7 Smart Alternatives To A House Addition

Whether you are in need of additional space because your house is feeling too small, or you specifically require additional living, bedroom, bathroom or office space, the logical solution is a house addition. However, house additions come with a considerable investment – both monetarily and time-wise – and they can put a strain on your home life while such a massive project is underway.

Rather than add-on to your home, there are budget-conscious ways to reconfigure your square footage to maximize the functionality of your home.

Here are seven smart alternatives to consider:


1. Finish the Basement

A finished basement is an ideal spot for a large family room, children’s play area, guest bedroom, media room, home office or studio. It’s a blank slate to design, build and furnish to suit your specific needs. It’s also one of the most cost-effective options since many of the key elements, like plumbing, HVAC and electrical, are already in place.


2. Underpin the Basement

Many older homes have basement spaces that were originally intended for mechanics, cold storage or fuel storage, like coal. If a full-height finished basement is on your wish list, but you don’t have enough head clearance, consider underpinning. This construction process lowers your basement floor and provides more usable below-ground space. With basement underpinning, you can turn a once dark, damp area into a bright, livable finished basement to suit any of your needs. This is a popular choice for Toronto homeowners.


3. Convert Attic Space to Living Space (or Storage Space!)

If you are in need of additional bedroom space, such as a master retreat, an attic conversion is a great solution, especially in older Toronto homes where larger attic spaces are common. With the right stair access, insulation and floorplan, you can create a comfortable retreat without having to undergo a major addition. If ceiling height or natural daylight are a concern, dormers can be added to increase the sense of space and brightness in the room.


4. Transform Underutilized Spaces

Oftentimes, homeowners will have underutilized spaces that receive little to no use – like a spare bedroom that is being used to store clutter, or a dining room that only hosts large gatherings once a year. By converting an existing space into something more useful, such as a library, media room or home office, there is often little to no expensive construction costs required to complete the job. All you need is a clear vision and some imagination.


5. Convert the Garage

Nowadays, homeowners are getting very creative with their garage conversions. Once a dark, dingy space deemed for car parking and yard equipment storage, garage conversions are popping up in the form of mudrooms, office spaces, workshops, artist and fitness studios, and more. Homeowners are taking back these underutilized areas and maximizing their available infrastructure to breathe new life and function into their properties.


6. Remove Interior Walls

What if you have the existing square footage, but the space is not functioning or flowing like you need it to? A great solution is to remove interior walls and create a more open floorplan. Even though this type of renovation may require structural work, floor patching and ceiling repairs, it’s a worthwhile consideration, as it can help you achieve that open concept living, dining and cooking space that you so desire.


7. Eliminate Wasted Square Footage

Many homes have wasted square footage, like a closet in an awkward location or a redundant second staircase. By removing these troublesome areas, you can accommodate a smart new floor plan that allows for a kitchen extension, a new powder room or a compact office.

No matter what you choose, the key is to look at your home with a fresh perspective to see how you can leverage its current footprint to avoid an expensive addition. Working with a designer can help you do this – the designer will present you with new, clever ideas to help you maximize your space and budget.


To learn more about our smart alternatives to a traditional addition, please contact us. Let’s work together to solve your design dilemmas and inspire a love for your home.