Making Room: How to add a new room to your house without adding a room!

Do you love your home but need a little more room? Whether you’re adding to the family or just feeling a bit cramped, here are some great ways to add a new room and create more living space.

Which of these ideas will work for you and your house?

  1. Transform your patio or porch
  2. Renovate your attic
  3. Convert your garage


If the framing is already in place, this is one of the easiest ways to add a new room and square footage to your house. Porches can be converted in a number of ways, from the easy – like outdoor curtains and drapes, or attractive mosquito netting – to the slightly larger project of enclosing the area with screens.


If you are looking to add additional living space to your home, there are many benefits of converting an attic, like:

  • No need to worry about zoning laws
  • Increase the resale value of your home
  • Support structures are already in place

That being said, there are also some obstacles you will need to tackle, such as:

  • Electricity
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC

It will depend on the current systems you have in place as to whether you can just “extend” them to your attic or if you will have to spend a little more money on a slightly bigger revamp. Here is a great guide to assess whether or not your attic is “convertible.” Read it here.

Stairs are also another consideration when converting your attic or basement. Often unfinished attics are only accessible by a ladder, which is fun if you’re a kid, but not so much if you are carrying a baby up to a nursery. If you are limited on space and can’t do a “straight run” staircase, there are some creative options like a spiral staircase or even building a staircase on the outside of your house.

Who couldn’t use a little more closet room? Or a whole closet room!


Transforming your existing garage into a living space in Montana is not really an option, but luckily here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we don’t have to worry about shoveling our car out of snow in the winter! So if you need the space for more than a place to park your car, there is a lot you can do with a converted garage.

Keep in mind you don’t want it to look like a garage when it’s done, so swap out that garage door – for something that looks less like a garage door!

Garage conversion ideas:

  • Home office
  • Studio
  • Rental
  • In-law unit
  • Gym


If you are in need of extra income, converting your garage into a rental unit could be a great option. Before you start the project, though, check with your city about zoning regulations. Also, if you plan to add an extra parking space, there are some rules about that you’ll want to look into, as well.

In-law unit

Considering converting your garage into an in-law unit? This is a great article to help determine if that is a good fit for you, your garage, and zoning regulations. Read it here.


Garage Conversions Checklist

If you are ready to start your garage conversion project, here’s a quick check list of the steps you’ll need to cover.

  1. Get architectural plans
  2. Apply for and secure permits
  3. Frame the room and connect to the existing plumbing
  4. Do electrical wiring
  5. Connect to existing HVAC unit if necessary, or invest in a garage heater. Heater Home is good source to review the many models that are available.
  6. Add insulation if necessary
  7. Put up drywall
  8. Install flooring/carpeting
  9. Finish up carpentry, paint and any finishing touches to complete your garage conversion.

If you are interested in other space saving ideas, be sure to read my other blog posts on the topic. You can make the most of your home’s square footage by taking into consideration some clever space saving techniques and ways to be efficient with your interior design. Read “Home Design Space Saving Ideas” here. In my post “Home Conversion and the Tiny House Movement” you can take a look at various ways Bay Area home owners are converting their unused spaces into much needed amenities.


  1. Even more conversion ideas!

    Turn your backyard shed into a bar! (Or your own cozy little retreat, studio, or guesthouse!) This website has some great ideas:

  2. Speaking of backyard retreats – if you don’t have a shed, but you have a tree, here are 7 incredibly ideas for “adult” treehouses. (Some you can even make into a rentable guest house!)

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