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adding value to your home


ne of the best ways to make your home more suited to your needs, especially if you have a growing family or want to work

from home, is to add a bedroom. Increasing the number of bedrooms can also put your home in a different price bracket when you come to sell.

The most obvious place to put an extra bedroom is upstairs, with all the others, and sometimes it's possible to use the space you already have. For example, if the main bedroom spans the front of the house, you may be able to divide it in two, as long as each room has its own, separate window. This may not be as satisfactory as adding space, but it can work well if your home's big enough and you're on a limited budget.

When you come to sell, remember that couples and sharers will probably be looking for good-sized double bedrooms, while families may be happier to have more, smaller bedrooms if it means one for each child. If rejigging the existing space isn't an option, consider converting the loft into a bedroom or bedrooms instead. If you can also fit a bathroom or shower room up there, and built-in storage, you've created the perfect master or guest suite.

Building regulations for loft conversions are very strict about having a safe means of escape in the event of a fire, so it's not necessarily the easiest way to add an extra bedroom. Creating a downstairs bedroom, and preferably a bathroom or shower room next to it, can work better, providing your home's layout is suitable. Ground-floor extensions are usually used to add kitchen, dining and living space, but they can include bedrooms.

A two-storey extension is often better because you can create extra living space downstairs and bedrooms upstairs and it should be cheaper than doing a ground-floor extension and a loft conversion, but two-storey extensions aren't always easy to do with our current planning regulations.

“The cheapest and

easiest loft conversions are ones with skylights”

The cheapest and easiest loft conversions are ones with skylights (eaves conversions), as the line of the roof is unchanged. However, this isn't ideal if the loft has limited space. Building out the roof to create more useable space inside is often necessary, which means a (more expensive and complicated) dormer, mansard or hip-to-gable conversion.

The pitch of the roof can make a big difference to how useable the space is - some lofts don't have enough head height to make the conversion worthwhile unless you lower the ceilings in the rooms below. This is a big and expensive job and won't be practical if the ceilings are already quite low. You also need room for a good-sized staircase up to the loft on the floor below and if this means losing a bedroom, you may not gain much by converting the loft.

18 Life Begins

Another way to add a bedroom is converting your home's garage (or outbuildings) into one. If the garage is mostly used for storage and the stuff can be stored elsewhere, it may be more useful and valuable as a bedroom, as long as it's converted properly and sympathetically. To get the best of both worlds, you could put a bedroom on top of the garage, if there's space to build above it and for

a new corridor on the first floor.

Garden rooms can also be used as bedrooms, providing they're properly insulated and connected to services. However, they're usually more suitable as guest rooms (or dens, studios or home offices) than bedrooms used all the time all year round.

Cellar conversions are becoming increasingly popular, especially in expensive urban areas where it's hard to add space elsewhere. For most of us, converting our cellar won't mean creating the type of underground 'palaces' that make the headlines, but even modest cellar conversions can be tricky to do, not least because they have to be watertight and usually involve digging beneath the foundations.

Even with a light well, a cellar bedroom may not be the lightest, brightest space, but creating one can be preferable to moving home.

PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

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