What You Should Consider When You Plan a Home Addition

A wooden house with a light bulb, hammer, and tape measure on a dark wooden surface.
  • 2-12 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 10-25
What You'll Need
Pen and paper
Measuring tape
Pictures and magazines for ideas

Whether your family has outgrown the size of your home, or you would just like some extra living space, a home addition can bring more room and value to your house. A home addition is not a small project, however, and should be planned accordingly so that you can finish it within your timeline and budget.

Before You Begin

Plan Your Ideas

Before you purchase anything for your home addition, you need to have a solid plan. That starts by drawing things out and determining a good flow for your addition. Consider in your design what all your options might be based on your objective, such as more space or more functionality. You also need to check with your city, county, or home owner association to determine if any building permits will be required.

Track Your Inspiration

If you have any magazines and books for home improvements and remodeling, it’s a great idea to go through them for ideas and inspiration for your home addition. Walking through a home improvement store can also give you ideas, and you could snap some photos to help remember thoughts you had when you were walking through.

Consider Available Space

If you are going to be adding onto your home, this will take away from your outside living space, so make sure you have room and that you aren’t going to miss that space. There also might be the option of building on top of your home, with a second story, rather than building your home out. Determine all your options that will meet the intent you have with the addition, and set your budget so you know what you have to work with.

Organize Your Time

Finally, be realistic about how long this project might take and how much time you have to give. For instance, if you are going to have a wall torn down in your home, you will need to know if you are going to put up a new wall right away or have a new wall in place very quickly. So be sure to take a look at how you can divide different aspects of the addition and when you will have the time to complete different tasks that may require lengthy attention. If you have any friends or family members that can help with larger or time sensitive tasks, it would be a good idea to check with them so you know if you can plan on their help.

Measuring and Logistics

Estimate the Numbers

Once you know where you are placing your addition, do your measuring. Keep in mind that at first you are getting an estimate, and it’s best to overestimate than to underestimate. Measure any walls, windows, doors and floor space you are going to be adding. This will allow you to do some pricing at the store and to figure out what products will work best and stay within your budget, including everything from your flooring, drywall, light fixtures, and paint.

Consider a Professional's Opinion

With your plan beginning to unfold, it might be a good idea to bring in a professional designer or contractor to help you determine some of the minor things that you haven’t thought of, especially if this is a major project. They can help you see the things you are more than likely missing in your plan. If you have the budget to use contracted help during certain parts of the job, it will usually be more efficient to do so. For example, an electrician would be more effective at installing new outlets and lighting than you if you aren’t real familiar with that part of the addition.

Plan for Potential Changes

Final planning comes down to exact measurements, materials, and budget. As you’ve been pricing materials for your addition, you may have needed to cut back on a few areas as things begin to add up. You may also want to have contingency funds for any problems that arise. Often when you start to dig into a project, you open up visibility to different things that need to be fixed before you can move forward, so just be prepared. In addition to extra funds, give yourself extra time, as well.

A successful home addition is one that is well planned. With these suggestions you should be able to accomplish any small or large addition and have the home you’ve been dreaming of.