If you find yourself outgrowing your current home, building a home addition might be a better idea than moving. Home additions are usually a good investment because they increase your square footage while raising your home’s value.
People get home additions for a variety of reasons. For example, taking care of aging parents may require adding an in-law suite. Having more children may create the need for extra bedrooms and bathrooms. Some home additions happen because the homeowner wants a bigger closet or a full size pantry, or wants an unfinished basement or garage to become usable living space. You may want to add a garage to a home without one, or turn an open carport into a closed garage.
Bump-outs and full second stories can be major home addition projects. Other additions include turning an existing patio into a sun room or making attic space into a bonus room. Here are 15 great home additions for you to consider today.
15 Home Addition Ideas for Increasing Square Footage
1. In-Law Suites
An in-law suite is one of the most common types of home additions as people are living longer. While many people give mom or dad the spare bedroom, others want their parents to have a sense of independence for a longer period of time. An in-law suite allows you to help your parents when needed and gives them privacy when they don’t need your help.
In-law suite home addition plans should focus as much as possible on accessibility. Even if your senior family members are mobile and active now, things can change rapidly due to an accident or fall. It’s best if an in-law suite is a first-floor addition with few or no steps. As with all types of home additions, make sure you follow the building codes for your town and neighborhood.
2. Bedroom Additions
Many areas of your house can work for bedroom home additions. The attic, basement or garage can all be places to consider when figuring out how to add an extra bedroom to your home. A covered patio can make a great spare bedroom, especially if its existing roof is already part of the main house structure.
Most counties and cities have building codes that require a bedroom to have at least one door opening to the inside of the house and at least one window that opens outdoors. This is to provide two potential fire escape routes. If you cannot meet these requirements in your chosen space, you may need to locate the extra bedroom home additions in another place.
3. Bump-Outs for More Square Footage
Bump-outs are small home additions that literally bump out from an existing interior wall. While they may not seem big viewed from outside, these small home addition plans can make a room feel much larger inside. They also do not add a lot to your home addition costs because they don’t require foundation work or a roof.
A bump out can be used to add a closet to a bedroom or a pantry to a kitchen. A kitchen bump out may provide just the space you need to add a small café table or dining bar. Bump outs can also make enough space for a laundry room—a valuable addition to any home.
Bay windows are a common type of bump out that add seating and lots of natural light to a living room or bedroom. If you have always dreamed of having a fireplace in your living room or bedroom, a bump out can provide enough room for a fireplace with built-in shelves on each side.
4. Closet and Pantry Additions
Some of the smallest home additions involve adding a new closet or pantry to an existing floor plan. This can often be accomplished within the home’s original footprint by moving interior walls or building new ones. Bump outs also work well for smaller areas like walk-in closets and kitchen pantries.
Many homeowners are now turning unused spare bedrooms into giant closet rooms. This may require moving walls and creating doorways between the master bedroom and the new closet space. Today’s new closet home additions include a variety of luxurious features. These dressing rooms include furniture, mirrored walls, elaborate chandeliers and specialized storage solutions for every type of clothing and accessory.
5. Bathroom Additions
Home addition plans that include a new bathroom (or expand a current one) can be expensive. Along with kitchens, bathroom home additions cost a lot more than other types of rooms because of the plumbing expenses. Countertops, floors and electricity costs also make bathrooms an investment.
If you have a small master bathroom, making it bigger can give you room for a soaking tub or a large vanity that has two sinks. A bigger main bathroom can be helpful for large families. You can also add a small half-bath or water closet in the small space under your stairs. An unused closet can be turned into half-bathroom, which is convenient when you are entertaining or having overnight guests.
6. Basement Additions
A simple home addition may involve finishing your basement. A basement home addition is a good idea because using that space can save on home addition costs. It’s less expensive to build within walls you already have instead of adding a second floor or bump out structure.
Local building codes may state that you must have a certain number of exits from the basement. If you need to add more doors or windows, expect your basement home addition costs to rapidly increase. Otherwise, finishing a basement can be an easy way to add a small apartment, game room, gym, home theater or extra bedrooms.
7. Garage Additions
If you have a garage that doesn’t have a second story, you may be able to add one to create the extra space your family needs. Before starting your home addition plans, check with a builder to make sure your garage foundation and structure can support the weight of a second floor. There may be extra safety precautions to take when building over a garage, such as fireproof drywall and vapor barriers between the floors.
Over a freestanding garage is a good place to add an in-law suite or teenager suite. You can also create a studio apartment with a bathroom and kitchenette and rent the space to generate a steady source of extra income. A fun playroom or bonus room can fit over most garages. You can also use it for storage instead of paying for a storage unit across town.
The space over your garage is also a good location to add a few guest bedrooms and a bathroom, if you often have overnight guests. They will enjoy a sense of privacy while still being able to stay on your property.
8. Carport Enclosure Additions
Popular in the south and in midcentury design, an open-sided carport or covered parking pad is one of the best home additions if your house lacks covered parking. If your home already has a carport, you can hire a home addition contractor to build solid walls and add a garage door to transform the space into an actual garage.
If you don’t need covered car parking or an enclosed garage, a carport that shares the home’s structure and roofline can be turned into a porch, living room, media room, playroom or extra bedroom suite. This will be considered a larger home addition project. But because it already has a foundation and roof, it will be less expensive than building a room entirely from the ground up.
9. Sun Room and Screened Porch Additions
While it’s nice to have a patio or porch, you and your family will likely get more use from a sun room or screened porch. Home addition costs are low for this kind of project because the foundation is usually already there. Your home addition contractors may only need to fill in walls between existing studs and use the current roof.
If you want a sunroom to be counted in your home’s square footage, it must have heating in the wintertime and a door that opens into the house. These rooms usually include lots of windows and are a great place to socialize, dine and grow house plants.
You probably can’t count a screened porch as interior square footage, but having one increases the quality of life in your home. This is especially true if you live in a hot climate and need outdoor living space that is well-ventilated and safe from insects and other pests. If you live where you get a lot of snowfall, ask your home addition contractor to make sure the structure can support the weight of heavy snow.
10. Attic Dormer Additions
A dormer is a roofed structure that projects out from a home’s main roof. It usually contains a window, and a roof may have multiple dormers, such as in a traditional Cape Cod home design. If you have a tall attic space, adding dormers can help increase the usable square footage in the attic. Dormers also make your house look bigger from the street.
Dormer rooms can be bedrooms, bathrooms or living areas. If your attic is tall enough to stand in, but lacks windows, this can be a way to meet building code requirements for windows in living spaces. When turning an attic into a home addition, try to keep some of the space for storage only. Even if you don’t need the storage space, the next person who buys your home may appreciate it.
11. Kitchen Additions
Bigger kitchens are more popular than ever and having one will increase your home’s value. Even small kitchen home additions can make a kitchen feel much bigger and more open. If you really need additional kitchen space, you can take down an exterior wall and build a small room for dining and a pantry. Building an outdoor kitchen on a deck or patio also expands your cooking space.
Sometimes a kitchen home addition includes building an entirely new kitchen and converting the existing small kitchen into a pantry or mud room. Because of the cost of plumbing, appliances and new countertops, kitchen home additions are some of the most expensive home expansion projects you can do. A good contractor can help you keep your home addition costs within a certain budget.
12. Mudroom Additions
A mudroom may also be called an anteroom or a vestibule, depending on where you are from. Common in rural areas and farmhouses, these rooms provide a place for family members to take off muddy shoes. Having a designated area for this helps keep the entrance of your home organized by giving kids a place for their book bags, hats and coats.
Mudrooms are simple home additions that don’t require a lot of square footage. A ten-foot by ten-foot space is big enough for this purpose. A good mudroom will include hooks for hanging up clothes, a bin for wet umbrellas and often a bench for sitting while changing shoes. If you can include room for a washing machine and dryer, this is an ideal place to put them.
13. Deck Additions
A deck is not counted as an actual room in the home, but it is one of the most welcome home additions. Who doesn’t love a beautiful outdoor space for relaxing and socializing? Deck home additions may even be possible to do yourself without having to hire a home addition contractor. However, you should have strong DIY skills before considering taking on such a large project. This is especially true if you need a multi-level deck instead of one basic flat surface.
Decks can be made of real pressure treated wood or a variety of composite materials. You can also buy partially assembled deck kits that include all the parts that you will need. You can leave the deck open to the sunshine or build an open-sided roof structure over it. Awnings or canopies are also great for providing shade on your new deck home addition.
14. Full Second Story Additions
When it comes to calculating home addition costs, building a full second story is one of the most expensive home addition projects you can take on. Most homeowners find the expense worth it because it ends up doubling, or nearly doubling, your home’s total square footage. A second story will greatly increase your home’s value when it’s time to sell.
Before investing home addition costs into home addition plans and blueprints, hire a building inspector to make sure your home’s current foundation and structure can support the weight of a second floor. If it can’t, there may be things that can be done to make it stronger. If your home’s foundation can’t be strengthened, you may have to choose a bump-out or another way to get the square footage you want.
15. Important Things to Consider Before Building a Home Addition
It may be tempting to hire home addition contractors and start immediately on building your new home addition. But there are a few things to keep in mind before you launch such a big project. A licensed professional home addition contractor will be able to give you advice on doing everything in a legal manner. But you should still learn about your local building codes and zoning ordinances for yourself. That way, you will know if anything is amiss.
Find out where you need to submit your blueprints and home addition plans. This might be a county assessor’s office or a city official. Don’t just turn the project over to a home addition contractor and expect everything to turn out well. Show up on the job site daily and make sure the work is being done in a way that all legal requirements are met.