A loft conversion can be a great investment in your home. Assuming your loft is suitable for turning into habitable space, and the vast majority are, the additional room can easily increase the value of your home by 20% or more while giving you more living space in your home.
While most homeowners choose to use the converted loft space to accommodate an extra bedroom, the rising trend towards working from home has meant that home offices in the loft are becoming more and more popular. Whether you’re doing occasional freelance work, have a sole trader business or work in partnership with a few colleagues, loft offices can be a convenient and cost-effective solution.
How suitable is your loft space?
Before you go ahead with a loft conversion, make sure that it will actually give you an appropriate space for a home office. How will it work to put a desk and chair, computer equipment and bookshelves or filing cabinets into the transformed roof space? Is there enough usable space?
Headroom is key; most lofts are designed with a pitched roof which can substantially restrict standing headroom in many areas of the conversion. You should get an architect or a local loft conversion expert to assess different loft conversion designs (such as these from A-spec Ltd) and decide which one is best suited to your home working requirements.
Then there are the structural safety aspects to ensure that the additional weight of the proposed furniture and furnishings can be accommodated. Finally, consider requirements and specifications for sound and thermal insulation regulations.
Once you’ve come to the conclusion that putting a home office into the loft is a viable solution, a wide range of other practical considerations comes into play, most of which center around access and usability.
Things you need for the loft conversion
Here are 6 things you should definitely include in your planning:
- Installing a staircase is a much better long-term solution than climbing up even the most luxurious of loft ladders. Make sure you check to see how much space there is on the landing downstairs and make sure there’s sufficient standing headroom at the top of the stairs so that your building project satisfies building regulations.
- If you want your new office to be bright and airy, think about maximizing the natural daylight coming in, and don’t forget about ventilation. Velux windows are an excellent solution for smaller spaces, but dormer loft conversions may be more cost effective since they can provide more usable floor space in addition.
- To keep your home office well illuminated at all times, artificial lighting should be used to supplement any natural light. Rooms that are dark and dingy or that have harsh unnatural levels of light are not only unpleasant to work in, but they can also cause eye strain and tiredness, zapping your energy and productivity.
- Every loft extension will have main power supply but home offices have additional requirements for computer equipment and mobile devices and perhaps an extra landline. Fast, secure and reliable internet access is a now a key requirement for all businesses and you may need a WiFi booster.
- Space, the final frontier… While you are obviously limited by the physical dimensions of the loft space to be converted, make sure that you will end up with a practical home office solution. Too small and the area will feel cramped, particularly if you’re meeting clients there too. Built-in storage solutions can help, as can a determination to keep your office clutter free.
- If the rest of the house is centrally heated, it makes sense to add one or two extra radiators to the system to cover the loft office. To create the best working conditions, the ambient temperature must be just right – not too hot, not too cold. A window blind against bright sunshine, a fan for the summer and an electric heater for the winter may be useful.