If you know you need more space, but you’re not financially ready to move to a bigger house just yet (or you love your current house too much to leave it), it’s worth considering extending your home for the remarkable makeover it can bring.
In this guide we’ll show you five different home extension ideas that you could consider to create space and make a few more years in your current home something you will cherish. Let’s explore our top five home extension ideas.
Home extension ideas
1. Reconfigure your existing space
The smartest and most luxurious-feeling home extensions often include the existing space being reconfigured to make the most of the increased square footage, views, extra natural light and/or privacy that the extension affords.
The reconfiguration is usually made possible by knocking down an internal wall or two, or by moving windows or doorways. Aside from considering immovable structural joists, beams and the like, and depending on your budget, you can get really creative about what goes where.
For example, how do you get to the main ‘hub’ of your house (usually the kitchen) from the hallway? Is there an alternative configuration that will feel more intuitive?
Even if your extension just adds a few square feet to your kitchen, you could reconfigure the whole space to add a kitchen island, a utility room or a cosy nook.
How close is your dining room to the kitchen? In fact, do the dining room and kitchen need to be separate anymore? One of the most popular home renovation projects is to knock through to create an open plan kitchen diner/ living space, which can significantly increase the value of your home.
Think about how your extension will affect the amount of light coming into your original rooms. Extensions with lots of glazing do well here.
2. Consider a Two-Storey Extension
Building a two-storey extension makes a lot of sense if you want to get maximum value for money out of your extension. This is because the most expensive tasks of building an extension are to add extra foundations and extra roofing, according to the average cost per square metre. Everything in between the foundations and the roof is cheaper!
If you already have a single-storey structure that is ripe for extending on top of, such as a garage, you could consider this too, as long as the garage’s structure and foundations will support another storey.
3. Garage conversion
A conversion typically takes less time and money to complete than a similar sized extension. And, a well-planned garage conversion is one of the more affordable ways to add that much-needed extra space. You’ve already got the foundations, walls and roof, the wiring is often adequate and if the garage is attached to your house, you already have a door into the rest of the house. Three down, several more to go… but it’s much less expensive than starting from scratch.
You may need planning permission for your garage conversion, which we’ll talk about in greater detail below.
So what kind of room can your garage become?
Because it’s at the front of your home, a lot of home renovators turn the garage into a large family room or even an expanded kitchen/diner.
What do I do about the garage door?
Good question! Once that large up-and-over canopy door is removed, you’ve got to fill in the space with something that doesn’t look out of place with the rest of your house. Instead of covering up the fact that it used to be a huge door (by laying a big section of brick wall, for example), many successful garage conversions make a feature of that large entryway with a large picture window, bay window – or boldly making it the new entryway into their home.
Converting the garage floor
You may need to get your old garage floor levelled. Most garage floors are uninsulated (and sometimes sloping) concrete slabs, which could be several inches below the floor level inside your home.
Insulating your garage conversion
Your garage is cold! It’s often built with a single skin wall made of brick or block, so it stands to reason that you’ll need to insulate it during the conversion. Internal insulation saves more space than external insulation and it’s easier to do with insulated plasterboard, damp-proof course for the walls and a fibre-glass quilt for the ceiling.
Central heating in your converted garage
Make sure you plan and install your insulation first so you know how much heat you’ll need. If your garage is attached to the rest of your house, great! You may be able to extend your existing central heating system into the converted garage. If your garage doesn’t connect that way or you want another nifty option, a great idea is underfloor heating, which would be easy to lay on your levelled concrete floor then just add your flooring of choice.
Wiring your converted garage
Most garages have a single lighting circuit and maybe a socket or two. If you think you’re going to need more power than that (for instance, if it’s going to be your new kitchen or a space for entertaining), you should consider adding a few new 20-amp circuits.
If your garage is connected to the rest of your home, you can run the wiring underground from the house. If you’re not handy with electricity – and not many DIYers are – make sure you get a professional electrician to carry out your plans for any additional circuits.
Plumbing your garage conversion
Adding plumbing lines is often the single biggest expense in a garage conversion project. The drainage can be a tricky job to sort out if you want your garage conversion to include a bathroom or toilet. You can check your house plan to see whether your garage has been built over existing drains, or if you don’t have a plan, contact your local water company to find out.
When it comes to plumbing your garage conversion, getting expert advice from a professional plumber about the options for your particular situation is the best tip we can give.
Do I need planning permission for a garage conversion?
It depends on what you’re planning. If the work is internal only and doesn’t involve extending the garage externally, then it should be covered under ‘permitted development rights’.
However, sometimes permitted development rights have been removed by condition. If you intend on converting your garage into a ‘granny flat’ or bedsit, for example, separate building and planning permission would usually be required.
4. Extending to the rear
Your budget for a rear extension can be as big as you want – if you have the room to extend into your garden. It’s a great way to open up space by connecting your garden with your home and if it’s built for outdoor entertainment and dining then all the better for the value of your home.
Rear extensions include some of the more creative ideas for extensions because they are often hidden from public view or the road. Extending to the rear can mean adding a modern, spacious and contemporary glazed kitchen diner into a more traditional, cosy oak-beamed home, for example.
5. A micro extension
We’ve seen so many clever micro extensions we just had to include this idea if it’s not on your radar. A micro extension requires minimal work and expense in comparison to major extensions like extending to the rear, but they can make a huge impact on the feeling of your home. People usually do this to add a touch of luxury, like a reading nook or seated area, with plenty of glazing, lighting and comfy soft-furnishings.
All the best with your extension, we hope we’ve given you some useful extension ideas that suit your budget and will get you off to a good start. Remember to get help or advice at every step of your journey as it could save you headaches later on. Many home renovators need our help in the form of appliance cover or plumbing and drainage cover as they contemplate making big changes to their home’s fixtures. If you’re a landlord, take a look at our landlord’s comparison. We also have a comparison tool for our electrical breakdown cover here.
How can I extend my home cheaply?
A garage conversion is one of the cheaper ways to extend the living space of your home. The foundations and walls are in place, so it’s a great, low-budget idea
What is the average cost of a home extension?
The average cost per m2 for an extension is between £1,200 and £2,000. In London and the South East, the average cost per m2 is around £1,500-£2,000+. For two-storey extensions, add 50% to the cost of a single-storey extension. If you want to add a bathroom or kitchen, add £5,000-£10,000.
Is a small extension worth it?
Absolutely. A micro extension can add tons of value and comfort to your home without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.