Life in a family house can be very noisy and very cluttered! When you need peace and quiet to concentrate, and room to arrange your own workspace, where can you go? The answer may be very close by, in an often under-utilised space – your loft.
A loft location for you to make a quiet place for yourself, an island of peace close to your family, but with enough space between you to allow you to work without distraction. The size and shape of many attics also allows for plenty of storage room and also for imaginative and innovative designs that make your study uniquely yours! Not only that, but when you are ready to move on, a loft conversion is a popular selling point, adding value and interest to your home. Conversions are also more cost effective, less time-consuming than a full extension and thus an ideal home improvement project.
If you are starting your conversion from scratch, there are some practicalities you will need to consider first, such as access arrangements, power supply, telephone connections, heating, insulation, flooring and lighting.
A velux, mansard or dormer window will add light and airiness to a loft as well as allowing for ventilation, and, in the case of mansard and dormer windows, give you more useable space. Access can be via a standard staircase or, if you have limited space, a ‘space saver’ stair which has alternating treads and so takes up half as much space as a traditional flight of stairs. Most loft conversions are lined with plasterboard, but you may also be able to leave brick or stone work exposed to add character to your new office. An experienced loft conversion company will be able to advise you on these practical issues and ensure that your intended design complies with building and planning regulations.
Once the nuts-and-bolts of the conversion are in place, or if your loft already has the basics needed to use it as a room, the fun of designing your perfect and personalised office can begin! Furniture can be freestanding or built-in. An advantage of built-in furniture is that it can be designed specifically for your office, allowing you to make the most of the space available. You may wish to consider using kitchen or bathroom cupboards as these are designed to be flexible and to fit tightly, whatever the size and shape of your room, making them an attractive, practical and cost effective solution to your storage needs. Alternatively, free standing furniture can be arranged to make the most of the space and lighting in the room. If you need plenty of space for your paperwork, you could even consider a full-size dining room table!
If you want to keep your work space bright and open, consider glass or other open shelving, as this will accentuate the impression of airiness. Open shelving is also ideal to display ornaments and other items that help to stamp your own character on your workplace. You can use the remaining wall space for those finishing touches, whether ornamental such as prints, photographs or artwork (either your children’s or more professionally produced) or practical – charts, whiteboards, pin boards and perhaps a perfectly coordinated clock.
If you would like more information, or expert advice on loft conversions, consult professional builders or a construction company. They should be able to answer your questions, especially on whether or not you’ll need planning permission, and start you on that first step to your unique – and peaceful – new office.