Reviewing The Options For Making More Space At Home

(AD) We have recently been thinking about our long term options for our house. Living in a small 3 bedroom terrace house as a family of 5 it can feel pretty crowded at times, but as we need to stay locally moving somewhere bigger isn’t an affordable option. The pressure of growing children wanting their own space and 2 adults working at home has really made me think about what we can do to get more space.

A cube garden office design from modern garden rooms

Options For Creating More Space At Home


A Loft Conversion

A loft conversion is a popular way to get more living space. Many people can convert their loft into a living space or bedroom with minimal building work so it’s a great way to use the existing space in the house better.

Our loft is currently packed full of old clothes, Christmas decorations and toys. It is an essential storage area for us because I don’t like to get rid of anything until I am sure it wont be needed again. The bigger issue for us though is our loft is quite a small space without much headspace and I think it would need significant work to lower the upstairs ceilings to make enough space for another room. Add to that the need to take space out of an existing bedroom to fit stairs in (we don’t have a landing) and it isn’t a realistic option for us.

Single Storey Extension

Planning permission is not normally required for a single storey rear extension of 3 metres (or 4 metres if a detached house) as this is considered a “permitted development’. In most cases the extension can currently be up to 6 metres from the original rear of the house with “Prior Approval” which is a more simple process than normal planning permission.  You can find out what is allowed without planning permission on Planning Portal.

Our house has a 3 metre single story extension which contains our bathroom and dining room. This was one of the aspects of the house which made us buy it 6 years ago because it made a big difference to the space in the house. Assuming our neighbours were ok with it we could extend this by another few metres giving us enough space to add in a study or playroom at the back of the house. This is an appealing option, but would ideally require our existing extension to be taken down and rebuilt so the cost would be high and will take a while to save up for.

Double Storey Extension

A two storey extension of up to 3 metres is allowed for most houses under “permitted development” rules. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but knowing how big a difference our currently single storey extension makes this would totally transform the feel of our house. 

If we converted the existing extension into a double storey extension then we would be able to make the bedrooms bigger and potentially add in another one. I expect the downstairs extension (and possibly foundations) would need to be redone and to make best use of space upstairs we would want to look into the possibility of moving one of the existing walls. This would be an amazing option for us if we could afford it, but due to the significant work involved we would need to move out temporarily and it feels like too big a project to considered anytime soon.

Garden Room

A more affordable option to get more space would be to add a garden office or outbuilding. If under 2.5 metres in height they don’t require planning permission and due to the materials used they can be installed quickly with minimal disruption.

Our garden is long and narrow providing a great option for using some space for an outbuilding while leaving plenty of garden space to enjoy. Cabling can be run down the garden to provide electricity for lighting and heating making it a fully usable space. This is the most affordable option and the least intimidating when it comes to the work involved. A garden office would be the dream for us so that we can work away from the disruptions and noise in the house. I suspect there would be fierce competition from our children as they get older to claim the space for themselves and allowing them to chill or hang out with friends without disturbing me appeals too. 


We would love to move house or significantly extend our existing home, but financially these aren’t an option for us anytime soon. Having another room in our garden seems like a great option and we are now busy measuring up the space and researching what we would need to do to make it a reality in the next couple of years.

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