Conversion v extension v conservatory – let battle commence!

Conversion v extension v conservatory – let battle commence!

author: Linzi Nuttall

By Linzi Nuttall

So you need more space, but can’t decide whether a conservatory, loft conversion or extension would be better.

Never fear, Ocean are here! We’ve looked at each and summarised the pros and cons below. Have a read and, hopefully, by the time you’ve finished, you’ll be in a much better position to decide which is best for you.  

Loft conversions

This is a great way to add more space to your house, simply because the structure is already in place. So you’re not building anything new, just building on what you’ve already got. Because of this, loft conversions are usually quicker to do compared to other projects. Having no major building work to complete also means it costs much less than other additions to your home.

A really big draw for converting a loft is that it doesn’t usually require planning permission. But it is subject to quite a long list of conditions, which mainly cover things like the size of the converted roof space and the addition of things that will change the outside look of the property, like balconies.

The cost of a loft conversion can also be cheaper than other projects because you won’t necessarily need an architect to design it. And if you’ve got a loft there is a good chance it will be suitable for a loft conversion – the most important thing to check before you start is the internal height to ensure it’ll work as a new room.

Another advantage is that work can be carried out regardless of how miserable the weather is outside too! Find out more about loft conversions here.


One of the biggest advantages of extensions is that you can move up, out or even down if you have the space, and they can be multi-storey. So if you fancy a new kitchen, you could have a wonderful new study or guest bedroom above it too – costs permitting.

They don’t require planning permission as long as they don’t breach any of these rules - as is to be expected if you’re going to add new rooms to your property that may affect your neighbours, and significantly alter your home too.

One of the major drawbacks is the loss of outside area, which can be a real drag if you only have a small amount of garden or back yard to begin with. But if you don’t use it much, the loss will be easier to deal with, especially if you’re really desperate for more space inside.

It will of course take much longer to build than a loft conversion, as the foundations will have to be dug out, the structural building work done and then the internal finishing completed. Building work is at the mercy of the weather, so you may find that work starts and stops quite a lot, especially as we’re reliant on the British weather.   

And the clincher for most people – choosing to build an extension will cost you the most money.   


These are great, particularly if you live in a country where it’s warm and sunny most of the time, but not too hot! Why? Because conservatories are notoriously cold in winter and too hot in summer. Made worse by the new rules introduced in 2011, which meant that there could no longer be a connection from the conservatory to the main home’s main heating system or any thermostat in there either.

As you can imagine, this is going to be a major hindrance for using the room in the winter and in any case, conservatories are only really thought of as summertime rooms, as the typical conservatory furniture shows – who loves those bamboo chairs? So, if you want the space to be available for use all year round, this is probably not the best option.

And, if no temperature control wasn’t bad enough, the space your conservatory takes up is not included in the square footage of house by surveyors (for example when a mortgage valuation is done). This, understandably raises debate over how much value they add to your home. On the plus side, you don’t need planning permission for a conservatory, which always makes the building process quicker and easier. The cost of adding a conservatory is much the same as converting a loft, but the advantages of a loft conversion outweigh those of a conservatory quite considerably.

So which is best?

Of course, this kind of major change to your home is going to cost a few thousand, whatever you choose to do, and this is what homeowner loans are designed for. So, if we were to look at adding useful space to our own home, we’d go with a loft conversion, then an extension, then a conservatory! See which option best suits your need though.

If you are looking to make one of these changes to your home, you might be considering your finance options. Ocean offer homeowner loans of £10,000 up to £150,000 that can be used for home improvements. To find out more, click here >

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Linzi Nuttall

By Linzi Nuttall

Conversion v extension v conservatory – let battle commence! Conversion v extension v conservatory – let battle commence!