Whether you are out to add a dormer loft conversion for a new master bedroom or study, what you will learn from this blog post is so fundamental in understanding how planning application for dormer loft conversions work and how you create a design from concept to implementation to build the best loft conversion layout.
Dormer lofts add much-needed space to your home. This guide will lead you through the main stages of the process from planning, to designing and building your loft conversion.
So let’s begin…
Understanding what you need out of a loft extension is the first step. Do you need an extra bedroom? Do you need an extra bathroom?
Once you know exactly what you need you can begin to look into the planning stage of the process.
Planning policies tend to have specific requirements for dormer loft extensions. You will need to check with your LPA to obtain the particular policies for your borough. Below are some common planning policies.
Sometimes it is also good if your neighbours have a similar loft extension. You will be able to see this on your LPA planning portal or on google maps. Seeing similar loft extensions constructed in your area can also help you work out if there are any restrictions on this type of development.
The most important policy to check – other than any restrictions on development – is the one concerning the minimum height of the internal loft. Usually this is 2.3m. To measure the headroom, stretch your tape measure from the top of the ceiling joist to the bottom of the ridge timber.
If you have this height, you can begin choosing a design and layout for the rooms you would like to create. If your loft does not meet this requirement, you may not be able to create a habitable room such as a bedroom. You will always need to double check with your council and ask for a written response.
So now you have the standard minimum height, and you know there are no restrictions on this development. Now you’re ready to design your loft.
If you know from the beginning what you want to see in the space, you want to check your vision on paper.
If you have permitted development rights, you can submit a Lawful Development Certificate application for your dormer loft conversion.
If you don’t have permitted development rights or if your design doesn’t meet with the limitations of permitted development rights, then you will need to submit a Householder Planning application. For both, you will require full set of planning drawings including scaled floor plans, elevations and sections.
This is a big step. A carefully thought-out design is imperative for maximising the potential of your space, so you don’t want to rush it. Below you’ll find some key considerations for layout and interior design.
The first thing you have to consider with a loft conversion is the area available. Extending into the loft usually means that you don’t have tons of new space to play with. So your home loft conversion interior design has to be clever in this regard. Using light colours, keeping the area free from clutter and using innovative storage solutions are all part of the interior design process for a loft conversion. The trick here is to use a small palette of colours so that you don’t overwhelm the space.
Light and pastel colours are ideal for making the loft conversion look and feel as large as possible. Even if you have a large loft and more space to play with, these home loft conversion interior design ideas will still work for you.
Working out how to access your loft can be difficult as you will need to add a new staircase to your home. Usually the best place for these stairs is directly above your existing staircase if there is enough space. Sometimes stairs are added within an existing bedroom with access from the main landing. This all depends on how much space you have on the first floor of your home.
If you would like a bathroom in the loft, you will need to consider where the existing waste pipework is and how you will connect the new bathroom to this system. Once you have worked out a general layout plan you can begin thinking about materials.
A loft conversion can mean that your interior walls slope because of the contour of the roof outside. Don’t feel like this is a problem that you must overcome – embrace it. The fact that the room isn’t a box is ideal. You can use the walls to hang items other than the standard pictures, such as:
There are so many possibilities to make your walls look great that you could spend weeks just researching. Think about how you can make sure whatever you use is secure and safe as well as achieving the effect you desire.
The simple fact is that most loft conversions are built to house extra bedrooms. This means that the new space must feel warm and cosy for the new occupant. Whether this is you or someone else in your household, the home loft conversion interior design has to ensure a place where they can sleep.
The number of people who struggle to sleep is rising, so make sure that the new loft space can block out light, make occupants feel comfortable and put you or your loved one in the best possible place to get a good night’s rest.
Of course, we spend a number of waking hours in our bedrooms as well, so adaptability is paramount here. Curtains with blackout backing can help you get some shuteye, but when drawn, they should let as much natural light as possible in. The clever use of artificial light can also bring huge benefits here too.
A quality home loft conversion interior design will be determined by the details. The smallest items can make a massive change to the way a room looks and feels.
Think carefully about all the design elements, as you have to juggle different colours and textures. You should take swatches of material and photographs of the room when you go out shopping for home loft conversion interior design elements – that way you can see the impact it might have.
The addition of a new colour to the scheme can have a drastic effect. It will save you time, effort and money if you can make these decisions while in the store rather than when you get home.
You have a plethora of home loft conversion interior design elements to consider when putting together a room. These can include:
It isn’t easy to get all of these just right for a single room. It can take a little time to shop around and create that perfect feeling of style and comfort. Planning ahead is going to help you here. Never be afraid to take notes, measurements and photos with you to decide if what you’re considering fits perfectly.
When entering a loft extension from a new stairway, your eyes can wander everywhere searching for a place to settle. This effect is created by a lack of focal point. Setting up a picture in a frame, a feature wall of colour or a set of bright cushions on a bed will help the eye to settle and the room to feel complete. A focal point is important in every room, and a loft extension is no exception. Your home loft conversion interior design won’t be complete without it.
In a bedroom this is important, but if you have built your loft extension for any other reason then the focal point can become crucial. A home office or study needs to be an oasis of calm in what can be an otherwise hectic home. The focal point calms the nerves and lets the occupant know that everything will be alright.
The right home loft conversion interior design will make your new loft conversion so much better from the outset. But if you get it wrong, it can really feel like it is out of kilter with the rest of the home. Get these design elements right and your new loft extension will be perfect for your lifestyle.
That’s why it’s a good idea to work with an architect who can help you get the drawings just right before making your dream a reality. The final drawings will show all details such as measurements, layout and finishes. With these drawings you will be able to apply for planning permission and also have drawings for a builder to price up your project.
Once you have planning approval, you can get quotations from builders in preparation for building. It would also be wise at this stage to get a Party Wall Agreement with your neighbours.
The builder selection is just as important as having good scaled drawings. Choosing builders can be difficult. It is best to ask for up to 5 quotations for cost analysis and to request a portfolio of previously completed works. It may not be best to go for the cheapest builder, as they may not complete the work to a high enough standard. You should contact previous clients to see how the builders were to work with and to check the quality of the work.
Once the builder gets started, it is important to monitor but not micromanage. Micromanagement and hovering over the builder could make them frustrated, pressured and they might not do part of the job correctly. Once the work is complete, the builder should do the clean-up as part of his works. It is up to you whether you hire the builder to do the final touches of paint and wallpaper once the main works are complete.
Now that the extension is constructed you can have fun rearranging the furniture and sit back and relax in your new dormer loft!
Paradoxically, it can be both easy and difficult to plan, design and build a dormer loft extension. It takes a lot of thought to decide on what you want and what you need in terms of space. This how-to guide should help you to work out how to create your own dormer loft extension. Advice from consultants such as RIBA chartered architects and planning consultants will always be useful. Even if you’re very knowledgeable, it can be good to get some input from a professional who knows the ins and outs of the process.