Home extension ideas are among the most sought-after building projects by homeowners.
Get your home extension just right and you won’t just be creating a large open-plan room with space to eat and sit. Clever extension ideas can add more valuable space to your home and can increase the value of your property, should you decide to sell as well.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best home extension ideas to suit all home design styles and home sizes, as well as a wide range of budgets. There are different material choices to consider, along with expert advice to help you make the right decision.
Home Extension Ideas
These home extension ideas will inspire you to start your project. Remember that when planning a kitchen extension, the key to success is choosing a style of extension that either complements or contrasts with your home’s existing materials and period altogether.
1. Consider extension ideas for small homes
Architecture firm Studio Hallett Ike’s ER Residence began as a small but well-proportioned one-bedroom apartment in a Victorian townhouse. But thanks to this clever idea for an addition to the house, the space has been opened up into a two-bedroom apartment.
“The new dining room, above, provides an immediate visual connection to the garden,” says co-founder Madeleine Ike. “We kept the material palette simple, using raw, natural materials. Stained Douglas Fir joinery forms a bespoke dining bench that extends from the kitchen. We also designed the dining table which is blackened steel.
Keeping the overall palette warm, understated, and minimal helps give the whole thing a cohesive feel.
2. Be sympathetic to existing home styles
A crumbling barn seems an unlikely starting point for a new home, but architect Will Gamble thought otherwise and his vision created The Parchment Works for his clients. “Originally the owners wanted to demolish the old scroll factory,” says Will, “but I convinced them that the ruins could be celebrated with sympathetic intervention.”
Will’s design created “a building within a building”, where two lightweight volumes were inserted into the old walls. “I exposed the beams of the barn, as well as the steel framework of the new parts. The clean lines of the kitchen helped juxtapose the uneven nature of the old structure making a contemporary intervention in a historical context.
3. Extend the ceiling upwards
The owners of this elegant Victorian country house in Dorset have enlisted interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch of Sims Hilditch to help them consider a new kitchen extension idea for the property. “The answer was to preserve the original large parts of the house while opening up and streamlining secondary spaces that were added later,” says owner Sarah Ainsworth.
The rear extension has been replaced with a large open plan kitchen idea, dining and living area with a dramatic roof lantern that brings in lots of light and a ceiling covered in rough, whitewashed planks to add warmth. texture and improve room acoustics.
4. Use natural materials for any home additions
Planning a home addition can be an opportunity to make materials shine. Oak is the star of this Somerset home which has been renovated by David Salisbury, replacing two smaller structures with a space that can be enjoyed all year round. A fully glazed garden room has been created with a new brick and stone fireplace to match the existing materials.
“Our client wanted a rustic look, so they opted for natural, unfinished oak,” says creative director Karen Bell. ‘This type of open living room is perhaps our most popular request. Being able to combine the functionality of a kitchen extension, next to a living room and a dining room, we have captured the essence of modern living.
5. Maximize efficiency and sustainability
As well as respecting the history of this Grade II listed Cambridgeshire farmhouse, Mole Architects also ensured sustainability was part of the process, following ‘passivhaus’ principles to maximize energy efficiency. In addition to ticking the environmental boxes, clients requested a home that was both special and modest, using unassuming finishes that highlighted old structures and complemented new ones.
Saved from virtual abandonment, the property now has a garden room, a kitchen and a master bedroom, all in buildings adjoining the 17th century cottage. The revitalized design has also created a new connection with the garden and offers lovely views of the nearby water meadows.
6. Let the light in
When designing your home extension, it’s important to think about how natural light will enter the space and move throughout the day. Light is a vital consideration for extensions – and glass doors, windows and skylights can be a game changer.
Opting for a glass ceiling instead of a skylight will allow light to flood in, making the area appear larger and brighter. But glass isn’t just limited to your ceiling ideas – adding a glass room divider will not only create a stylish design element, but will help unite the space as a whole.
7. Reunion with nature
The combination of indoor and outdoor living is an integral trend and should be considered when planning an extension for your home.
Architecture and design studio Levitate had to juggle seriously to breathe new life into the delicate layout of this North London Victorian terraced house. The result is a striking zinc-clad rear extension that appears like a gazebo and features a cantilevered structure with folding doors that allow the extension to be fully open to the garden.
Spencer Guy of Levitate illustrates how important it is to know where the light is coming from and how it will change with the seasons: “Our client’s mission was for the space to be used comfortably during the day in the summer and in the evening in winter. Analysis showed that a glazed roof would work well in summer through the use of shading devices, but it was a challenge in winter without excessive heating. We redesigned the roof to include the features of a conservatory, but using smaller skylights so more of the fabric could be insulated. The skylights were still large, but they were standard products with exclusive opening systems, which offered a more functional and cost-effective solution.
8. Don’t block the view of the garden
Don’t let lack of space restrict your style or block your view of the outdoors. Taking an ambitious approach to design and fittings can result in a striking little kitchen idea that punches well above its weight.
To create a separation between the kitchen and the dining room without losing the view of the garden, the architect Alex Michaelis installed a low wall. “It also gives a feeling of protection when you’re sitting on the bench seat, allowing it to work longer and accommodate more people.”
9. Go for an ambitious design
With vision and careful planning, an enormous amount can be achieved. This home extension project started out as a relatively simple rear extension and roof terrace, but grew to be much more radical. Mulroy Architects’ plans saw four stories of stairs moved and one story removed to create a dramatic double-height atrium that brings daylight and views to all levels.
10. Retain existing structure, style and materials
By their nature, extensions are not built in isolation. The design should consider the building they are connected to as well as the environmental impact.
Napier Clarke Architects covered the existing extension to this 1970s house in Buckinghamshire and returned it to its original brick form. As Steven Clarke says: “It creates a more contemporary home, which reflects the local vernacular and materials.
“One of the key decisions for this home extension project was, should we tear down and start over, or work with what we have?” said Steven Clarke of Napier Clarke Architects. “We thought we could work with the original house as a way to create a highly sustainable project through the virtue of retaining what exists.”
Steven’s clients wanted to keep the existing structure if it was more profitable, but they also recognized the lasting benefits. Once the decision was made, the ground floor, the first floor and the roof were insulated to reduce heat loss. All windows and doors have been changed from single glazing to double glazing and the heating system has been replaced.
Is it a good idea to extend your house?
It is definitely a good idea to expand your home. Clever extension ideas can add more valuable space to your home and can increase the value of your property, should you decide to sell as well – but watch the costs.
“Cost control starts right from the start,” says architect Andrew Mulroy: “Try to retain as much of the existing structure as possible. This means that all areas of the house are fully utilized rather than certain dark, redundant rooms. Get regular cost checks on your design as it evolves so you can get it back on track before you go to tender. This will allow you to understand where the financial risks lie and avoid the temptation to change things on the spot, which is always more expensive.