Published on May 17, 2021

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Photography by Hans Bjurling/Getty Images

Location, finishes, school zones, acreage—these are all factors that determine a home’s value. Another important one? Square footage, particularly “livable” square footage. Adding a small sunroom off the kitchen or a whole separate level can pay off big-time. In the United Kingdom, Build4Less found that double-story extensions (extending the size of your living space on two floors) can bump up a property’s value by 23 percent. The magic number: around 430 square feet. 

But you don’t just have to go up and out. There are plenty of places where you can find that amount of space without doing major construction. You just have to look in the right places.

Convert the Garage

If you don’t rely on your garage to park your car, consider a cozy entertaining zone (utilizing this space can up your value 13 percent), like the one photographer Veronica Grimm created that’s complete with a fireplace and cocktail-making station. An attached garage offers even more possibilities. Shirley Slee turned one into a bright and airy kitchen on a $50,000 budget—forklift included. 

Finish the Basement 

Your basement can be so much more than just a place you store old furniture (taking advantage of the space can increase your home’s value by 18 percent). For a truly family-friendly spot, cover the cold concrete floor in vinyl wood planks, add some wainscoting and dark paint to the walls, and turn a soffit nook into a gaming zone. 

Look Up

A loft conversion (or making something out of the attic) has the potential to get you 20 percent more for your home when you sell. Once you get approval from your builder (to make sure that adding weight to the house won’t affect the foundation), consider a guest room–slash–playroom that serves double duty for families or a functional office.

For hands-on advice from designers and pro DIYers, plus more scrappy before-and-after transformations, subscribe to Reno. Let your in-box do all the hard work—for now.

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