parents are left with a valuable addition to their home. As ever, the Econoloft team are on hand to help make your dream loft conversion come true – so feel free to get in touch today.

26.02.2016 No Comments

Controlling light and heat in your converted loft

The latest British summer might have turned out to be a bit of a damp squib – now there’s a surprise – but if you’re going to have your loft converted, you need to make sure you’re ready for the heat when it does arrive. Getting the ventilation and lighting right is important for a successful loft conversion. After all, converted loft space that’s either too dark or too light – or too warm or too cold – isn’t going to be an enjoyable place to spend time. Because warm air rises, your loft is likely to be warmer than the rest of the house. You need to bear this in mind when designing your loft conversion.

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Keeping it ventilated

Good ventilation is crucial to keeping your converted loft cool and comfortable. Ventilation flaps can help to enhance the flow of air, allowing warm air to exit the roof space and regulating the temperature more effectively. The exact method of ventilation used will depend on the design of your home’s roof, though. A loft conversion specialist will take you through the appropriate ventilation solutions available when you come to discuss your project.

Choosing the right windows for your converted loft can also make a big difference to ventilation. The windows you incorporate into your loft conversion will depend on your budget – skylights are fairly inexpensive, but dormer windows cost more as more work needs to be done to accommodate them. A Juliet balcony is another option which would allow you to let more cool air into the loft as and when you felt the need to.

Windows can however also be a major source of heat loss, so you’ll need high-performance double or triple-glazed windows to avoid this problem. While lofts do, as we mentioned earlier, tend to be slightly warmer than lower levels of the home, heat loss can still make them chilly in the winter.

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Letting the light in

Natural light can make a converted loft space feel much more homely and welcoming than it might be otherwise. Harnessing natural light effectively will make your loft much more pleasant, which is just what you need if you’re planning to spend plenty of time in there. Roof windows tend to let more light in than conventional vertical windows, but that’s not the end of the matter. You’ll need to consider the position and orientation of your loft windows to make the most of the natural light. Think about how you decorate it, too – use whites and blues to create an airy atmosphere.

These are all matters you can talk through with an expert. It’s essential to seek a specialist’s opinion before you get to work on your loft conversion – this should help you get the design just right and iron out any snags. At Econoloft, we’re always happy to talk you through every aspect of our loft conversion. Just get in touch with our friendly and helpful team of experts to find out more.

26.02.2016 No Comments

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.

 

11.12.2015 No Comments

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.

 

03.12.2015 No Comments

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.

30.11.2015 No Comments

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.

30.11.2015 No Comments

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.

 

26.11.2015 No Comments