Tips for renovating and refurbishing a loft conversion

Tips for refurbing and restyling your loft conversion

Ever since we finished the kitchen extension and completed the renovation on the ground floor and first floor of our house, I have been itching to get started with the refurbishment and re-design of our loft conversion. You could say that the renovation bug never really left, I love it.

There wasn’t anything really wrong with our loft conversion, although the bathroom was falling apart and did need replacing. But more importantly the space wasn’t quite working for us. We had a tiny bathroom versus a massive bedroom. Plus it felt dated compared to the rest of the house, even though it was only built six years ago. If you pop over to my Loft Refurb highlights section on my Instagram you can see what I’m talking about.

I’ve spent more than a year mulling over this project, debating with myself whether we do it or not, and if we did do it, to what extent do we renovate it. In the forefront of my mind I wanted the space to feel luxurious, and be a room that I wanted to spend time in. We have wide expansive views over South London and it is a great place to sit, and also to work.

Over the past year I’ve been through various iterations of layout, considering do we add walk-in wardrobe replacing the huge storage cupboard? Do we make the bathroom bigger? Do we add a partition between the bed and the eaves area behind it? Basically loads of different options which is what you do when you’re planning a renovation and making the best use of your budget.

After living with the space for two years, and having another option suggested by our builder (who was updating our front door at the time) our layout was agreed. Which is good as they knew what I’m looking for, having done the work on the rest of the house, which is always a bonus.

As I write this blog post our project is not yet finished, and won’t be fully finished for a while, but in the meantime I wanted to share a few of my tips that I’ve picked up and learned along the way when it comes to renovating an existing loft conversion with a dormer at the back.

The pictures are all of current progress at the time of writing this blog post.

Plan well

This is really important, hence the fact it has taken us over a year to get this stage. Our loft conversion isn’t that old, it was built in 2014, so whatever we were going to do it almost had to be worth it. It felt like it had to be more of a big change rather than just a small change. Having lived with the space it has allowed us to plan it to our needs and our interior design style.

We also see ourselves being here for a while, so whatever we did to the space needed to work for us and also needed to fit in with the rest of the house. As I mentioned above one of the reasons why we have updated the space, is because it didn’t really fit with the house renovation and kitchen extension.

So spend time planning and researching, don’t rush it, and make sure that it feels right for you.

Plan well. We had spent two years living with the space before the refurbishment.

Don’t be afraid to move rooms around

Just because a layout is already there, doesn’t mean you need to stick to it. You could think about stripping it back to its shell, as usually the walls dividing the rooms are only stud plasterboarded walls, therefore easy to change. This was the case with ours. It meant that we could remove the wall joining the bedroom and bathroom, increasing the size of the bathroom, and incorporating it into the bedroom.

You could also consider adding a walk-in wardrobe or more storage particular in the area where the ceiling slopes down under the roof.

Another change you could do is to move the bathroom, however do bear in mind that this could be more costly than keeping it in the same place, due to additional plumbing requirements. For example our loft bathroom is at the back of the house, therefore all of the pipework runs out of the back of the house into the drains below. Sometimes it’s nice to have the bathroom or a bath under the roof eaves, but you may then need your waste to run out under the floor into the existing pipes at the rear of the property or wherever your drains are.

As part of the refurbishment don't be afraid to move around rooms and update the layout

Give it the wow factor it deserves

For me this is key, this is the reason why we decided to refurb our loft conversion. I wanted the space to feel special and luxurious, and what a brand new floor of your home should feel like.

To achieve this we are adding in panelling, wood floors, redesigning and making the bathroom bigger with tiles from Mandarin Stone and a new bathroom suite from Lusso Stone, and adding in reeded glass to separate the bathroom from the bedroom.

In a nutshell I want the whole floor to have wow factor and be another space to spend time in, that’s not just a bedroom. One thing I will say if creating wow factor is important to your refurbishment, keep that in your mind throughout your planning process, and also make sure your builder/trades know your end vision too!

Choose luxurious and quality finishes.

Remember the exterior

It’s not just the inside, there’s the exterior you can consider too. It’s something that you may not see from the inside, however having an appealing looking home from the outside is important (for me).

We’ve swapped the old french doors to black sliders, replaced the bathroom window, and swapped the balcony railing for a glass balastrade. These are all visible from the inside and finish the room off internally. As we made these changes it also made sense to change the fascia board from white to black.

It’s the little things like this that completely change the look of a home, and if you’re trying to modernise your home as part of your refurbishment, these are all changes that you could do as well.

Consider the exterior of the loft conversion as well as the interior

Be bold

My one piece of advice when you’re spending money on your home is to be bold. I’ve always been off the mindset to go big and go bold especially if you see yourself in your home for a long time.

When redesigning a space think about how you can add bold design elements that show off your personality. That doesn’t mean going crazy with colour, but it’s about creating a home or room that you love. So don’t be afraid to steer away from white metro tiles and cream walls, and think about how you can add texture, add colour, add stylish bathroom fittings including black or gold taps. Be bold.

Our Loft Conversion Reno Moodboard
This is the moodboard I pulled together to create the look and style for the refurbishment.

Choose quality finishes

With any refurbishment you’re likely to be doing it because of wear and tear, or you’re replacing it for something that’s more in on trend. Before you do anything or buy anything, make sure that what you’re buying is going to last and won’t need to be replaced in a few years time, which could end up costing you more in the long run.

I know that budget plays a big role here, but by shopping around and researching finishes, you should be able to refurb your loft conversion to ooze quality.

Tips for renovating and refurbishing a loft conversion

Know your budget

With any renovation this is really important. What’s your budget? This will very much dictate how far you go with a refurbishment. Your refurbishment could be a change of bathroom, replacing a carpet with wood floor or updating the lighting, to completely updating it and removing walls etc.

Once you have a clear idea of budget start by getting quotes and ideas from builders, you may have a pretty fixed idea in your head of what you want to do, and you may just receive some more ideas to add to this by talking to the right people.

You should also add to your budget all the smaller items such as plug sockets, switches, lighting, hooks, loo roll holders, hinges and paint as they very quickly add up.

Take cues from the rest of your house and interior design style

My last and final point is the interior design style of your loft refurbishment. I’ve styled mine by taking cues and colours from the rest of the house to help tie the space together, and also adding in a few more details along the way.

Black tones will feature heavily on the walls, just like it does in the kitchen, family bathroom, office and our downstairs toilet. The flooring is the same as the kitchen, and I’ve decided on pink tiles reflecting the colour of the front door, and various pieces of furniture in the office and the spare room.

For me the interior design style shouldn’t feel disconnected or be something completely new, the space should work with the rest of your house for consistency, yet also have an element of luxury to it too!

I've taken finishes and style from the rest of the house to help design and create the look of the space.

So there you have it, a couple of my tips and ideas to help you with a refurbishment of an existing loft conversion. I really hope you have found this useful?

I’d love for you to stay tuned and watch this space for dark and brass tones to be added, and hopefully I can share the finished space with you soon.

(All items from Mandarin Stone and Lusso Stone have been gratefully received with a press discount.

Claire x

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