When space is tight or you’re simply looking to enhance your living space, sometimes, the only way is up. That was a cheesy attempt at trying to introduce the not so exciting topic of attics and how much the average loft conversion costs!
However, loft conversions can be the answer if you’re looking to extend, enhance or make the most of your small space. In fact, it’s on my list of things to do to my pokey flat in 2020!
Loft conversion is one of those things that you don’t think about until you actually want one, and even then, where do you start? It can seem daunting trying to find out quotes, design ideas, all whilst trying to run your normal daily life.
So I’ve done some digging around to try and help you with your very own loft conversion. Take this as your go-to guide.
How much is the average loft conversion?
Frankly there is no straight answer to how much the average loft conversion is. It really depends on the size and quality of the build that you want. However, as a starting point, homebuilding.co.uk state that the average loft conversion totals in at a cost of £15,000.
Oh – not too bad eh? Well, you have to bear in mind that this is for a basic room layout, and you’ll have to furnish the room itself out-with the costs of the conversion.
The figures really vary and depend on where you look to gather your information. The average figures can start to ramp up once you add in the complexity of the build alongside the furnishings and concept you want.
So let’s take a look at a simple room-in-the-loft conversion. Let’s say £15,000 for the conversion itself, you’ll want to make it into a bedroom, so you’ll need wallpaper, paint, pictures to hang, alongside a bed, a chest of drawers … you get the idea. Once you’ve totalled that up, you can be looking at nearer £16,000.
Loft Conversion Ideas
So you know that you want a loft conversion, the space is there, so you may as well use it, and I totally agree. Let’s take a step away for a second from all those scary numbers, I can hear your bank account crying from here!
Instead, let’s look at some of the useful ideas that you can use this baron space for.
We’ve already spoken about a basic room-in-the-loft conversion, and that’s because it’s one of the most popular uses of the attic space. You could create a peaceful getaway for yourself to sneak away to at night or create an exciting kids’ bedroom to keep the little ones entertained for hours.
Idealhome have loads of awesome ideas on how you can transform your loft space into something a little more unique.
I love the idea of having a custom-built bathroom, in the loft … I know right, how crazy does that sound. It’s totally doable though (we’re definitely doing that with our loft conversion!)
Or what about creating a messy space for your kids? Think paints, slime, glitter – although that does sound like a proper nightmare to clean up, at least it’s not all over your living room I suppose!
Sometimes you need to think outside the box, and which.co.uk has a great guide on exactly how to do that. Although more costly, you could really showcase the stairs that lead to the loft and making them the main feature will make your conversion stand out in your home.
How about having a balcony on the roof, take your conversion to the next level and adding a balcony gives you some extra outdoor space, and you’ll be able to really maximise those sunny days, chilling out on the roof-top balcony.
Loft Conversion Plans
It’s important that you do your research before committing to converting your loft, it can be a costly mistake that you definitely don’t want to make.
In order to maximise efficiency and reduce the costs, you’ll need to plan. This means drafting in the experts to draw up a conversion plan, giving the exact measurements and requirements needing to turn your empty Christmas storage space into something beautiful.
This means you’ll be able to get an accurate quote on what you need done for a successful project. Many of you will be saying ‘but don’t I need planning permission for a loft conversion?’
And the answer to that is, not always. I know, another vague statement, but for most cases, loft conversions are considered as permitted development or PD for short. This means that as long as you stay within the parameters of your home, so no double-storey conversions, then you won’t need permission.
For anything outside of the PD guidelines, you’ll need to through the right protocols to get the correct permission in order to have your plans approved. Which.co.uk is filled with details and information regarding planning permission and is definitely something that I’d recommend to get started.
Can I do a Dormer Loft Conversion?
Okay, here we go with the conversion terminology. What’s a dormer you ask? Well, a dormer is simply another form of a loft conversion. We’ve mainly spoken about using the traditional form of conversion where you use the space that is already there and convert it into a room of some sort.
Sometimes though, the space that’s there just isn’t enough, and wouldn’t be usable for the purpose you intend. In steps the dormer conversion. It is an extension of the loft space, which protrudes from the slope of the building, leading to more usable loft space.
There are several types of dormer conversions but the most popular is the flat roof dormer, providing you with an affordable option to get the extension you want.
Prices start at around £20-25,000 for a basic dormer conversion. Although not the most attractive type of dormer conversion, it opens up the headspace and gives you a tonne more room to work with in comparison to the traditional room-in-a-loft conversion.
As with other types of conversion, the dormer is classed as permitted development, so you’ll be unlikely to require planning permission to build this however there are some requirements that go against this.
Abbeylofts has some really insightful information if dormer conversions are your thing.
The cost of loft conversion stairs
Probably one of the most important part of the loft conversion is the stairs, I’ve seen some conversions that have stunning staircases, arguably nicer than the staircase in the main part of the house, and others are simply a set of ladders to get upstairs.
It’s a big decision to make, and it can be a costly factor, so you’ll want to make sure that you get something that you’re going to like the look of.
I’m going to throw out another vague statement, I know you’re probably tired of them, but the cost of installing a staircase into your loft conversion can vary massively in price!
According to homeadviceguide.com, the cost of having a staircase can start from £150 and shoot up to £1,800, so you can see how massive the range is.
The cost depends on what type of stairs you would like, be it a fancy spiral staircase or a traditional vertical set of stairs and also what type of product you would like the stairs to be made from.
You’ll need to remember that on top of the prices listed above, you’ll need someone to come and actually install the stairs, unless your handy yourself that is!
How to design your loft space
Designing your brand new space can quite often be the most difficult bit. But for me, it’s definitely the most exciting, getting to see this space come alive.
(As we’re here – if you’re doing other DIY to your home, check out my guide on how much the average kitchen costs. You know, you could even add one to your loft conversion. Somewhat odd, but it takes all sorts, eh!
There are literally thousands of combinations on how to design your loft space, and we’ve already touched on some of those ideas. My favourite way to visualise these ideas and bring them alive is to check out Pinterest.
If you haven’t heard of this then let me bring you from underneath the rock you’ve been living in. In seriousness, it’s a great site to get inspiration and definitely worth a look, even if you’re not wanting a loft conversion!
I warn you now, once you get into Pinterest, you’ll become properly obsessed and somewhat carried away. I’ve a board for my wedding (not engaged), for hair tips (I don’t have long thick locks that would take those braids) and even a board for cakes! (I literally only make one).
Choosing a loft conversion company
Choosing a company to build your loft conversion is extremely important, this is what can make or break your budget.
Like anything, you need to do your research, don’t just go with the first company that you find. Phone around, ask friends or family or even take to social media and other review platforms to find out what other people say, people aren’t afraid to share their opinions, especially negative ones, so you can definitely find the ones to avoid.
In fact, the people across the road had their loft conversion done last year – so we’re currently plucking up the courage to introduce ourselves to ask them for a nose of what they had done, and if they would recommend the loft conversion company that did it. But I live in London, and stranger danger…
I often use websites such as yell.com to find out what other people think about companies that I am interested in. It’s a great way to see the good and negative reviews and usually leads to a better decision.
What about a bungalow conversion?
Typical loft conversions tend to happen in two-storey houses, with families who are looking for extra space, right?
Well, that’s not always the case and for those living in bungalows, the idea of a loft conversion isn’t out of the window (pardon the pun).
Having a bungalow means you might be more restricted in terms of the conversion but there are still many options available to you. The dormer conversion that we spoke about earlier is an option here and you can get the extra headspace and usable loft space that you’ve been craving, which can be especially helpful in smaller bungalows.
Other options include a roof light conversion, a mansard or a hip to gable conversion. Just again, make sure that you plan, and do your research to grab yourself the best possible deal.
Loft conversion in London
Ah, the big city, full of dreams and ambitions, and it turns out the land of loft conversions too. With space at a premium in London, people have decided that the only way is up.
You may think that the price of loft conversions in London may be sky high in comparison to other areas of the country. Well, you’d be wrong, and in fact that the average cost of a loft conversion in London is only a few thousand more than in other areas (phew!).
So if you’re deciding to move to the big city and need some extra space, perhaps a loft conversion is the way to go.
DIY Loft Conversion
So you’re here for one reason, right? To get all the best information about a loft conversion, and find ways to save money? I knew it.
So for most practical things around the house, doing it yourself can often be the cheapest, although maybe not the quickest way of getting the job done. So what about a loft conversion? Can it really be done yourself?
The first thing you need to realise is that it is no small task, it takes months of preparation and many more months to actually get the job done to a high standard. You’ll need to do your own research, and that includes buying the raw products, doing a complete install of the loft conversion and decorating your new space.
This may all sound like a walk in the park on paper, but it will take many hours of labour, and on top of a full-time job and/or family life that might just be too much.
Wisetradesmen.com recommend that you should only do the cosmetic work yourself and bring in the professionals to do the work. However, if you’re up to the task and have the skills, knowledge and time to execute such a mammoth task then you’re onto a winner.
My plan – because I have a handy boyfriend, is to get the builders in to do the main stuff, take some time to save up some more cash, and get my boyfriend to put in the bathroom/paint etc (plus, I know how to do it on the cheap). I’m hoping it will save some serious cash.
Doing it yourself could save you on average £5000 on your conversion. Taking your total down from £15,000 to £10,000, a nice little saving and something that won’t burst your budget.
Previously the loft conversion was something that only some could dream of, thankfully that has changed and there is something to suit almost every budget. It’s a big project though so I’ll mention again that you’d be best to do some thorough research and plan well ahead of time.
Let’s talk about you now. Have you had a loft conversion done, I’d love to know how much your project cost and how your new space looks!