For many homeowners, top of their home improvements wishlist is a kitchen extension. People are brimming with kitchen extension ideas. Space in most homes is at a premium, so anything that can help you gain more space is always going to appeal. The idea behind many kitchen extension plans is to create room for dining as well as preparing food. Increasingly, people want to create a brand-new space that provides a more sociable environment. This could be to make the kitchen a more efficient family space. Many also want to use the kitchen for entertaining. Others just want to open up the back of the house to the garden.
Regardless of what kitchen extension ideas you have in mind, it’s worth considering one really important point. Many people are surprised that most kitchen extensions don’t require you to give up much of the outside space you have at your disposal. You only need to push out into a side return or build out at the back at little, and your dream kitchen space is closer than you could have imagined.
Kitchen Extension Ideas: The Practicalities and the Planning
When it comes to kitchen extensions, the key to achieving your goal – whatever that might be – is in getting the practicalities and planning right. On the practical side of things, it’s about choosing a builder or architect. Planning permission is unlikely to be a concern for most projects. The permitted development rules have recently been relaxed. This means that you can now extend up to six metres away from the back of the house. The previous legislation limited you to just three metres.
Before you call in the professionals, you should try and get a feel for the size that the extension will be. Thinking carefully about what you really need from the extension is your starting point. Consider your existing space and how you’ll want to use the extension when it is complete. This will give you a good idea of what the layout should be. It’s then over to the professionals to turn the dream into reality.
Kitchen Extension Ideas: The devil is in the detail
Designing a kitchen extension really is all about the detail. For this, you are likely to need help from an architect, builder and a kitchen designer. A kitchen extension is not something to take on as a DIY project. For instance, any architect worth their salt is bound to come up with a whole host of creative ideas and ingenious solutions that most homeowners are unlikely to have thought of.
This is why, once you’ve got a rough idea of what you are looking for from an extension, you should find a RIBA-registered architect. The Architects Registration Board is a great place to look.
Your next task is to find a builder. It’s always worth considering both word-of-mouth personal and professional recommendations. The unwritten rule when it comes to choosing who to go with, is to get estimates from three different contractors before making a decision.
Tips and tricks to create space with your kitchen extension
Let’s face it, the need for more space is the driving force behind all kitchen extension ideas. Of course, by their very nature any ‘extension’ will deliver just that – more space. However, there are some clever ways of making it feel that you have even more space than you actually have.
One such approach is to allow the extension to seamlessly blend the inside and outside space. Sliding doors opening from the kitchen to the garden are the ideal way to open space up. Having so much glass also gives you another clear advantage – maximum light. This will keep any space feeling light, open and airy.
It’s also a clever idea to choose and position your base and wall kitchen units with the outside space in mind. Lighter shades on the walls help to draw the eyes up and outwards. In contrast, the use of darker colours on the base units can help to keep the overall design grounded. It should never be forgotten that various design aspects can combine to have the effect of opening up the space. With clever design planning, you can often find that the footprint of the extension doesn’t need to be as large as you first imagined. This is an obvious way to keep costs down and making the most from your investment.
Plan for the your lifestyle and your future
Our homes have never had to work as hard as adapt as much to cater for our changing needs as they have been forced to since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Rooms have been converted into impromptu home office spaces. Not only that, spaces have also had to be used as a flexible homeschooling classrooms. What’s more families have spent more time in the family home than ever before.
Of course, that’s not to say that the way we have lived in the last ten months or so will stay. However, the pandemic has been a timely reminder of just how much things can change. The kitchen has always been considered to be the heart of the home. Many kitchen extension ideas will revolve around creating the space for a more comfortable busy family hub. You are likely to have a key purpose for the extension and red lines of things that you absolutely have to have.
And that’s fine… but your kitchen extension ideas are limited by only two things: your budget and your imagination.
So, a kitchen extension can be what you make it. You can keep things safe, traditional and conventional. But, if you want to mix things up and do something that is unusual, the reconfigured layout of your extension can be created to complement your ‘new normal’ lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if the ‘new normal’ is for right now, or for how you might use the space in the future.
Planning the kitchen layout
Once you have established the size of the space of your extension, thoughts can turn to the kitchen layout. When considering different design and layout ideas think about the following questions:
How do you use your kitchen? It sounds obvious, but the layout should be designed to be a perfect fit for your lifestyle.
Will it be an open plan space? Most extensions will be, but it’s important to consider the relationship between the ‘working’ part of the kitchen and the dining area.
What will work best for the shape of the space? Kitchens can come in many shapes and sizes. From galley kitchens to U-shaped and L-shaped, to curved and open plan designs
Regardless of the kitchen’s shape, you should always keep the working triangle in mind. This design concept has three points: the sink, the fridge, and the hob. Imagine lines drawn between these three points to form the shape of a triangle. Ideally, no side of the triangle should be leas than 1.2m or greater than 2.7m. The sum of all the sides should be somewhere between 4m and 7.9m.
The thinking is that the sides of the triangle represent the flow of ‘traffic’ in the kitchen. There should be a natural flow between the key tasks of the working space: cooking (stove), preparation (sink), and storage (fridge).
Planning your perfect open plan space
Open plan kitchens are one of the most sought after features of modern properties. This is hardly a surprise, considering the light and spacious designs they offer, and the versatility they bring to the table. Because of this, many kitchen extension ideas focus on converting the existing kitchen into a space for open plan living.
Typically, an open plan kitchen combines the kitchen and the dining area. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you incorporating a lounge setting into yours too.
Traffic low and circulation space between the various sections of any open plan space are of crucial importance. Passage needs to be unimpeded by furniture of any kind. Not only that, an important safety consideration is ensuring that the working section of the kitchen doesn’t need to be navigated to move from one zone of the space to another.
If open plan living is your thing, you still need to make sure that the kitchen workspace is far enough away from the living area. You don’t want watching television to be spoiled the noise coming from the kitchen. Similarly, carefully consider whether the noisiest appliances, such as tumble dryers and washing machines, need to be accommodated in the kitchen. Noisy spin cycles are not particularly conducive to comfortable open plan living. A separate utility room might be a sensible option, if this can be factored into your kitchen extension plans.
Choose your kitchen extension essentials
It’s really important that you think carefully about what the essentials for your kitchen extension area are. Naturally, you need to decide on the size the kitchen area, dining area and seating area (if there is one) as a proportion of the overall extension space. But what other elements do you want to include? A walk-in larder, breakfast bar, or American-style fridge-freezer? How about a kitchen island or range cooker? Maybe the washing machine and dryer will be included in the kitchen or accommodated in a separate utility room. Will there be sliding or bi-fold doors out into the garden?
How much will your kitchen extension cost?
There’s a bit of a ‘how much is a piece of string?’ ring to this. There are a lot of variables and many things that you need to factor in and things that will affect the total cost. The bottom line is that there are always ways that you can keep costs down. Unsurprisingly, it’s even easier to see costs spiralling – depending on the materials and finishes you choose.
As a rough guide – ballpark figures – you can expect to spend between £1000-£3000 per m². Flooring costs are likely to be £25-£100 per m². Painting or tiling walls is likely to set you back between £50-£100 per m². And you can expect to spend between £25-£200 per m² on the kitchen itself.
Some design ideas to give you inspiration
So far, we’ve covered key things you need to consider when it comes to kitchen extension ideas. By this we mean the practicalities and planning, some tips and tricks to create the illusion of space, and the big decisions you need to make regarding the layout of your extension.
Now it’s time to run through a whole host of design ideas to give you inspiration. First up, how about a garage conversion? Yes, that’s right – there’s no rule saying that you must start from scratch with a kitchen extension. If you have an integral garage, it can be easily converted.
A wraparound extension – extending to the side and rear of a property – can truly transform a property for contemporary living. Victorian properties, particularly, often have land to the side of the house, known as the side return. This forms a L-shaped garden. Extending into this space and thoughtful positioning of kitchen units can leave ample space for dining and living areas.
If entertaining is on the agenda, think about having a large kitchen island – a magnet for guests – and open the space seamlessly with bi-fold doors to a connecting terrace or patio. The inside and outside spaces are now a comfortable social setting, perfect for entertaining.
Space, light and glass – and more extension ideas
Knocking a wall through is an obvious way to create space. This could be to form an open plan space. It’s also a great way to introduce plenty of natural light. Speaking of which, a skylight is a fantastic way to make sure that the space has lots of natural daylight flooding into it. Glass obviously lets like in, but when you partner glass and aluminium, the effect can be especially striking. It keeps the room awash with light and creates a contemporary feel.
Be brave with colour and savvy with storage
An extended and newly reconfigured kitchen is the ideal place to be bold and brave with colour. Block colour can be particularly eye-catching. It can be diluted so that it isn’t too oppressive and overpowering by breaking up the bold sections with patterned tiles or contrasting shades on cabinets.
One thing you should have more space for with a new kitchen extension is storage. An open shelving section can be a great way of making storage both appealing and accessible. Spare yourself all those wasted moments searching for things in the bottom of drawers or at the back of cupboards. Keep frequently used items, from utensils to your favourite cookery books on an open shelf so that things are close at hand. Your kitchen extension storage should be planned with care. If you have the space, it’s a great idea to bank storage units and cabinets together in one space, rather than having them dotted about in a random fashion.
If you have a new or relocated wall as part of your extension, why not go natural? Leaving bricks exposed on an inside wall can be the perfect complement for both classic traditional looks and ultra-modern kitchen designs. What’s more, you know that exposed bricks – reclaimed are the best – will pick up whatever other tones and shades you have in your flooring and cabinets.
It’s a good idea to define the different zones, sections and functions of your extension in some way. Strategically placed units are a great way of doing this. Similarly, a peninsula can serve as a natural break between the kitchen workspace and the dining area. You will also find, if you extend from the back wall into the garden, that the line where the original wall was will usually make a good dividing point.
Kitchen Extension Ideas: Final Tips
As you will have realised reading this blog, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to a kitchen extension. However, there are guiding principles – such as the working triangle – that are best not to ignore. Similarly, you should never underestimate the importance of careful planning. Having said that, it’s perfectly clear that your new kitchen extension can be anything you want it to be. If you would like to pick the brains of the experts, feel free to get in touch with the Kitchen Warehouse team. We are always available to answer any questions you might have.