A family room addition can be an excellent way to expand your living space and add value to a home. For many families, a family room is a place to hang out, socialize and entertain friends and family in a safe, comfortable and relatively inexpensive environment. Before starting a family room addition project, make sure to check your Home Owners Association rules and regulations. Some HOAs do not allow for modification of home floor plans, including additions, while others require approval of changes or additions.
Step 1–Evaluate the Space
The first decision you will need to make is whether you have the space to include a family room within the existing structure of your house or if you will need to construct a brand new room to attach to the building.
If you want to utilize existing space, then decide if you will need to knock out walls or simply repurpose an existing room. Repurposing an existing room can be a much easier remodeling project. However, knocking down a wall may provide more space and versatility for your needs.
If you decide that you want to build an addition, then you will need to decide how large you want the room to be and where you will place it. You will also need to investigate your local building code allowances for things like building height, set asides (amount of required space between building and property lines), retaining walls or anything else that might be relevant to your property.
Step 2–Decide on Features
How the room will be used will make a large difference in what is included in the construction of the family room. For younger families, it might be appropriate to include space for kids who want to perform plays or have large groups of friends over for activities. However, for a family with older children, a large screen television, conversation pit or space for a pool table might be desired. Wiring for internet and entertainment systems are almost a given in most contemporary family rooms, and the design should include the ability to transition for uses as the family grows and changes over time.
Step 3–Consider Heating and Cooling Options
If your new family room will be located in an already existing area of the house, then heating and cooling issues may be more about the location of air ducts and vents. However, if you are adding an entirely new wing for the family room, then you will need to add heating and cooling ductwork and perhaps even a dedicated system for the added space.
Step 4–Consider Room Finishes
Although room finishes are often considered flooring and wall coverings, what type of finishes you use for your family room can have a tremendous influence on how comfortable the room is and how often it will be used.
Another factor is sound bounce. If you anticipate the family room will be used for loud activities like playing music, dancing or watching movies, then you may want to choose thick carpeting and wall coverings that will absorb the sound so that it is not intrusive to the rest of the house and neighbors.
If you have completed the proper planning, you will create a family room that meets the needs of your family for years to come. Even if you use a professional architect or designer, knowing what you need before asking will save you time and money, and get you the room you want.