More people work from home than ever before so, naturally, the way that you feel about your space is transforming. If you’ve ever sat at a desk in an office and wondered why the chair couldn’t be that little bit comfier or that wall just a little bit brighter, creating an office at home is an opportunity to craft your ideal working environment. And, if you’re lucky enough to have unused loft space in your property, a loft renovation could be the perfect way to build your ultimate office space from the ground up. Here’s a practical guide on how to transform your loft into a home office.
Loft conversions come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and whether or not you need planning permission will depend on these factors:
- The type of loft conversion
- The size
- What type of house you live in
- Where you live in the UK
A Government scheme designed to get more homeowners expanding their properties, permitted development rights let some loft conversions go ahead without the need for planning permission.
In order to quality, your proposed conversion must fit within these guidelines:
- Have volume allowance of 50 cubic metres additional roof space for detached and semi-detached houses
- Use similar building materials to the existing house
- Not include a window in any wall or roof slope forming a side elevation of the dwelling house
- The roof pitch of the principal part of the dwelling must be the same as the roof pitch of the existing house
- A dormer wall that is set back at least 20 cm from the existing wall face
- Have windows that are non-opening if less than 1.7 metres from the floor level
- Have side windows that are obscured/frosted.
It’s worth noting, these allowances include anything added to the original house (“original” being the latest of when the property was built or if it was built before 1948, then as it stood on 1st July 1948). So, if your loft has already been extended by a previous occupant that counts towards your cubic metres.
These rules can be confusing, especially if this is your first conversion. To make sure things run smoothly, it’s recommended that you have an architect by your side to act as a guide throughout the process.
If you opt to use your permitted development rights, it’s recommended that you obtain a lawful development certificate.
It essentially proves to both your local authority and future buyers that your home project was legal at the point of construction. This protects you in the event the rules around permitted development right change, and ensures all the guidelines have been met.
If your project is found to be in violation of the rules, you can face both some hefty fines, and even the prospect of demolishing your conversion – risks no homeowner should be taking!
While permitted development rights can be really useful, they don’t apply to all house types.
- Listed buildings
- Homes in conservation areas
These homes are all excluded from the scheme, and will require planning permission.
Step into the office in your mind and take a walk around. What does a productive workplace feel and look like for you? We’re big believers in the energising power of natural light and the importance of craving out a quiet area – especially if you’ve got a full house. There are four traditional types of loft conversion to consider for your office. Here’s what you need to know about each of them in the planning stages to make sure you can achieve your big ideas later on.
#1 Roof light loft conversion – Rarely needs planning permission
This is where you don’t alter or expand the existing space at all, but simply add in windows and reinforce the floor to transform an attic into a more comfortable space.
#2 Dormer loft conversion – Rarely needs planning permission
The most popular type of loft conversion is a simple flat roof dormer. This is a structural extension which projects vertically from the slope of the existing roof, creating a box shape. This loft extension generally requires no dramatic changes, and allows for the installation of conventional windows.
#3 Hip to gable loft conversion – Occasionally needs planning permission
Ideal for end of terrace and detached homes, a hip to gable loft conversion straightens an inwardly slanted end roof to create a vertical wall. This small change can make a huge difference to the feel of the living space inside, and is becoming an increasingly popular option for homeowners.
#4 Mansard loft conversion – Often needs planning permission
Constructed by raising the party wall (the wall shared with your neighbours). The roof remains flat, while one outer wall slopes gently inwards. Mansards are typically found at the rear of the house, and although they are suitable for many property types, they are most popular in terraced houses.
The finishing touches
Once your construction is complete and the outline of your home office is waiting to be filled in, it’s time to really focus on the details. Everyone works differently but there are small practices that can benefit everyone’s working environment.
#1 Get comfortable
Modern work life can often feel synonymous with long hours sitting at a desk so, if you’re not well set up, that’s a lot of time spent shuffling uncomfortably and possibly a lot of time dealing with the health consequences later on. Opt for ergonomic furniture to maximise your comfort, boost productivity and minimise the possibility of daily aches and pains and invest in loft flooring that suits your needs.
#2 Get green
Indoor plants are an instant way to add depth to a space and break up the static structure of your rooms. One of the easiest ways to bring nature into your home is by using indoor plants. Choose plants that are low maintenance and suited to the light levels in your home. Assuming the environment is right, consider a hanging fern by the window, high foliage like a bamboo plant to give your space height or even a spread of succulents on a coffee table.
#3 Get creative
Alongside the occasional hassles of shaky wifi connections and crackly zoom calls, working from home does offer certain perks that should really be taken advantage of. After all, where else can you decide to paint a wall orange on a whim or hang a print that inspires you if not home? If you’re struggling with where to begin, explore the top home trends for 2023 to get the creative juices flowing.
If you want some more insight into what type of loft conversion might be suitable for your property, get in touch with the experts at Resi for a free advice call.