Do you dream of adding on to your home? Here’s where you should start if you’re ready to turn the dream into a reality.

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Maybe your family is expanding, your children are growing, or you’d like to add to your home’s value. Whatever your life change is, a home addition can provide your family with additional space while allowing you to stay in the house that tells your story. When taking on any construction project, knowing where to start can be the greatest hurdle.

This guide will break down how to plan a home addition, including:


How Much Does a Home Addition Cost?

How Much Does a Home Addition Cost - Handing Over a Blue Credit Card

Deciding to build a home addition can be stressful for many reasons—the largest one can be the cost. Depending on where you live, the size of your existing home, and the size of the addition you’re looking to add, the cost can range between $22,500 and $74,500. According to HomeGuide.com, the average cost to add a home addition is $48,000.

One way to estimate the cost of a home addition is to base it on the space’s square feet. You can plan on this being anywhere between $85 and $200 per square foot, depending on:

  • Your location
  • The types of materials you choose (Are you choosing vinyl flooring? Or hardwood flooring?)
  • The size of the room
  • The amount of labor required
  • If you’re building out (which is less expensive) versus building up (which is more costly)
  • If you run into any unforeseen issues. Renovating a home involves uncovering unexpected issues, ranging from mold to HVAC to plumbing problems.
  • Putting aside at least a 20% financial cushion is a smart way to help cover unexpected costs.

Is a Home Addition Worth It?

Determining if a home addition is worth the cost is a question that depends on your unique situation. Some questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Does our family have a sentimental attachment to the house and the neighborhood?
  • Is our family happy with the existing house, and do we simply need more space?
  • Will the cost investment of adding on keep our resale value in line with the comparable houses in the area?
  • Does our family have a place to live during the construction period temporarily?

If you answered yes to these questions, a home addition might be the right choice for you and your family.


How Do You Finance a Home Addition?

Paperwork, Tax Information, Applying for a Loan for Home Addition

Establishing your budget is the first step in planning any home improvement project. Because a home addition is at the higher end of the home improvement project scale, it may require additional financing. According to U.S. Bank, several options exist to finance a home addition. These home addition financing options are outlined below:

Home Equity Line of Credit

A home equity line of credit is borrowing against your home. To do this, you need to know the equity you have in your home (which can be calculated by subtracting how much you owe on your home’s mortgage from its current value). To finance a home addition, you can borrow against this equity, which is similar to a credit card and comes with an interest rate.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan differs from a home line of credit because a home equity loan is given in one lump sum. You must begin paying back the monthly payments as soon as you take out the loan. Paying them back on time is of the utmost importance so the bank does not end up possessing your home.

Refinancing

Refinancing your house can lower your interest rate than you secured when you purchased your home. This can free up some additional cash from your previous monthly mortgage payment.

Personal loan

If you haven’t lived in your home long enough to establish enough equity, a personal loan may offer the necessary cash.


Types of Home Additions

There are several different ways you can add livable space to your home. Depending on where you need the extra room, there is likely a way to make it happen. Some of the most common types of home additions are outlined below.

Bump Out

Photo by Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.Search living room pictures

Also known as a single-room addition, a bump out is an addition to a single room, such as a kitchen or bedroom. This small-scale project may only add up to 100 feet, making that space much more functional.

For example, a kitchen bump out may allow you to add a breakfast nook so your family can gather to eat together in one space and not be split between the kitchen and a separate dining room.

Although a bump out is small, it will still require you to adhere to the same set of codes and permit requirements.

Multi-Room Build Out

Home Addition Type - Sunroom

A full addition typically includes multiple rooms that expand back. When completed, the addition should seamlessly blend in with the existing house, and it should be impossible to tell where the original house ends and the addition begins. A full multi-room build-out may include gaining:

  • An expanded great room
  • A mudroom off the garage
  • A full bathroom
  • A three-seasons room

Adding a multi-room build-out may also require reimagining your existing rooms. For example, if you’re adding on a new great room, what will your current family room become? Can you convert it into a dining room? Or a library?

Multi-Room Build Up

Like a build-out, this type of home addition is when you build up and add additional space to your second floor. This may include:

  • Adding additional bedrooms
  • Expanding the primary bedroom
  • Adding a loft
  • Adding a second staircase

Full Remodel and Home Addition

A full remodel combined with a home addition is the largest type of home addition project. As well as adding more space, you are also remodeling your existing space. This type of project may include a kitchen renovation, expansion, and reconfiguring the rest of your home. This could include removing walls, adding walls, or reimagining how the current space can be used.

 

The more space you add to your home, the more home addition contractors will be involved, ranging from HVAC to plumbing to electric. Depending on the type of home remodeling professional you hire, there will also be a team of subcontractors, such as painters, carpenters, or fabricators.


How to Plan a Home Addition

Planning a Home Addition - Paint Pallets and Idea Gathering

When you’re creating your home addition plans, the options can be endless. So, before you travel down a Pinterest rabbit hole, below is a mini-guide on how to begin formulating a design plan and gathering your home addition ideas.

1. Assess Your Current Space

Create a list of what you like and don’t like about your current space to help guide your home addition plan.

Example 1

  • Problem: You don’t like carrying your children’s muddy clothes through the kitchen to get to the laundry room.
  • Solution: Add a mudroom addition to your garage, so you don’t have to carry muddy clothes through the house.

Example 2

  • Problem: You want a large sectional for family movie nights in your family room, but the space isn’t large enough.
  • Solution: Add a great room onto the back of the house, and convert your existing family room into a library/work-from-home/homework room.

2. Create a Digital Inspiration Board

Whether you use Pinterest, Houzz, or a folder on your laptop, create a digital library of inspirational images. Once you have gathered your ideas, identify the common themes you see.

Examples:

  • All the great rooms you save have coffered ceilings. If you like this look, you need to be sure that you build your ceilings high enough to accommodate the additional dropdown a coffered ceiling requires.
  • All the living spaces you save have cozy, warm wallpaper. If you like this look, save a portion of your budget. Wallpaper can be significantly more expensive than paint.
  • All the living spaces you save have molding or trim work. If you like this look, this also needs to be allocated in the budget. This often requires hiring a separate carpenter with a different set of skills.

3. Plan the Design

If you’re not working with a professional designer to help you pull together your vision, planning your selections will save you considerable time and money. Making selection changes halfway through the project can cause you to run into problems such as:

  • Inventory availability and delays.
  • Creating a domino effect on the other selections (for example, changing the flooring may impact the built-in you planned on installing).

Tip for Getting Through a Home Addition

How to Survive a Home Addition Renovation - Vacuum in Recently Renovated Space

Even the most thoroughly planned home additions can bring stress and chaos. In addition to arranging your financing, determining the type of home addition you need, and finalizing a design plan, a home addition comes with the added stress that you’re still living in your home. During any construction project, finding a place to store your items can be challenging.

To help your family declutter before construction and protect your furniture and other personal items from construction dust and debris, consider renting a storage unit to store away items can during a home addition. With a storage unit, you can store your items in a climate-controlled space in a unit size that fits your needs. When your home addition is complete, your items will be in the same condition you left them and ready to be welcomed into your new space.

How to Plan a Home Addition: FAQs

 

How to draw plans for a home addition?

You might have an idea of how you want your home addition to look, but how do you get that vision from your mind into reality? This can be a challenge for people without design skills, but you have two main options: 

  • Hire an architect, floor plan designer, or contractor to do it for you. This is the easiest way to draw plans for a home addition, as these professionals are trained to do it. You can look up options on Houzz.
  • DIY with home design software. If you want to draw up plans, try investing in home design software like Virtual Architect or RoomSketcher.

How do you start the addition process?

As mentioned above, you’ll need to start by determining a budget and determining your design. Once you do that, find a contractor to build the home addition. From there, the process requires applying for and obtaining the proper permits from your local government to begin construction.

How long would it take to build an addition to a house?

This entirely depends on the size of your addition and how intricate it is. But to give you an idea, according to New Jersey-based J.A.Y. Construction, a home addition of 1,000 square feet will take approximately two to three months to build.

Can you add an addition without foundation?

A foundation is essential to building a home as it’s crucial to structural integrity. According to HGTV, the only type of home addition that does not require a foundation (or roof work) is a “bump out” because it essentially hangs off the side of your house.

Is it cheaper to build up or out?

You might find conflicting advice here, so it’s always best to consult with the specific contractor you’ve hired for your home addition. Generally speaking, though, it’s usually cheaper to build out than to build up. According to Massachusetts-based CPP Home Builders & Remodeling: “When building new construction, building up with a two-story home is cheaper than building out. When remodeling, building out with a one-story addition is cheaper than adding a second story to an existing dwelling.”

Searching for self storage in your area? Life Storage has secure storage units located throughout the U.S. Find cheap storage units near you!

Update: This post was originally published on May 26, 2021. It was revised on July 17, 2023 with more information.

About the Authors

Amy Rigby

As a former nomad, Amy Rigby has moved nearly 100 times—so she brings plenty of lived experience to the Life Storage blog. In the past ten years, she has written for many company blogs and founded several niche sites, including one featuring home organization tips. She studied broadcast journalism at the University of Florida, where she co-produced an NPR-affiliated newscast. You can read more of Amy's work on ABCNews.com and the blogs of OutdoorsyTrello, and Serene.

Deanna Kane

Deanna Kane is a life-long Chicago-area resident and writer with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Iowa. For 15 years, she has been writing about both local and national real estate, home design and interiors, as well as restaurants and family-friendly destinations in both the city of Chicago and surrounding areas. She's explored nearly every Chicago neighborhood on foot having run three Chicago Marathons herself. When she isn't exploring the city by running, she is exploring the ever-evolving neighborhood restaurants, boutiques and farmers’ markets.

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