What You Need to Add an Upstairs on a 10x10 Room


Adding a second story to your home is one of the best ways to expand your living and storage space without consuming more of your yard. If your home has a small one-story room, such as a 10-by-10 foot bedroom, entryway or office, you can build upward to make the most of this limited footprint.

Plans and Permits

  • Before you begin construction on an upstairs for your 10-by-10 foot room, you'll need detailed building plans and a permit from your local building office. While building codes vary by location, a second story addition will always require a permit, regardless of how small the room is. To ensure that the upstairs is structurally sound and safe for use, you must consult with an architect who understands the engineering of your existing room.


  • Much of the structure for the upstairs on a 10-foot by 10-foot room will consist of lumber for timber framing. New studs and joists will supply the frame for the room. Prefabricated 10-foot roof trusses will strengthen the new room and provide a means of integrating its roofline into the existing roof on your home. A 10-foot square room will likely include space for one or two windows, which your building code may specify need to be egress windows that are large enough to escape through and allow firefighters to enter.


  • Unless your new upstairs room is going to be accessible through an existing hallway, or become part of an existing upper room, you'll need to install stairs to move between the lower room and the upper story. Since this isn't a large amount of square footage for either room, installing stairs can be challenging. A spiral staircase, which consumes less space, may be your best option. If the upper room is for storage, an exterior staircase or ladder access could be an option.

Finishing Materials

  • Once your upstairs addition is framed and accessible via stairs, you can add finishing materials to enclose it. These include at least 100 square feet of new roofing and 100 square feet of flooring. If the room has an eight-foot ceiling, and it shares one wall with your existing home, the drywall and siding will each require around 240 square feet of material. Prior to completion you can hire a contractor to install new electrical wiring. Phone and cable TV lines are easier to add and may be among the tasks you can complete on your own.

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