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Additions: Sunroom or a Second Floor?

June 30 2008

Outgrowing your bungalow?  Tight for space but love the neighborhood?  Maybe it’s time to consider putting an addition on to your home – an excellent way to create some much needed space, boost the value of your home and potentially put off the stress of moving for just a little while longer.


Additions can be small and simple or incredibly complex. Before you begin, consider what will be the best use of space for your addition. Is your goal to simply add an extra room or is it more like an extra floor?  Answering this question will shape things like project length, budget, and whether or not you can tackle the addition yourself.

The next step is to hire a professional architect/contract designer/interior designer to create the blueprint necessary to proceed. This will ensure that you have a document that not only represents your dream addition but also allows contractors to more accurately bid on the job to give you a true reflection of the costs involved.

From a design perspective, it’s important to have a good sense of the room’s place in the home. If you’re adding a sunroom off the kitchen for example, consider that the design should flow seamlessly from one room to the next. No significant style changes here: no matter how big or small the intended use of the space, continuity is the key. Make sure it is in the same style of your home’s original design.

Other considerations:

  • Lighting – in almost all cases, if you have a chance to create more natural light, take it.
  • Temperature – adding space will change the way your home is heated and cooled. Make sure you add extra ducts to the room to ensure it becomes part of the home in every way.
  • Fixtures – any additional fixtures required to your addition will impact your budget. Bear in mind, they may also impact the resale value of your home. Ask your contractor about its preferred rates at well-known suppliers – another great way to save money on fixtures.
  • If you’re not sure, ask – a reliable contractor is a great place to start generating ideas about what’s possible for the space.

While you may only have enough money to do a partial renovation today, think long term. For example, you or a potential buyer may one day want to add on to your current renovation. Make sure structural considerations allow potential owners to grow the home over time.