Expanding your living space: The possibilies
There are many ways to expand your living space. From the basement to the attic, unused areas can be made habitable. And you can often find other ways to expand your living space outside your actual four walls.
Being at home is always best—and yet your own four walls can feel like they are closing in on you. Needs change; maybe you have children and they need space. Or due to a change in self-employment, a new office or a reception area for customers needs to be carved out at your home address.
The first step you should take is to discuss your proposed project with an architect or another expert. They will help you learn everything you need to know about the different options for expanding your living space and which variants are feasible for your home. Sometimes you can find new living or usable space in your basement or attic. Expanding or remodeling can be done and in some cases, local building laws will allow you to pull permits to add an extension to your building. Your garage or yard space can also offer attractive options for expanding your living space.
Using existing rooms and spaces
The simplest option is to convert existing rooms. An office or craft room in the basement are often easy to set up, and sometimes, you can expand a guest room to create more living space. Sometimes it is just a matter of getting rid of useless items that you have not needed for years and that have ended up in the basement. You will be amazed how much space can be suddenly freed up just by getting rid of clutter in the basement. You can quickly create a cozy atmosphere and fresh living space by installing a new floor, good lighting and giving your new area your own individual touch. Basements can usually be connected to the home’s existing heating system without any major financial outlay—if they are not already connected to it.
Utilizing the attic as expanded living space
The attic usually offers interesting options for expanding one’s living space, especially in older buildings. Even if the pitch angle of the roof prevents fully utilizing the entire area, it is often easy to set up a game room, a small office or a TV room in the attic area.
The garage can often be converted for other uses
What people often forget: You can often use your garage as expanded living space if you don’t need it for your car. With just a little manual labor and skill, you can carve out a new living space with just a few tools. However, if you want to use your garage as a year-round living space, then you will have to consider how to heat and insulate it, and the fact that you will have to get power and water lines connected. Official approval from your city or municipality may be required before converting detached or attached garages.
Another option might be to add another floor
Another possibility might to add a second floor to your garage. This kind of conversion can be an opportunity to beautify the overall appearance of your home—this is especially true of homes built in the 60s and 70s. Expanding your home’s living space this way can, however, be relatively expensive. Costs for this type of conversion range between 60,000 and 100,000 francs. And it will be even more expensive if the garage’s framework has to be reinforced.
The classic sunroom or four-season room
A sunroom (which can often be used during the spring, summer and fall) or four-season room (which can be used year-round) is one of the most popular solutions for expanding a home’s living space. This opens up the interior to the outside and creates an attractive connection between the indoors and outdoors. There are three variations on this: an unheated, enclosed “sunroom” can be used as additional living space, especially in spring and autumn.
The heated four-season room
The second option is a heated four-season room that can be used most of the year. Heating for this space is designed so that the temperature can be corrected up to a maximum of 10 degrees. This variant is economical in terms of cost because it does not have to meet thermal insulation requirements for buildings.
The fully heated four-season room
The third situation is different for the fully heated version. The fully heated four-season room invites you to linger during cold winter months. However, floor and window glazing must comply with the latest heat insulation regulations. Experts estimate that the costs for a fully heated four-season room measuring approximately 15 m² range from CHF 30,000 to CHF 70,000 -, depending on the four-season room desired and building material.
Living space for your home can also be extended into your yard area
You may find new possibilities for using your outdoor space. You could just park a caravan or simple trailer in your yard. Again, costs will vary depending on your needs. You can purchase a small used caravan starting at about 9000 francs; upgradable used trailers are often available for relatively few francs. It should be noted that parking a caravan in your backyard is subject to local building codes and regulations. The same applies to any garden shed that is converted to living space.
Modular homes can be set up in one day
Another solution for expanding living space into your backyard could be a modular home. These are prefabricated at the manufacturer and installed by crane in one day. Small modular homes are available starting at 50,000 francs, but prices usually start at 80,000 francs and go up from there. Modular houses can be moved or sold again when moving.
Add-on to increase your home’s value
It might be worthwhile considering an extension if you own a large plot of land. Stone or concrete is often the building material of choice, but nowadays, drywall is being increasingly used to build extensions. An architecturally beautifully designed addition also means a significant upgrade to the existing building.
Adding a second story due to space shortage
If an extension is not feasible due to space constraints, adding a second story may be an alternative. Due to the statics, lightweight construction using wooden construction is often used here as well.
There are many options for expanding your living space—now it's up to you to choose the option that is right for you.