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Add Living Space Without Changing Your Home’s Footprint

If you were choosing a home now, would you select your current home? For many people, the answer is no. You may need more space, or want to use what you have differently. Here are some ways to add living space to your home without changing the footprint of your existing structure.

Add Outdoor Living Space

For homes with small yards, rooftop deck systems can add considerable usable outdoor living space. Because they sit on your existing structure, rooftop decks do not add an inch to your footprint or subtract an inch from your yard. Yet they give you space for gardening, entertaining and relaxing. Depending on your location, you may also gain priceless views.

Renovate Unused Rooms

Many families have rooms that go unused, typically formal living rooms and extra bedrooms. Do not be afraid to redo them to suit your needs. Replace the carpet and sofa with cork flooring and fitness equipment. Take the bed out of the guest room and the options are endless: a craft room, home office or music studio may be just what your family needs.

Finish Unfinished Areas

Attics and basements can double your square footage, but many home builders leave them unfinished. If you use them at all, it is likely for storage. Why give items you rarely use prime real estate? While transforming these spaces may require extensive cleaning and some construction — think drywall and flooring installation — the end result can be well worth the effort.

Once finished, the attic may make a great guest retreat. Depending on the layout of your home, you may be able to turn your attic into a trendy open loft. Because you can add windows to flood the space with natural light, attics also make ideal art studios and libraries.

Basements may be dark but are typically much roomier than attics, and therefore more useable. Older kids may appreciate a large space to call their own. Alternatively, you can divide the ample space into multiple zones, including a laundry area, home theater and media room. Bonus: You may still have space for storage shelves.

Access Nooks

Two-story homes almost always contain unused space beneath stairs. While most under-stair nooks are not large enough to provide an extra room, you may be able to use that space constructively. Young children often relish a small play area of their own; the space under stairs can feel like a private fort. Older kids and adults may appreciate a cozy space for reading or meditation. Even if all you do is add shelves and improve accessibility, storing items under the stairs can free up square footage in other rooms, making them more livable.