One of the most common ways to add value to an existing home is to extend it, but this isn’t always possible. In fact it might not even give you the result you want. So instead of just extending out, or up, why not think laterally and add an outdoor room to your house? It won’t just add value, it will also provide a sanctuary for work, play or just a break from the kids.
As long as it doesn’t take up more than 50% of your garden, doesn’t require a platform more than 300mm tall and is less than 3 metres tall with a flat roof – which is more than enough for a single storey structure – you don’t even need planning permission in most cases. There are a few more regulations, so check carefully before you start to lay the foundations, but an outside room can be one of those easy additions that totally transforms your property, and savvy homeowners are turning to them in droves.
Just imagine, when the rest of the family is indoors playing games and watching TV you don’t have to hide away in a converted box room upstairs to get your work done. You can head to the garden and be cocooned in the lap of luxury inside an oasis of calm.
Go for serious luxury?
There have been some spectacular outside rooms worthy of airtime on Grand Designs, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, full plumbing, ambient lighting and a deck to clear your head. They can turn out like a luxury apartment, miniaturised and dropped between the rose bushes.
These rooms are surprisingly affordable and can give your home a real touch of class, but you don’t have to go all-out to create your own slice of heaven in your garden. Timber-framed and clad affairs can be just as special in their own way, and give you a log cabin feel so you can hide away and write your memoirs, while the creature comforts of home like just feet away.
This kind of place might be more at home on Amazing Spaces: Shed of the Year, but the beauty of an outside room is that it’s completely personal. You can opt for a high-end, modern hotel room feel or go for the Alpine chalet experience. It can be completely separate from your house in terms of look and feel, although it’s best to tie in the two at least to some extent, if your main idea is to make money come sale time.
Make sure you do quality work to avoid looking like you have a Porta-cabin in your back yard, and give the outside room its own foundations as well as proper power, insulation and heating. Done right, this kind of outside space can become the focal point of your summers, as well as a year-round office, and when you sell your house it will make a major difference to the overall price.
So if you can’t extend, think about an outdoor room instead. It will give you that much-needed space and potentially so much more.