How to extend your home and utilize wasted spaces | Garth Brown

Most people complain they don’t have enough space in their home, yet most homes have a lot of wasted spaces but people just don’t know how to utilize those spaces and external storage facilities are booming.

If you own your home adding an extension is a great way to create more space for a growing family.  But whether you own or lease your property look around and use creative thinking in how you can use wasted spaces.


You’ve made the decision to extend now what are the options?

Typically householders choose to extend into the backyard – building out can maximise a large block of land and local councils will often permit building up to a side

  1. This is a good choice if you are expanding the living area, kitchen and/or adding an ensuite.
  2. Disadvantage of extending into the backyard is you will decrease your outdoor living area and may prevent you from putting in a pool or garage (if you don’t already have one).

A really creative option is to add a second storey, building up instead of out is a great way to use the wasted space above your home and still leave you a backyard to relax in.

  1. The structure of your home must be such that it will support a second storey and before you start you will need to have a building & structural report to confirm if this is possible and Council approval.
  2. Advantage of going up instead of out is you may gain a view and your land space will not be affected and future extensions or additions i.e. swimming pool, garage, granny flat, will still be possible.
  3. A small disadvantage is there needs to be room for a staircase meaning you will lose the equivalent of about one room upstairs and one room downstairs to make way for one.
  4. Adding another storey could be more expensive than extending by the same area on the ground floor, but if you weigh up the advantages of maintaining backyard space it will probably be well worth the extra $$$s.


When was the last time you looked around your home to check for wasted spaces?

Go on take the challenge, most houses have cluttered nooks and crannies that could be used more efficiently and areas that are not utilized at all, here are 8 ideas  …

  1. CHECK YOUR ROOF – if you have a high-pitched roof there may be enough space to create a valuable attic storage area, office or bedroom.
    Older houses with a generous roof pitch, such as Victorian terraces, Californian bungalows and older Edwardian and Federation-style homes are generally the most suitable.
    Modern trussed roofs are much more tricky, but not impossible. If you do decide to build into a roof cavity you will need Council approval.
  2. INSTALL A LADDER instead of a staircase – this is an innovative idea to save space when building into a roof cavity.
    If you don’t mind negotiating a ladder instead of the luxury of stairs you will save the valuable space a staircase needs and an attic ladder may be installed much cheaper.
  3. UNDER THE HOUSE – with a good fit-out this can be a great space for storage.
  4. UNDER STAIRCASE – built-in cupboards; pull out pantry style cupboards; bookcase; built-in drawers. There are many creative options check your local design shop.
  5. ABOVE CUPBOARDS – if the cupboards are not built up to the ceiling, depending on available space there could be room to be creative with storage.
  6. UNDER BEDS (especially slatted beds) – buy long plastic bins and fill with linen; toys; books; anything that needs to be stored away neatly.
  7. GARAGE – Back wall and/or along side walls of a garage – ideal for tools; or long term storage items you don’t want to throw away.
  8. If you are building a garage think about a high-pitched roof for extra storage.

These are just a few suggestions, visit your local storage retailer like IKEA or another home storage specialist and check out the options, you will be genuinely surprised at what is available to fill those wasted spaces and turn cluttered areas into efficient living.


One of my business associates told me this story recently about her eldest Brother & Wife who have 16 children (one of the largest families in Australia).

The couple were on a very modest income but found very creative ways within their limited budget to accommodate their growing family by utilizing every available area of their home so there were no wasted spaces.

The couple were fortunate to have inherited a Federation-style double-fronted home that had a high-pitched roof.

As the family kept growing, with the help of some very capable family members and friends, they built into the roof cavity to make one large open plan space they divided into two large rooms creating a separate boys bedroom and girls bedroom, this style accommodation worked very well for the whole family.

They also utilised a very large space under the house to turn it into a laundry and second shower/toilet room. In the house every available space had built-in cupboards or drawer units.

Considering they did this during the early 1960’s this couple were very ahead of their time in utilizing wasted spaces.


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Garth Brown


Garth Brown is the Founder and Director of Brown and Brown Conveyancers one of Sydney’s leading Conveyancing Firms. With 20 years experience as a practicing Conveyancer he has assisted hundreds of Clients to navigate through the maze of conveyancing issues when buying and selling property. Visit

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