Photo by Steve Bennett

Update: Adding a bedroom can be as easy as clearing out some old junk from a store room and putting a bed in there – but it’s usually much more complicated than that! Creating a bedroom usually means building an addition or finishing an attic or basement. Firstly you need to think about who is going to use the bedroom. If it’s for a younger person then an attic or basement would be ideal; an older relative that’s moving into your home will need a more accessible space, probably on the main floor of your home. And if it’s a simple guest room, then a spacious room with lots of light would be perfect.

Have you just moved your youngest child into what was once the guest room? Do you need a bedroom for aging parents? Have your children reached the age at which they think it is just totally “uncool” to share a bedroom? Is your recent college graduate moving back into your house? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be ready to add a bedroom to your home.

So, what are your options? Basically, you can either renovate existing space within your home or construct a bedroom addition.

Is there a space within your existing home that can be made into an additional bedroom?

  • Is there an un-used or little-used room that can be converted?
  • Can all or part of your attic be converted to living space to accommodate your need for an additional bedroom?
  • Can part of your basement be converted into an additional bedroom or into a teen suite or in-law suite?
  • Can you “raise the roof” to create additional space?

If you are considering an addition to your home, you will first need to consider where it will be built.

  • Can you add a room of the size you want and remain with legal distance from your property line?
  • Are you willing to give up the amount of yard you will dedicate to the new addition?
  • How does the terrain of your property affect your plans? Will the addition affect the runoff of rain water? Will you be working with a slope? Will you need to remove trees?
  • What direction will the room face? Will your location provide sufficient sunlight? Will it provide too much sunlight?
  • How will this location affect other parts of the existing structure? Will you lose sunlight or a view? Will it be possible to provide reasonable access to the new room, or will it require traversing an existing room?
  • How will the roofline of the new room intersect with the existing roofline?
  • Will your addition adversely affect neighboring homes in any way?
  • How will your addition affect the exterior appearance of your home?

Once you decide where to situate the addition, you will need to consider the design of your addition. It will be important to consider the exterior impact on your home and your neighborhood in your planning.

  • Plan on roofing and exterior wall materials that blend with or match the exterior of the rest of the house and blend with the neighborhood.
  • Design a roof line that will connect seamlessly with the rest of your roof.
  • Select windows that blend with the other windows and window placements in your home.
  • How will the foundation be constructed? Will there be available space beneath the bedroom addition? If so, how will you use that space?

Next, consider the impact of the addition on the interior of your home.

  • Will it be necessary to tear out walls to connect the new room to the rest of the house?
  • How will you provide access to the new room? Will you extend a hallway, or add a hall? Will it be accessed through another existing room? How will other rooms be changed by providing access to the new room? How will this affect the cost of your addition project? How will this affect the functionality of the other rooms?

The next step will be to design the room.

  • How will persons using the room access a bathroom?
  • Where will you place a closet? Will it be a closet accessed through folding or sliding doors? Will it be a walk-in closet?
  • Where will you position windows? What kind of windows will you install? Contractor Selection Workbook
  • Will you also attach a bathroom?
  • What kind of ceiling is appropriate? Will you have a high, pitched ceiling? Will you construct a tray ceiling? Will you include a ceiling fan?
  • After positioning windows, closets and doors, have you left sufficient wall space for placement of furniture? Can you envision furniture placement within the room?
  • Decide on floor treatment – hardwood, carpet, or tile?
  • Consider placement of heat and air conditioning ducts or baseboard units.
  • Consider placement of electrical outlets, television connections, etc.
  • Will you have adequate lighting, or do you need to install additional lighting fixtures?

Then you will need to plan the work and decide who will do the work.

  • Check with your local government about building codes and permits
  • Check with your local government about requirements that certain types of work be performed only by licensed professionals
  • Plan for construction and installation of the foundation, exterior walls, wall demolition (in the existing structure), and roof construction
  • Schedule framing
  • Schedule electrical, plumbing, heat and cooling work and installation
  • Schedule drywall installation and finishing
  • Schedule installation of flooring, hanging doors and window installation
  • Schedule the finishing work, like painting, wallpapering, installation of fixtures, etc.

A bedroom addition to your home can provide the additional space you need for a growing family or changes in the occupancy of your home. The addition of a bedroom should also recoup for you about 785-90% of the cost at resale. And, it can be a fun project to plan and build. So, if you need the space, go ahead – add that extra bedroom.