Joseph Gantert
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How to expand your existing living space

by Joseph Gantert 01/03/2022

Homeowners face significant housing decisions as their ranks grow. It may be worthwhile to consider making strategic home improvements to maximize the space already present in the house for new additions to the household. Cost-effective investments into a starter home can increase property values. These rank among the top renovations for giving growing households more breathing room.

1: Build a master bedroom suite addition

Depending on regional materials and labor costs, the average cost of a home addition generally hovers between $100 and $200 per square foot. A brand new master bedroom usually enjoys a footprint of 200-250 square feet.

Homeowners may be inclined to finance the cost of an expansion, so it doesn't overwhelm their monthly budget. Adding a luxurious master bedroom with a private bathroom typically delivers a 52% return on investment.

2: Transition to an open floor plan

Remodeling a starter home by removing non-load-bearing walls to make it feel more spacious remains a tried-and-true design strategy. The open floor plan layout reportedly took hold before World War II and has enjoyed hot- and cold-trending acceptance ever since.

These designs are anything but complicated. They typically employ a floor plan that merges the following rooms:

  • Kitchen and dining room
  • Dining room and living room
  • Kitchen, dining room and living room

Some take the layout a step further by leveraging sliding glass doors leading to outdoor spaces such as decks, patios and verandas. The underlying strategy is to increase usable square footage by eliminating walls and visual obstacles that make living spaces feel smaller.

Open floor plans provide added benefits, such as easier child monitoring and increased socialization, among others. Because this renovation requires only nominal building materials, it ranks among the more cost-effective ways to give household members a sense of spaciousness.

3: Transform an attic into a room

Attic floors can be upgraded to the same level of quality and attractiveness as other rooms in the home. Rafters, likewise, can have the exposed lumber and insulation covered with sheetrock or tongue-in-groove wood materials that deliver a natural decor.

Growing households may want to consult with a contractor about cost-effective attic possibilities before assuming the space is off limits. Add a skylight, and it may become the most sought-after room in the home.

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