Organising the space in your loft can create much needed storage for your home. Read our top tips about loft shelving and how you can improve your homes loft storage.
With the housing market on the rise, people are looking closer to home for extra storage solutions or expansions. Chances are, you're sitting under a goldmine of unused storage space - and we're here to help you utilise it.
Everyone talks about the garage or the shed at the end of the garden - but when it comes to safe, secure, easy access, water-tight storage, the loft gets forgotten.
For most people, it's a wasteland of awkward architecture, forgotten suitcases, and insulation.
By the end of this article, you'll have a host of loft storage ideas - from simple loft shelving to entire reconfigurations - for turning your loft into a frequently-used storage area.
How Can I Utilise My Loft Space?
We know what you're thinking: "but I already store my suitcases inside my suitcases and pile my belongings as high as I can, what more is there to know"?
Loft Leg is all about ingenious solutions to simple problems. Let's look at some of the ways you can maximise your loft space in a safe, energy efficient way.
Board Your Loft
The first place to start is to board your loft so you have a floor you can safely walk around on and store your items on.
Storing your belongings on the insulation is both unsafe and costs you more money - squashed insulation can reduce energy efficiency by up to 50%. Not to mention, it's extremely precarious to try and balance on the invisible joists while you're trying to carry things down or lift things up.
Putting loft boards down alone won't do the trick - you'll want a Loft Leg that'll raise your boards above the insulation so it's not getting squashed. They're incredibly easy to install for any DIY-savvy person. All you need to do is screw the base of the Loft Legs into the joists or trusses, and then screw the chipboard onto the top of the Loft Legs.
With an 18mm boarded floor held up by Loft Legs, you can store up to 25kg per square metre - that's a lot of Christmas decorations! They're safe for an average adult to temporarily walk around on them, even with the maximum 25kg weight.
If you're not sure how many you'll need, we've got a handy guide that'll help you figure out how much chipboard you'll need, how many Loft Legs to buy, and which screws to use. We're here to help you every step of the way.
Ladders and Hatches
It's not just storage space upstairs you'll want to think about. If you're still using bulky, old ladder steps for your loft (these are common in older builds), it's time to replace them with steps that function better.
Consider having a new set of steps installed to save space on your landing when the ladder is down, and to save storage space inside the loft when it's up.
These are easier to climb and aren't as heavy, too. Some even feature gas pistons which require almost no lifting at all. All around, they're safer for you and your family.
Choosing the Right Loft Ladder
Having a ladder up to your loft that's easy to use means you'll get more use out of your loft as extra storage space, and make your investment into creating storage space that much more valuable.
Let's look at the different types of loft ladders available to buy, and which will be best suited for your home.
The simplest design, and the easiest to fit. They're noisy and a little bulky, but the modern aluminium ones are lightweight and slide easily. You'll need a hinged hatch to use a sliding ladder.
Attached to joists in your loft, the ladder will slide out in two or three connected sections. When you're putting it back up, it'll slide upwards to compact and lay flat on the floor of your loft.
If you're looking for a solution that'll do the job without breaking the bank, sliding ladders can be installed for about £140.
If you're looking to save as much space as possible, you'll want to consider a concertina ladder. They're considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing of loft ladders, and because they compress vertically to such a compact degree, they take up almost no room compared to other ladders.
They're similar to telescopic ladders but tend to be a little more expensive, made with higher-quality materials and are manufactured to be extremely safe.
Timber folding ladders are another popular option. They're much quieter and sturdier than metal ladders and usually fold upwards in two or three sections.
They aren't quite as effective at saving space as some other options, but many people prefer the look and feel of timber.
Aluminium ladders can creak and bend with your weight, and while they're designed like that to avoid failing with heavy loads, it puts many people off ever using their loft.
If that's you, invest in a folding ladder so you can make the most of the loft space you have.
How to Make Loft Openings Bigger
Before you go cutting into your ceiling, consider what kind of hatch and ladder you want, where you want the hatch to go, and where the steps will come down.
If you're looking to DIY the loft opening, follow this step-by-step guide that'll show you how to do a safe, complete job.
Because a lot of your ceiling space is structural, it can be dangerous to attempt this yourself. If you have knowledge and expertise in the carpentry or architecture fields, you might be okay. If you don't, it's highly recommended that you contact a professional for your hatch installation.
Hatch installations can range from £150 - £500 depending on what you need done, what materials are being used and how complex the task is.
Declutter the Space
Once access has been sorted it’s time to declutter the space. No one wants to think about having to declutter and organise their loft. It's often a no man's land of items that have no real reason to be kept but hold too much sentimental value to throw away, things you don't know what to do with, or don't have the energy to sort through.
It is, however, quite essential if you want to really utilise the space you have.
Investing in some air-tight boxes and a label system might make your life that much easier when it comes to sorting, accessing and storing.
Sort your items by season for quicker access - if you keep your boxes in a constantly-rotating order, by keeping the next seasonal occasion/celebration at the front and the one furthest away at the back, you'll be in and out of the loft in 5 minutes!
If you're looking to minimise space with old belongings you want to keep like children's soft toys, clothes, bedding, and blankets, vacuum-pack storage bags are one of the most efficient storage methods out there.
And if you're thinking 'but I don't have shelves to store those boxes on' - well, we have some loft shelving tips.
Install Loft Shelving
Shelving? In the loft? Don't be ludicrous! Except...
Most modern UK homes have trussed roofing, and with that comes what most people see as a whole load of wasted space.
However, these trusses are what hold your roof up, and because of it, they're incredibly strong and stable.
Whether you're working with a small amount of space, need extra storage, or are reluctant to store your belongings on the boarded floor of your roof, loft shelves are a fantastic solution for most homeowners.
Our Loft Ledge kit is the simple-to-install solution you've been looking for, and it's perfect for storing boxes, suitcases, decorations, and more. It comes with everything you need - brackets, screws, and a chipboard shelf - to utilise those areas between the trusses.
Looking for some ideas for loft shelving and storage? We've got lots of tips and tricks you may not have considered over on our blog.
Extra Loft Shelving
If you've got a lot to store and you've already installed a raised floor and the Loft Ledge, buy some simple, lightweight metal storage racks to store things along the back wall.
High Level Racks
For big, bulky, or heavy items you might not want to access often - seasonal items, camping equipment - consider fitting a ceiling rack. Make sure it's connected to stable trusses and test that the rack can take the weight before loading it up.
You can buy hooks that'll screw into the trusses/purlins from most hardware shops for just a few pounds.
These hooks won't take much weight - less than 2.5Kg usually - but they're perfect for those lighter items that take up lots of room, like Christmas wreaths.
Over the course of our lives, we accumulate clothing that we don't want to get rid of but can't fit in our wardrobes.
Clothing racks are cheap to buy and super lightweight, and they can hold several outfits and pieces of clothing. Just be sure to either wrap them up or put them in protective covers so that they don't get covered in dust over time.
You could also secure poles across the top of your rafters to hang clothes from. From up there, they're taking up no ground space. Just be sure to check the rafters are stable before you add extra weight to them.
Lighting Your Loft
With all this extra storage space and organisation, you'll want to spend all day in the loft!
Well, maybe not, but staying safe while you're up there is important. Lighting your loft will make it much simpler to transport items to and from it as well as making things easier to find.
If you've already got mains installed in your loft, our super-bright Loft Bulb will light your way. Lofts are often awkward shapes and sizes, and our three-panel LED bulb is adjustable to light even the darkest corner. The Loft Bulb boasts 4000 lumens of power, which is equivalent to six traditional 40-watt incandescent bulbs.
If you don't have mains power in your loft, don't worry - the trusty battery-powered Loft Light does away with wires without compromising on power.
With an LED light equivalent to a 32-watt bulb, it's easy to install and switch on and off with a simple pull cord.
One of the hardest parts of getting your boxes in the loft... is getting your boxes in the loft!
If you've got particularly heavy bits, hoisting them up the ladder under your arm or balanced on your shoulder can be precarious.
Consider making a makeshift pulley system. You could secure a box to a skateboard, or even just some hardy rope wrapped around the box like a net, and have one person pull it upwards into the loft while another directs it from the landing.
If you aren't feeling particularly like testing out your MacGyver skills, you can actually buy loft pulleys to help you with heavy loads.
Upgrade Your Loft Space!
Taking advantage of the untouched storage space in your loft will declutter your home and encourage organisation that will have a domino effect on the other areas of your house.
We love seeing the innovative ways our customers have used their loft shelving, how they've organised their space, and what sort of things are being stored now they have access to the area.
If you've got any questions about how to upgrade your loft space, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.
When you're ready to start utilising all of the untapped space in your loft, browse our handy products and make your life that much easier.