For those of us who have abandoned all thoughts of moving but have extended our homes out and down as much as possible, there is still one more direction in which we can go. A mezzanine is an intermediate floor constructed between the main floors of a building and is a very clever way of getting more storage space for a small bedroom or even creating a whole new living space. How much room a mezzanine can give you is entirely dependant upon the height on the ceilings, Rooms with high or A–frame ceilings work best as a mezzanine height from floor to ceiling should be 2.1 metres minimum.
If you don’t fancy scaling a ladder to reach it, you’ll need to factor in space for a staircase. The most common practise is to place a mattress and sleeping area up on the “second” floor providing you with a new bedroom with an alcove area that can be used for wardrobes or cupboards. However, even a simple chest height mezzanine will raise your bed sufficiently to give you lots of extra space to put in some high quality storage. How well a mezzanine works is entirely dependant upon scaling it to fit the size of the existing room- a mezzanine should be an addition rather than an imposition. Obviously another essential factor the finding of a good architect to plan and oversee the project.
It is best to opt for materials that are lightweight and easily absorbed into the current room design, which in practice often means timber and steel. Although pricey, this will ensure that the mezzanine doesn’t dominate the space. To prevent obstruction to light flow and to create a super slick look, use glass panes as balustrades. If you have double height windows in the main room, glass balustrades will allow those on the mezzanine level to also enjoy the views.
A mezzanine is undoubtedly a wonderful addition to any home able to house one; it encourages more flow through the building and makes a space a much more sociable one as conversations can be maintained even as people move around the space. Be advised however, there are some pitfalls. Major structural work is never cheap and is likely to cause major disruption to your home life. For those with children, any kind of balcony can be a hazard and privacy can become an issue if the mezzanine is to be used as a bedroom.
To increase the safety of your mezzanine, it is wise to ensure the balustrades are high if not full ceiling height. Full height glass will also help to insulate the area from noise, creating some privacy. Sliding Japanese screens do very well in letting in light but also creating privacy for a bedroom as do curtains or blinds which provide a more traditional but still stylish solution to visual privacy concerns. If choosing curtains, be sure to have them interlined to prevent the unwitting staging of silhouette puppet shows for those downstairs!