How to Add a Room to a House on the Cheap (6 Must-See Tips)

Clever Real Estate's Photo
By Clever Real Estate Updated February 17, 2023


When you first see the cost to add a room to your house, you may think twice. But before you give up on your dream of a home office or a playroom for the kids, there are a few cheap ways to add a room without spending your entire life savings.

How to Add a Room to a House Cheap: 6 Money-Saving Tips

Whether it's a new baby on the way or your in-laws are moving in, you might realize you need some more space at home. Adding another room could be worth it for your sanity and your home's resale value in the future. To find out your home's value pre-addition, get a free comparative market analysis.

Fortunately, it's not necessary to break the bank to build your addition. To help save some cash, here are six tips on how to add a room to your house for less.

1. Finish the unfinished

Does your dog whimper nervously whenever you open the door to the basement? Do you have to talk yourself into going into the attic reassuring yourself you won't end up in a horror movie-like scenario?

Well, this could be a great opportunity to finish off the basement or attic, converting the room into a livable and enjoyable space that doesn't actually creep you out.

Finishing a basement, attic, or garage is one of the more inexpensive ways to add a room to your home as you won't need to add a foundation, roof, or structural elements. You'll most likely need to cover costs pertaining to insulation, flooring, heating, cooling, ventilation, and any added electrical or plumbing systems.

2. Keep size in mind

While it may seem intuitive that a larger addition will cost more than a smaller addition, it's not always the case. With a small addition that's only 100 or 200 square feet, some contractors will give you a high estimate doubling costs to make it worth their while — they don't want to waste labor and people on a small job when they could make more on a big project.

This doesn't mean you can't have a small addition; rather, simply shop around contractors for multiple estimates to ensure you're getting the best price and working with someone who's reliable and honest.

Contractor inflation aside, to keep costs low, create a simple room design for your addition. Odd sizes, uneven lengths, elaborate designs, and multiple sharp corners will increase your costs for both materials and labor.

For instance, standard two by fours are eight feet long. But, if you want a room to be ten feet long, the contractor will have to order special sizes or create the length you want costing you extra.

3. Try a bump out addition

Before you take a sledgehammer to your walls (as cathartic as it may be) first consider how much additional space you need and what you'll be using the additional room for. Are you looking to add an office or to create a dining room space? For some additions, you may not need as much room as you think.

A bump out is extra space added on to an existing room that can create as little as two or three square feet extra or up to ten or fifteen square feet extra. Traditionally, a bump out is smaller than a standard room and is much cheaper as you use less material and don't have to add HVAC systems.

So, instead of adding an entirely new room for your office, you could create a bump out from your living room to give you the extra space you need for a desk and shelves. Or, if you want a dining room, create a bump out from your kitchen that allows enough room for a dining table and chairs.

Make sure your home speaks to local buyers.

Clever Partner Agents know how to attract more buyers with higher offers.

4. Go with a sunroom

One of the least expensive room additions you can make is a sunroom as typically the walls are entirely made of windows or sliding glass doors cutting down on costs that come with constructing a room with solid walls or insulation.

Plus, companies offer DIY premade sunroom and gazebo kits that give you step-by-step directions to construct a sunroom yourself allowing you to skip hiring a contractor and save money.

5. Add a room above the garage

Instead of adding space horizontally, consider adding space vertically above your home. This can be a great option not only if you're tight on space with any outward additions encroaching on your neighbor's property, but also because you'll save costs on adding a foundation.

Adding a room above your garage can be a great option especially if you need extra privacy for an office, a room for when your college kid comes home during the summer, an in-law suite, or if you're interested in renting out the space as an Airbnb.

6. Get familiar with how-to videos

The internet is a magical thing. Well, for the most part — the internet can get weird. But, if you stick to the how-to videos and learn how to place flooring, put in tile, add insulation, or even learn to install windows or door frames, you can save yourself a bundle.

You can certainly still hire out to put in the foundation and framing and complete major parts of the project, but if you can finish the rest or bribe your more handy friends with some pizza to help out, you'll cut down on labor costs. Again, you'll still want to budget for an electrician or plumber to do the specialty work.

Work with Clever

While adding a room to your home can increase the resale value and help attract more buyer offers, the room alone won't create that coveted bidding war. You'll want to work with an experienced real estate agent who will help market your home so it sells at the best price possible.

When you partner with a local, experienced Clever Partner Agent, they will be your advocate guiding you throughout the entire selling process and helping you price your home competitively.

Plus, you'll save even more with Clever as our Partner Agents work for a 1.5% listing fee ($3,000 minimum). Get in touch with Clever to connect with a Partner Agent in your area.

Related articles

You may also like

Better real estate agents at a better rate

Enter your zip code to see if Clever has a partner agent in your area
If you don't love your Clever partner agent, you can request to meet with another, or shake hands and go a different direction. We offer this because we're confident you're going to love working with a Clever Partner Agent.