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When you’ve decided to add on to your home, you have a lot of choices. The different types of home additions provide varying benefits. However, your budget may dictate how much of an addition you can make and what type you can afford.

Full Addition

Unsurprisingly, full additions are the most expensive. They usually cost in the mid-to-high five-figure range. Full additions add rooms on the side of the house and are fully integrated with the existing home. If the house is two stories, the addition also will be.

Full additions can add living and dining rooms on the first floor, and bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs. When they’re finished, it should look like the house was always supposed to appear that way.

Bump Outs

A bump out adds a little more space to an existing room. Perhaps your dining area can’t accommodate the growing family. The kitchen and living rooms are good candidates for bump outs as well.

Bump outs can also add a single room that serves just one purpose. A guest bedroom or an office can be added with a bump out. They are less expensive than full additions but still costly.

Bump Up

A bump up turns a one-story house into a two-story home. The whole roof comes off, and the builder adds a second story. The contractor will install electrical, plumbing, and HVAC for the new space, along with a new roof.

The type of foundation your home sits on will affect whether a bump up is possible. If your foundation can’t support another level on your home, your building department will require added support and modifications that can inflate the cost of the project.

Conversions and Dormers

A common type of home addition isn’t really an addition at all. Technically, a room conversion isn’t an addition because it doesn’t alter your home’s footprint. But a room conversion is a way to get more living space. Garages, attics, and basements are prime candidates for conversions.

Dormers alter the roofline, usually lifting it and reducing the angle to add headroom and windows. Cape Cod-style houses often have dormer windows that add a half- or full-story upstairs.

Select a contractor carefully for any addition project, but be particularly picky about conversions. If done shabbily, they can damage your home and reduce (rather than add) value.


Adding a sunroom is a way to bring the outdoors in. These are usually added to the back or side of the home, and some even come prefabricated. They can be added as fully heated rooms to use year-round or more like sun porches to use only in warm weather.

Depending on zoning and building codes, sunrooms may be allowed more windows and different types of roofs. It’s important to note that they’re not appropriate as sleeping rooms, so if you need an extra bedroom, you’ll need a full or bump out addition.

There are many reasons homeowners consider home additions. Whatever your needs, plan and budget carefully. Interview several builders, check references, and confirm license and insurance.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.