Creating an extra bedroom at your home

Well before a home listing gets into the details about kitchen features and recent upgrades, it provides a quick numerical roundup: how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, and square footage. Buyers often hone their searches by these figures, discarding any listings that don't meet their criteria.

Even if a homeowner was satisfied with how many bedrooms their home had when they purchased it, they may find themselves wishing for more space after living in the residence for awhile. Perhaps a new baby is on the way, or an aging parent needs to move in, or a household member simply wants a distinct space for a home office or other purpose.

Increasing the number of bedrooms in a home can sometimes be a tricky and expensive proposal. However, it may also be possible to accomplish this goal by working within the space available.

If you're looking to officially add a bedroom to your home, you'll need to make sure the space meets a few criteria. Cathie Ericson, writing for, says building requirements vary by state, but bedrooms generally need to be a certain size and have a way to heat and cool the space, along with two means of egress in case of an emergency – generally through a door and sufficiently sized window.

By updating part of your home to meet these requirements, you can create a new bedroom or even a full master suite. Nick Gerhardt, writing for Family Handyman, says some options include finishing a basement, attic, or laundry room to increase the home's square footage and provide more living space.

One of the more unusual ways to create a new bedroom is to convert a garage for the purpose. Hugh Metcalf, writing for Grand Designs Magazine, says this process typically involves the addition of more insulation to the structure since it's typically not built to be a comfortable part of the home.

You'll also need to wall off or otherwise account for the garage door and be prepared for the loss of storage space. Of course, this may not be a major issue if you're able to park your vehicles in a driveway and use a garden shed or other area to keep items you'd normally store in the garage.

An alternative is to build above the garage to create an extra bedroom or even a small apartment. Gerhardt says you'll save some money on the construction costs since a foundation will already be in place, but you'll also likely need to add features such as a new roof and a vapor barrier to keep car exhaust out of the living space.

If the ceilings in your home are tall enough, you can establish a mezzanine between floors to eke out some more usable space. Metcalf says this area can be left open to let in more light and better connect to the surrounding area, though you can also opt to wall it off for extra privacy. Kate Burt, writing for the home design site Houzz, says a mezzanine can also make a small area seem more spacious.

Another solution for spacious areas, ideal for situations such as siblings who want to have more privacy, is to erect temporary walls to carve out a new room. Jeanne Huber, writing for This Old House, says these walls can be finished to seamlessly blend into the home and removed without a trace when they are no longer necessary.

Extending the footprint of your home will naturally give you more space to work with, though it can also be a rather expensive way to get an extra bedroom or two. Gerhardt says a bump-out addition might be sufficient to create extra space without interfering too much with the layout of the residence. A more intensive process could involve the addition of a second story, though this will likely require major renovations to the first floor as well.

If the space will be a guest bedroom or otherwise subject to less frequent use, you might want to convert a space that has a stronger connection to the outdoors. Some possibilities include enclosing a patio or porch.

Some renovations will add space for another sleeper without necessarily establishing a second bedroom. Burt says lofts can be established where ceilings are high enough, and builders also have the option of lowering ceilings elsewhere to create the necessary space. You can also consider a custom designed in bed or a sleeping platform with built-in storage.


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