Modern households encounter all sorts of scenarios that require additional living space. Maybe a son or daughter has come back to live with the family after graduating from college, or an elderly parent is moving in, requiring more space. There are smarter ways to create additional living space than just patching on a new room to the house, especially if you are trying to keep costs down.

Start with a plan. This can’t be stressed enough. A plan that takes into account the family’s living style, existing floor plan and new requirements will create the most functional home.. Bigger isn’t necessarily better in today’s market, but strategically increasing the amount of living space is sure to boost home value. Our designers spend a lot of time with family members understanding their needs and analyzing the current floor plan to propose how to best meet expansion wants and needs under the available budget. In the end, you’ll have instant equity.

Optimize what you have available. When building an addition, the most expensive components are the foundation, roof and plumbing. If you are adding to the footprint, you’ll need, at a minimum, a new foundation and a roof. On the other hand, if you have a roomy attic it can be turned into a functional bedroom at a much lower cost because you don’t need to add these two expensive components. The same can be said for a basement.

Think about creating value. Eventually, the time will come to sell the home. It’s important to consider what different buyers want and plan your addition with that in mind. Many younger buyers desire a dedicated office space so they can work from home. At the other end of the spectrum, older adults are often daytime caretakers for their grand kids. A dedicated playroom in a separate room, so they can close the door after the kids leave, is very attractive. These spaces are often called flex rooms or double-duty rooms. They’re an additional living area that can serve a variety of purposes, from a guest bedroom or a game room, to an exercise room or a kids’ study room.

Sometimes detached is best. For older parents who need to move in with their adult children, losing their independence can be tough. Having them close by but not inside the home might be the winning ticket. Consider a self-sustaining apartment on the property. These spaces go by many names, like “casita,” or “granny flat.” Because these detached homes have everything someone needs to live, they can also provide the homeowner with rental income. That money can allow older adults to afford their house once they retire or help younger families pay the mortgage.

Build a forever home. It’s inevitable, every day we get older and eventually our beloved home might no longer be properly equipped to safely accommodate us. Hazards like too many steep staircases, narrow walker-unfriendly doorways and slippery step-in bathtubs and showers might eventually force us out. When planning your addition or remodel, think about making necessary improvements to allow you to age in place. A walk-in shower is the preferred fixture for people in the 50-plus age range who don’t want to step over the tub to take a shower. Curbless showers eliminate the threshold between the shower and surrounding bathroom, making them wheelchair accessible, not to mention sleek and streamlined. A floor plan in which the master bedroom is on the first floor reduces the need to climb stairs — it’s probably the most desired feature among older adults.

The 5 Most Important Things to Consider When Planning an Addition