Extension ideas - where can I extend?
Building an extension costs around £1,500-£2,300 per m2 and can add significant value to your home. If you have land to build on and a budget to spend, how do you start deciding what extension to build and how to use it? Here are some popular ideas.
Building a kitchen extension
Kitchens are one of the most expensive rooms in a home, and also one of the biggest assets when it comes to valuing or selling your property. Extending your ground floor to expand the size of your kitchen, or to build a new one, is a project that will improve your living style as well as adding value to the house.
One of the most popular ways to extend is to create a rear extension, wrap around extension or side return extension with the walls knocked through to connect with your existing kitchen.
Even a small extension can open up a much bigger space and can convert a kitchen into an open plan kitchen and dining area. This is particularly common with period properties where the kitchens tend to be small, dark rooms to the rear of the ground floor.
Opting for an extension with plenty of glazing, light wells or rooftop glazing can flood your home with natural light and provide a bright, contemporary space.
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Creating more storage space with an extension
Extensions are ideal for families who have outgrown their home but don't wish to deal with the cost or stress of having to sell up and buy a new property.
Storage space is at a premium especially in city properties and can be a great selling point if you do decide to move in the future. Even a small extension can provide a huge amount of storage space and can de-clutter your home.
If your storage space is no longer required, this could be used as a utility area, pantry or hobby area to accommodate a desk, workbench or shelving.
Add a new sunroom or conservatory extension
Natural light is highly desirable in providing an improvement to our health, mood and standard of living. Adding a conservatory can increase the value of your property by around 5%, and provide a warm and relaxing space connecting your interior with the outdoors.
Conservatories and sunrooms can be relatively simple to build, particularly those with prefabricated panels and glazing. It is important to consider what type of glazing you use - triple glazing is the most expensive option but avoids any increases in your utility and heating costs, and can provide an excellent energy efficiency certification for your home.
Extending your attic or converting your loft space
Loft or attic spaces are usually used to store water tanks or old belongings, but can be a great asset to provide an extra room, storage space or an additional bedroom.
Depending on the size of your property and the slope of the eaves, it may be that your loft space doesn't seem high enough to accommodate a room. A simple extension option is to install Velux windows to bring in light, or a box dormer that sits on top of the roofline and increases the space and ceiling height in your attic.
Loft conversions can be used as home offices, additional bedrooms, and playrooms or for any other purpose you would like. Bear in mind that for every additional bedroom you create the value of your property increases by around 10% - even more so if they are ensuite or you are building an additional bathroom.
Building a side return extension
Side return extensions are one of the most efficient extensions in terms of space since they utilise the empty land running alongside period properties - either semi detached or terraced.
This space is usually a thin strip of space so cannot serve any useful purpose, and is often left empty or used for bin storage.
Creating a side return extension either constructs a new standalone room along the side of your property or can be knocked through to expand the living space on your ground floor. Common uses include home offices or pantry areas adjacent to your kitchen or living room.
Side return extensions can be either single or double-storey depending on your build budget and what you wish to use your extension for.
Erecting a double-height rear extension
Rear extensions build outwards from the back of your property into your garden and are less likely to require planning permission since they do not impact the frontage of the house.
A double-height two-storey extension is an efficient option since per m2 this will be cheaper than a single storey conversion. This is because the foundations and groundwork will remain the same whether you are building one storey or two, so a double-height extension provides more living space and a larger increase in volume to your home, without a proportionately higher budget.
Many homeowners prefer a two-storey rear extension to a single storey since this also balances out the living space within your home. Creating large open plan living on the ground floor with a small number of bedrooms on the first floor can make a property bottom-heavy and this is balanced out by expanding the overall capacity of your home with two larger floors and more bedrooms.
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Frequently asked questions
How long does an extension take to build?
Most extensions take around three months to build, although more complex projects can take closer to six months.
Simpler works such as constructing a garage extension can take as little as one month, and conservatories built from prefabricated panels can take a similarly short time.
The planning and design stages can take as long as the build if not longer, so don't expect to start work immediately until all the planning and budgeting is complete.
Where can I get more ideas for my home extension?
One of the best ways to find inspiration is to look at other properties in your area, or built in a similar period.
This can help you to see how these homes have been extended, which designs you most like the look of, and be an insight into which extension solutions will work best for your property.
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