So what is a mezzanine? The most common mezzanine definition is ‘the second floor’, even if it doesn’t represent a floor in the real sense of the word.
The mezzanine area is usually a partial floor, located between the ground level and the first floor.
Mezzanines or mezzanine levels are also low balconies in symphony halls and theaters, the tickets for which usually provide the best view on the stage.
What is a mezzanine? Let’s learn about it
The name originates from the Latin word medianus, meaning ‘of the middle’.
According to the building regulations for mezzanine floors, mezzanines are intermediate floor areas more open towards the lower floor.
Image source: Jodie Cooper Design
They’re usually located halfway between the floors, and have ceilings twice the height of the usual ones. The reason why mezzanine interiors are not perceived as normal floors is that they’re smaller, and they usually have a specific purpose.
According to the International Building Code, mezzanines are allowed to occupy no more than the third, even if that’s not a strict mezzanine design rule. Besides, there can be more than a single mezzanine design ideas applied in a single building.
The difference between mezzanines and floors
Mezzanines have a lot to do with the purpose of the building, and can, therefore, make a noticeable difference. You can find them in a variety of buildings, from old churches to modern manufacturing facilities – building a mezzanine is possible even in buildings where such is not originally planned, as they’re rarely factored into the building’s total square footage.
So, how to build a mezzanine floor in your home, and not a regular upper one? Here is what you need to remember:
25 % of the basic floor’s area is the most you can use for your mezzanine. No other feature can determine the mezzanine as such, so don’t worry whether you’ve made a balcony or a closed-in-area.
The difference that can genuinely matter is the roofline – every tutorial explaining how to build a mezzanine will advise you to keep the roofline identical to the one of the floor, because otherwise, you’ve added a new, separate floor to your space.
But what does mezzanine mean in the functional sense of the world? How will the existence of a mezzanine at home make our lives easier?
These are good questions, because mezzanines are not a decorative addition, but a practical one.
Most of the time, mezzanines are open areas that support storage, but many people like to prescribe them specific purposes, such as bedrooms, libraries, offices, etc.
It is exactly the dimensions and design of your mezzanine that will determine how you can use it.
Building regulations for mezzanine floors
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The building regulations for mezzanine floors are fairly simple, as long as you stick to them rather than your own ideas.
The height of the ceiling. The minimal height of the room where a proper mezzanine is built is 440 cm, the mezzanine taking no less than 210 cm including the ceiling slab.
The floor space. As we already mentioned, the ideal mezzanine floor is 1/3 of the lower floor’s size, expect in cases where the ceiling height surpasses 220 cm. In such cases, the floor of the mezzanine can be half as long as the lower floor one.
Glass floors. If you decided for a glass mezzanine floor, note that the most space you have to work with is 1/8 of the lower floor.
Some essential tips
Image source: Sanctum Design
We all find high-ceiling rooms to be kind of official and impersonal, and are looking for ways to make them more inviting and comfortable. Adding a mezzanine there is a very nice idea, as it will have both an aesthetical and a practical purpose.
Mezzanines can improve you place a lot, but there are more things than the structure that need to be considered. You need to balance between the looks and the purpose, and you need to follow closely to building regulations we mentioned.
Startup tricks you must know before building a mezzanine
Plan it appropriately
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Without a plan, you may end up having an unpleasant mezzanine-like structure at home which doesn’t pay off the effort you invested in it.
What happens in most of cases is that you get the size wrong, and create a huge mezzanine with no purpose, or a small ad heaped one.
Before you’ve started think whether you really need a mezzanine, and whether you house can actually afford having one.
Look for a high-ceiling area
Image source: Sandberg Schoffel Architects
High ceilings are critical factors for building a mezzanine that not only looks beautiful, but also adds practical value to your space.
As we pointed out, mezzanines serve as internal platforms and balconies that can cope with every function, as long as they’re built properly.
Work with the space you have
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Why would you undergo a costly mezzanine construction process if it requires you to modify your place completely? A solemn wish is not enough, and you have to make sure you’re actually able of accommodating one.
The available space will also narrow the list of available functions of the mezzanine (small ones are usually kept for decorative purposes, while larger ones are practical and working areas).
Image source: Pennington Phillips
Whatever your mezzanine plan is, think of the proper enclosure first. Some mezzanines are enclosed with half-walls and balustrades, while others are hidden completely to provide more privacy.
Another thing to consider in advance is the stairs that will lead you there, a decision which once again depends on the mezzanine’s purpose.
A conventional staircase is always the best way to go, because you can benefit of some extra storage space underneath. Needless to say, normal stairs are way easier to use for a frequently visited place.
Define the purpose
Image source: Pennington Phillips
Think of the mezzanine’s purpose before you’ve actually created it. Do you need an extra bedroom or a working area? Would a new library be a nice addition to your open-floor concept?
Secondly, make sure you have enough space to put your idea into work, and don’t try to do the impossible. In case the mezzanine doesn’t turn out exactly the way you want it, repurpose it.
Don’t forget the importance of solid soundproofing and clever lighting, as both can be critical to enjoying the space you’ve just created.
Obviously, these will depend on the position and the lower floor’s lighting, but few additional fixtures may improve the ambiance significantly.
Consider apt materials
Image source: Jodie Cooper Design
Once again, the most important aspect of your brand new mezzanine is not how it looks, but what type of function it fulfills.
To start with, it has to be sturdy, so try using metal, concrete, and wood. While it is interesting to use open-feel materials such as transparent glass, you must reinforce those with wooden grills to make sure the mezzanine will last.
Regardless of what you’ve been told, don’t exaggerate with height. 3.0 meters is the maximal safe height that will keep your mezzanine secure and sturdy.
Image source: Studio SD
The reason why you’re constructing a mezzanine and not an entire extra floor is that you want a visually appealing solution, so make sure you’ve made the most of your creativity, and developed something that will never stop impressing your visitors.
Make the stairs accessible
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In mezzanine design, stairs are almost as important as the mezzanine itself. While you’re allowed to experiment with them, make sure they’re safe and sturdy, placed in a good location, and easy to access.
Spiral stairs are always a great idea to save some space.
Modern and unique
Image source: Studio Twenty Seven Architecture
Barn design discussions listed the most important and unique structural elements that are both practical and appealing, and work well with every space and style.
What is important here is to understand the difference between original and new, or learning how to combine them for the best effect.
For instance, you can keep your generations-old stone walls and timber roofs, and still add the floating staircase and the glass balustrade alongside. A bit of smart balancing can make it work.
Don’t forget the space above and below
Image source: Sarah Davison Interior Design
You should have enough ‘above space’ to stand up straight and perform your regular activities, while the below space must also remain functional for moving around. Still, if you have to sacrifice one of the two, go for the later, as it can be transformed into an amazing storage area.
More ideas for saving space
Image source: Juliette Byrne
Nowadays, interior design is all about extra storage and saving space, which is why we have a variety of available techniques, materials, and systems which can ‘hide’ our belonging, and still make the room appear ‘free’ and clean.
Still, there are many factors that influence the usability of the space and its storage capacity, barn under-floor heating being the most important one.
A similar heating system will help you keep walls cleaner, and you can also add wall inset fires to protect the floor.
Image source: AREA Handelsgesellschaft mbH – Linz OÖ
The fixture choice will depend on the mezzanine’s purpose, but make sure you’ve chosen ones that can be controlled both upstairs and downstairs. Doing so, you will be able to turn off the mezzanine light even when you’re not there.
Image source: Violet & George
Mezzanines are smart and beautiful additions for soaring-ceiling spaces, with versatile functions that extend the visual reach, and make your home look warmer and more inviting.
You can personalize them to the extent of repurposing your place or adding a specific vibe, and use can use tricks such as smart lighting or unique material combinations to make them stand out, and impress people.
Regardless of their purpose, mezzanines need to remain easily accessible and practical, and to follow specific space guidelines.
It is essential that they are well-lit, soundproof, and easy to access (especially when used for a common daily activity).
Of course, you can go a step ahead and employ your creativity to glaze them in, but in cases such as that one you need to be particularly careful with their endurance.
Finally, make them beautiful. Otherwise, they will be nothing but top-heavy structures which intimidate viewers, and occupy space for no reason. Make sure they stand out!