The easiest way to add space to your house is to add on, but this can be expensive. So, before you sign up the backhoe, you should think about the alternatives to additions. One option to consider is taking space from one area of the house to expand another.
Kitchen: The kitchen is the one room in the house where you never seem to have enough space. Fortunately there are usually a lot of options for how to expand it. If you have an overly large hallway or extra closet adjacent, you can knock down the walls and expand into that space. If your living room or dining room are overly large, you can borrow some space from there. Many people prefer to have their laundry upstairs (near the dirty sheets and clothing), so they expand the kitchen into the old laundry space. A butler’s pantry is a nice feature, but probably under-utilized unless you entertain a lot, so it’s a good candidate for becoming part of the kitchen. If there is absolutely nowhere in your house you can borrow space from, you can take down the walls between kitchen and dining room (creating an eat-in kitchen) or between the kitchen and living room (creating a great room). Either way, you will create the feeling of space in the kitchen even if you don’t expand the square footage of the floor.
Bathrooms: Next to kitchens, bathrooms are the rooms that homeowners most wish to expand. Also, many older homes are built with an insufficient quantity for today’s lifestyles; adding a bathroom can greatly increase the resale value of your home. If you have an extra large bedroom you can create a bathroom out of one end. A bathroom can be expanded into a closet or a closet can be converted into a powder room. If you have one large bathroom, you might be able to convert it into two smaller bathrooms.
Borrowing Space for Remodeling Home Offices: Many older houses don’t include spaces for home offices, but homeowners increasingly want them. You can convert an attic or basement space into a home office, but many homes don’t offer those options. Fortunately a lot of home offices don’t require a lot of space: just a desk and a chair. You can create one in an overly large hallway or another dead-end space. Be creative – even a closet or the space under the stairs might be large enough for a home office.
Bumping Out: Another option for any room in the house is “bumping out” the room. You push out beyond the exterior wall by one to four feet; depending on the design of your house, you may be able to do so by cantilevering the floor joists (and avoid digging a foundation) and without adding to the existing roofline. Four feet may not sound like a lot of space, but it can allow you to have eat-in kitchen or a pantry. In a bedroom, a bump out can create space for a walk-in closet or a sitting area. In a bathroom it can allow you to have a bathtub as well as shower or can make it easier for two people to use the room.