How to plan a home addition

Picture of a basement that was converted into a beautiful bedroom

Home, sweet home. There's nothing quite like it. So much love has gone into it, so much care and effort put in. Everything is perfect about it. Now, if someone were to ask you if there were anything you would like to change about it, you would probably cry out 'No' in a blaze of incredulity while vigorously shaking your head.

Still, if they were to twist your arm on the matter, you might whisper in a hushed tone that there might be one thing. You would reassure your listener that you are just nit-picking here, but maybe, just maybe, the old gal could do with a bit of additional storage space. As those flood gates opened, master suites and kitchen expansionswould come flooding out, and pretty soon, you'd be left with a lot of strewn beans and an empty can. Fret not; there's no shame in wanting a little more room. Let's look at how to plan a home addition to turn that dream home of yours into a true dream home.

How to Plan a Home Addition? Know What you Want

Seems rudimentary, too basic to even mention, but that's not the case. This is actually the first stumbling block for many. All the possibilities can seem intoxicating, but you need to plan wisely. It's a little more layered than it may seem; there are several factors to take into consideration here:

  • The Why of the Matter- What problem needs to be solved? A lack of storage space? Could a change of furniture and better closet organization solve this problem without the need to splash out on an expensive addition?
  • And the What- Once you know what problem needs to be remedied, think about what home additions would do just that. If the kitchen is too cramped, a master suite is not the solution.
  • Needs vs. Wants- You've opted for a playroom. Toys are constantly thrown haphazardly around the house, and you are tired of avoiding Lego landmines all the time. A genuine need is for the playroom to have natural light and noise insulation. Oakwood flooring, on the other hand...
  • Functionality- Keep in mind, this addition needs to fit in with the rest of the house. Aesthetics are a thing. So are architectural details. Make sure it complements the rest of the original structure.

White and brown house with a swimming pool in front
Who needs a playroom when you can build a brand new pool instead?

The Economic Side of it All

Two main variables need to be looked at here. The first one is the dreaded budget. You know, that little scamp that sits deceptively quietly in the corner in the beginning but soon gets out of hand, starts running all over the place. It's tricky, but you need to draw up a realistic budget. How much can you afford to spend? Don't make elaborate plans with your hired crew just to tell the contractor that the solution is perfect, but you don't have the finances to cover it. If you are upfront with everyone about how much money can be spent, including yourself, you can start making realistic plans sooner.

The second issue is one of returns. Your ROI will vary, depending on what you are making. That playroom will not be valued as highly on the market as a master bedroom suite. Realtors can help here, mainly because they have access to some vital info, sold comps in your area. They will have a good idea of how much additional value an additional bathroom brings to a house in your area. Furthermore, keep in mind, you don't want to own the priciest joint in the neighborhood. If you started with a modest abode in your street, an additional bedroom could add real value while still adhering to your neighborhood's price range. You could be hiring a Zippy Shell DMV to help with your long-distance move in the future. Life is unpredictable; who knows where it could take you. What you can ensure is that you get a good selling price for your house if you do need to move. How? By making smart investment choices today.

A jigsaw in the shape of a house where all the pieces have pictures of bills on them, representing how to plan a home addition
Remember, you may be selling your home one day, so make sure all the pieces fit together well

Home Additions Everywhere, But no Space to Build Them

Again, as your imagination gets the better of you and you daydream about luxurious bedrooms, high-tech kitchens, and such, keep in mind, this all takes up that coveted and somewhat limited resource. Space. It's also a little more complicated than just seeing if the physical space is there. Legal restrictions and building codes need to be checked, as do underground utility lines and how close to the property line you can build in the first place. In any case, you have two main options, you are either building upwards or building sideways. Think carefully about what option suits you best. If you turn all your outside space into 'indoor space', was the trade-off worth it?

Getting the Team Together

Home additions are a serious undertaking. So, you're going to need some serious minds to help you with it. In most cases, you will need an architect, designer, and contractor. Make sure you pickreliable professionals. Word of mouth is good here, checking credentials, past records, reading matter which way you flip it, whether you were valedictorian or viewed detention as your second home, you're going to have to do your homework this time. Put in the time, do the research, and find the best team for your project.

Boy in an orange jacket, wearing a helmet and holding a wrench
How to plan a home addition? With the help of a skillful contractor.
Maybe your nephew can sit this one out.


Like it or not, your home sweet home will be turning into a construction zone. Decluttering is essential if you want to make the workspace more accessible and save your belongings from being damaged. Depending on the size of the project, using adjacent rooms can be sufficient, although renting storage for those more sizeable projects could also be an option. Furthermore, this could be an ideal time to free up some space anyway. Maybe it's high time that the old couch was moved out of the house. Perhaps nobody has played the piano ever since the kids moved out. Storage is a great solution, but be wary; not all storage units are made equal, and, likewise, not all storage companies are the same. Be sure to do your research and find a storage company that will meet your needs. I know, I know, again with the homework. Seems our parents were right when they insisted it should be done!

Additional Thoughts on Additions...the Addendum if you Will

We covered the main points; there is little to add. It comes down to figuring out what you want, how you can realize it, and if you have the financial means to do so. Once you add all this up, you will have the answer to how to plan a home addition wisely. Additionally, make sure your project will add value to the existing property. All the best with your future projects!

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