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Stunning Kitchen Extension Ideas — Get the Perfect Design

bright kitchen extension with rooflight and exposed brick
(Image credit: Chris Snook)

Our collection of brilliant kitchen extension ideas will give prospective projects food for thought and plenty of design inspiration. No matter what stage your project is at, these ideas of all shapes sizes and budget (including before and after galleries) are both achievable and show-stopping. 

One of the most popular reasons for building an extension, creating a bigger kitchen space is a great way to curate a new hub of the family home. 

From small side returns on a terrace houses to full-width rear extensions on semi-detached properties, kitchen extensions offer the chance to rearrange a layout which doesn't quite work for your lifestyle and can give a tired home a new lease of life. 

Use Kitchen Extension Ideas to Create a Great Brief

Whether you're working with an architect, designer or doing the planning on a DIY basis, hunting around to find kitchen ideas, designs and styles that inspire you, or would work with your existing home, is a fantastic starting point to work out a priority list and design brief

"The first question we ask a client is 'why are you undertaking this project?'", explains Helena Myers, director of The Myers Touch Design Studio. "It'll really get you thinking about what it is you want and will help you and the designer to begin exploring what outcome you hope a new kitchen space will bring."

Try to consider what the new kitchen space will be used for. Kitchens are rarely used simple to cook in anymore, so considering family seating, a small home office space or a children's play area will help kick start the layout. 

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corten clad rear kitchen extension to detached house

Wanting to maximise space in their dated 1930s house renovation and prioritise it for family living, Ed and Melissa Addington chosen an open-plan layout with defined spaces (Image credit: Chris Snook)
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bright kitchen extension ideas with rooflight

Designed by Stylus Architects, the rear extension features different zoning techniques such as changes in flooring, flat rooflights and partitioning walls to divide the large space. (Image credit: Chris Snook)
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kitchen extension of detached house before and after

BEFORE (Image credit: Ed Addington)
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kitchen extension with family room layout

A quiet family space sits around the corner from the main kitchen and dining area. (Image credit: Chris Snook)

1. Design an Extension Which is the Right Size for You

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small kitchen extension ideas for terrace houses

A small side extension was all that was needed to unlock the potential of this classic terrace house. Copious amounts of glazing provide the homeowners with a greater connection to the garden, even in dreary weather. (Image credit: c/o Create Bespoke)
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modern kitchen extension with green tiles

The picture window looking out towards the garden is inlayed with Iroko timber. (Image credit: c/o Create Bespoke)

(MORE: Picture Windows)

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terrace house before kitchen extension

BEFORE: While the space is a similar size, the transformation is incredible. (Image credit: Jess Young)
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kitchen extension ideas with large sliding doors

A large sliding door is a great way to create a connection with the garden. (Image credit: c/o Create Bespoke)

(MORE: Patio Doors)

Kitchen extensions don't have to be huge, sprawling design to transform an existing house. By utilising large glazing and window styles and other small kitchen extension ideas, a greater connection with the garden can be established without making it smaller.

Bifold or sliding patio doors are fantastic options that offer views out all year round, while installing a large roof lantern can bring in plenty of natural light to the new space.  

"Don't always assume that the only way to get what you want for your home is the widest, longest extension you can achieve under planning permission or Permitted Development," advises Laura Jane Clark, director of Lamp Architects

"Often a big square extension can result in a dark cavernous home that will need extensive rooflights, windows and additional lighting. As cost-saving alternative, think about clever ways to use your design that will minimise the need for a huge extension."

2. Let in the Light with an Orangery-Inspired Extension

small kitchen extension with orangery style roof lantern

(Image credit: Vale Garden Houses)

When designing a kitchen extension, spend time and effort on making sure plenty natural light infiltrates the space — but don't make the rest of the house feel dark! This is a delicate balance, but one that is important to get right. 

Find inspiration from kitchen conservatory extensions in how to incorporate rooflight, roof lanterns and patio doors into the new space. 

Although beware of the Building Regs rule that states that the area of windows, roof windows and glazed doors mustn't account for more than 25% of the extension's floor area. 

"The reason for this restriction is simply down to thermal efficiency," explains chartered surveyor Ian Rock. "If you want large amounts of glazing, one solution is to demonstrate that the overall heat loss of your extension with the increased area of glass will be no worse than if you'd stick to the 25% rule." 

3. Plan The Hub of the Home: An Open Plan Space

white rendered kitchen extension with pitched roof

(Image credit: Juliet Murphy)

Open plan has long dominated kitchen extension layout designs, and for good reason, but be sure to take the time to organise the space from the early planning stages. 

For ideas on how to design a combined kitchen, diner and family room – from circulation spaces to buying appliances – take a look at our guide to open plan kitchens

This 1930s semi was extended by Iguana Architects. The new space is inspired by biophilic design, with a butterfly roof pitch and green roof covering.

4. Add a Rear Extension to a Semi-Detached House

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white rendered rear kitchen extension

The homeowner of this three-bedroom semi-detached house in Shropshire built a rear kitchen extension to make room for their family. The key to the design was to create flexible spaces that would adapt as the children grew older and priorities changes. (Image credit: Mo Photo c/o KE-Design)
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semi detached home with kitchen extension before and after

BEFORE: The house had a tiny kitchen and an old conservatory that was only usable three months of the year. The conservatory was knocked down and replaced with a flat-roofed extension and a new bedroom on the second storey. (Image credit: Ros Bridges)
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Kitchen extension ideas with working space

The concealed work space was built-in just after the first lockdown in 2020. The kitchen designer created a space that could be closed off after work. (Image credit: Mo Photo c/o KE-Design)

(MORE: Home Office Design)

Creating much-needed space with a rear kitchen extension can transform a semi detached home. It's not often this style of homes is organised to make the most of garden views or to house a large, open-plan cooking area so extending to the back can unlock their potential.

Be sure to consider the roof line when looking at rear extension ideas. A flat roof, like the one above, might allow you to maximise ceiling height without blocking out first floor windows. 

Alternatively, create a vaulted ceiling extension with a pitched roof for a truly special addition to an existing house. 

5. Transform a Galley Kitchen with an L-shaped Wrap-around Extension

galley kitchen with island in kitchen extension

(Image credit: LochAnna Kitchens)

Open up a dark and pokey galley kitchen with a wrap around extension. Extending out to the rear and side will not only increase a home's value, but rearranging the existing rooms to suit an open plan lifestyle will also make the layout flow more easily. 

The new steel beams of this extension reveal the previous layout of the existing home. Cleverly the galley kitchen has ben opened up with a wrap-around extension that provides a new dining space and seating area. 

6. Bring New Materials into a Kitchen Design

open plan kitchen and dining space with wood cladding

(Image credit: Richard Chivers)

Bring a new material into a kitchen extension using a tile splashback, a quirky worktop or internal timber cladding ideas

Previously suffering from low ceilings and a lack of natural light, the kitchen and dining space of this terrace has been reconfigured by Yard Architects, thanks to a single storey extension

Strip rooflights bring light into the new space while oak batten cladding lines the dining space and back wall of the kitchen, concealing the larder cupboard and fridge. 

7. Design a Space Tailored to Your Home

large rear brick extension with sliding doors and overhang

(Image credit: Jim Stephenson c/o nimtim Architects)

"The homeowners behind this extension project are Mediterranean and they wanted an outdoor covered are to sit and enjoy the garden," explains Allie Mckinnon, project runner for nimtim Architects

"The house is west facing at the rear and we designed the roof canopy to give shelter as well as reduce solar gain from the largely glazed extension. 

"We also added in opening rooflights to bring in additional light and to create air movement and ventilation through the space. For those extending, the aspect of your design is important to consider and we would suggest plotting the proposed scheme in-situ and noting how to sunlight affects this area throughout the day."

8. Look to the Side to Increase Space

glazed side extension to white rendered house

(Image credit: Richard Downer c/o Van Ellen Sheryn Architects)

Don't sacrifice valued garden space for your new extension and build to the side of the house instead. 

Side extension ideas can come in all shapes and sizes, but when installing a kitchen into the addition, be sure the flow from one end of the house to the other is seamless. 

A stone lean-to shed was replaced with a contemporary glass extension designed by van Ellen + Sheryn to extend the kitchen diner. A large glazed extension provides views out to the garden. 

9. Ensure a Level Threshold Transition from Kitchen Extension to Outside

kitchen extension with views of garden through bifold doors

(Image credit: Origin)

When installing bifold or sliding patio doors in a new extension, the devil is in the detail. The difference by high and low quality materials will be noticeable after years of use — make sure your choice is the right one. 

"A priority in this project was the threshold. The homeowners wanted to minimise the step from the inside to outside environments, while ensuring it remained watertight," explains Victoria Brocklesby, COO at Origin

"After getting in touch with Origin, they were put into contact with their local partner whose installer sunk the threshold into the floor which left a minimal step of just 14mm."

10. Go Sustainable When Choosing Fixtures and Fittings

second hand kitchen in new extension

(Image credit: Used Kitchen Exchange)

While a brand new kitchen bespoke to the space and your lifestyle is extremely tempting during a project, considering a second hand kitchen is an amazing way to cut-costs or get a higher-quality finish for less. 

This beautiful walnut kitchen in an orangery-inspired extension was originally priced at £60,000 and designed for another family home. The new owner bought it from the Used Kitchen Exchange for just £9,000 complete with Miele appliances. 

11. Make a Kitchen Extension Stand Out with Cladding

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corten clad rear kitchen extension ideas

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)
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blue kitchen in a large extension

The open-plan space features a kitchen from DeVOL and a family sitting area. (Image credit: Simon Maxwell)
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kitchen extension with rooflights and sliding doors

Sliding pocket doors provide views of the garden, while a custom roof window also bring natural light deep into the floorplan. (Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

A new extension is not just an opportunity to transform interior spaces, but also to give the exterior of a tired or dated home a refresh and regeneration. 

Opting for interesting house cladding choices can take an extension from being a square box to a stunning new space with wow-factor. 

This terrace kitchen extension used corten steel to complement the shades within the original Victorian brickwork. 

12. Extend to the Side for a Spacious Terrace Kitchen

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glass filled orangery kitchen extension

Indoor-ourdoor tiles have been laid over underfloor heating in this terrace extension before leading out to the garden patio for a seamless transition. (Image credit: David Barbour)
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kitchen extension to terrace house with layout remodel

While the side-return extension only added 13m2, the ground floor had been opened up to create a sociable kitchen, dining and living space. The room at the front of the house, however, can be closed off for some privacy. (Image credit: David Barbour)

Utilising the wasted space to the side of a terrace house is one of the most popular extension designs. Essentially doubling the size of the kitchen space, often a dining or sitting area is created. 

This home's glass extension to the side of the previous galley kitchen has opened up the space to suit a dining area with roof lights above. 

How Can I Extend my Kitchen Area?

"The input of an experienced designer will really help stitch the old with the new," says Deputy Editor Michelle Guy. "They will ideally consider how the new space flows and connected with the existing house, whether to opt for a contemporary extension or something that blends with the existing house, and the size and scale of the extension — often referred to as 'massing'.

Your extension will need to comply with the Building Regulations and inspected at different stage of the build. If your extension involves a boundary wall, you will need to comply with the Party Wall Act (and serve a Party Wall Notice to adjoining neighbours). 

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rear extension to semi detached house

Although simple, this new extension to a semi-detached home creates the perfect spot for the young family to catch up after a long day — including a small seating area and a long table to gather round during meal times. (Image credit: Simon Maxwell)
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family room and kitchen extension

The homeowners designed the kitchen to be a great space to entertain, right down to an extra sink which can be filled with ice to chill wine. They also fitted LVT flooring to withstand the high traffic of the new family and kitchen space. (Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

(MORE: Designing a Kitchen Island)

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Kitchen Extension?

If a single-storey extension plan is less than 8m in depth from the rear of the existing house, you do not need planning permission for a kitchen extension, as this would fall under Permitted Development (PD) rights.

"These PD rights are set out fairly clearly in government guidance on the planning system — detailed rules are found within 'Permitted Development rights for householders: technical guidance' which is available on www.gov.uk," advises planning consultant Ken Dijksman. 

"Understanding PD rights can be really helpful if you make a planning application for something that is just a little larger than PD allows," he continues. "This is because the council is duty-bound to compare what you want with what you can do anyway.

"If PD would allow you a certain size of extension and what you want to build is a few metres higher or longer, remember that the council can only actually assess the impact of those additional elements. The fall back is your PD, and they cannot prevent that, so it's only the additional amount that they can legitimately object to."

Assistant Editor Amy began working for Homebuilding & Renovating in 2018. She has an interest in sustainable building methods and always has her eye on the latest design ideas. Amy has interviewed countless self builders, renovators and extenders about their experiences for Homebuilding & Renovating magazine. She is currently renovating a mid-century home, together with her partner, on a DIY basis, and has recently fitted her own kitchen.