increase the square footage of your houseAs your family grows, or you spend more time in your home, you naturally gather items that start to fill closets and make you feel like you're being squeezed out of your own home. Some families choose to move into a bigger residence, and it's common for a growing family to sell their "starter home" and move into a larger home after five or ten years of residency at their very first home.

However, moving isn't always an option, and sometimes it's not even a path you might want to take. What if you're living in the home your parents gave you, and it has a special history associated with it? What if you love the area and the friends the kids have made in the neighborhood?

Here are a few ideas to get you started on how to reclaim space and increase the square footage of your home.

Finishing Your Basement or Attic

A finished basement adds significant value and real square footage to your home, and it's an upgrade your family will enjoy immensely while you own the house. A finished basement or an extra room built in the attic will also look quite appealing to buyers looking for a home with a lot of square feet.

Consider: If your home isn't on a large lot, you might not have enough room for a traditional addition. A finished basement could be your answer for more space.

If you've never considered finishing the basement in your home, you might be surprised to learn how many levels of renovation are available. You might want to create a comfortable space to do laundry, store off-season clothing, and keep things like the lawn mower and bicycles safe and dry during the winter.

Or, you might want to add a bedroom or small apartment in your basement that you could rent out to a tenant. A rental on your property is a terrific way to make extra income, and the federal government also gives out some great tax breaks and incentives to landlords.

According to HGTV on finished basements...

"As housing sales stalled in more recent years and many homeowners stayed put rather than moved, they recognized that their lower levels could become potential living space, if improved, and for less than adding on to their first floor."

Here are a few tips if you decide to increase the square footage in your home with a finished basement.

  1. Try to budget about 10% of the value of your home for the basement renovation.
  2. Think about a room that's suitable for different uses (a bedroom and a media room).
  3. Make sure the room is free of moisture and consider sump pumps or a back-up generator.
  4. Talk with your contractor about permits and local ordinances for finished basements.
  5. Think about an open concept floor plan instead of walled-off rooms.

Beyond Renovation: Creative Ways to Increase the Square Footage

One of the best ways to reclaim space in your home is to do a top-to-bottom inventory of your stuff. Do you have an extra couch in the garage that hasn't been used in a decade? Do you have a closet of clothing that nobody wears that's taking up space in the hallway closet?

If you've lived in your home for five years or more, there's a good chance you're hanging onto things that are just making your house feel more crowded. Even the biggest floor plans can suffer from an excessive amount of furniture and stuff.

There are some nicely affordable options for getting rid of clutter (or at least hiding it) that won't break the bank and are projects to consider alongside other space-enhancing renovations like a finished basement.

This Old House recommends using the bedroom to find places to store things and de-clutter.

"The bedroom is often the room with the most need for maximum storage but the least amount of space for putting stuff away."

One interesting idea is to consider a bed with storage under it. You won't have to deal with cleaning dust and dirt from under the bed (since it's a platform style), and you'll gain tons of storage under the mattress in drawers or shelves.

You may also want to inspect each of the end tables, coffee tables, and side tables in your home. Any surface that's not otherwise used as a desk or for eating (like the dining room table) is a prime spot for a few extra drawers and storage space.

Get Expert Advice On How to Increase the Square Footage of Your Home

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