Over the last year, the ‘race to space’ was the biggest property story. People have moved from cities for bigger homes or built extensions as if there were no tomorrow.

Every home is filled with unutilized square metres. 

Below are five creative and economical ways you can squeeze in an additional room. This will make you wonder why it hasn’t been done before.

Transformed: A basement kitchen conversion in Greenwich by houseUP. But digging down is about the most expensive way you can enlarge your living space

HouseUP transforms a basement into a kitchen in Greenwich Digging down, however, is the most cost-effective way to expand your living space.

Make sure you have chimneys 

A warming fire in winter is a must for those living in historic properties that have open fireplaces.

Nowadays, fireplaces have been replaced by central heating, with most of them now blocked. Only the chimney breast remains and takes up space on the floor.

Knock it out, and as a bonus you could sell the original bricks to an architectural salvage yard for about £1 each.

John Daborn, owner of J.J. Renovations says that if the fireplace is large, it can be reconfigured to make the space work better. It can be removed in many situations that transform the space.

Cost: £2,000 to £4,000.

The garage can be converted

These tools were essential back when cars broke down at the sight of rain. The garage now has a lot of tools and paint cans that can be parked on its own.

It is easy to install a new door in the main house, and also heat up the room.

Up and away: Extending upwards into the attic is one of the most cost-efficient ways of adding square metres to the house, and lowering ceilings could solve the headroom issue

You can go up and away. This is one of most efficient ways to add square metres of space to your house. Also, lowering the ceilings might solve the headroom problem.

Paul Gjecaj of Fairview Construction Team Ltd., says, “Converting the garage can be a great idea if there is enough head height. The subfloor should also be the same in the main home.” 

“In this case the cost of adding an extension to the property’s back will be less than it would have been to do the same thing. It will be like an extension of your home.

Cost: £10,000 to £20,000.

Lower ceilings

It is the most economical way to increase square metres of your house.

Lack of adequate headroom is the biggest obstacle. This can be overcome by lower ceilings in the lower rooms, but only for rooms with very high ceilings.

Malcolm Newman is the managing director of Premier Loft Company. He says, “You need at least 2m headroom at its highest point.”

If you can’t achieve that, it is possible to lower the ceiling. However, it is subjective. There are some who prefer less height.

Cost: £22,000 to £32,000.

Bijou bathrooms

A lot of older homes don’t have a ground floor toilet. This is particularly frustrating for families who have young children.

You can save so much space by using clever lavatories that are on top of the water cistern. You can fit them into tight spaces like cupboards or staircases.

David Ridgley is the chief designer at The Small Bathroom Company. He says that a bathroom should be 1.5mx0.8m. “It’s small, yet comfortable.” People are becoming brave when it comes to converting their cloakrooms.

Cost: £2,000 to £4,000.

Make sure you have a basement

You can only increase the size of your home by digging it down. Once you have removed all soil from the ground, it is necessary to waterproof and perhaps find an innovative way to let in natural light like a lightwell.

Vincenzo Palomba (managing director, basement conversion firm houseUP) says that the finished product often is the most beautiful part of a house, because it’s quiet. There are two types. 

The first are looking to add a bit of space, but never end up doing the project because they are going to spend £300,000.

“Those who decide to go for it are those who think about their lifestyle and desire a peaceful place where they can read, relax or have their own space.

Cost: £1,500 sq m if you have a cellar to convert, £4,000 sq m if you have to dig the space out. 

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