Expand your Horizons

PUBLISHED: 16:54 20 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:32 20 February 2013

This side-return extension was designed to maximise light into the kitchen

This side-return extension was designed to maximise light into the kitchen

Love your home but need more space? Increasing numbers of homeowners are choosing to undertake home improvements rather than move house. With the stress and expense involved in moving, it's certainly worth considering alternative ways to gain extr...

Remodelling or extending your home can give you the option of creating the house that you want, without having to move area away from family, friends, school catchment areas and all the reasons you choose to live there in the first place. Gaining extra space within your current home can be done in a number of ways - by extending up, sideways, down or out. Extending your property can be very worthwhile; you can add some 'wow' factor to your home, create an open-plan living area, a family room, gain a hobby room such as a gym, a study, an extra bedroom... the possibilities are endless. The key, however, is in proper planning. Careful planning of the design of your home will save you money and heartache in the long run.

Here are four things to consider before thinking about a home renovation:

1 Do you really need the extra space?

Extending, whether it is up, sideways, down or out may be the answer to help you gain the additional space you need. However, have you considered whether you could resolve your space issues within your home by rearranging the existing space or even through clever storage solutions?

2 Consider the balance of your house.

The balance of a property is very important. Creating too big a ground floor or adding too many bedrooms can result in a house that appears awkward and uncomfortable.

3 What will the effect be on your garden or your neighbours?

Think about how the extension will fit with the look of your house, both from the road and the garden. Showing your neighbours your proposals from an early stage can help to keep them 'onside' and help prevent objections later on.

4 How do I find out more information about whether I might require planning permission?

Depending on the size of your house and whether it has had any previous extensions, it might be possible to add an extension to your property under permitted development rights. Planning law is very complex. An architect can help and advise you through the process of planning your extension or help you to make an informed decision on whether an extension is possible. Your local council can also provide advice.

The pros and cons of three typical extensions:

Rear single-storey extension

Suitable for: Any property that has room to extend at the back of the property

Cost: Less than £40k (depending on size)

Job duration: 6-10 months (from planning approval)

Advice: Most small rear extensions can be configured so that they do not need planning permission (unless your property is Listed or in a Conservation Area), so this can be a simple way to maximise the potential of your home and improve its usability by all the family. You could provide a modern combined kitchen and dining area that opens into the garden through glazed doors, for instance. But careful design is needed to ensure that the extension is properly integrated into the design of your house if it is to enhance its appearance and raise its value.

Loft conversion

Suitable for:


Job duration:


Side extension, side return

Suitable for:


Job duration:


Roger Barnes is an architect with Architect Your Home Somerset, which has offices in Wells and Frome. For more information call 0800 849 8505 or visit www.architect-yourhome.com.

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