How to Design Your Barn Style Home

There are so many different styles of barns, but all of them have defining features that create a unique living space. While they all hold rustic charm, you can design your barn style home to be a one of a kind living space. Keep some of the defining characteristics in place and combine them with your own touches. We’ve outlined some of the defining features in your barn style home and added in some new ideas for a unique home! barn style home exterior

Barn Style Facades

Any barn or barn style home features an iconic exterior. They are instantly recognizable from their shapes and materials used. There are a few different styles of barns that are defined by different architectural details. This is most important when you’re renovating an existing barn. When you’re building a new barn style home, most of your exterior will be defined by the materials used. Common Design Elements When it comes to architectural features, most barns have the same basic elements in their design. Gables are found in most barn style homes. They are part of the oldest barn designs in America’s architectural history. Gables consist of the triangular portion of the exterior wall formed by your extended roofline. The steep slopes help your roof to last longer and protect your exterior walls. Along with gables, many barn style homes feature large wrap around porches. While they aren’t typically found in existing barns, new construction takes this element of farmhouse design and adds it to the classic barn architecture. It adds a little touch of domesticity to the otherwise industrial building. Sometimes your architectural elements are dictated by the barn’s existing structure. Historically, different barn designs were used based on the building’s purpose. Many people think of a classic horse barn with individual stalls. While these are very, there are other designs that feature completely open floorplans. Exterior Materials There are two major materials used for the exterior of your barn style home. Inspired by historical barns, your home’s façade will probably be finished with either wood or stone. Two major things that factored into this decision were the barn’s purpose and the surrounding climate. If you plan to use wood or faux wood for your barn style home’s exterior, there are a few ways to treat it for a traditional look and feel. Many times, reclaimed wood is used to give a rustic and authentic feel to new construction. Many homeowners want to give their barn style home a historical and lived in aesthetic. Wood may seem like a high risk material to use as the exterior material on your due to its natural deterioration. However, with the right finishes and preservation techniques, it creates a beautifully authentic look. One classic way to finish your barn’s exterior is to use an outdoor paint in a burnt red color. There’s nothing as iconic when it comes to barn design than a red building. If you want something a little more durable for your home’s façade, stone is another common material used to finish barns. This ideal for homeowners that want to build or renovate their barn in areas with harsh climates. Some homeowners like the look of the wood siding, but worry about the durability of their barn style home’s structure. One way to have the best of both worlds is to simply combine the two materials. You can build a wood sided barn on top of a stone foundation. This protects the base of your home where deterioration will be the most damaging and gives you a traditional red barn look.
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Barn Style Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are both functional and aesthetic pieces. They’re important to your home design for obvious reasons, but can also add unique elements to the exterior design of your home. Traditional barns don’t have your standard window and door designs. Whether you’re building a new barn style home or renovating an old barndominium, you can take the traditional pieces, such as barn doors, and create your one of a kind living space. Barns are known for their large doors, but not having many windows. Make some alterations to the original design for a more updated structure. Not only will these updated pieces help your design, but both windows and doors help ventilation. This is a major part of making your barn more livable. Windows Traditional barns don’t feature a lot of windows which can make it difficult to view it as a potential home. You can easily add in extra windows to create a more livable space. The addition of natural light transforms the previously dark barn into a large bright open space that has a lot of potential. One popular window design for barn style homes is a minimalistic rectangular window. The frame is a simple rectangle and may include smaller panes within the large window. These can either go from floor to ceiling or even be a multilevel design. The reason these windows are so popular is that they allow the maximum amount of natural light into your home. The minimalist frame doesn’t take any of the original charm away from your barn, but the modern design updates it. Another window shape that is typically used in barns is a dormer window. This design consists of windows that extend out of the roof line in a small rectangle. They sometimes have those iconic gables that we previously mentioned. These windows are so popular because of the added element they give to the roofline. They also create extra space indoors with their small nooks. Doors One of the most iconic parts of any barn structure are the large wagon doors at the front of the building. These are obviously not practical to use as your standard front door, they can easily be incorporated into your home’s design. Many barndominiums use the original barn doors as a second set and create a double exterior wall. You can construct a wall within your barn that has your front door hidden behind the large wagon doors. It’s most common to leave these large doors open as a frame for your front entrance. The second type of door commonly found in barns is a Dutch door. This type of door splits in the center to create two sections that you can open separately, or keep them attached and open as a singular door. These are very common in horse barns as they were used in the stalls. This traditional farmhouse design is great for homeowners that like to get the maximum amount of fresh air in their homes during nice weather. barn style home spiral stair

Barn Style Interiors

Just like your home’s exterior, there are several defining features of your barn style interior. There are some structural elements that help to pull in the barns original construction and other accents that support the rustic charm. Lofts Lofts are a common feature of most barns. In the original structure, they were typically used as storage. However, these spaces are the perfect place for a living room or a bedroom. It creates square footage in your home and adds a dynamic element to your interior structure. If you want to utilize your loft as a living space, you’ll need a reliable way of accessing it. Barns traditionally use a ladder that is flat against the wall. However, this can be unsafe and won’t hold up to the regular foot traffic that comes with a living space. A good replacement that still allows your maximize your space is a spiral stair. Unlike a traditional stair, your spiral will only take up a small circle in your home. This is perfect for homeowners looking to keep their floorplan as open as possible. We offer three interior spiral stair product lines that can be customized to fit your ideal aesthetic. Our rustic loft stairs are the perfect complement to your barn interior! renovated barn interior design Interior Materials There are several materials that are commonplace in barn style homes. While the designs may vary based on the original barns use, there is some consistency in the materials used to create that classic rustic charm. One of the most prominent materials in any barn style home is obviously going to be wood. Because of its prominence in historical barns, it’s the natural choice for those building new homes. There are several ways to use this traditional material in your barn’s interior. Exposed support beams are a popular feature in barndominiums and renovated barns. They are a unique piece of the original architecture that holds a lot of design in your new home. If you are building a new home, or want to add support beams to an existing structure, reclaimed wood is the perfect accent. Wood can also be used as your wall treatment throughout your home. Wood paneled walls are a rustic design choice, but they can be treated to create a more modern look. Between stains and paints there are plenty of ways to finish your wood paneling. While you can finish wood to hold up to extra moisture, it’s not the most ideal choice. You may not want to be limited to the standard square acrylic tile that’s common in kitchens and bathrooms. Subway tiles are a more updated option that compliments the rustic design style. For smaller architectural details, like loft railings, dark metal accents are preferable. These industrial pieces contrast your all wood aesthetic and create more modern take on the rustic design style. These accents are also traditionally found in barns Barn style homes have become increasingly popular because of their unique architecture. Whether you’re renovating a barn to create a barn with living quarters or you’re building a new house, this a cozy place to call home. With all of the unique design elements involved, it can be difficult to know where to look. If you want to start with your barn loft, consider looking at a spiral stair to reach your space! Our consultative designers are only a call away and can answer any of your questions.

Finish the Bonus Room Over the Garage

Extra space is always a welcome discovery for homeowners. There are plenty of benefits to adding an extra room to your home. Whether you plan to use it as a guest room or a play room for younger kids, it can add value to your home. While some may want to build a completely new addition to their home, there are plenty of ways to find the space in the existing structure. Garages are the perfect place for your new bonus room. You can finish the bonus room over your garage for a space with lots of flexibility. Bonus room ideas range from rec rooms for kids to garage apartments. Here’s a step by step guide on how to finish the room above your garage.
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Photo by: Young House Love

Budgeting & Cost

Budgeting and cost are the first question that any homeowner has when deciding to renovate an area of their home. The approximate cost of finishing the bonus room over your garage is approximately $35 per square foot. This is calculated from standard costs for all of the different finishing pieces, such as the insulation, flooring, and wiring. A major factor when determining the cost of your renovation is going to the size of your bonus room. Because construction costs are estimated by square foot, the larger the room is, the more it will cost. It will also depend on what actually needs to be done in that space. You may need to add extra insulation or wiring, while other bonus rooms wouldn’t need the same treatments. The starting frame of your home can also help you determine the work that needs to be done. Some homeowners want to do a full remodel of their bonus room. This can include new windows and other structural changes. This will obviously add to the cost of your project. The final two factors that will affect the cost of your renovation will be the materials used and who is doing the work. For almost every part of your renovation, there are several options for materials used. This can help you to find the right fit for your room and your budget. There’s a large DIY community online that can provide support if you plan on finishing your bonus room yourself. Depending upon the work that needs to be done, you can easily finish the space yourself. Simple things like drywall and installing carpet may take longer as a DIY-er, but can be done. However, if you plan to rewire your space or install new structural elements, like windows or changing the roofline, you should call a contractor.
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Photo by: Young House Love

Finishing your Bonus Room Walls

The walls are always one of the most important parts of finishing any room. They create the frame that you can then build on top of for the rest of your bonus room’s design. How you decide to finish the walls and the treatments you use will depend on how you want to use the room. The first thing you will have to do is ensure that your space in properly insulated. Temperature control is a major part of finishing the bonus room over your garage. Because it can become very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer, you want proper insulation in your walls and ceiling to ensure that you won’t be wasting money on heating and cooling the space. Spray foam insulation may be more expensive, but it will fill all of those extra nooks and crannies in your garage’s walls. After you’ve installed insulation in your walls’ frames, you’ll want to hang drywall as the base of any other wall treatments you may want to apply over it. This gives your bonus room a finished look and brings it into the same design style as your main home’s interior. There are several different finishing wall treatments you could use for your bonus room walls. Paint is obviously the most common finish for any wall. Using paints with a glossy finish reflects light and can make your bonus room look larger. For a more rustic look, you can use reclaimed wood to create a shiplap wall. This wood paneling adds a fun focal point in your bonus room design.
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Photo by: House Plans Blog

Finishing your Bonus Room Floors

After the walls, you can finish the basic frame by adding new flooring to the bonus room over your garage. Just like a garage apartment conversion, finishing the floors of your bonus room will take a little more than simply laying carpet. Most garage lofts are basic frames that are not originally built for heavy foot traffic and regular use. The first thing you’ll want to do is reinforce your floor joists. This helps it to stand up to the heavy foot traffic that it’ll inherit with becoming a living space. Once the floor joists are reinforced, you have two more considerations before laying the final layer of flooring. Just like the walls, insulation will need to be added to the floors. Not only will this help with the temperature control that was mentioned earlier, but it will has keep unwanted noise from the garage out of your bonus room. If you want to add another layer of sound protection to your bonus room, you can finish your floors with carpeting. You will need to install subflooring underneath the carpet which will not only support the carpet itself, but also support the sound absorption that the carpet already provides. This soft flooring option is popular for playrooms and home theaters. Hardwood flooring is always an option when finishing rooms in your home. This clean and classic look is also helpful if you want to avoid spills on the carpet in a children’s playroom. It can easily be installed and easily cleaned.

Accessing your Bonus Room

Once you’ve gone through all of the costs and efforts to create a beautiful bonus room, you’re going to want a safe and beautiful way to access your space. You’ve put a lot of thought into all of the design aspects of your new bonus room and the same considerations should be taken with your bonus room stairs. When the space above your garage was used for storage, you probably didn’t put much thought into how you accessed your space. Now that you will be frequently accessing the space you’ll want a staircase that matches the design you’ve created. Interior Access If you plan to install your bonus room stairs inside your garage, you’ll want to ensure that you don’t take up a lot of space. You want to leave as much space available as possible in both parts of your garage. There are a few options when it comes to your interior stairs. A ladder is one of the most common loft stair designs when homeowners choose to install a loft that won’t frequently be used. It has a virtually nonexistent footprint and can be moved around as needed. There is also a large range of design styles and prices available. Ladders aren’t the best choice for bonus rooms that will be frequently accessed. They are typically unstable and the minimal frame can be hard for people to use. If you have pets or elderly family members, a ladder may not be the best choice for accessing your bonus room. Traditional straight staircases are another common option. A traditional stair is typically a homeowner’s first thought when it comes to staircases. They are definitely stable and have large wide steps that are easy for anyone to use. As an interior option, a traditional staircase will take up a much larger footprint that you may be willing to give up in your garage. It’s not uncommon for straight staircases to take up a full wall of space. This also leaves a large access point open in the bonus room above your garage. Spiral staircases are the happy medium to these two designs. The spiral design keeps the large full steps of the staircase in a small footprint. This design takes up a small circle in the corner of your garage, leaving the maximum amount of space on both floors. There are three main product lines of interior spiral stairs that also include a large range of customizable design choices. A Classic Steel spiral stair is known for its flexibility and ability to fit into an industrial space, as well as a traditional home design. The Forged Iron spiral stair brings Victorian elegance to your space and is recognized by the ornate details. Our last interior option, a Solid Wood spiral stair has the traditional style of an all wood design in the small footprint. Optimized-exterior entrance Exterior Entrances You may choose to maximize your interior space on both floors by keeping your access to the bonus room over your garage outdoors. If this is the case, there are two major outdoor stair designs that can be used. The first exterior stair is going to be a traditional stair. This all wood design is the same as an interior traditional stair with a few material changes. Rather than finishing your steps with a standard stain or carpet, you will instead use pressure treated lumber that is meant for outdoor use and sealants to protect the wood from weather conditions. While your footprint may not be as big of an issue outdoors, your material choices will have a larger impact on the stair design. Like any wooden outdoor structure, you’ll have to go through a restoration process every so often to ensure that your stairs are structurally sound. You can use metal materials in your stairs, but it will drastically increase the cost of your staircase. There are spiral stair designs that are design to last outdoors while still giving you a beautiful design. If you have a tight space between your house and garage or want to keep as much green space open as possible, the small footprint is the perfect fit your outdoor entrance. There are two outdoor spiral stair styles: an Aluminum Powder Coated spiral stair and a Galvanized Steel spiral stair. Both of these have unique features to create one of a kind designs. The already rust resistant aluminum stair frame is powder coated to create another layer of protection between the frame and harsh weather conditions. While many customers choose to leave the stair in a standard white or black, the powder coating can come in custom colors to fit your design dreams. Our Galvanized Steel spiral stair is a cost effective stair solution for homeowners want a durable staircase to reach their bonus room over the garage. Our carbon steel frame goes through a hot dipped galvanizing process to coat every part of the stair in a rust resistant finish. The end result is a beautiful metallic silver spiral stair that is going to last outdoors with no extra maintenance.

Utilities in your Bonus Room

Temperature control is a major concern when you’re finishing the bonus room above your garage. These spaces are typically subject to extreme temperatures in either direction because of their lack of insulation and HVAC systems. Once you’ve installed the insulation during the construction stages, you can then look into adding your bonus room to your home’s current HVAC system. Depending upon the size of your space and your climate, you may want to give your room its own thermostat. Check with an HVAC professional to ensure you’re choosing the best option for your home design. Electricity is another must when finishing the room above your garage. While your garage may already be on your current power grid, you will need additional wiring to cater to more lighting and electronics that you may put in your bonus room. The addition of wires and new outlets is a job that is better left for an electrician or contractor rather than a DIY project.

Get Started on your Bonus Room Today

Finishing the bonus room over your garage is the perfect way to add to your home’s living space without having an expensive addition. Make the most of your new space by keeping impeding features to a minimum. If the small footprint of a spiral stair is the right way to access your second floor bonus room, call one of our consultative designers to start your project today!

Convert Your Attic into a Bedroom

When homeowners are looking for more space, they often look to the garage and basement. These spaces are typically a standard shape and have better temperature control than attics. However, attics have lots of potential for a unique extra bedroom.
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Photo by: Red River Loft Convertors

Pre-Conversion Considerations

If you have an unfinished attic, it may seem like a daunting task to convert it into a beautiful finished bedroom. You probably think you’re going to be spending a lot of time and money on one little room. However, with the right planning and pre-conversion considerations, your attic bedroom conversion can be done with minimal stress. Building Code & Permit Considerations Any home renovation or conversion is going to require the homeowners to take building codes and local building permits into consideration during the planning stages. Building code consists of different safety standards that are determined to ensure the safety and stability of your building. Things that are included in building code are the ceiling height, the width of the room, and the total square footage of the room. Meeting building code is a requirement if you plan to rent out your bedroom or sell the house at a later date. Before construction begins, check with your local municipalities to see if your project require a permit. Be sure to bring completed plans so they can give you an accurate answer. Any attic conversions that include altering the exterior of the house, such as the roofline or additional windows, will most likely require a permit. If you’re unsure about any of the aspects of your project and their safety standards, consult a contractor to find accurate answers that are directly related to your conversion.
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Photo by: Onya Magazine
Added Value Any home renovation is going to add value to your home. Converting your attic into a bedroom can add a lot of value to your home. Because the new room is a bedroom, rather than an extra recreational room, you will see a larger return on investment. According to the National Association of Realtors, homeowners that had an attic bedroom conversion saw an average return on investment of 61% when they sold their house. Added value can also be found in the form of extra income! Some homeowners choose to rent out their attic bedrooms. This may include an en suite bathroom and an exterior entrance to attic. This would all depend on your comfort level with your tenants.

Converting Your Attic

Once you’re through the planning stages, you have to start the actual conversion of your space. Each piece of your new room has special considerations that go towards create a beautiful and efficient attic bedroom.
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Photo by: News on Air
Angled Ceilings A common problem that homeowners have when converting an attic into a bedroom is the steep slope of the ceiling. It hinders any head room and limits the usable space in your attic. However, they shouldn’t be seen as a hindrance, but rather as a unique piece of architecture that can enhance your new bedroom. Highlight the unique architectural elements of your attic bedroom conversion by using ceiling treatments. Similar to wall treatments, adding an extra design element to your ceiling can create a one of a kind room design. While painting your ceiling an eye catching color is an easy way to create a focal point in your attic, there are other ways to create an interesting design. You can use the same idea that is used for home library designs and create unique paneling on the angles with different types of molding. If your space is smaller, paint over the molding to create a textured wall that is a singular color. This adds visual interest without overwhelming a small space.
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Photo by: Ecoloft Ltd
Walls Your attic bedroom conversion is going to have less wall space than other rooms in your home due to the steep ceiling angle. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re limited in design. From different wall treatments to unique storage solutions, your attic walls have a lot of potential. Assuming you will have to add an additional interior wall to your existing attic framework, it is completely customizable. When it comes to wall treatments keep them simple so you don’t overwhelm the smaller space. Light colors keep your new bedroom feeling larger and more open when paired with natural light. If you want to add a more polished finish to your attic walls, creating faux panels with molding, much like the ceiling panels mentioned above, are a great touch. Because your attic probably doesn’t have full size walls, you have to utilize all of your space. Knee walls may seem like a waste because of their shorter height, but you can easily make the most of them with the right storage solutions. Use these small areas to create shorter closets that line your bedroom. It’s space that was previously unused and helps you gain valuable square footage. If you have taller walls that meet your ceiling and match the angle, it can be difficult to find furniture that will fit. Consider built in storage that’s custom made to fit the unconventional space. By installing these shelving units into the walls, you’re not taking up any floor space with bulky pieces that don’t really fit the space. Keeping this clutter off of the floor and neatly fit into your room helps keep the space open and feeling larger.
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Comelite Arch
Windows One of the best things you can do for an attic bedroom conversion is make sure that you install the right window designs in your space. Having the standard small window at the top of your roofline isn’t enough to make the space livable and reach its fullest potential. From a technical stand point, you’ll need at least one larger window that is easily accessible. In order to meet building code, your attic needs to have at least one window that can provide an emergency exit in the event of a fire. Windows can also add a lot to your new bedroom’s design. Natural light, rather than artificial light, helps make a room feel larger and brighter. Skylights are a popular addition to attic conversions because of their natural fit into a roof line and the benefit of added headroom. Another window design for attic conversions is the Dormer window. These windows extend out from a sloped roofline to create small nooks in your floor plan and add a dynamic element to your home’s exterior. These small spaces are the perfect spot for benches or desks that double as storage units and would otherwise clutter your space.
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Photo by: Carpet Right
Floors Before you install any kind of flooring for your attic bedroom conversion, you’ll want to ensure that your floor is a solid and structural sound surface. When converting a storage attic to a bedroom, you’re adding a lot more movement and constant weight on the floors. Reinforce the floor joists to create a safe environment for whoever may be using the bedroom. Your attic floors don’t have quite as much flexibility as the rest of your new bedroom. While hardwood floors are coveted in all other parts of the house, carpet may be the better option. One of the major reasons for carpeting over hardwood is the sound proofing benefits of a softer floor. Assuming your attic is above other living spaces, you will want to cut down on the amount of noise from both sides. Carpeting absorbs sound and requires an extra layer or two of subflooring eliminating a lot of noise from below. If you choose to have hardwood floors in your converted attic, be sure to include sub-flooring to keep extra noise out. Optimized-stairs Stairs By converting your attic into a new living space, you will need a reliable means of access. Attics that aren’t frequently used commonly have ladders installed to reach their storage areas. The small footprint means your entire floorplan doesn’t have to revolve around your staircase. However, these ladders can quickly become unsafe and are not meant for regular everyday use. They lack the stability that you find with an actual staircase. The most common attic conversion stair design is a traditional stair. This is what you would typically find a home with a straight staircase that extends out from your attic entrance in a large rectangle. While this definitely more stable than a ladder and has full steps, it takes up a large portion of the floor below. A spiral stair can bridge the gap between these two designs and fill in where each of them falls short. A spiral stair has full steps, making it much easier to use than the thin rungs of a ladder. The spiral design means these full steps build on top of one another, keeping the footprint to a small circle in your floorplan. With highly customizable designs, you can easily find the spiral stair that will fit your space in both square footage and style. Utilities Because most attics are used for strictly storage, they don’t have the typically don’t have the utilities that you need for a livable bedroom. The two biggest categories are electric and temperature control.
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Photo by: Loft Centre
Electric There’s probably already some electrical wiring in your attic, but will most likely need more light fixtures and outlets once you’ve converted the space into a bedroom. In this way, an attic conversion is much easier than a garage conversion, because it’s already on the same grid and you won’t have to run wires underground, but rather through the walls of your home. When it comes to your light fixture choices, try and choose designs that won’t give off too much excess heat. Recessed lights are a great way to fill your space with light without heating the space as well. They fixtures are tucked into the ceiling instead of having a bulb out in the open.
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Photo by: Fischer Future Heat
Temperature Control This is going to be one of the most important parts of your attic bedroom conversion. Because hot air rises, your attic will be hotter than the rest of your home in both winter and summer. You will need to implement some temperature control measures to make sure the room stays at a comfortable temperature. One of the easiest ways is to install a ceiling fan. This may seem simple and like it won’t make a difference, but it’ll help cut down on the excess heating and cooling bills. It won’t solve all of the temperature control problems, but it will certainly help. During the conversion process, you will want to make sure to invest in a good spray foam insulation for your attic. It fills any crevice that could cost you money in your HVAC bills later and also helps to soundproof the space a little more. Insulation can be installed in your floor, walls, or ceiling beneath the roof. Any of these areas can help to control the temperature in your attic bedroom. Your attic may already be included on your home’s HVAC system. While this was fine for basic storage, you will need to have a lot more temperature control when someone is living in the room full time. To accommodate the higher use, you may want to put your newly renovated attic on its own zone. Converting your attic into a bedroom is a great way to add value to your home without having to build an addition to your home. If a new means of access is included in your plan, call one of our consultative designers today for pricing on a custom spiral staircase in five minutes or less.

8 Attic Bedroom Designs For Small Homes

  Homes are becoming smaller and smaller and families are constantly looking for more space. A full addition can be expensive and time consuming. This means you just have to look at available space in your home as is! Attics are often forgotten about or are simply used for storage. If you’re looking for another bedroom in your small home, look no further than your attic.
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Photo by: Homedit
When people think of small spaces in attics, they often assume that your space is limited due to a sloped ceiling. While this A frame attic definitely has limited space with its roof line, it takes advantage of the unique space. The homeowner took a minimalist approach to the design out of necessity. It’s fairly obvious that you won’t be able to fit a full bedroom set in this attic, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a comfortable bedroom. Keeping the ceiling, walls, and framing structure white allowed the space to look as open as possible. The texture of the wall paneling adds visual interest without overwhelming the space. This small nook is the perfect place to fit the bed and light fixtures. While it may not seem like you put much there, attic bedrooms are all about the space that you’re opening up on the floors below. By putting them up in this small attic, you are freeing up space below that would otherwise be occupied.  
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Photo by: Tiny House Talk
One way to maximize the space in an attic is to use the walls to their fullest advantage. Because of the roofline, you most likely won’t be able to fit standard pieces of furniture in the space. This is where the beauty of a built in piece of furniture comes in. You are able to custom fit pieces to your attic maximizing the available space. Not only is there a full bookshelf that runs floor to ceiling, there’s also a smaller unit above the bed and shelves underneath the window. This homeowner maximized all of their available storage space. This rustic log cabin highlights their built-ins even further by using them as a headboard. This attic bedroom also has a lot of windows that can fill the space with natural light. This makes the room feel larger, rather than having only artificial light sources. The skylight takes advantage of the sloping roofline and uses all of the available space. Another way this homeowner made the room feel bigger was to use wood paneling on not just the walls, but the ceiling as well. By connecting the two, they don’t create a harsh stop to the wall line.  
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Photo by: Small House Bliss
This attic took advantage of all of the available space by fitting the length of the house. The long narrow attic may provide some challenges when it comes to space, but these homeowners have already started to maximize their space. Their basic design choices of white walls and ceiling with simple wood accents helps the room to feel larger and brighter, a common obstacle when decorating attic bedrooms. When it comes to added design elements, these homeowners did a great job of accentuating the shape of the room and maximizing that space. The track lights that follow the line of the wooden beams on the ceiling take advantage of the space that’s there while accentuating the room’s structure. Built in storage is another major part of any attic bedroom. It utilizes all of the available space for storage, which can be hard to come by in small spaces.  
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Photo by: Shelterness
This attic bedroom is a minimalist dream. From simplistic designs to the color scheme, everything goes toward keeping the room simple and bright. The white ceiling is a great accent to the skylights. It reflects the natural light coming into the space through the large skylights. The grey washed wood paneling on the wall is the perfect accent to create visual interest without overwhelming the space. The minimalist approach is continued to the stair enclosure that consists of clear glass panels. This keeps the space open and allow the maximum amount of light to pass through the space. The furniture and textiles also create a minimalist design aesthetic. The homeowner’s chosen textiles are the perfect way to create an interesting design without adding too much to the small space. Crisp white sheets paired with textured blankets and pillows are accents to the overall room.  
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Photo by: Greenspur
This unique attic space is a part of an ecofriendly home whose goal is a small footprint without sacrificing beauty of design. Part of keeping this small home organized and uncluttered was access this space with a spiral stair. In the picture, you can see the spiral stair is tucked in the corner and leaves the maximum amount of space available for the bedroom. This attic bedroom has the unique addition of a loft above the entrance to the attic. This addition of a space creates even more space for the small home. Building up and not out is a great way to gain square footage without creating a large footprint for your home. The designer ties all of these different elements together by using consistent materials. The combination of wood and steel creates a rustic industrial design aesthetic.  
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Photo by: Brit.co
This attic bedroom design takes traditional elements and enhances them with different pieces and patterns. This attic as the traditional white beadboard paneling that you’d find in an old farmhouse. This solid light color with subtle texture keeps the room open and bright, but not empty feeling. The homeowner created a contrast by pairing the light walls and ceiling with a dark wood floor. The large window allows a lot of natural light in the room. This classic room is filled with interesting pieces to ramp up the style. The geometric patterns on the throw blanket and area rug and fur throw on the chair add bold elements to an otherwise docile room design. The homeowner opted out of a headboard because of the short wall. Instead they finished the wall with wood paneling and used an old metal wall fixture as the peak of the design.  
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Photo by: Decoist
This all wood attic bedroom is the perfect cozy getaway in the top of your home. The wood paneled walls and ceiling actually help the room to feel bigger. While some may feel like the all wood design would make the room feel smaller and box like, it actually eliminates any end points of walls that would typically make them feel shorter. The bed is surrounded by windows that fill the space with natural light. Between the skylights and windows on either side of the bed, there is plenty of light flowing into the space. The bed fills the small attic which makes it feel larger than it really is. By filling, but not crowding, the attic, you can create the illusion of a larger space.  
Optimized-8
Photo by: Decoist
This bright attic bedroom combines a lot of the different design characteristics that you can see in the different images throughout this list. The room structures itself is open and bright. The white beadboard paneled ceiling adds a visual element while keeping the space open. The grey washed wooden floors add some depth of color without feeling heavy in the space. This homeowner also incorporate built in storage units. The open shelves over cabinets take the place of bedside tables. By moving these units into the wall, you are maximizing your floor space. They also decided to put closets in the abnormally shaped wall. They took advantage of the entire wall for different heights. The light fixtures are also mounted to the wall leaving the bed and bench as the only pieces of furniture that actually sit on the floor. The open space around the bed helps the attic itself to feel larger. If you’re looking for space in your small home, the attic is a great place to start. There are plenty of different designs that you can use to maximize your attic’s space, as well as the floor below. If a spiral stair is the right attic stair for your project, call one of our consultative designers to start your project!

10 Ways to Create Space in Your Backyard

When homes get smaller, their backyards usually shrink with them. We’ve taken the top 10 tips for a small backyard design and broken them down here. You can use only one or combine different designs ideas to create space in your small backyard and create the space of your dreams! Under Deck Patio

1. Use Previously Empty Space

One of the best ways to create space is to simply use space that you hadn’t used before. This may seem obvious, but there are plenty of places that many homeowners forget about when designing their backyards, decks, and patios. If you plan to do a lot of outdoor entertaining, you may want more finished spaces in your smaller backyard. There are plenty of designs for small backyards that maximize your outdoor entertaining space. One of the most popular is to utilize the space underneath a second floor deck. Under deck patios provide double the amount of finished platforms that can be used for backyard parties. These open areas aren’t just limited to outdoor entertaining functions. If you simply want more storage, there are plenty of ways to incorporate it into the design for your small backyard. If you want to close off the open space underneath your deck, you can create an under deck storage shed. This is the perfect way to keep your structure’s footprint small, but still getting the maximum amount of storage. If you don’t want to take up your entire under deck area for storage, you can create a unique design with in deck storage. Similar to the hidden storage design of trap door storage, you make a small compartment that sinks down below your deck boards.
Small Backyard Pathway
Photo by: Designing City

2. Create a Flow of Traffic

Just like an interior space, creating a flow of traffic can help your backyard to feel larger and less cluttered. Clear organization of your space cuts down on clutter and maximizes your space efficiently. Depending upon how you plan to use your backyard, there are several ways to direct your flow of traffic. Zoning is a major part of the organization of any space. In interior spaces, it’s determined by the furnishings used. The same can be said for small backyard designs. One of the easiest ways to zone your backyard space is to have a finished platform, such as a deck or patio, and open green space. This natural separation creates different areas in your backyard with different functions. To create a clean flow of traffic from each zone, finished walkways through your backyard is an easy DIY small backyard idea. You can create the pathway that will best fit your home design and lifestyle. Whether you decide to have a finished brick path or have individual pavers in your grass, you will give your guests a clear walkway from section to section in your backyard. James_K_Lindley_Salter Spiral-84416

3. Update Your Deck Stairs

If you have a raised deck design, you may want to create an efficient flow of traffic by installing a deck stair. Deck stairs come in a wide range of designs depending upon your home’s design style and how you want to utilize your outdoor space. Traditional deck stairs are the most recognized stair design when it comes to backyards. These stairs are the same design that you would typically find in a home’s interior design. These stairs are usually an all wood design and extend out from the face of your deck into your backyard. However, these stairs do have some drawbacks. The biggest problem with a traditional deck stair in a small backyard is the large footprint. A typical traditional staircase with that will access an 8’ tall deck will extend approximately 9’ into your backyard. A spiral staircase is an ideal design for small backyards. The spiral design keeps the staircase’s footprint to a small circle in your backyard. The maintenance free designs of an Exterior Galvanized spiral stair and a Powder Coated Aluminum spiral stair are ideal for homeowners that want to maximize their small backyard without the added stress of upkeep.
deck conversation pit
Photo by: Architecture & Design

4. Incorporate Built In Pieces

Not only do built in pieces create one of a kind designs for your small backyards, but they also maximize your available space. Take advantage of your current backyard structure by incorporating any seating or surfaces directly into the design. This opens up the rest of the structure for other design accents to complement the one of a kind structure. One popular way to incorporate your seating into the existing deck or patio is to build a sunken conversation pit style bench. This unique design is perfect for a raised deck that has some extra space underneath the structure. It creates a truly communal space that promotes conversation and togetherness. If you want to incorporate a built in piece right into your backyard, in ground fire pits are popular DIY small backyard ideas. This weekend project creates a unique space that will be the central focus of any backyard party. While it may seem like an intimidating project, you can easily complete it with the help of a friend or neighbor!
lattic panels
Photo by: Clayton Ditzler

5. Utilize Vertical Landscaping

One common staple of small space decorating is to build up, not out. The same principle applies to your backyard landscaping. If you have limited space in your backyard, it can be difficult to find the balance between finished and paved space and keeping the space green and full of life. Vertical landscaping is a new development to add green to your space without taking away any of your deck or patio. Green walls are popular in both indoor and outdoor spaces. These panels have the soil incorporate right into the frame to create a moveable garden that has a very minimal footprint. This is perfect for small backyards that may have close neighbors. You can use your green walls to add color to your backyard, as well as provide privacy. For a simpler vertical landscaping design, you can use a lattice panel with climbing plants. With a wide range of options for your plants, you create a unique garden that will take up no space that you would use for outdoor entertaining. While these may take a little longer to fill out than a green wall, they are a great DIY project for a small backyard.
cooler in table
Photo by: Ana White

6. Multifunctional Pieces Maximize Space

Multifunctional pieces have been used to maximize small spaces. With the emergence of tiny homes and the growing popularity of city micro apartments, multifunctional furniture has come a long way from a futon. These standard indoor designs have been altered to fit into your outdoor spaces. Built in benches, like the ones previously mentioned, have started to be altered to multitask as storage units as well. By adding hinges to the actual seat of the bench, you are able to lift the top to show a space for outdoor cushions and backyard games when they are not in use. Another popular way to incorporate double duty furniture in your backyard is to install a cooler in the middle of your outdoor dining table. This popular DIY project is perfect for those that plan to do a lot of outdoor entertaining with their space. BY incorporating the cooler into the table, you’re taking it off of the deck floor and opening up that space for more seating or just removing clutter.
tiered backyard
Photo by: Houzz

7. Create a Tiered Backyard

While some backyards may not be small, their usable space can be limited. This is a typical problem when it comes to sloped backyards. Even if there is plenty of room, a steep slope may seem like it makes your backyard unusable. There are several different ways to design a solution into your space. If you don’t want to have the cost and stress of leveling your entire backyard, a tiered garden can help you use the slope to your advantage. By utilizing the small platforms, not only are you using the slope in a creative way, but you’re also creating natural retaining walls. This is perfect for homeowners that may have an outdoor entertaining space at the bottom of the hill. You can use these small terraces as smaller levels for entertaining, as well. By installing steps between each level, you can safely access the different spaces and not have to let go of any of that space. You can separate them with small walls and use pavers to create a flat stable surface on the slope.
circular patio
Photo by: Top Deck

8. Play with Shapes

When you’re trying to make the most of a small space, don’t be afraid to use unconventional shapes in your designs. A standard square or rectangle may not always be the best design for your small backyard. Experiment with different blueprints and layouts to find the best fit for your home design. Circular designs are a unique way to have a finished platform without taking over your entire backyard. By cutting off the corners of a standard square deck, you can keep some green space and keep your finished deck or patio. Don’t feel like you have to organize furniture or lay your patio in a standard direction either. If you decide to design your backyard on a diagonal, you can trick the eye into seeing a larger space. Sometimes you may not need to create physical space, but rather give off the feeling of a bigger space.
focal point fire pit
Photo by: HGTV

9. Focal Points in your Design

Another way to create the illusion of a larger backyard is to incorporate focal points into your backyard design. These focal points create a center focus and helps ease any visual clutter. It also gives you something to build the rest of the design for a small backyard. A popular centerpiece is a backyard fire pit. Not only can you customize a built in design, like the one mentioned above, but you can easily buy a standalone design as well. You can either have an all stone design or use a metal frame from an industrial rustic design. They’re also a popular option due to their long term use that extends beyond the summer. Use the fire pit as the center of a small circular layout for your backyard seating. Water features are another common visual centerpiece in backyards. They add a touch of luxury to an otherwise simple backyard design. They’re commonly found in backyard gardens that are filled with large flowering plants and iron benches or as the centerpiece to an ornately designed English garden.
simple dining area
Photo by: Kelly Denby

10. Embrace Simplicity

The best way to make the most of a small backyard is to embrace the simplicity of design. You don’t have to completely fill a space to maximize its use. Prioritize the different applications for your small backyard and pick your furnishings from there. Once you’ve decided on how you want to use your space, choose simple furniture that’s proportionate to your space. This means larger, but fewer pieces. A lot of homeowners make the mistake of buy lots of smaller items. This makes your small backyard feel cluttered. You don’t have to pack everything you could possible want into one backyard space. Don’t feel limited by a small backyard! There are plenty of ways to create a beautiful space without a ton of square footage. These clever tips are the perfect way to create space using designs for small backyards. If a spiral stair is the right way to create space in your outdoor space, give one of our consultative designers a call to start your project!

Turning a Loft into a Home Office

As a homeowner, you are probably always looking for more space in your home. You may have considered renovating a basement or create a completely new room with an addition. However, both of these options can be costly and time consuming. If you already have a loft space in your home, use it to your advantage! This renovation is almost all completely interior and can add value to your home without a high cost. Turning a loft into a home office has become increasingly popular. More and more homeowners are working from home and need an office. This guide will take you through each step of your loft renovation and help take the stress out of it.
before the renovation
Photo by: ubcisa

Before the Renovation

Planning When turning your loft into a home office, planning is a very important part of your loft conversion. Not only will this help you form an accurate budget, but you’ll also be prepared should anything come up unexpectedly. It also helps you break down the project into sections. The full love renovation may not seem as complicated when broken down into steps. This also allows you to pick and choose where you plan to use a contractor, if at all. Building Code & Permits With any home renovation, you will want to make sure that your space is safe and you are legally allowed to do any construction. Building code is a set of construction and safety standards that all buildings must meet to pass inspection. This is particularly important if you plan to sell your home in the future. It also ensures that your loft is safe and stable for everyday use. Before you begin any construction on the loft renovation, check with your local municipalities on permit requirements. Most places require permits for alterations to weight bearing walls and changes to electrical wiring. Both of these are common when it comes to interior renovations. By consulting your local municipality, you are ensuring that you won’t be hit with surprise fines later. Define the Space Every loft is unique when it comes to size and shape. A lot of the space is defined by the building that it’s in. When you decide to convert an existing loft into a home office, it won’t naturally require nearly as much space as loft bedroom designs. This makes it easier to keep construction to a minimum and simplify the overall project. A simpler project will also result in a smaller budget. If you want to create more of a standalone room for your home office rather than a small platform, you can extend your loft out into your home. This will require a larger budget and possibly the help of a contractor. Some experienced DIY-ers may be able to extend the frame depending on the location of the loft. If you’re unsure about a project, hiring a contractor is the best way to get the project done and eliminate questions about stability. This is particularly important for lofts that will be used on a daily basis and stand up to heavy foot traffic. IMG_20151123_104347761

During the Renovation

Loft Enclosure Enclosing your loft is one of the most important parts of your loft design. Because it’s an elevated surface, you will need to create some sort of barrier at the face of the loft to keep anyone using the loft safe. While more private rooms, like bedrooms may require a full wall, loft railing would be the better option for a home office. It gives you the benefits of the free flow of air and light to create a more comfortable space that will then promote productivity. A loft railing can add a lot to your space depending on the material and design that you choose. You want it to be secure enough to hold up to people leaning on it, but also beautiful because it will be on full display in your home’s living space. There are plenty of designs available to fit any design style that you decide on. From steel cable rail for a modern home to a traditional all wood railing, it can help define your space’s design style. Windows Windows may not be the first thing you think of when you plan on turning your loft into a home office, but they can completely transform your space. Natural light is an important thing to have in any home office. It helps you to feel more productive and fills the space with soft light. This is a welcome alternative to the harsh lights that you would typically find in office buildings. It also helps your loft to feel larger and extends the space. A popular window design that homeowners incorporate into their loft design is a dormer window. Dormer windows are windows that extend vertically out of a sloped roofline. If your loft has a pitched ceiling and you want to create small nooks to extend the square footage, dormer windows can help achieve this unique design. Installing these windows would require building permits as they affect the exterior walls and roofline of your home. Skylights are another way to fill your new home office with natural light. While you would still need the building permit to install them into your home’s roof, it will not alter the roofline that’s already in place. Skylights also have a larger ability to fill the space below the loft with light as well. Their angle makes it easier for light to pass over and through the railing. _DSC4278

Loft Stairs

Turning your loft into a home office means installing a means of access that is safe and secure. You will be accessing the loft much more often than you had previously and will need a set of loft stairs that will hold up to the heavy foot traffic. The three most common loft stairs designs are loft ladders, traditional stairs, and spiral stairs. They all bring different benefits to your loft design. Loft Ladders A ladder is almost always one of the first things that pops into homeowners’ minds when they’re looking for a way to access their loft. Its minuscule footprint makes it an obvious choice and very popular among loft owners. If you choose to take advantage of your ladder’s mobility, you can move it out of the way when it’s not in use. This simple design is particularly common in tiny homes. There’s a large range of ladder designs that also comes in a wide price range. However, there are some drawbacks to loft ladders. The largest problem is the lack of stability that you’ll find in a loft ladder design. Because of the very simple frame, you lose the large flat surface of individual steps that you would typically use. If you plan on taking advantage of the mobility of a ladder, you will create a major safety concern. The ladder will not be secured to anything and will be a major safety concern. If your loft is in a full size home, there’s not need to limit your footprint to something as small as a ladder. Traditional Stairs Traditional stairs are at the other end of the spectrum. This is the most common stair design in any application. These designs are typically all wood and found in Traditional style homes. Because they steps are wood, there is a large range of customization options. They can easily be painted or stained to match different aesthetics and are a blank canvas for your creativity. Many homeowners install a carpeted runner down the steps to add comfort and eliminate any potentially slippery surfaces. While traditional stairs are popular, they may not be the best choice for your home loft. The full steps provide a lot more stability than you would find in a ladder, but this also means that there is a much larger footprint. Ladders can be flat against the wall with their minimal rungs, but a traditional staircase extends out into your floorplan with a very large footprint. These heavy frames take away from any light flow through the house. The large footprint takes away some of the square footage that you created by renovating your loft. Due to the straight frame of traditional stairs, they also lack a flexibility in their access points. They are difficult to maneuver to reach spaces that are tucked into corners of your home. Spiral Stairs Spiral stairs are the happy medium to these two seemingly extreme loft stair designs. Spiral stairs are typically used because of their small footprints. The spiral design keeps the footprint of the staircase to a small circle in your floor plan. It’s determined by the width, or diameter, of your stair. However, your spiral stair’s small footprint doesn’t sacrifice any stability that you would find in a traditional staircase. Unlike a ladder, it has full steps and provides a solid flat surface to walk on when using the staircase. Spiral stairs also come with a large flexibility of design. Depending on the materials you choose, you can create very different staircases to fit into different design styles. The three most popular interior spiral stair options are the Classic Steel spiral stair, the Forged Iron spiral stair, and the All Wood spiral stair. All of these stair designs come with customizable pieces, such as the stair covers and spindles, to give your stair a truly unique design. A spiral staircase also has flexibility when it comes to access points. Much like a ladder, your spiral stair can access your loft through a hole in the floor or at the face of your loft against your loft railing. However, what sets the spiral stair apart is the fact that it will also have a landing platform. This even further increases the stability and safety of a spiral staircase. You have a secure access point no matter where you choose to install the stair.
industrial-home-office
Photo by: Houzz

After The Renovation

Your furnishings are what’s going to define your home office. Filling your space with the right furnishings is the last step to turning your loft into a home office. There are some pieces of furniture that are necessary when filling an office space. The major variations will come into play when you decide on the design aesthetic. A recently popular trend in home design is a minimalist aesthetic. This means simple and clean lines with a black and white color pallet. Acrylic desks fit well into this design aesthetic. The clear material allows light to pass through and keeps the open look and feel of a minimalist design. Your chair should be a simple design that doesn’t have ornate detail in the frame. Pull in pops of color in through an area rug or a small pillow on your desk chair. Industrial home offices are trendy and embrace a mixture of materials. Faux brick walls are a popular addition to these spaces as well. Use a mixture of repurposed pipes and old reclaimed wood to make your own desk for a one of a kind industrial piece. Edison light bulbs are the perfect accent to these spaces and provide light. For a truly traditional home office, think lots of wood and ornate carvings. Rich tones of the wood pair well with jewel tones and create a warm space. Forest greens and maroons are typical office colors, as they promote productivity and achievement. The addition of built in bookshelves can add a touch of luxury to your loft. For a quick update to bookshelves you already have, use crown molding at the top. This can create the look of a built in without the high cost. Having a loft space in your home gives your interior a dynamic design that has unlimited possibilities. With working from home becoming more popular, the need for a home office is also growing. Turning a loft into a home office is the perfect solution to have a separate work space that is still connected to the rest of your home. Continue the dynamicity of your loft design by installing a unique spiral stair to reach the space. A call to one of our consultative designers can get you pricing on your stair in five minutes or less! They will take you through every aspect of the design, including the matching loft railing, to ensure that the design fits into your ideal loft space.

5 Small House Upgrades with Major Value

Not only will these projects update your home’s style, but they will also add value for any future buyers. These projects make an impact on their own or in combination with other home renovation projects.
kitchen updates
Photo by: Kleypas

Kitchen Upgrades

Kitchens are the center of most homes. They’re a communal area where you can gather with friends and family for different holidays and events. This room also happens to be one of the most valuable and a selling point in many cases. You don’t have to completely remodel your kitchen to add some major value. Small updates to your kitchen make a big difference. Counters Kitchen counters are a defining feature of any kitchen. Between regular wall counters and central islands, these surfaces are the most used and visible in your kitchen. There has to be enough surface area for all of your countertop appliances and regular food prep and eating. Many older homes feature dated laminate counters. This ages your kitchen and can bring down its value in the selling process. There are a few ways to update these old boring counters. You can paint your laminate counters for a completely different aesthetic. You’ll want to be sure that your surface is properly cleaned. Kitchen counters tend to have more built up residue than other home surfaces. A black primer should be applied to your newly cleaned countertops. This black will show through the layers of color that you sponge onto the counter in layers. This creates a granite like finish on your counter. Once you’ve allowed your countertops to dry completely, lightly sand the surface to even out any buildup of paint and apply a clear topcoat to seal the counter. This simple upgrade updates your kitchen design and adds to the value of your home. You can also just fit a new countertop over your current surfaces. Depending on the home décor style you want to feature in your kitchen, you can use different materials for your kitchen counters. One of the most popular counter materials is butcher block. While it’s usually featured in farmhouse renovations, butcher block counters fit well into any traditional home design. It coordinates with almost any color cabinet and comes in a wide range of wood tones. For a more modern kitchen counter, you can use soapstone. This dark natural stone can fit into rustic or modern kitchens because of its marbled appearance. It comes in a variety of colors that range from all white counters to a dark charcoal color. If you don’t want to go through a complete replacement of your existing counter, you can create a shell from your materials that fits over your existing countertop. These update your kitchen’s design at a fraction of the price. Cabinets If your kitchen counters are the most visible surface in the room, your cabinets are a very close second. They take up the majority of your kitchen wall space, and can be more defining than your paint color. Kitchens need ample storage space and it takes form in different ways all over your kitchen. From cabinets, to drawers, to pantries, there are a million ways to store food and appliances around your kitchen. One of the easiest ways to update your cabinetry is to simply replace the hardware. You can mix and match different knobs and drawer pulls to create a custom look and update the aesthetic of your cabinets in the span of one afternoon. For a bigger change, you can change your cabinets color. You can use a new stain to pull out different wood tones or simply paint over the existing cabinets with a fresh new color. If you plan to sell, void any colors that might put buyers off from buying your home in the future. One major change that won’t break your budget is to replace your kitchen cabinets with open shelving. This is a trendy home design idea that can keep your space feeling larger and brighter. If you like the idea of open shelving, but aren’t ready to let go of your cabinets yet, replace your cabinet doors with glass panels. It has the same illusion as open shelving, but they are still protected. The last aesthetic update to your cabinets is to use crown molding for a custom built in look. If you have an open space between the top of your cabinets and your kitchen’s ceiling, the addition of crown molding can add elegance while keeping your home decorating on a budget.
bathroom updates
Photo by: HGTV

Bathroom Updates

Just like the kitchen, bathrooms are going to be a major selling point in your home should you decide to it on the market. Many people want the idea of luxury at the forefront of their bathroom’s design. Luxury also typically follows custom designs and expensive house upgrades. This doesn’t have to be the case! By updating smaller aspects of your bathroom design, you can create major changes in the design and add value to your home. Tile Updates Tile is probably the most prominent material used in your bathroom. Just because you don’t want to strip and relay new tiles doesn’t mean that you’re locked into the old design. There are a few ways that you can update your existing tiles to make your bathroom look new and add value to your home. Recaulking A very simple way to make your bathroom look brand new is to recaulk your bathroom tiles. This may seem like a simple upkeep project, but new caulk can make an entire bathroom look new and updated. The most important places to check first are any tiled areas that are most often wet. This includes the edges of a shower, the walls around your bathtub, and the floor just outside of your shower or bathtub. Removing caulk is a relatively simple process using a putty knife or a razor blade depending upon how much caulk you are removing. If you want to expedite the process even further, there are several different caulk softeners on the market. The most important thing is to remove all of the old caulk from the tiles. While new caulk can blend with the old, this isn’t always the case. After the caulk is removed, make sure all residue is removed from the tiles. Just like cleaning the surface of your deck, a bare surface ensures that the new caulk can adhere to your tiles. Be sure to apply the caulk evenly and at a steady pace. After you have recaulked all of the necessary areas, clean any extra caulk from the edges of your tiles and smooth and large lumps of caulk from the lines. You aren’t limited to a standard white caulk either. If you have light colored tiles, black bathroom caulk can create a contrast and add interest to your bathroom floor and walls. Painting If you want to keep a classic white caulk, but still want the contrast, painting you existing tiles is a great option. Painting ceramic tiles is a budget friendly alternative to replacing all of the tile in to your bathroom which can quickly become pricey. While cleaning the tiles thoroughly is an expected preparation step, you must also lightly sand the tile to remove the glossy finish and uncover the tile’s surface for the paint to adhere to. An orbital sander is going to be the much faster option, but hand sanding is another possibility. After you’ve wiped down the tiles and removed any excess dust, you have two options for painting tiles. A latex paint will require one or two coats of a primer that is made specifically for surfaces like tile. The other option is to use an epoxy paint that is made up of two parts. There are specific epoxy paints that are made for tiled surfaces. These paints don’t require a primer, but your color choices may be more limited than the latex paint options. Bathroom Fixtures There are simple house upgrades that you can make to your bathroom fixtures without having to completely replace them. By updating the furnishings in the bathroom with easy weekend projects, you can make your entire bathroom look brand new with no major renovation required. One of the most popular DIY projects is to paint old fixtures and knobs to create a new look in your bathroom. This can include everything from sink hardware to shower heads. One of the most important parts of your preparation to paint plumbing fixtures is to ensure that there is no extra moisture. If you can, avoid using the sink, bathtub, or shower in question for a day or two. Just like the tile, you’ll want to sand the fixtures really well to create a surface that the paint can adhere to. Tape around your fixtures and make sure that a plastic drop cloth is completely taped down around the painting area. Having paint splatters around the new fixtures will take away any value that you added with the upgrade! A primer will be needed to ensure that your paint job on the fixtures will last long term in spaces with excess moisture. After the primer has completely dried, you can spray paint the fixtures to fit into your new bathroom design. After a few coats, you can finish your fixtures with one or two coats of a high gloss finish. Be sure to wait between each coat of primer, paint, or finish to be completely dry before applying the next coat.

IMG_7487And2moreEnhancerStair Upgrades

One of the simple house upgrades that can add major value to your home is to upgrade your staircase. This single piece of your home design can help update your home design style. If you have a traditional staircase, you can update it by adding to the steps themselves. Painting or refinishing wooden stairs is a common weekend project for homeowners. You can create a cleaner design than a typical dated traditional stair. For a more unique paint job on your stairs, you can paint your own runner down the staircase. This takes the place of a traditional carpet runner than can be a tripping hazard and also look old. If you have a traditional staircase and want to upgrade your home’s style further than a simple paint job, consider installing a spiral stair. The unique design can enhance your home’s design and create more space. A spiral stair’s footprint is much smaller than a traditional stair and can easily be tucked into the corner of your existing floor plan. The size of your staircase depends on the diameter or width of the stair. It can be small enough that it’s a small circle in the corner or wide enough that it’s a grand centerpiece in your home. The same flexibility applies to the design of the stair itself. There are three types of spiral stairs that are typically used indoors: Forged Iron, Classic Steel, and Solid Wood. The Forged Iron stairs are defined by their ornate details that fit well into a traditional or Victorian home design. The addition of wood treads adds an element of elegance to your spiral stair. Classic Steel spiral stairs are by the far the most versatile of the interior spiral stair choices. You can achieve a custom color with a powder coated finish to create a one of a kind design. You can design a spiral stair that fits into both a traditional and industrial home design depending upon what kind of tread covers you decide on. If you want to design a truly rustic stair, an All Wood spiral stair is the best fit for your home. It holds all of the charm and traditional of an all wood design, while giving you the unique design of a spiral stair. If you want to update an existing spiral stair, replacing a spiral stair is easier than you think. Installation is an easy weekend project that can be completed with the help of a spouse, friend, or neighbor. You don’t have to completely redesign your home’s interior to add major value to it. Small updates can go a long way when it comes to home design. You have the option of doing one of these updates or all of them! They are small enough to be conveniently completed in a weekend and have flexibility of design to be customized to your home.

Room by Room Condo Renovation Ideas

When you’re renovating any living space, you are able to customize the space completely to meet your needs. You can create space that wasn’t there before and find new ways to maximize the existing home. A condo is often associated with trendy living in an urban area. There can be some irregularities in the architecture, but those unique features make it an incredible space. These condo renovation ideas are broken down by room to make this renovation the easiest one yet.

Table of Contents Condo Kitchens Condo Living Rooms Condo Bathrooms Condo Bedrooms Condo Stairs

kitchen
Photo by: Furnisher

Condo Kitchens

Kitchens are almost always a main focus of any home renovation. When you’re working with a condo, your rooms will be smaller than those in a full single family home. However, a small kitchen doesn’t have to be dark and cluttered. Condo renovation ideas are all about maximizing your space. Many condo owners decide to utilize an open concept floor plan to let the space look and feel bigger. This is a huge asset if you plan on doing a lot of home entertaining. There are a few different shapes when it comes to the layout of a condo kitchen. Some of them are open to the entire space and others are closed off completely other than one doorway. If you don’t want to knock down walls in your renovation, make the most of a closed kitchen. A smaller kitchen shouldn’t limit you, but rather inspire you to find more creative design solutions. You may be tempted to use every inch of space you can, but maximizing your space is really about leaving blank spaces and strategically using others. You can open up your room with clever design and highlight the shape of your kitchen instead of working against it. Walls Changing a wall color or treatment can open up and brighten your space, even if it is enclosed by interior walls. If you do have an open concept kitchen, you will want consistency in your wall colors. The exception to this rule will be an accent wall. The backsplash in your kitchen acts as an accent wall in a space that otherwise has limited wall space. One of the most popular tile choices in recent home trends is subway tile. These rectangular tiles add visual interest without overwhelming the space. You can create a bright space by using white tiles, or add a chicness to your condo with black subway tiles. They can also be arranged in interesting patterns. Herringbone backsplashes put the tiles at an angle to create a new design in your kitchen. You can also vary the overlap between the tiles by cutting the tiles to different lengths. For a more unique backsplash design, you can use penny tiles. These small circular tiles fit together to create a fish scale pattern. Some homeowners actually use pennies for a one of a kind look, but you can buy the tiles in different colors to best fit your space. Floors Your kitchen floors finish out the frame that you started to create with your wall designs. Just like the walls, if you have an open floor plan you will want to use a consistent flooring material. Condo owners usually choose wood flooring for this design. It’s more universal in terms of the home than tile. If you decide to use tile exclusively in your kitchen, avoid a dated look by using large tiles. To modernize your kitchen further, choose a dark color tile that will contrast the lighter walls of your kitchen. By keeping the darker colors lower in the room and elevating lighter colors, the space feels more open. You can keep the floor one consistent color or add another layer of contrast by using a bright grout next to darker tiles. If you like to spend a lot of time cooking, you may want to invest in runners or area rugs for the places where you will be standing for long periods of time. This includes the floor in front of your sink and in front of the stove. There are tons of design for area rugs that are complimentary to any kitchen design. Furnishings One of the most important parts of any kitchen are the countertops. Kitchen counters are the first thing people notice in a kitchen and are the major, if not only, surface in your room. A standard countertop material choice is soapstone. Not only is it durable, but it’s also very easy to clean. This makes it a no brainer for most kitchens. It has a wide color range that starts at a white base with some marbling in it to a solid dark charcoal. The range of grey tones means that you can easily find a soapstone counter to fit into any kitchen design. If you want a little more traditional or rustic look to your kitchen, butcher block counters add the warmth of wood to your space. While commonly found in farmhouse renovations, butcher block counters can fit just as well in a condo renovation. You can choose your countertop from different wood tones and different paneling techniques to create your ideal countertop. If you have an open concept kitchen, continue your countertop aesthetic into a kitchen island. This is a great gathering point for communal areas and adds more potential storage space. Use fun bar stools as seating for a casual place to eat dinner with friends. If your condo is too small to house a large island, replace it with a kitchen table and chairs. This still gives you a gathering point between your kitchen and living room. Design Accents While lighting is an important part of any room in your condo, it has a particularly high importance in your kitchen. Being able to see what you’re doing while handling hot pans and chopping food is important for safety purposes. This doesn’t mean that your lights can’t fit into your design aesthetic. Using hanging pendant lights can help light a large area with only a few light fixtures. You can put them over your island or across an open walkway along your counters. If you want more concentrated lights, under cabinet lights can easily be installed. You can have professional light fixtures put in, or install rope lights in a waterproof casing as a DIY project. Use your storage as a decoration tool to fill your space without overcrowding it. Open storage not only displays your items, but keeps the room from feeling too cramped. Using traditional cabinets can make the space feel smaller. Glass front cabinets allow the pass through of light and opens up the space. For a completely minimalist approach to your kitchen storage, open floating shelves create a display for interesting serving dishes. Whether they provide a pop of color in your kitchen or just have a unique design, show them off! Back to the top

Condo Living Rooms

The living room is a focal point in any home. It is a communal area that is key to comfortable living and home entertaining. In a condo, the living room is often the largest area and is the bulk of the design. This creates a blank canvas that is open to any design aesthetic that you choose to apply. If you have an open floor plan, the kitchen and living room probably flow together seamlessly. Even if you have a closed off kitchen, you’ll want condo renovation ideas that center on cohesion. Walls Condo living rooms often run the span of the unit, creating large wall spaces. While it may be tempting to use these large walls to make a statement, simplicity is best. Overdesigned walls that are large can feel overwhelming and close off your space. Very dark colors can feel heavy if used in a large solid area. If you want to use a dark color on your walls, incorporate them into a painted pattern. Accent walls that feature hand painted patterns and textures give the eye something to focus on in a particularly large space. Exposed brick walls can give your condo renovation an urban edge. For a rustic touch to your space, ship’s lap walls and wood paneling can easily be installed as a DIY project. Another factor to mention with condo walls are the large windows that usually come with it. Natural light will make your space feel bigger and brighter. If you have a multi floor living room with a loft or mezzanine space, take advantage of the height and use oversized windows. The more natural light in your space, the better. Floors Choosing a flooring material for your condo living room will depend on the full floor plan of your condo. A lot of people like the look and feel of carpet in their living room. It’s a comfortable surface to walk on and can give the room another touch of luxury. However, if you have an open floor plan, wall to wall carpet can be difficult and impractical to maintain. Hardwood floors are the most common design option for an open concept. There’s a large range of natural wood tones that can fit well into any space. If you still want the carpet feeling in your space, area rugs are a great solution. They can add softness to your floor in high traffic areas and help to define spaces in an open floor plan. By using an area rug, you can show a concentrated area in a larger space. Be sure to choose a rug that overlaps your furniture in the area just enough. If your rug is too big, it will make your space look smaller. Furnishings The most important furniture in your living room is going to be comfortable seating options. A large upholstered sectional couch is the most common seating option in these spaces. It gives you a large amount of seating choices and is perfect for any entertaining you may be doing. If you want a more compact way to provide lots of seating, multifunctional furniture can be as small or as large as you want. Multifunctional ottomans are a great choice. When you don’t need any extra seating, it can function as a standard ottoman. However, should you need more seating, it breaks up into six small stools. Coffee tables are another defining piece of furniture in your living room. They give you a center focus to place your furniture around. They also provide a flat surface for casual entertaining that may not call for a full dining table. When looking for a coffee table that will fit into your design aesthetic, the materials will make the difference. Gold framed tables have recently become popular to add a touch of luxury to your living room. If you want to allow for the maximum amount of light to pass through the space, a minimalist style acrylic coffee table will be a subtle supporting piece. Design Accents For lighting in a larger living room, you can go a little bigger than you would in other areas. Large pendant lights or chandeliers are popular options for these wide open spaces. A chandelier doesn’t have to be a large crystal piece. It’s simply a tiered light fixture that hangs from the ceiling. If you want to add an artistic touch to your condo, gallery walls can incorporate a ton of different sizes and shapes to create a dynamic wall installation. Oversized mirrors are a modern way to add interest to your living room and make it feel larger. The frame can be whichever design fits best in to your space. Back to the top

bathroom
Photo by: Living on the Hudson

Condo Bathrooms

Often condo bathrooms are a small and cramped space that doesn’t allow for extra design. These rooms require a strategic layout and design to be incorporated with multifunctional pieces. By renovating a condo, you’re able to out the focus on what you want to be most important in your bathroom. You have the flexibility to either completely redo the bathroom, down to the placement of appliances, or just do simple updates to the existing designs. If you want to keep the updates simple, it can be as easy as replacing the materials used. Different materials will create different aesthetics even if they’re used in the same way. Walls By simply changing the walls, you can update the entire room. This can either be a coat of paint or retiling an entire section of your bathroom walls. If you want to keep it simple by repainting the walls, you should keep them a lighter color. Because bathroom designs benefit from a lot of natural light, a lighter color will help to support any light you let in. If you plan on getting ready for the day in your bathroom, be sure to use colors that you like to wear. This may seem like an odd correlation, but you’ll feel better about seeing yourself against this color constantly. If you plan on retiling your bathroom walls, there are several different aesthetics you can achieve depending upon your material choices. A recent home design trend is a simplistic and minimalist design. These bathrooms usually feature black and white as the primary colors and subway tiles for the walls. These tiles can be kept in the standard straight design or can be installed in geometric patterns to create a visual interest without overpowering the space. Floors If you want to keep a classic design in your bathroom, tile flooring is the way to go. Just because it’s a traditional design doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Update a basic square tile floor by using a dark color to contrast the lighter walls. Hexagon tiles are another modern update to this traditional design. They come in a large variety of sizes and colors to create your desired look. Your flooring options aren’t limited to tile. Contrary to popular belief, wood flooring is a great choice for your newly renovated bathroom. Your floors would simply need an extra coat of varnish on them as a protective layer from any extra moisture. While this is helpful, it’s not a foolproof way to protect against any water damage. The best way is to keep any standing water on your wood floors to a minimum. If the idea of real hardwood floors in your bathroom still makes you nervous, there are faux wood options that can give you the same effect. Both laminate flooring and ceramic tile have options that look like a real hardwood floor. They are water resistant and will save you some extra maintenance later. Furnishings When it comes to the furnishings in your bathroom, it’s all about the layout in your space. Put the focus on the most important parts of your bathroom and work your design around them. A large portion of homeowners that are looking to redo their bathroom want to update the space, but not go through the hassle of replacing bathroom furnishings. This sometimes requires new pipes and a larger budget than planned. Simple updates to your existing bathroom furnishings can be a cost effective way to reinvent your space. For bathtubs and showers, it may seem like a new piece is the only way to redesign the space. There are several surface changes you can make to create a new space. If you have a bathtub and shower in one, changing the placement of your curtain can make all the difference. Raise the curtain up to the top of the wall and install a valance to hold the shower curtain. The tall installation helps the space to feel larger. If you want to add another touch of elegance to your space, use two shower curtains and tiebacks to frame the space. A claw foot tub is another piece of furniture that can give your bathroom a truly luxurious feeling. If you have a shower stall in your bathroom, you can still update it to look and feel more modern. Replacing fogged glass with completely transparent panes can update an old fixture that’s dating your space. The clear glass will open up your space and help it to feel larger. The last major fixture to update is your bathroom sink. This not only includes the sink itself, but also any counter space that may be housing it. A sink that doesn’t fit a design aesthetic can look out of place and interrupt the flow of your space. A large farmhouse sink is perfect for a simplistic bathroom that is looking for statement pieces. The apron front makes a statement without distracting from the rest of the room. A sleek and modern sink can either have a square or round basin. As long as it has clean lines and is a solid color, it will fit into your modern design aesthetic. If you want to update your sink without replacing the entire fixture, consider replacing or painting the faucet and knobs. This is an easy DIY update that can change the entire look of your sink. Your counters can easily be painted to create a new look for your bathroom. If you want to replace your counters, but want to stay in budget, staining a basic concrete counter can give you a marble look. The stains react with the concrete itself to create a completely unique counter top for your home. Design Accents When you have a small space, organization is a major factor. By having effective storage and organization, you can keep your space from feeling cluttered or even smaller than it is. The best way to do this is to combine storage and design. A small space requires some storage to be display pieces as well. Floating shelves are a modern way to store your products without closing off your already small space. Small baskets can provide extra coverage when you’re using open storage solutions. The individual shelves can be installed wherever you may need them. A common place is right above the toilet to create a faux built in piece. Another way to maximize the storage space in your condo bathroom is to utilize previously unused space. This can include hidden storage or just clever placement of the open storage options. For a hidden spot, utilize any nooks you may have in the room. If there is a small wall between your shower and the toilet, install a slide out shelving unit. If you don’t have any secret nooks, you can still have strategic storage. One place that is almost always open is the wall space right above your door frame. You can install a floating box shelf above the top of your door to hold things like extra towels or toilet paper. Back to the top

bedroom
Photo by: Room Inspirations

Condo Bedrooms

Condos have a lot of unique floorplans and layouts. The range from a large standard floor plan with separate bedrooms and multiple floors to wide open spaces with a studio design. All of these plans call for a different bedroom design and a unique take on the traditional bedroom. Whether it’s a loft bedroom design or a closed off room, you want this space to be relaxing and comforting. Walls If you do have a standard bedroom, you will need to consider wall treatments for your space. If you’re completely renovating a condo, you have the option to add walls as well. The key to a relaxing bedroom is to use soft colors that won’t overwhelm the space. You may like the coziness of dark colors, but they can make it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Instead of feeling refreshed, you’ll feel fatigued and groggy. Soft neutrals and greys paired with pastels create a color story that promotes relaxation. Instead of stark color contrasts, textures can add visual interest to your bedroom. White washed wood paneling can add a dynamic element to an otherwise basic design. You can add an urban edge to your otherwise very soft bedroom with an exposed brick wall. Statement walls can be used in place of a headboard to have that interest, but keep the room simple. Keep the flexibility of the space open by using a barn door instead of your standard interior door. Barn doors are very large and can be slid to the side to have an open space. This keeps air and light flow open when you want it, but you can close it for privacy as you need it. If you have a bedroom loft, you can create walls by using multifunctional pieces. Open back bookshelves provide both storage and a privacy screen for your bedroom area. Fill the open cubbys with different things to keep that barrier closed. However, the open space around those pieces still allow light through. Floors For studio style spaces, hardwood floors are the best option. Wide floor panels keep the flooring smooth and subtle. There are plenty of different wood flooring options that can fit into different design aesthetics. When you have one large living space, you want consistency in your home design. If you have a separate bedroom, carpeting is a popular option. The soft flooring provides comfort and warmth, which are ideal for any bedroom. If you have a studio space, or simply like the look of wood, you can always use area rugs to supplement it. Because it’s a smaller space than wall to wall carpet, you can use more expensive materials. A popular location for bedroom area rugs is right next to the bed. You can step out of bed and onto a soft rug first thing in the morning instead of stepping on a cold wood floor. Furnishings Your bedroom should be the one room in your condo that you absolutely love. It’s the place where you can relax and just enjoy it. This applies to the surround design as well as your bedroom furniture. No matter what design aesthetic you choose, you can find the right pieces for your space. When looking at all of the furniture and accents you’re putting in your bedroom, don’t choose large designs for all of them. Don’t overwhelm your space with overdesign or it will ruin the relaxation that you worked to create. Instead, choose one focal piece and keep the rest simple. Storage spaces are always highly sought after in bedroom. You don’t want to have too much open storage like you would in the kitchen or living room. In a bedroom, it can quickly feel cluttered and overcrowded. Use storage furniture pieces to maximize the space in your bedroom, but still keep it simple. Under bed storage isn’t a new concept, but new bed frame designs have taken it to new levels. Some companies have designed bedframes that include hydraulics that allow you to lift the mattress and access the empty space in the box spring. From the outside, the bed frame looks like a standard platform bed, but you’re able to take advantage of the previously unused space. Another piece of storage furniture that you can incorporate into your bedroom is a tufted bench. There are a lot of bench designs that allow you to lift the seat of the bench up to reveal a small storage space. The design is very similar to a piano bench, but it has a cushioned seat. Design Accents When it comes to design accents in your bedroom, you want to them to be soft and support any of the major design elements that you’ve already put in the room. Soft lighting is best for this relaxing space in your home. String lights are a popular option because of their flexibility. They come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and lengths. If you want to have a more standard lighting option, ceiling lights that have attached dimmers can create the soft light that you want in a bedroom. Large mirrors can be incorporated into your bedroom design as well. Not only do they make your room look bigger, but they are particularly helpful when you’re getting ready in the morning. They reflect any natural light coming into your room. Back to the top

Beacon VillasCondo Stairs

Many condos feature an unconventional second floor design. By elevating a space above your standard living space, you can create square footage that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. This is very important when you look at condos in urban areas where square footage can come at a premium. Lofts and mezzanine spaces are the most common among condo renovation ideas. They keep the condo open, but still give you that extra space. A more unconventional design is a lofted bed. This raised floor consists only of a bed and maybe some extra space for bedroom furniture. No matter what second floor design you choose, you will want a safe and stable way to access your space. There are two major categories when it comes to accessing a raised space in your condo: traditional stairs and spiral stairs. Traditional Stairs Traditional stairs are the most common stair design no matter what kind of home you live in. The straight stair is typically an all wood design and is what you’ll find in a traditional style home. This fits well into condo renovation ideas that call for a classic home design. A traditional staircase can be updated with different metal elements. Cable railing is a popular replacement for standard spindles and metal handrails can update the design. Some minimalist homes decide to glass walls to replace the spindles for a minimalist effect. There are a few drawbacks to having a traditional stair. While it’s definitely stable and one of the safest staircase options, it’s not ideal for most condo renovations. A traditional star has a very large footprint that can take up a large portion of your floor plan. The blocky base of the frame interrupts any air and light flow that you had worked to create in your open floor plan. It can also look very heavy in an bright and open space. Floating stairs can give you an updated traditional staircase design. It features a traditional stair in terms of the steps themselves, but there is no base frame in place. This keeps that entire section open for light and air to pass through. However, many people who choose to install a floating stair usually use a minimalist approach. This means that there is no handrail and the stair has completely open sides. This can be dangerous if you have children or elderly family members in the condo. Spiral Stairs A spiral stair is another popular condo stair option. Spiral stairs have the benefit of a full steps, like a traditional staircase, but with a small footprint. They take up a small circle in your floor plan, rather than large rectangle that you give up for a traditional staircase. You don’t sacrifice any stability or safety for the small footprint. You can easily fit a spiral stair into the corner of your condo, out of the way from the common living area. You can also choose railing for the face of your loft that will match your spiral stair. This caters to the cohesion of design that you look for in the rest of the rooms. Spiral stairs are completely customizable to fit any design aesthetic that you may want in your condo. Many people associate a spiral staircase with modern home design. The clean lines and simplicity that you can find in a Classic Steel spiral stair definitely fits that model. However, you can customize your spiral stair design to fit into your traditional home as well. A Forged Iron spiral stair is the perfect fit for a Victorian style home. The ornate spindles and solid wood treads create a classic look. Back to the top Condos are the meeting place of trendy living and benefits of owning your home. When looking to remodel your space, there are several different design aesthetics that you can have. Take advantage of your condo’s unique architecture and utilize an open floor plan. It will help your space feel larger and give you more space to work with when it comes to interior design. Dynamic designs, whether they’re one floor or two, are key to creating a beautiful living space.

3 Ways To Renovate Your Backyard

With warmer weather approaching, everyone is looking for ways to enhance their outdoor spaces. Whether you plan to use your backyard for entertaining or as a secluded relaxation spot, there are some backyard renovation ideas you can apply to your space. Just like any interior renovation, there are different levels of renovation. This guide is here to take you through the basic backyard renovation options and help you find which one is best for you.
english garden
Photo by: Ideas 4 Homes

Backyard Landscaping

One of the easiest ways to revamp your backyard is to starting with the landscaping. Whether you plan to have a large open area or want plants as the supporting features, you can add color and create an oasis in your backyard. Gardens Gardens are a classic way to add some life to your backyard. If you want a traditional backyard, you can keep it simple with a standard flower bed. You can incorporate different colors and shapes by planting different flowers and bushes. If you want your garden to be the centerpiece of your backyard, these backyard renovation ideas can add an x factor to your garden. Vegetable Gardens A vegetable garden is the perfect addition to an urban apartment or an eco friendly home design. It helps your home to be more self-sustaining and give your backyard an actual function, rather than just being an entertaining space. If you live in a city building, vegetable gardens are popular for urban rooftop decks. Your vegetables will vary based on your climate and your personal preferences. English Gardens English gardens are truly a wow factor in any backyard. By using this intricately designed garden plan, you are creating a unique landscape for your home. English gardens use a combination of paths and smaller gardens to create a larger effect. They contrast the shaped hedges with free growing plants and turn your backyard into a secret garden getaway. Ponds Manmade ponds add a wow fact to your backyard while keeping natural elements at the forefront. These small bodies of water are more flexible than many people think. Your standard pond has a number of different designs. You can have a very clean and angular reflection pool in your backyard for a more modern home. If you want a more rustic and natural look to your pond, you can create this using different stones around the edge and additional landscaping. You can add fish for a fun element to your backyard or build a small bridge over the water to separate the sections of your backyard. No matter what design aesthetic you choose, your pond will elevate the space and make it feel larger. Backyard ponds have the same effect as a large interior mirror by expanding the space by reflecting the sky back to your space.
backyard pavers
Photo by: Porch Furniture
Pavers and Walkways If you choose want to have a set walkway through your backyard, you can either have a full sidewalk or individual stones marking your path. If you want to create a full walkway, you have several different options in terms of materials. Use brick for a traditional home design or stamped concrete for an economical way to create a stone path look. For a more whimsical feel, use individual stones as steps. You can fill the empty space with either gravel or keep it open with grass. If you can’t find the pavers that fit your ideal backyard design, they can be an easy DIY project. Using wet concrete, you can add different color accents, such as pebbles or marbles, to create a unique stepping stone for your garden or backyard. Many families also use them as keepsakes with their children’s hand prints and the year in the stone.

backyard-renovation-deck-stairs

Backyard Decks

Backyard decks are often a wow factor in your home design by themselves. They range from multi level deck designs to a simple raised platform. They have limitless possibilities when it comes to elevating the space. Deck Stairs If you have a raised deck, you most likely have deck stairs that connect your deck to your backyard. Many homes utilize a traditional deck stair design. These simple straight stairs may get the job done, but they have a large footprint and lack the unique design aesthetic required to add a wow factor to your backyard. Spiral stairs meet both of these needs. A spiral staircase has a small footprint that is kept to a circle in your backyard, which allows you to maximize your backyard space. This is also ideal of multilevel decks that want to keep as much deck space as possible. From a design perspective, there are two standard options for your outdoor spiral stair. The first is the Galvanized Exterior spiral stair. This cost effective option has a carbon steel frame that goes through a hot dip design process to create a maintenance free barrier and a sleek metallic silver finish. If you want a stair that has a softer look, an Aluminum Powder Coated spiral stair can complement your home design. The naturally rust prohibitive aluminum stair is powder coated to give it a custom color finish and a weather proof barrier. The color choices can range from a classic black or white to a bold purple and everything in between. Both spiral stair designs have the potential to be the centerpiece to your raised deck design. Under Deck Patios Often times, under deck areas are left open and unused. However, these spaces have potential to be a completely unique space in your home. This is an ideal space to renovate as the space is already outlined and framed with the vertical supports from the deck above. The under deck area is very flexible and can be defined by the furnishings that you put into it. Because the space is already covered, you can use your under deck patio as additional outdoor entertaining space in poor weather. You can create a three season room with the addition of screens to enclose the space. If you want to keep the possibility of an open air patio during warmer months, use retractable screens. Maximize all of your space for outdoor entertaining by keeping your dining area on your raised deck and installing an outdoor kitchen on the patio. The deck will protect your grill and any other appliances from rain and you can keep excess smoke away from your guests’ conversations.

Backyard Fences

Backyard fences are often used simply for function rather than adding to the aesthetic of your outdoor space. It’s a safety feature for both pets and children and closes off your yard from nearby neighbors. Because the focus is on utility, the style of the fence is often forgotten. These backyard fence options can help you elevate your space without losing the function of your fence! Wrought Iron If you’re looking for a traditional backyard fence design, a wrought iron fence is the perfect solution. This classic design choice is most commonly used around pool decks. However, it’s a great fit for a backyard that’s attached to a Victorian or Traditional home design. Wrought iron fences have a wide range of design styles, from simplistic to very ornate. You can choose straight balusters with no decoration added. If you’re looking for a more ornate design, there are plenty of options. These range from a small twisted cage design to a Victorian style scroll pattern that are common in European cities. You can use your wrought iron fence in combination with large brick pillars for a classic home design. Living Fences If you want the maximum amount of green space in your backyard, a living fence is a great option for close off your yard. Living fences are solid screens of plants that are known for growing tall, dense, or both. If your dog likes to dig, this isn’t the most secure fencing option to keep them in the yard. The traditional living fence is made from either boxwood plants or privet. Both boxwood plants and privet are known for their ability to be trimmed into different shapes and their density. They may take a little longer to grow to your desired height than other options, but they are very sturdy. You’re not limited to simple green hedges, lilacs are known for their pink and purple tones and grows fairly quickly. For a bolder color choice, bright yellow forsythia bushes that can grow up to 9 feet tall.
privacy screens
Photo by: Home Des
Privacy Screens Privacy screen are popular in neighborhoods that have small plots and neighbors in close quarters. As much as you may love your next door neighbor, you want some privacy in your own backyard. You can utilize some of the living fence options and have them grow tall enough to act as a privacy screen. If you want a more open air option, lattice panels have an open weave allowing light into your backyard, but still provide coverage. For more of a solid panel, you can use climbing plants, like ivy, to add another layer of protection to your lattice panels. Curtains hung from an overhead awning are a light and airy privacy screen option. For a real wow factor, you can add sliding stained glass panels to your deck frame. These can provide coverage where you need it and add pops of color to your deck. For a true wall around your backyard, two tone wooden panels add dimension to your design rather than a boring solid wood fence. However, this allows little to no pass through of light and can make your space feel smaller than it actually is.

Backyard Furnishings

Your backyard furnishings will define your space further. By creating a beautiful setting, you are creating the perfect place to put furniture that will dictate the function of your space. Your furnishings are flexible and have unlimited options between purchasable products and the millions of DIY projects out there. You can easily find the right furnishings for your backyard. Backyard Structures On a hot summer day, you’ll be thankful for a small shaded oasis in your backyard. Pergolas and cabanas both provide some shelter from the intense summer sun or rainy days. This backyard renovation idea isn’t limited to a deck or patio. You can easily install your structure in the middle of your yard for an exclusive space. You can add curtains to your canopy to provide extra coverage. Outdoor Entertaining The main function of any backyard furnishing is to create a function for the space. By choosing the right furnishings, you can make your backyard ideas come to life. The most common use for your backyard is outdoor entertaining. Flexibility is at the core of the most successful backyard renovation ideas. Choose furnishings that you can change around depending upon the event or time of year. Basic Furnishings The most basic backyard furnishings are tables and seating options. These are necessary for any kind of outdoor entertaining. If you want you have outdoor dinner parties during warm weather months, there are plenty of dining tables that can fit any design aesthetic. For a more intimate furnishing choice, small round café tables that seat up to two people are a good choice. These also fit well into large garden settings. Your seating options should cater to the table designs you choose. For instance, if you have a small table, don’t use large outdoor chair sets. There are plenty of dining sets that include both the table and matching chairs. For a more eclectic design aesthetic, you can use mismatched chairs in a variety of colors. Bright chairs and oversized cushions are popular backyard ideas when it comes to adding pops of color.
fire pit
Photo by: Rich’s Home Blog
Centerpieces Every backyard should have a focal point. This can be a communal gathering area or a beautiful addition to a private getaway. These centerpieces can take any backyard renovation idea and elevate it to the next level. There are two main categories when it comes to centerpieces in your backyard: water features and fire pits. Water features are different from the previously mentioned man made pond. These furnishings feature moving water, rather than a stagnant pool. If your backyard is meant to promote relaxation and serenity, a waterfall wall is a show stopping centerpiece that supports your backyard ideas. Smaller fountains fit well into backyards that have a garden focus. These fountains don’t have to be huge, a small metal or stone fountain can add polish to an otherwise regular garden. If you want a centerpiece that lends itself more to outdoor entertaining, a fire pit is the perfect solution. Unlike water features, a fire pit has a large communal feeling tied to it. You can arrange any of your outdoor furnishings around the fire pit to create a unique outdoor entertaining space. Outdoor living rooms are common backyard renovation ideas and a fire pit acts as the fireplace. Fire pits are also a three season centerpiece that can be used from early spring through the fall season. Whether you decide on a deck or a garden, you want a beautiful and functional backyard. If you can’t decide on just one backyard renovation idea, that’s okay! A raised deck is the perfect solution to a hybrid space. If you want to keep your deck’s footprint small and maximize your green space, a spiral stair is a great fit. You can call one of our consultative designers to design the perfect spiral stair for your space.

Converting a Garage Into an Apartment

Children coming home from college have been living above their parents’ garage for years, and as older family members live longer, they’re also moving closer to family. However, these garage apartments aren’t limited to family. If you convert your garage to an apartment, you can also rent it out to tenants for extra income.

Before the Renovation

Any home renovation starts with a good plan. Because there are often unexpected obstacles in a home renovation project, a solid plan will help you to stay focused and complete your project as close to your timeline as possible. This includes any budgeting and permits that you may need to convert your garage into an apartment. However, the most important aspect of your garage conversion is what you plan to use it for. Home Plans
converting a garage into an apartment
Photo by: House Logic
Tiny Homes Many people have decided to join the recent trend of tiny homes and convert their garages into fully functioning homes. This garage conversion is popular among those who are looking to save money and live more simply. Your garage apartment can be kept to a single floor, or you can incorporate a loft bedroom design. Some homeowners decide to live in their new tiny house while renting out their larger more traditional home. Rent Out Your Garage If you want to continue to live in your main house, but want the extra income of renting out your property, turning a garage into an apartment may be your answer. The beauty of being a landlord on your own property is the close proximity between the two living spaces. You can easily convert your garage into a studio apartment by keeping it to one level. If you want the apartment, but don’t want to lose your car’s parking spot, you can create a garage loft. You can use an exterior entrance to keep the two spaces completely separate. Cost Home renovation costs are always going to vary based on the home and the design ideas. An approximate price for a full garage conversion is $20,000. This includes any material and labor costs you may acquire during the conversion process. A DIY conversion can be as low as $7,000. However, many people want a high end renovation especially if they plan to rent it out. While the initial cost may seem high, you will see a larger return on investment for a more expensive conversion. Permits & Building Code If you plan to renovate any part of your home, you will need to find out if you need building permits. While there are some exceptions to these laws, a garage conversion will definitely need permits. You are creating a new living space that will require the altering of walls and rewiring of electric panels. Both of these things require permission from your local municipality. While it may seem like you are doing internal work, and it therefore doesn’t matter, you can face major fines for not acquiring the proper permits. The best way to find out what you need is to call your local municipality. Building code is of equal importance. Building code is a collection of safety standards that all buildings should meet. If you plan to rent out your new apartment to tenants, you will be required to meet building code. Your space cannot pass inspection without meeting these safety requirements. Even if you’re not planning to rent out your garage, you will want to meet building code if you ever plan on selling your home.

During the Renovation

There are several steps and considerations that go into converting a garage into an apartment. When you look at the original purpose of the building, it was a storage unit for your car. However, you’re not creating a living space and that requires some major construction. Your garage starts as a blank canvas, and you’re rebuilding the interior structure to create the space that you want to live in. This includes everything from basic construction elements to utilities. Structural Elements Flooring Garage floors are typically concrete slabs that are poured, sealed, and left to age and weather over time. If you want to keep the industrial style of a garage conversion, you can strip and stain your concrete floor. There are two different kinds of concrete stain: acid based and water based. Acid based concrete stains react with the concrete to create unique patterns in earth tones. Water based concrete stains are more similar to a paint and create a uniform opaque color across your floor. You can use a sealant on your concrete after staining it to create a marble like finish. Tiling is another common option for garage renovations as they are easy to install on the existing concrete floor. Homeowners use both ceramic and vinyl tiling depending upon budget and the design style that want. The two flooring options that require a little extra work are wood flooring and carpet. Both of these options require a subfloor be installed on top of the concrete. This will raise your floor which will need to be accommodated in the entryways. While they are more complicated to install, they are the most traditional flooring options. Walls There are a few different decisions that must be made with the walls while you’re converting your garage into an apartment. The first project to tackle is to evaluate the current walls and see where they need to be renovated. Normally these walls are sturdy and don’t need too much work. They normally just need an addition of new drywall. If you plan to use the garage as a studio apartment, you only need to add the interior walls for the bathroom. However, if you want to separate all of your living spaces, you will need to build many more interior walls. For this reason, many leave their garage apartments with open floor plans.
garage door
Photo by: Houzz
Windows Windows can transform your garage from a small dark room to a beautiful open apartment. Windows allow natural light to fill your space, which makes it look much bigger. It’s not common for garages to have a lot of windows. This means that some extra construction will be necessary to install the windows. Skylights are a popular option for those that may not want to alter any of the exterior walls, but want the benefits of natural light. Doors The most iconic part of a garage is the door. Whether you manually pull up the door or use an electric door opener, the wide door is a defining feature of the structure. You have a few options when looking to renovate your garage door. The first is to leave the door the way it is. You wouldn’t use it as the main entrance and exit points, as it it’s huge for a residential door. However, it can be used as an interesting architectural element. This is also a great option for those who have to go through a Homeowner’s Association. Most HOAs require that you leave the exterior of the building intact, meaning that it still looks like a classic garage from the outside. You can add a second door that the resident would use on a daily basis. If you want a more modern look, you can replace the garage door with all glass. If you’re living in an area that has mild to nice weather all year round, this can help you to enjoy the outdoors. The glass can be giant windows, sliding doors, or a combination of the two. This allows the maximum amount of natural light into your home. If you want to close off the space a little more, you can add curtains to the inside of the glass doors. Stairs Many tiny homes choose to utilize loft bedrooms and garage conversions are no different. If you want to really maximize your space, use a tiny house stair option to access the upstairs room. Ladders are always one of the most popular options to access a loft in a small space. It has virtually no footprint and can easily be moved around your space. However, it might not be the best option for those looking to rent their space or garage apartments for elderly family members. They aren’t stable and don’t have the benefits of a full step. When looking at those drawbacks, your natural thought may be to look at a traditional staircase. It’s definitely stable and has full steps. Traditional stairs have a large footprint that may not fit into your garage apartment. Spiral stairs are a happy medium between the two. Spiral stairs are a popular options for garage conversions because of their small footprint. There are plenty of customizable options on both indoor and outdoor spiral stairs to meet your design ideas. The full steps are perfect for those looking to rent out their garage. Livability Insulation & Temperature Control One of the most common problems that homeowners run into when converting a garage is temperature control. If you’re renovating the garage from top to bottom, you can add extra insulation to the ceiling and exterior walls. This will help keep the warm air in the building once it’s there. However, you need to get the warm air into the commonly cold apartment first. If your garage is attached, you can easily have it on the same heating and cooling system as the main house. This is the most economical solution. However, detached garages are becoming more common in newer home designs. In this case, you can choose to utilize space heaters and window air conditioning units for the most economical solution. Electricity & Plumbing The basic utilities are probably the most expensive part of your garage renovation. If your garage is attached to the main house, the cost won’t be as painful as the existing wires and pipes can be rerouted to the new apartment. A detached garage will be more complicated. You will have to run the pipes underground from the main house to the smaller building. You can expect the average price to be about $3,000 each for electric and plumbing. Contractor vs DIY Many homeowners have become ambitious over the years and have started to make their home renovations DIY projects. This is easy for simple projects, like painting a room or refinishing a table. However, a full garage conversion can quickly become complicated. If you’re turning your garage into an apartment to rent, you will need to meet building code and it will have to pass inspection. The best way to renovate your garage to ensure passing inspection is to hire a contractor. Not only will you know that your building meets code, but the craftsmanship will most likely hold up better over time.

Using the Space

shabby-chic-style-garage
Photo by: Houzz
Floor Plans Many garages utilize a studio floor plan with the only separate room being the bathroom. This is due to the space constraints that usually come with a garage conversion. By eliminating walls, you’re able to use as much space as possible. Open floor plans help the apartment to feel larger and more spacious. If you want a separate bedroom area, consider a loft. Bedroom lofts are popular in tiny homes and urban apartments. They create a room by separating the space from the other common living space. Outdoor Spaces Homeowners want a plan to enjoy the outdoors during nice weather. For many this means a backyard deck. However, a deck is too big for a garage apartment. The perfect solution is a balcony! A balcony can be described as a deck’s younger sibling. It has the same idea of an elevated space outdoors, but on a smaller scale. Just like decks, balcony designs are unique to the home! Design Styles Garage apartments commonly share design styles with their more urban counterparts. Both studio apartments and garage conversions usually have industrial and minimalist design aspects. You don’t want to crowd an already small space with lots of furniture. Minimalism features clean lines with basic furniture frames. This keeps your apartment open and light. Industrial design uses features of the building itself to support and industrial furniture that uses both wood and metal. This plays on the repurposed aspect of your space. Garages are the perfect place to incorporate a new living space in your home. The previously open structure is typically used for extra storage or is simply left open for your car. However, with the right design, your garage can become a unique and beautiful apartment. Whether you decide to use it as an extra form of income or as an in-law’s suite, the apartment will be an added value to your home!

The Complete Loft Conversion Guide

008 They have a magical quality of creating square footage out of nothing. This makes them great in small houses that need that extra room. They’re also a unique design aspect in larger homes that are looking to stand out. A loft doesn’t have to be defined by exposed brick and industrial furniture. The Complete Loft Conversion Guide lays out all of your installation considerations and design ideas for your residential loft!

Loft Benefits

Create New Space & Increases Home’s Value An added loft space holds many benefits, two of which go hand in hand. You are creating a new room and increasing the living space. A loft is a little different than a standard addition because not only are you creating a new room, but you are also opening up the space below the loft. You’re also adding square footage at a cheaper price than a full addition. This alone increases the value of your home. A loft also gives you a unique feature to your home that you will not find in other houses. By giving your home defining architectural features, your home’s valuation will increase. No Planning Permits Most additions require planning permits and approvals from your local municipality. If you plan to make exterior changes, such as an outward addition or altering your roofline, you will need a permit. Most of the time, a loft conversion is completely interior. This makes your home renovation that much easier. Many times, the permit process is time consuming and expensive. If you’re not altering any plumbing or electrical, you will most likely not need a permit. The best way to be sure your loft conversion is completely covered is to call your local municipality. Minimal Maintenance Cost When comparing your loft renovation to typical home addition, your maintenance costs will be much lower. A loft is a room inside of a room meaning that it will have all of the same utilities that already exist. This means that any general maintenance on electric, heating, and plumbing that is done on the rest of the house will apply to the loft as well. This keeps the general construction cost low, as well as the recurring maintenance. This also means that there is less of a chance of utility malfunction in the loft. Compare this to a full room addition. You would have to wire the room separately, creating more opportunity for things to go wrong.

Loft Construction

Loft Conversion Cost As with any home renovation project, your loft conversion cost will be dependent on the scale of your project. Luckily, because a loft is included into the main house, you won’t have as much new construction as a full room addition. You will have no new walls to build and most likely will not have to rewire any electric panels. You will need lumber for the frame and the hardware to secure it. The average loft construction and conversion cost starts around $1,000. This will all depend on the size of your loft and any extra features you want to add to your design. _dsc4292 Loft Conversion Stairs When you’re looking to install a loft, a primary concern is how to access the space. Loft conversion stairs come in tons of different shapes and sizes. A loft ladder is the most basic stair option. With its simplistic design, it is the easiest to install and can be customized in a number of ways. It’s not the best choice for homes with pets or lofts that will be heavily used. The next option is the alternating tread stair. This stair is constructed by using platforms on either side of the stair to create individual treads for each foot. The motion is very similar to climbing a ladder. This particular design is very steep and may be difficult for any small children or elderly family members. Folding Stairs have the benefit of being able to be hidden behind a panel in the ceiling when they’re not in use. However, these stairs can be unstable and aren’t recommended for frequent use. A traditional stair is always an option when it comes to home design. This straight stair design does take up a large footprint so is best kept to homes that have excess space. The last loft stair option is a spiral stair. This stair has a minimal footprint and can be customized to meet your home design needs. Loft Railing When you build a loft in your home, you need to find a way to enclose the space to ensure the safety of those using the space. If you chose to construct a loft rather than a room, you want to keep the space open to the floor below. You can keep this beautiful architectural element by using a railing to close off the edge. Railing also allows the pass through of light, meaning your home can still be filled with natural light during the day. This helps your home to feel bigger and more spacious. A popular railing option for homeowners is to use a railing design that matches your loft stair design. This integrates the stair into your home’s design and ties together your space. Some modern homes decide to use a glass half wall for an invisible railing. This maximizes the amount of light able to pass through. DIY Loft While it may seem like a daunting task, a DIY loft is possible. This particular project requires a little more DIY building experience than some projects, but you don’t have to be an architect to create your new space. With the help of a friend or neighbor, your loft can be completed in about two days. This makes it the perfect weekend project. You’ll begin by creating an anchor loft, or the frame that will hold the structure. After it’s in place, you can start to put the floor joists in place. This is particularly important as this will secure the structure and the safety of those using it. After the skeleton of your space is installed, you can install your flooring. Hardwood can be easily installed by bolting the wooden boards to the frame. However, carpet installation will include underpadding. The most important part of installing your own loft floor is to make sure the transition between the stair and your flooring. This is definitely something to consider if you’re installing your loft stair through a hole in the floor. A seamless meeting point of platform and flooring will ensure that anyone using the stair can easily access the loft without tripping constantly.

Loft Design

Bedroom Loft Loft bedroom designs are the most common use for loft conversions. They gained popularity in urban spaces where square footage is at a premium and studio apartments are common. Homeowners are creating their own bedroom space by raising it above their living room or kitchen. This same idea was used to maximize the space in tiny homes, the recent microliving trend taking the world by storm. If you have ample room in your home but still want to use your loft as a bedroom, make it multifunctional. Create a living room that can be used as a guest room when you have company. Multifunctional furniture can transform your space in a matter of minutes. There are plenty of sofa beds options that are modern and can fit into any home décor. Office Loft Home offices are becoming more and more popular as people are starting to work from home more often. With this professional migration comes the need for a new space in the home. By putting your home office in the loft, you are able to separate it from your living space. The physical separation of your living space and office space creates two different mindsets. You will increase your focus and productivity by keeping your work in its own space. However, you are still available to your family by keeping it an open space with railing. When decorating the space, consider deep cedar greens and maroons as they promote thoughtfulness. Gold accents support intuition making your home office the perfect place for work. Storage Loft If you have limited storage space in your home, your loft can be the solution! By using a storage loft, you can keep clutter out of the way of your living space. You may have room in your attic or garage, but by using a loft, you are keeping your other spaces open. A storage loft easily fits in the corner or the back of your home. With the right loft stair choice, it is much more easily accessed than an attic used for the same purpose. A storage loft is often times safer than an attic or basement. You reduce the risk of water damage or pests by having them attached to main livings pace of the home. library-loft-spiral-stairs Library Loft Use your new loft conversion as a home library. A home library is a unique addition to any home and is sure to add some grandeur to your home design. Not only can it be used as a quiet place to read, but as a relaxing space in general. Use built in bookshelves for your book collection and other small trinkets that you may collect. Use the décor to truly make the space. Comfortable seating is a must for any home library. Loveseats and arm chairs are the perfect choices when gathered around a coffee table. Use warm woods and jewel tones to create a rich color palette and inviting ambience for the room. Incorporate antique pieces, such as lamps and artwork, to tie the room together. Kid’s Playroom Take advantage of the unique nature of a loft and create a fun playroom for your kids. Use home décor that you wouldn’t use in your normal living space; make it whimsical with themes, such as a castle or pirate ship. These themes combined with bright colors creates a space that any kid would love. Create an indoor treehouse for rainy days and harsh winters! By using lumber and paint you can bring the magic and fun of a treehouse indoors. One benefit to putting your children’s playroom in an open loft is that you can keep the face open with just railing rather than a full wall. This allows parents to hear and see anything happening in the space. Craft Room If you have a DIY-er in your house, consider using the loft as a craft room. This is the perfect place to store your crafting supplies and in progress projects. By keeping your crafting limited to its own room, you make it more manageable than crafting on your kitchen table. You don’t have to worry about leaving projects out in space that you may need later. If you want to include your kids, add a children’s craft table. This keeps any extra art supplies away from your nice furniture and gives the kids a place to play on a rainy day.   Lofts are a unique addition to any house. Not only do they create square footage without having to build a full addition, but they also create a dynamic interior for your home. There’s a wide range of design styles and functions for your new loft space. No matter how you plan on using your loft, you’ll need a loft stair to access the space. If you find that a spiral stair is the right fit for your home, give one of our consultative designers a call for pricing in five minutes or less! They can walk you through each step of the design process to create a spiral stair that meets your vision.

The Complete Attic Conversion Guide

The hunt for extra square footage in your home never stops. Whether you want another bedroom or just extra living space, there is some major value to adding an extra room. Some homeowners decide to build an addition onto their house. A full addition can be difficult to build if you live in a development where homes are close together or if you have a limited budget. You can find all of the extra space you need in your current home’s floorplan. This complete attic conversion guide can help you have a beautiful new space in your home without the cost of an exterior addition.
attic conversion
Photo by: Home Design Lover

Basic Considerations

Does Your Attic Qualify? If you’re looking to convert your attic, check your local building code to make sure your attic qualifies. Some specifications will change depending on your local municipality. If you don’t meet the code requirements right now, don’t worry! There are projects that you can build into your renovation to meet building code which qualifies your attic for conversion into a living space. The first is your ceiling height. To be classified as a livable space, your floor to ceiling height will have to be at least 7 feet. If your attic is shorter than this, you can lower the ceiling on the lower level or raise your roof. This may seem like a daunting task, but it can be done with the help of a contractor. If you’re looking at converting your attic, you’ve probably already thought about the second code requirement: heating and cooling. Building code requires that your attic can maintain a temperature of 68°F. This is normally not a problem between your current heating and cooling system and attic insulation. Attic Conversion Cost Much like any other home renovation, most of your costs will depend on the size of your attic. Porch.com also suggests investing a proportionate amount to your home’s current value, saying it should be no more than 15%. For instance, if your home is valued at $150,000, you won’t want to spend above 15% of that or $22,500. The average attic conversion cost has a wide range of $25,000 to $50,000. This will depend on your attic’s space and your location. If your attic is already code friendly, not as much renovation will be needed. This means a smaller renovation budget is possible. In order to set a conversion budget and stick to it, make a comprehensive list of all changes and updates you want to make to your space. Your contractor can then tell you up front the estimate. Be sure to put money aside for any furniture you will be buying for the space as well. You don’t want to have a beautifully finish space with nothing in it!

Benefits of an Attic Conversion

Return on Investment & Extra Space A benefit to any home renovation is that it will increase the value of your home. The 2015 national average for the return on investment of an attic conversion was 61%. If you spent $20,000 on your renovation, you can expect $12,200 to be added to your home’s resale value. It’s a great way to add to the home’s living space without the complexity that comes with an addition. Because your attic already has a structure in place with a floor and roof, it is overall cheaper than a brand new addition. This is also a great option for those who live in developments where homes are close together or townhomes. In these situations, expanding out isn’t an option. By building up, you are able to add to your living space and therefore the value of your home. Add Extra Income If you’re looking to earn some extra income, consider renting out your newly converted attic. This home renovation is perfect for those who are looking to rent out a room in their home or for landlords looking for a larger return on their rental properties. If it’s in your personal residence, a bedroom with an en suite bathroom is the way to go. You can give your renter their own space. Whether it’s in your personal home or a rental property, you will need to meet code if you plan to rent out the room. Refer to your local building code to ensure that your space is safe and ready for tenants!
beadboard ceiling
Photo by: This Old House

Converting Your Attic

Ceiling Your converted attic’s ceiling will be a focal point for anyone entering the room. The sloped ceiling is an interesting and unique piece of architecture for your new room. Make the most of it by finishing it in a way that will compliment your room’s design. If you want a traditional room, creating paneling from strategically placed molding is one way to add elegance to your space. It’s a classic finishing touch that looks polished. If you want a room with country charm, beadboard paneling can easily be installed. Beadboard is similar to drywall in weight, but the decorative grooves give a more finished look. A popular decorative ceiling finish is wood paneling. This is the most versatile of the three materials listed here. Because of the different species of wood and the ability to stain them, you can keep the warm and rustic look of your wood panels while still finishing them to ensure longevity. Walls With the ceilings being a main design feature, your walls become a supporting feature. Most attics have knee walls, which are short walls usually under 3 feet. When you have these small spaces, you have to maximize your walls with built in storage and seating. Install recessed shelves in the oddly shaped spaces to create storage in a wall that you wouldn’t previously have been able to use. If you want a closed storage space, drawers and cabinets are great options in these same spots. Consider built in seating as well. By keeping them against the short walls, you can open up the center of your space for bigger pieces of furniture. Flooring When considering your flooring options for your new attic, think about it in relations to the other areas of your home. Many times, people want to keep the excess sounds of upstairs traffic to a minimum. This makes carpet an obvious choice. It absorbs excess sound making it the perfect flooring option for attic conversions that will be heavily used. If you want to use hardwood flooring in your attic, bulkier floor joists and dense insulation can help to absorb noise that would otherwise travel through the floor.
dormer-windows
Photo by: Houzz
Windows When renovating your attic, windows and natural light are a huge consideration. By allowing a lot of natural light into the room, it not only looks bigger, but it’s also a more enjoyable space. There are two windows that are most common in attics: dormer windows and skylights. Dormer windows are windows that are built to project vertically from a sloped roof, making them ideal for attics. They allow a lot of natural light to come into the space. Because the window projects out, it also creates space in your attic. This nook is perfect for built in seating and storage. Skylights are the other common option for natural light in an attic conversion. These are often built into your home’s design. If you don’t have excess natural light built into your home design, you can include skylights without altering too much of your original roofline. While a dormer window requires its own vertical wall, a skylight can be easily fit into the existing slope. attic-conversion-spiral-stairs Stairs Depending upon your previous means of access, you may need to replace your attic stairs. Many attics feature a folding staircase, or a stair that folds up to be concealed behind a ceiling panel. While this is fine for an attic that isn’t living space, you may want something that’s more stable that can hold up to heavy foot traffic. If you plan to rent the space, you will definitely need a more permanent option. There are two categories for your attic conversion stairs: traditional stairs and spiral staircases. A traditional staircase is a traditional home design option. However, it has a very large footprint. This may not be ideal as attics are usually tucked into small spaces in the house. A spiral stair gives you more flexibility when it comes to design and space. Your spiral staircase will have a small footprint that is kept to a circle in your home. Because of its compact design, it can easily be installed in a corner and out of the way. However, the designs are also beautiful enough to become a centerpiece in your home. There are three lines of indoor spiral staircases that each have their own unique characteristics. The first is the Forged Iron Spiral Stair line. Forged Iron is known for its traditional elegance and the ornate details of its balusters and caps create a unique style that is the perfect addition to your traditional home design. The Classic Steel Spiral Stair line includes a versatile design that has the ability to fit into any home design. The clean lines and custom color options make it the perfect fit for both contemporary and traditional homes. The last indoor spiral stair design is the Solid Wood Spiral Stair. This classic design focuses on craftsmanship and the timeless nature of an all wood design. You can find the wood that best matches your home design and finish it to ensure the longevity of your stair.

Designing Your Attic

Bedroom Conversion A bedroom conversion is the most common use for a renovated attic. The unique shapes of an attic are perfect for a children’s bedroom. You can decorate in a way that enhances the shape and whimsical nature of an attic bedroom. Children also won’t have as much trouble walking around with a sloped ceiling. If you’re children are a little older, an attic bedroom is just as ideal for teens. By giving them a room on its own floor, they can have a little more privacy and independence. Add a bathroom to the bedroom conversion for an in-laws suite or the perfect place for guests to stay. If you do plan to add a bathroom, be sure to plan the renovation so that the bathroom is lined up above another bathroom. This makes any plumbing renovations much easier.
attic conversion rec room
Photo by: Homedit
Rec Room The beauty of a rec room is that you can make it whatever you want. You can start at the most basic version of a children’s playroom with brightly colored home décor and raise the creativity all the way up to a larger than life playhouse. The slanted ceilings can help you to bring in a whimsical home design with bright colors and interesting pieces of furniture. Promote your child’s creativity with chalkboard walls. Make this extra room their space to use their imagination. If your children are older, you can create a space for them as well. This space has the potential to be an entertainment loft filled with gaming systems and comfortable seating. Home Theater Many attics are oddly shaped making it hard to renovate them for a conventional use. If you want a more unique home renovation, a home theater may be the design for you. By putting the home theater in the attic, you are giving it its own space without taking away from your normal living room. You can soundproof your attic through insulation and flooring choices to keep any loud movies at bay. Install your surround sound system in the crawlspace behind your knee walls for a real movie theater setting. Installing dimmers for wall sconces allows you to make the most of your space and gives the room a great ambiance. Maximize the space by using casual seating, such as oversized floor cushions. This room is perfect for a family movie night or a kid’s sleepover.
closet conversion
Photo by: Apartment Therapy
Walk-In Closet Your new room doesn’t have to be used for others. Create a walk-in closet for a luxurious home design. This featured design has wallpapered panels for the ceiling to create an opulent home design that’s fit for any fashion lover. You can install shelving for your shoe collection and an extending railing for your wardrobe. Use large upholstered ottomans for seating and large mirrors to complete your custom closet design. Attic conversions are the perfect solution for homeowners that want additional living space, but don’t want the hassle or cost of a full addition to the home. As you can see from the designs listed above, you can use a finished attic for almost anything! Rather than using it for extra storage, don’t be afraid to create a unique room that can add value to your home. There are plenty of ways to access your attic, but there is a full list of attic stairs available! If a stylish spiral stair is the right fit for your home, call one of our consultative designers to get pricing in five minutes or less.