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Transforming your box room

BY Ned Browne

1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

Transforming your box room
Adding another bedroom could add 10% to the value of your home. The most common methods for adding an extra bedroom is to convert your loft or build an extension. Both these can be expensive, find out our cheaper solution.
According to the Nationwide House Price Index adding another bedroom can add 10% to the value of your home. In addition, if you have a spare bedroom, you can rent it out (with the first £4,250 tax free under the government’s Rent a Room Scheme).
The most common methods of adding an additional bedroom are converting your loft or building an extension. But both of these can be expensive.
However, if you have a box room you may be able to create a double bedroom for a fraction of the cost. This is almost certainly the cheapest way to add significant value to your home.

What’s the size of a double bedroom?

There is no strict definition. However, according to the 1987 Housing Act the minimum size of a bedroom is 70 sq. ft. for one adult.
But, in reality, a much small space is viable. The main things to ensure are that you can comfortably accommodate a double bed (a standard double bed is 137cm x 190 cm), and the room has enough storage.

Is there space adjacent to the room?

If there is a large double bedroom or a large living room next door, can you afford to reduce the size without compromising the room? If there is a stand-alone toilet, could this be moved to the bathroom? If there is a corridor, could this be incorporated into the room?
If the answer is “yes” to any of the questions above, enlarging your box room should be reasonably straightforward.

Before you start

Get a builder to check that the wall you are planning on moving is not a supporting wall. Experienced DIYers will be able to work this out themselves by looking at what’s above and ascertaining how the wall is constructed.
You should also consider the dimensions to ensure you are creating enough space.
Finally, if want to be certain you will add value, invite an estate agent to visit your property, explain your planned work, and ask how that would affect your property’s value.
(In terms of rental incomes, for example, in south west London, box rooms rent for c. £500 a month, doubles for £800.)

What work is involved?

  • Taking down and rebuilding the stud wall.
  • Moving light switches and sockets.
  • Insulating the wall.
  • Replacing the skirting board.
  • Making good the ceiling.
  • Moving radiators (possibly).
  • Plastering and redecorating.
  • Fitting a new carpet in the enlarged room.
Typically, this should take less than a week. If you are moving a toilet, this will add to the length of time and the cost (perhaps even doubling both).

Some space-creating tips

When you design the stud wall, you could use 3”x2” timbers and thinner plasterboard, thus creating slightly larger rooms. If possible, change the door so it opens outwards.

Storage ideas

Sometimes landing space can be cleverly incorporated into the room to create a wardrobe. In addition, choose an elevated bed with built-in drawers. Wall mount TVs, side lights and speakers are all helpful, while high cupboards and shelves can be fitted above the bed too.
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