Making use of the attic
Even the smallest of loft spaces will be able to be utilised for more than the odd box or broken toy. They can be turned into perfectly useful rooms, storage areas, even bathrooms and bedrooms. Provided there is enough head height, a loft space can become anything you want it to be, assuming that all planning and building regulations have been taken into account.
A full loft conversion
This is the priciest option, but will provide a new bedroom, playroom or study. In some homes with large attic areas, there could be enough space for two rooms and a bathroom.
- Planning permission will not usually be required, assuming that the space being developed is less than 50 cubic metres and it is not extended beyond the original roof footprint or roof height.
- There should not be any verandahs or balconies
- Windows should be installed at least 1.7m above the floor and should be obscured if they are side facing.
- Building regulations will be required to ensure the floor structure is suitable, there is a means of escape in the event of a fire, the stairs to the loft are safe and there is adequate insulation between floors.
- In this case, the loft has now become a liveable space (even if it is used infrequently) and as such, will require proper regulations to be in place.
Boarding it out
If the space is not going to be used as a liveable space, then building regulations should not be required. It is important to bear in mind though that the joists of the loft space are not designed for significant load and too much storage may become a problem for the ceilings below.
In some cases simple adding boards to the floor of the loft may be enough to warrant building regulations to become involved. It is best to check before you proceed.
Once boarded, a loft space can become much easier to access and use more effectively. The eaves spaces can be used to create great cupboard space, using the awkward shapes more effectively. This leaves the central part of the room open for other uses.
Remember to add good insulation to keep any items you store free from damp.
Storage ideas for a loft
- The most important first step is to ensure that you have a practical and easy to use loft ladder. If the loft is to be used regularly for storage then one with a low angle and handrails is best. A larger than average loft opening might also be useful for large boxes and equipment.
- Take great care about how much weight is placed on the floor area of the loft and spread it about so it is evenly loaded.
- Use lightweight plasterboard to line the walls and add in cupboards and shelves of different sizes.
- Utilise the shapes which already exist in the room to create spaces between supports. Old kitchen cupboards, wardrobes and shelving units can be put to good use in a loft.
- A loft should be as organised as any other space in the home and using good solid boxes which are labelled and stacked, can be valuable when the time comes to find something in a hurry.
Just because your loft is not used regularly there is no need to let the space go to waste. Even if it is simply a storage area it can be attractive, easy to access and worthwhile putting on your home sale documents as a usable area.