The wow factor isn’t all about what you can see; warmth and lighting are major factors in creating an attractive and usable space.
If your loft is being built from scratch then it will need to comply with current building regulations and will automatically be well insulated. You may not have many options on how your builders achieve this, but you will have plenty of options on how to provide heating and lighting. Jeffery and Wilkes are London’s leading loft conversion specialists.
If you think that you can ignore heating because you have an insulated loft and you know that heat rises, think again! It might surprise you to know that the loft can often be the coldest room in the house. One option is to extend your heating and plumbing during construction to make room for radiators in the loft. You will need to hire a plumber to make sure that your boiler can handle the load and do the job professionally.
Traditional radiators can take up quite a lot of space; if you are aiming to save space with the conversion then you might prefer to opt for a slimmer electric radiator instead. Alternatively tall and narrow column radiators can provide a great alternative if you do not want to use up much wall width. It’s important to start planning where the radiators will go before you start mentally dressing the place with furniture. This is because heat should be a number one priority and you don’t want to be left with any cold spots after the work has been done. Ideally radiators should be placed under or near windows as these are the greatest areas for heat loss.
There is an alternative to radiators that you can also think about, which is underfloor heating. This is a very popular solution and can be achieved in a loft conversion. This is more complicated and will be more expensive than a traditional radiator solution. However it will heat the loft conversion very evenly and efficiently and you will not lose any wall space as you will with a traditional radiator. There’s nothing better than getting out of bed and putting your feet on a warm cosy floor. Underfloor heating systems work best with a thin floor covering like laminate or engineered wood. Heavy tog carpets do not work well as they stifle the heat coming through.
As well as natural lighting, you will want to think about how you are going to keep the room bright at night. You have a lot of options ranging from standard lamps and shades to quirky fairy lights dancing around your staircase. It’s important to not only think of task lighting in your loft, but also mood lighting.
LED Spotlights – LED bulbs are known for being bright. If you are looking to create light in a dark corner or give the room natural looking light, it is a great choice. They work well in lofts as often the ceilings have a lower head-height and traditional pendants may get in the way. LED bulbs are also extremely energy efficient and can last for over 10,000 hours, so it saves you worrying about changing them regularly.
Dimmer Switches – common in a lot of modern houses, a dimmer switch is a great option and an inexpensive way of being in control of the lighting levels. For bedrooms, these are ideal for mood lighting with the ability to switch up or down on demand.
Lamps and Decorative Lighting – freestanding lamps are not just a great source of light, but add decorative features and style to your new space. What style you choose will be based primarily on personal taste and what your loft room is used for:
Tall standing lamps – perfect for light when you are reading or working on a new painting in your studio.
Short lamps and shades – look great on table tops and counters, or in wall niches to light specific areas of the room.
Decorative lights – fairy lights or industrial bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Decorative lights can add to the style and theme of your room as well as bringing in more light.
Wall lights – you can attach lights to the walls in a decorative or more discreet way, depending on your desired outcome.
Feature lighting – a chandelier or ornamental light can really add a wow factor to the room.
LED Strip Lighting
This option can not only save space, as strip lighting is extremely slimline, but can also help you save on energy bills. LED tape is also an option where space is of a premium: this stick on tape is embedded with LED lights and can be used to create feature lighting as well as being a space saving option. This option can look great when hidden around roof lights and also works well on recessed ceilings.
Staircase Inset Lighting
Small LED lights cut into the side of the staircase can really add a modern feel. Often these can change colour depending on your mood.
Ensuite or Bathroom Lighting
This can be one of the trickiest areas to get right, but planned well the lighting in this room can really enhance the space. Due to these being wet areas, or within wet zones, you are often limited on what products you can use as they will generally need to be waterproof. This is the most important area to add task lighting, as although you want it to look good it also needs to be practical. Often one of the best areas to add practical task lighting is above the basin and around the mirror. You can often buy stylish mirrors that incorporate lighting around the edges that look fantastic. Alternatively think about creating a feature vanity unit with inbuilt lighting to add the wow factor to the room. Try and use niches in the walls and around the shower area to create mood lighting. Or add led strip lighting to a recessed bath panel.
Join us again for part 6 of our 8 part guide to your ideal loft conversion.
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