If your current kitchen lacks light, space, style, or all three, you may have already considered a kitchen extension. And because the design world is – just how we like it – ever changing, there are plenty of new kitchen extension trends to keep abreast of.
You’ll need sufficient outdoor space to spare, of course, but one of the main benefits of kitchen extensions is the creation of better links to the garden – perfect for entertaining and keeping an eye on the children while they play.
Start from the beginning with our guide toKitchen extensions – expert ideas for planning the perfect kitchen extension
There’s plenty to consider before you take the plunge, beginning with whether you will be able to live in the house while the work is in progress. A large rear extension can often be sealed off from the rest of the property until the final few weeks, but a wraparound or two-storey extension may prove too disruptive.
'Whatever style of extension you choose, it’s important that it doesn’t cast the existing rooms in darkness or make them redundant. The most efficient way of mitigating this is to include glazed roof sections or roof lights as part of the design. Think holistically about how the new and old spaces will work in harmony together,' says Neil Tomlinson of Neil Tomlinson Architects.
KITCHEN EXTENSION TRENDS
1. LESS IS MORE
An orangery-style extension has more solid walls than a glass-heavy conservatory or modern ‘glass box’ extension, making orangeries a better option for positioning fitted kitchen units, while still enjoying plenty of sunlight. Less glass also means the interior temperature is a little easier to control.
Here, standard height windows allow a full elevation of base units along the rear, while two impressive islands accommodate cooking and entertaining.
Enquire online: The Macassar kitchen, POA, Smallbone of Devizes
2. UNUSUAL L-SHAPES
Going for the biggest extension you can afford might sound savvy, but sometimes it pays to think more creatively.Here, an unusual side and rear extension has transformed this previously small, dark kitchen, without losing too much space outside.
Positioning the kitchen in the narrowest part of the room has provided panoramic views when cooking, leaving the prime garden views to the large dining table.
Bi-folding doors opposite the island open onto a sun-trap terrace, effectively doubling the size of the kitchen and creating the perfect space for cooking al fresco.
Enquire online: The Shaker range, POA, Harvey Jones
3. THE WIDE LEAN-TO
A lean-to extension effectively doubled the width of this busy family kitchen, which includes a home office area, large island and dining. White-washed beams on the sloped ceiling adds a chic, beach house air that complements the fresh, painted kitchen.
'A banquette at the island can prove a real star when you’re trying to maximise every inch; it’s more comfortable than bar stools but you still get all the storage and prep space of a regular island,' explains designer Kate Counihan of Humphrey Munson.
Enquire online: The Nickleby kitchen, Humphrey Munson
4. DOUBLING UP
Connected to a traditional Victorian property via a sleek glass atrium, this impressive two-storey extension was primarily built to create a sun-filled home for the kitchen, which was previously hidden away in the basement. A mezzanine floor allows double-height windows; the owners will never cook in the shadows again.
A 4.5m-long island defines the kitchen area. 'The island may be big,' says designer Oli Moss of Roundhouse.'But raising it on legs and adding an open steel bar section at one end, visually lightens the load.'
Enquire online: Bespoke Classic kitchen, Roundhouse
5. CLERESTORY WINDOWS
Clerestory windows – slimline glazing well above eye level – offer an opportune way to bring in light, without losing precious wall space for cabinetry. Particularly effective on south and south-east facing walls, they can let in vital shafts of daylight that make all the difference to a kitchen.
Clerestory windows can also prove practical on privacy grounds if a property is overlooked.
6. BRIDGING THE DIVIDE
New extensions can appear awkward and disjointed, especially if large RSJ supports create a clear visual divide between old and new.
Here, the layout of the kitchen cabinetry has been used to merge the original building with the new extension to create a more cohesive space.
'Island units can be particularly useful as they draw attention downwards, away from architecture. You can also use wall cabinets to disguise vertical joists,' says Simon Bodsworth, Managing Director, Daval Furniture.
7. ROOF LANTERNS
Vaulted upwards to the sky, a roof lantern can add an impressive design feature in your extension.
Offering a more classical choice than flat skylights, lanterns also benefit from a central ridge beam, which is perfect for suspending a statement pendant light or two.
This is especially important above an island unit, which requires good task lighting for food prepping. For that reason, try to plan the position of the lantern in tandem with your kitchen layout to ensure it aligns neatly with the cabinetry below.
8. GETTING THE RIGHT BALANCE
A stylish rear extension with 3m-high ceilings and wall-to-wall Crittall-style glazing has created the perfect open-plan kitchen with more than enough space to entertain.
'The biggest challenge in such a large space was to create furniture that was perfectly balanced. Being too minimal would make the room look stark and empty. But too extravagant would make it feel crowded and over-powering,' says designer Scott Nicholson. A well-executed layout and a mix of walnut, liquid brass and pale lacquered cabinetry was the winning solution.
9. WALL-TO-WALL BI-FOLDS
A full stretch of bi-folding doors will open up your kitchen to the garden, providing the dream indoor/outdoor lifestyle experience in summer months. The width of your extension will determine how many doors you go for but aim for as few as possible to enjoy virtually uninterrupted views when closed.
Outward opening bi-folds are best as you won’t lose valuable floor space inside your kitchen.
Enquire online: The Architectural kitchen collection, Martin Moore
10. ZONE FROM ABOVE
Embracing different ceiling types on your extension can lead to a much more dynamic living space.
Here, switching up the ceilings helps to zone the open-plan kitchen. A vaulted ceiling provides drama in the kitchen, lower tongue-and-groove creates intimacy in the dining area and glass offers a sun-filled spot to sit back and enjoy the gardens.
Enquire online: Bespoke kitchen by Davonport
WILL A KITCHEN EXTENSION ADD VALUE?
A well-executed extension that’s carefully planned and beautifully designed will always add value to your life. If you’re doing it to gain much needed living space, you’ll never regret the investment. In terms of financial value, you should weigh up the cost of the build versus how much it will increase the value of your house.
If you spend £100,000 on an extension, will your house be worth £100,000 more? If it’s a two-bedroom property with no parking for example, the answer is probably no. A poorly constructed or laid-out extension could actually devalue your home. As could one that takes away too much garden, although the council’s planning department is unlikely to permit this scenario.
DO I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION FOR A KITCHEN EXTENSION?
'A good source of information regarding planning permission is on your local council or authority's website. Not all builds require planning permission and they might be covered under what’s known as "permitted development rights",' says Richard Davonport, director of Davonport.
'There are additional restrictions on homes in conservation areas, national parks, and world heritage sites. So it is crucial to do your homework and seek guidance from an expert and your local planning authority before any work begins.'
HOW MUCH DO KITCHEN EXTENSIONS COST?
It is wise to cost out the kitchen and extension as two separate jobs. Unless you are getting both from the same builder or contractor.
The cost of extending depends on a range of factors. These include size, height (one storey or two), who will manage and build it, and the quality of materials. Glass can be one of the biggest expenses, especially if you want large single panels or specialist features like solar control or self-cleaning.
A figure somewhere between £1,000-£2,000 per square metre is often suggested as a ballpark guide.
Similarly, the cost of a kitchen is largely governed by size, materials and how it is built. You can get an off-the-shelf kitchen installed, with basic appliances and worktops, for as little as £5,000. Or you could pay in excess of £30,000 for a bespoke design.
A good architect or kitchen designer will happily talk you through costings and offer ideas on how to make savings without compromising the end vision.