Adding space to your home. Building advice and design tricks.

When your home no longer fits you, building an extension is a perfect solution. However, what do you do when there’s not that much space to extend and you are not ready for a big move yet? And how can you make sure that your extension, big or small, doesn’t get too cramped for you before you even finished adding the final touches? Let’s look at all the different ways you can make the most out of the least space and develop your property to its full potential – from heavy duty construction to interior design.

Make Your Home Grow Up

Modern Australian Home Extensions
Modern home extension

If you are running out of space on the ground floor and don’t want to sacrifice your garden or pool area, second storey additions are for you! You can have all the extra room you need without expensive and time-consuming site works like excavations or building up retaining walls. However, second storey extensions can be pretty tricky, so here are some things to consider:

  1. Structure. Second storey adds a lot of extra weight to your home’s walls and foundation, so the structure needs to be sound and durable.
  2. Arrangements. Adding an extra floor might be less intrusive than a ground floor extension but you might still want to consider relocating for the duration of the build. If you decide to stay, make sure to set up a detailed schedule with your builder to avoid any unexpected disruptions.
  3. Permits. Depending on the neighbourhood where you live and the kind of house that you have you may need to acquire different building permits, so be prepared for some bureaucratic hurdles before you start your building project.

Also, keep in mind that adding a second storey often requires clearing room down below to build stairs. So, while the extra space lets you settle quite comfortably and have a lot more freedom and privacy, you might still need additional makeover on the ground floor. Here are some tips to increase space without entirely overturning the lower storey.

Get Rid of the Clutter

Walk in Robe extension
Heaps of storage in this walk in robe

Big or small, a neat and well-organised house will always look and feel much more spacious than a cluttered one. Make sure to include a lot of storage room no matter what kind of change you plan for your house. Wardrobes, open shelves, containers and compartments are your best friends when it comes to using your space to its full potential.

Of course, organising your space doesn’t mean just cleaning up. Zoning large rooms into different functional areas is the key to creating a well-structured interior that doesn’t fell restrictive. Go with glass or sheer materials for dividers to section off different zones without crowding your space with extra walls. Better yet, rely on visual cues like different colours and textures on walls, floor and ceiling for a freely flowing environment that still has very distinct areas in it.

Choosing the right furniture also make a huge difference when it comes to decluttering your home. There are a couple of approaches you can take when deciding on the style. Low couches and coffee tables draw the sightline down and make the ceiling appear taller and the room airier. On the other hand, if you need taller furniture like kitchen surfaces, cupboards or dinner tables, look for ones that are made of light or clear materials or have thin raised legs. Such items have less visual weight and do not obstruct your line of sight, letting the eye freely flow over them.

Light It Up

Modern Kitchen extension
Modern Kitchen and Dining extension with plenty of natural and artificial light

Brightly lit spaces feel bigger, warmer and more welcoming. Try to maximise your use of daylight with big windows, french doors, sunroofs and sheer curtains. For indoor lighting it’s better to have many different lights on tables, shelves and walls than a single overhead lamp. That way you won’t have long shadows gathering in the corners and draping away space.

Same advice goes for the colour scheme that you choose. Aggressive colours and contrasting combinations draw the eye and can feel oppressive in small spaces. Light monochromatic interiors, on the other hand, make for an airy, flowing environment that seems boundless. Combining different shades of the same colour will help you add depth and style to an otherwise plain room.

Finally, mirrors are a powerful design tool that can visually double the space around them. They also double the light, so consider placing a large one opposite a window or adding lighting to the frame in your bathroom. Metal, glass and other reflective surfaces will also help you make your room feel lighter and brighter.

Modern bathroom extension
Using the same or similar tiles on your floor and walls can make your bathroom or ensuite look much bigger than it actually is.

Whether you are ready to commit to building a home extension or merely looking to make some cosmetic changes to make your place appear bigger, these tips should help you figure out how to tackle the issue. With a bit of imagination and ingenuity you can realise the full potential of your house and make every room more functional and comfortable. Good luck!


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