How Much It Costs to Add a Bedroom For Your In-Laws, Boomerang Kid, or Growing Family

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The pandemic has us all jonesing for a little breathing room. You need a home office. A nursery for your “social distancing” baby. An extra bedroom to separate your kids who are in perpetual time out. We get it. You need space like a teenager needs WiFi.

With recent price increases on building materials, you may be wondering how much it will cost to add a bedroom to your home and how much of the remodeling expenses you can recoup if/when you sell. The answer is…it depends, but it could be well worth the investment.

How much you pay depends on the builder you hire, your location, where you build (in relation to your home layout), and what materials go into the build. How much you recoup depends on how much space you add, the bedroom features, and the market value of similar homes in your area.

To get a better idea of the costs and return on investment (ROI), we got the scoop from the pros: Mark Poulton of TraVek, a design builder in the Phoenix area and top real estate agent Danielle Hernandez with the Oldham Group in the Bay Area, and appraiser Diana Benson of Benson Appraisals in Arizona.

Builders working on adding a bedroom.
Source: (Mark Potterton / Unsplash)

Why are construction prices so high?

Since 2020, the cost of building materials has skyrocketed. A shortage of shipping containers and available trucks is causing supply chain issues. It’s nearly impossible to import natural stone right now. The shortage of available workers has caused some work to slow and even halt in all stages of the industry, from mining to building. Tariffs compound the problem. And the inflated costs are being passed on from distributors to builders to homeowners.

“Overall, the increase may be around 11%, but on lumber alone, which is imported from Canada, it’s nearly 300%. Half-inch plywood [4X8] alone has gone from $9 to $65,” states Poulton.

But the price increase isn’t deterring most homeowners from adding on. After all, with low interest rates and high market values, there’s more than a little wiggle room to tack a construction loan, a home equity line of credit, or a home equity loan onto your mortgage. And that means you won’t have to sell your house for spare parts so you can afford a larger one.

What counts as a bedroom?

If you’re hoping to recoup some of the cost of adding on to your house, you should know how a bedroom is defined in real estate listings. Most state laws require a bedroom to have a minimum of 70 square feet, lighting, a closet, and a window for egress and ventilation.

A penny used to add a bedroom.
Source: (Adam Nir / Unsplash)

How much does it cost to add a bedroom?

Room location/type Price/sq. ft. National average Price range ROI

(recouped expenses)

Ground floor addition $100 – $200 $22,500 $14,400 – $22,500 53%
Second story addition $300 – $500 Unknown $90,000 – $200,000 65%

(if an ensuite)

Garage conversion Unknown $14,400 $5,664 – $23,324 Unknown
Finished basement conversion Unknown $22,000 $20,000 – $30,000 75%
Attic conversion Unknown Unknown $8,000 – $30,000 56%
Ensuite addition

(ground floor)

$300+ $62,500 $25,000 – $100,000 63%

Sources: Fixr, HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack

Bedroom on the ground floor: $22,500

“Extra space is always a bonus. Especially in today’s market where people are working from home. They need that home office, space for the kids, a guest room. There’s always something we can do with that extra room. Having a bathroom inside the bedroom always adds value,” states Hernandez. 

According to Poulton, the current cost of a basic bedroom build is $100 to $200 per square foot. What surprises homeowners most about the cost of adding a bedroom is that they don’t save by building a smaller bedroom. You may be using less in the way of materials, but it’s the same or similar amount of work for the builder. And the cost per square foot goes down as the size goes up. For example, your cost might be $21,600 for a 12×12 at $150 per square foot. Most homeowners opt for a 15×15 at $100 per square foot because at $22,500, it’s the better deal.

Second story bedroom addition: $90,000 to $200,000

If the footprint of your yard or the layout of your home is such that it simply won’t support a ground level addition, you may be considering building up. A second story bedroom is a costly addition at $300 to $500 per square foot, according to Fixr. Your roof isn’t made to hold the weight of an addition so a lot more work and a lot more material goes into supporting that second story. You may be able to save on the expense if you can have the roof lifted and replaced above the new addition.

Ground floor ensuite addition: $62,500

Poulton estimates that ensuites start at $300 per square foot and go up from there. According to HomeAdvisor, you’ll pay around $42,500 to add a bathroom. Costs are difficult to generalize since each build is different, from the size of the master bedroom, size of the bathroom, and size of the closet(s) to the features you include in each room.

A bathroom added to a bedroom addition almost always adds value. Of course, it depends on what size of home and what is typical of the market. Benson says that if your home already has two bedrooms, in a 1,500 square-foot neighborhood, the third bathroom would most likely be an over improvement. In other words, it would not bring enough value to pay for the cost.

Price to add a bathroom

Size (in square feet) Average cost ($400 – $600 per square foot)
35 $14,000 – $21,000
48 $19,200 – $28,800
64 $25,600 – $38,400
75 $30,000 – $45,000
100 $40,000 – $60,000

Source: Fixr

Garage conversion bedroom: $14,400

Garage conversions are a common way to add a bedroom. HomeAdvisor estimates that the current cost to convert a garage ranges from $5,664 to $23,324. Converting a garage to living space often means replacing the door with a wall, adding a window, insulation, and interior walls and flooring, and extending HVAC to the new space.

But converting your garage can be a risky move if you’re looking to add value to your home. Hernandez says that while you’re increasing the square footage of your home, you’re also removing the garage, which might hurt the value of your home.

Finished basement bedroom: $22,000

Adding a bedroom to a basement is slightly less expensive than bumping a wall out, but it adds more value to your home. The cost to convert your basement will be around $20,000 to $30,000. In order for it to count as a bedroom, you have to have at least 7 feet of space between the floor and the ceiling. You’ll also need to add a closet and an egress window. According to Fixr, the average cost to build a closet is $2,010. An egress window will cost around $3,888.

If you decide to convert your basement, when you sell your home you might notice that the additional bedroom isn’t listed as such. This is because square footage of living space is defined as “above grade” or above ground. That doesn’t mean that below the grade living space doesn’t count. Despite the technicality, you might recoup up to 75% of your cost to convert the basement into a finished bedroom.

“A basement bedroom can be very appealing, especially if the space is completed with similar quality and material as the above grade area and has ample daylight through window wells or exterior doors. However, it typically does not bring the same value per square foot as the above grade area. In addition, when choosing comparable sales we look for homes with similar above grade area. When you walk into a 4,000 square-foot one-story house, it has a different feel and appeal than a 2,000 square-foot house with a basement, and the market reacts to this with a smaller amount paid for the below grade area,” states Benson.

Attic bedroom: $8,000 to $30,000

At an average cost of $8,000 to $30,000, converting the attic may be the most economical way to add a bedroom. You can save around 25-50% on remodeling costs if you have the space. Not only will you save on the construction cost, but the ROI is a little higher (50-75%), according to HomeAdvisor.

Before you decide to build a room in your attic, consider whether the space has enough headroom to insulate under the eaves and add a ceiling. According to Poulton, you’ll need at least 12 inches of insulation under the eaves and by the time the ceiling is up, you may be out of space for a ceiling fan.

In order to get a good value on your attic conversion, you’ll need to have space for permanent stairs inside the home, which may eat into your savings. If space is more valuable than cash, consider installing a spiral staircase. The cost to build a staircase is around $3,563, and the cost to add a spiral staircase is around $10,400. You’ll pay even more on an attic conversion if you need to add a window.

What has to go into a bedroom build?

As well as ensuring your bedroom addition has enough floor space, a closet and a window, the interior of your bedroom must be finished (walls, floors, ceilings), with lighting and electric outlets. It also needs heat and air conditioning.

Electrical. The cost to wire a room for lighting and electricity varies by the accessibility to wiring, whether or not panels need to be added, the quality of the wiring, electrician’s hourly rate, plus a setup fee for opening outlets. According to HomeAdvisor, the national average is $1,375.

Flooring. While carpet is the most common flooring, laminate, tile, hardwood and luxury vinyl plank are also common floor finishes. How much you’ll pay for flooring depends on the material, quality, and the difficulty of the installation. According to Forbes, the average cost for flooring and installation ranges $1.68 per square foot on the low end for laminate to $21 on the high end for hardwood.

Heating/air conditioning. Keep in mind that adding on to your home means extending your ductwork. It’s a good idea to talk to an HVAC technician to ensure your HVAC system can support the extra space. Average cost to extend ductwork and add a vent is $550.

Bedroom cost breakdown by feature

Feature Average Cost
Insulation $2 per square foot
Roof $80 – $100 per square foot
Designing $2,020 – $8,390
Foundation $4,000 – $12,400
Framing $6,000 – $8,000
Drywall (ceiling/walls) $1 – 3 per square foot
Siding $2 – 5 per square foot for vinyl and trim
Windows $450 – $2,000 per window
Bedroom door $362 – $1,130
Closet, closet door and racks $1,079 – $2,958
Flooring $1,500 – $4,500
Electrical $1,375
Heating/cooling $550
Bathroom $42,500
Bedroom furniture set $1,620 – $5,500

Sources: Ownerly, HomeAdvisor, Furnishr, Fixr

Plumbing used when adding a bedroom.
Source: (Dieter K / Unsplash)

Have a budget for unexpected expenses

Any time you remodel your home, it’s a good idea to have a budget for unexpected expenses. A change order happens when a builder runs into unexpected difficulties, like a buried sewer access point. In many cases, a change order isn’t because the homeowner or the builder made a mistake. It’s the result of something unexpected. According to Poulton, this is especially true when plumbing is involved.

For example, if you’re putting in an ensuite, the new plumbing is connected to the water line in an existing wall. Your builder doesn’t know for certain where the existing water line will be. If it’s not where your builder expects it to be, and they sometimes aren’t, then it requires more work to locate and connect them. The associated cost is passed on to the homeowner.

Change orders get expensive fast

Remodels can also get expensive when the homeowner decides to change things. A change of plans isn’t common for a standard bedroom build. But it’s not uncommon for a homeowner to change some part of a bathroom after building is underway.

Changes get expensive because the builder has to revise the plans and submit the revision with the city, which will cost more. It’s going to cost more in labor. The homeowner will pay for any materials that are removed and for the new material.

How to cut costs on your bedroom addition

If the cost of adding a bedroom to your home is a bit costly, there are ways to save on the build. Consider:

  • Adding a bedroom to an unfinished space in your home, such as the attic, basement, or garage
  • Adding an attachment where a load-bearing wall won’t have to be reframed, converting a window or door into a new doorway
  • Getting multiple bids from licensed builders
  • Hiring a design builder who will project manage and budget every step of the build
  • Using tax credits and refunds
  • Sticking to the plan like a burr to a dog

Bedroom construction costs you might recoup: 53-75%

Return on investment (ROI) is a tricky term for homeowners to understand. ROI is the amount you can hope to recoup from an investment. A homeowner almost never recoups 100% of the cost of a remodel.

An average ROI of 53% means that a homeowner can expect to recoup 53% of cost to build a ground floor bedroom. How much you recoup in construction costs when you sell your home depends on how the footprint of the home was changed and the market value of similar sized homes in your area. ROI also depends on the final purchase price.

For example, if your three bedroom home value is $250,000 and you spend $50,000 to add a fourth bedroom, you can hope to increase your home value to $276,000, thus recouping $26,500 of the construction costs — if you sell your home for the appraised value. However, if the value of similar 4-bedroom homes in your neighborhood is $265,000, when you sell you can hope to recoup $15,000 of the $50,000 you spent, a 30% ROI.

If you’re looking to add value, you need to take care that you’re not over improving your home in comparison to other local homes. An appraiser determines the fair market value based on the value of similar homes in your neighborhood. Adding a fourth bedroom may make your home difficult to value if all the homes in your neighborhood have three bedrooms.

According to Benson, if you increase a home’s area and bedroom count it will add value, especially in a location where you are one of the smaller homes. This is especially true if you only have one or two bedrooms. However, if you already have three or four bedrooms in a neighborhood of homes that are 1,800 square foot or smaller, another room may not add value.

Also, If you are one of the larger homes in the area, it may not add value, as it may be an over improvement at that point. Some of the factors that detract from value would be losing a parking space, a garage, a covered patio, an area of the yard — if the yard is already small — or having an inadequate floor plan. Access can also detract from its appeal, including having to go through another bedroom, or having to cross the main living area to get to a bathroom.

A bedroom that was added.
Source: (Mitchell Luo / Unsplash)

Bottom Line

If you need more space, a well-thought-out bedroom addition can be a cost-effective solution to provide you with the most value in a future sale and give your household much-needed post-pandemic breathing room.

Header Image Source: (SHOP SLO® / Unsplash)