How to Increase Square Footage in Your House without Construction

By contributing writer, Karen Falter.

How to Increase Square Footage in Your House without Construction

I am a hockey mom. I am a hockey wife. I am a hockey player. Yes, everyone in our family plays hockey except for our oldest who takes to the river instead of the ice as a coxswain for her rowing team.

PorchEnclosureSystem1Hockey is a wondrous sport that calls for speed, power, finesse, agility and, OK, fighting. I could do without the fighting.

This exciting sport also requires equipment. Lots of equipment.

First and foremost you need skates. But hockey also requires shin pads, knee pads, padded hockey pants, elbow pads, chest pads, and helmets — all to protect your most valuable assets so that when you fall you are “bubble wrapped.”  Not to forget the stick and hockey bag to hold all of this stuff.

It’s a lot of stuff. It’s a lot of very bulky stuff. This stuff takes up a lot of space in my car and house. Not just when it’s all stuffed into the bag, but also when it’s strewn about the house “airing out” until it can be stuffed back into the bag.

Living room full of hockey gear

During hockey season my living room became the default locker room. Four hockey bags laid open on the floor, jerseys draped over my velvet couch, pads strewn across my favorite Pottery Barn rug, and socks laid on the baby grand piano and bench.

Considering the fact that hockey season runs from September until April, I only had a usable living room for five months out of the year. Hmmmm, how can I fix this? I thought. I need a locker room. I need a mud room. I need a usable LIVING room. I need to come up with an inexpensive solution.

Piano covered with hockey gear

The garage and basement were not viable options due to location and needing to store the cars during winter. An addition to the house wasn’t an affordable or practical option either. Where can I get just a small, accessible space to put all this stuff?

I pondered and pondered sipping coffee on my screened-in-porch. My screened-in-porch. MY SCREENED-IN-PORCH! My screened-in-porch that only gets used from April until October — exactly the months when hockey season is out. My screened-in-porch that is about 200 square feet of unused space in the winter months. Bingo!

Screened-in-porch before being enclosed

Our screened-in-porch: BEFORE

Now that I located the space for my locker room, I had to figure out how to make it work. In Cincinnati during the winter months, rain and snow blow in through the screens during storms. And anyone who plays hockey knows it’s no fun to put on freezing gear.

I searched the internet for ways to enclose a screened-in-porch and finally found my solution: roll-up vinyl porch covers. I called Porch Protections Systems, Inc., a company based in Delaware, where roll-up vinyl porch covers are made of clear marine grade vinyl and are custom fitted to your porch. The staff was very helpful and informed, and I loved that the panels are made in the U.S.

Vinyl porch protectors add square footage to your house without expensive construction

Our screened-in-porch: AFTER

We ended up buying the porch covers. The vinyl panels easily roll up and down so that a screened porch can be transformed into a protected porch in minutes. Sun shining through the vinyl keeps the room a comfortable temperature in the winter.

I love that stinky equipment is confined to our “locker room,” and my porch is protected all year round during bad weather.

Porch Protection System encloses a screened-in porch for all-season use -- including storing bulky sports equipment

Plus I have my living room back!  What’s more, we put in a small space heater, which has allowed us to use the room for other purposes during the winter months, including entertaining and holiday gatherings.


For $2,000 we added 200 square feet to our house, transforming a two-season room into an all-season room. Gaining space and saving money are good things — even if you are not a big-equipment sports mom.

Karen is a wife and mother of three who balances family life with her her full-time employment as an attorney. Life circumstances and raising three children, who are now 16, 13 and 9, helped Karen discover the satisfactions of frugal living. Frugal is not cheap, it’s smart, and Karen enjoys the challenge of getting more out of what she’s earned. She loves sharing her experiences and tips so that others can see that a quality lifestyle isn’t out of reach.

Photo credits: builder’s measuring tape. All others: Karen Falter.

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  • Bill Whaley, CEO Porch Protection Systems December 3, 2013, 4:02 pm

    Hi Karen. Thanks so much for your article featuring our Porch Protection System. It’s amazing what you’ve done with your porch since installing the system. I enjoy receiving comments from our customers regularly on how the system works for their situation. In your case the “locker room” was quite the unique project!

    • Karen December 4, 2013, 7:24 am

      Bill, the added space has really simplified my life and improved the air quality in my home during hockey season. :-) The “locker room” was the main reason to install the Porch Protection System but we also enjoy the added benefits of protection during rain storms in the warmer months. My neighbors have commented on how attractive the coverings are.

      You and your staff could not have been more helpful or easier to work with. Not only do I stand by your product but also by your staff based on my personal experience and interactions. Thanks so much!


  • Trick Photography November 21, 2013, 8:36 am

    I really liked your content but great photos! It certainly inspired me to re-look at my home and evaluate how to “increase footage” without all the major construction as you pointed out! Thanks for the post!

    • Karen November 22, 2013, 7:18 am

      Thank you. Photos do speak volumes, right? In my situation necessity was truly the mother of invention but it also showed me the need to think more creatively more often.


  • Samantha @ Digital Zen November 20, 2013, 11:06 am

    Fantastic!! The porch looks great, and I love that you can use it for entertaining all year round as well.

    I have already saved the company’s website to my “Home Improve” notebook in Evernote. Good one to keep. And a local business for me in Delaware.

    • Karen November 21, 2013, 9:03 pm

      Thank you! It really is a great product and solution. You can check out the website at where there is a video with a lot of helpful information.