There comes a time when the current space available in the home is simply not enough, or else someone realizes the space could be put to better use. Perhaps the children have all flown the nest and a mother wants to make the home more about her, or perhaps priorities have changed. Whatever the reason, the most obvious space for transformation is found at the top of the house, where you can create the ultimate attic conversion.
The cost of converting
The first thing to understand about an attic conversion is that it will cost a significant amount of money. However, converting an attic will cost considerably less than moving to a new home, and will add as much as 20 per cent to the value of your property. You should establish the extent of your budget, allowing a little for contingencies, and then see the kind of attic conversion that you can afford, factoring in architect fees, building regulation fees, and anything else that you have to do before a conversion can go ahead. At a rough estimate, you could be spending anywhere between £2,000 and £15,000, depending on the size and complexity of your attic conversion concept.
Making a plan
Once you have confirmed that your attic is suitable for conversion – for example, whether there’s sufficient head height, and whether planning permission is required or not – and established the use that the converted attic will be put to, you need to make a basic plan about how you want the room to look. Consider that you may not have as much floor space as you think because the attic will normally have a sloping roof. This may mean that you are unable to have tall wardrobes or bookcases, for example, only lower height furniture. However, most attic conversions make great use of odd spaces with in-built storage.
Once your attic has been converted, you have a blank canvas to work upon. You want this room to feel as light and airy as possible, so you should avoid hanging any window dressing that may block out too much natural daylight. A good alternative to curtains and blinds are solid wooden shutters, as these offer privacy while allowing you to regulate the light and air flow.
For smaller, low-ceilinged rooms, the best kind of decorating approach is one that uses light colours to open the room up as dark colours will make the space seem smaller. Paint or wallpaper the walls with whites or creams, light blues, and greens. Vertical stripes can also create the illusion of height, which may be useful in an attic space. Use the attic’s awkward spaces to provide storage rather than loading your space up with bulky, freestanding furniture.
Converting an attic is a great way to add value to your property and increase your useable space, but be prepared for a big commitment, as it takes a great deal of money to implement and carry through, and also takes many weeks to complete.