Best Places for Bump Outs

Consider these projects as alternatives to building full-scale additions

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A bump-out addition hangs the new living space off the side of the house, with no need for a new foundation—and sometimes little or no roofing work necessary either. That can save you 15 to 30 percent compared to a full-scale addition, but you're limited in how big the expansion can be. In general, a bump out can project a maximum of 3 feet from the house and stretch 10 to 12 feet long, says Curt Schultz, a Realtor-architect-builder in Pasadena, Calif. What can you do with a long skinny addition like that? Here are five possibilities:

Turn an L-shaped kitchen into a full U. If your kitchen is wide enough for cabinets on only two adjoining walls, a bump-out addition can yield enough extra space to add a third wall of cabinets and countertops, turning an L-shaped kitchen that's short on storage and work surface into a generous U-shaped kitchen—perhaps even with an island in the middle.

Separate the master bathroom shower and tub. Most older master bathrooms have a combined tub and shower, which is space-efficient—but less than ideal for either showering or bathing. A separate shower means no stepping over the tub wall to get in, plus you can have body sprays all around you. A separate tub needs no walls, curtains or glass doors around it—and it can be deeper than one with a shower attached. A bump-out addition can yield the added square footage needed to separate your tub and shower.

Create a walk-in wardrobe closet. A few extra feet tacked onto the master bedroom might not seem like a lot, but it can be just what you need to expand your wardrobe closet from a cramped pole-and-shelf setup to a full walk-in with adjustable shelving, cubbies and other functional storage options.

Put an eating area in the kitchen. Many pre-war houses' kitchens are too cramped to fit an eating area. You could build a large conventional addition to accommodate a table and chairs. Or use a kitchen island, peninsula or diner-style booth, which require less space than a table and chairs—and can often be accommodated by a bump out, at a fraction of the cost of a full-fledged addition.

Turn an extra bedroom into a family room. Got a spare bedroom that's underutilized? A bump out addition can turn a modest room into one with plenty of space to serve as a TV room, home office, family room or playroom—or a multipurpose space that serves as all of the above. The money you'll save by bumping out (especially if the room is on the second floor) might just finance the flat-screen TV, computer or built-in bookshelves you'll put in the space.

Next Up

Salvaging Materials During Demolition

When tearing down rooms, ask your contractor to save usable parts like plumbing fixtures and cabinetry.


More From Home Addition Planning Guide

Addition Planning: Bumping Out

Avoid costly foundation or roof work by making new space that hangs off the side of the house

Building Up Vs. Building Out Building Up Vs. Building Out

Consider the pros and cons of the direction in which you construct your home addition

Choosing an Addition's Foundation Choosing an Addition's Foundation

Consider these four options to cut costs on the foundation work of your project

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