Above: This extension comprises a glazed roof section coupled with bi-folding doors that provide access to the garden across the entire width of the kitchen. Both the roof section and the doors are well insulated, making the room comfortable to live in all year round. The bi-folding doors and glazed roof (as shown), are priced at £2,400 per sq. m, from The Caulfield Company

Hankering after a bigger kitchen? You may not need to start thinking about moving. An extension could maximise your home’s potential, add extra living space and create a greater connection with the outdoors. With careful planning, it could also work out to be a more cost-effective option in the long term. Your options will heavily depend on the age and style of your property. If you have a period home, you could extend sideways to exploit the side return (that’s the dark and pokey passage that was originally the route to the outdoor toilet). You may be able to extend across the breadth of the house, known as a full-width extension. Alternatively, you may find that a side return extension combined with a rear extension, to create a wraparound effect, could suit the space better.

Above: The owners of this Victorian terrace commissioned JLB Property Developments to create a ground floor side return extension with bi-folding doors and a bespoke kitchen. The cabinetry is painted in Railings by Farrow & Ball and topped with Carrara marble work surfaces. For continuity, the engineered white-stained oak flooring indoors gives way to honed limestone in the garden. A similar extension is from around £70,000 for construction, and similar kitchens start from around £15,000

Whatever the age of your home, if you’ve got a large garden, you can think about extending outwards to create an L-shaped effect. This will add space as well as giving you more access to the garden. Or, if capturing daylight is your goal, consider a glass box extension to complement a modern home or make a counterpoint to period architecture. An extension is a big project, and you’ll need to make some big decisions before you start. First, think carefully about your needs: why do you need the space and how do you plan to use it? This will help you tailor it to your lifestyle. You’ll also want to check how it will affect the value of your house – a local estate agent should be able to give a good indication. Once you’ve understood the financial basics, you can talk to the professionals. Be upfront about your budget (which should include a 10 per cent contingency fund to cover unforeseen costs) so that builders, architects and kitchen designers can realistically assess what they can achieve for the money.

Planning permission is another essential aspect to consider. You may not need to apply for it if your home is covered by permitted development (automatic planning permission for certain kinds of development) but this doesn’t apply if you live in a conservation area or an area of natural beauty, and there are other conditions too. For example, if your extension is more than half the area of land around the original house, you will need planning permission. Find out if your plans fall under the permitted development guidelines online at hoa.org.uk. Whether your project requires planning permission or not, it will need to conform to building regulations. These ensure that building work conforms to legal standards for structural integrity, fire safety, energy efficiency, damp proofing and ventilation. Does your extension fall under the Party Wall Act? It might if you’re digging new foundations close to your neighbour’s property, for example. Learn when you need a party wall agreement at HomeOwners Alliance (see website above).

Above: The owners of this Victorian terrace created space for a new kitchen without sacrificing the garden by extending sideways into the side return. The Bovingdon kitchen by Cue & Co of London is handpainted in Dark Lead by Little Greene and features polished concrete worktops. Kitchens at Cue & Co of London start from £35,000

Typically, a kitchen extension will open up to the great outdoors with glazed doors fitted across the rear. Popular options include bi-folding, sliding and pocket doors (although these can be costly: in general, the less frame you see, the more expensive it will be). If you’re concerned about light levels, try roof lights to bring light into darker areas of the space.

Article by: Sophie Baylis