September 27, 2022

Extension ideas for every budget :11 affordable ways to improve your home

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  • With few houses on the market and spiralling living costs, more people are staying put in their homes and extending. Whether it’s out to the rear, to the side, single or double storey, up into the loft space or simply a porch, there are extension ideas for every budget.

    Increasing the square footage of your home will add value too, so you it’s more of an investment. How much an extension costs depends on the where you’re adding the extra space and how much space square footage you’re looking to add.

    Adding extra bedrooms or bathrooms is always a good way to increase the house value, by as much as 12%. Adding light, re-configuring rooms to make the house flow better or making room for a home office or playroom are all great ways to improve your living space. You could also link stand-alone areas such as outbuildings to the main house to make them more usable.

    Extension ideas for every budget

    ‘The high costs of moving home, stamp duty etc. have had a significant impact on the housing market and it makes sense to investigate the possibility of extending your existing home,’ Says Richard Atkins, Director of Design at DesignSpace London.

    ‘Whether it’s upwards, sideways or backwards, extensions can enhance natural light, link existing areas of the property to make better use of the space and improve the overall design. Turning a cramped space into something lighter and airer, and that works better for your family.’

    1. Consider a single storey extension

    Image credit: Andy Matthews

    Single storey extensions are often the cheapest and most viable option, and could totally transform a small home, bringing in light, extra living space and opening up the house to the garden. There are extension ideas for every budget including installing glazed doors and roof lights to bring light in, such as the huge roof light and large pivot door leading to the garden in this home. A small box window or oriel has also been added which has a window seat with a small table in front to create a great neat seating area.

    This small kitchen extension is the work of Studio Bua – featuring a single pivot door, roof light and side box window. An architect designed extension like this would start at around £100k. Extension ideas for small houses can go a long way to changing how limited space is utilised, a worthwhile investment.

    2. Utilise a side return

    Glazed side extension

    Image credit: IQ Glass

    A lot of terraced or semi-detached houses, often from the Victorian era, have a small passageway at the side of the house which is often a dumping ground for bikes, the bins and garden stuff. This seemingly small space could be incorporated into the main house to give extra space with not too much upheaval. As this seemingly simple IQ Glass extension demonstrates. With minimal building chaos the kitchen is doubled in size and flooded with natural light.

    Just a few feet can make all the difference and change the way you use the room, and if it’s part of a bigger rear extension, it can turn a dark narrow space into an airy, open-plan living space or kitchen diner. A similar side infill like this with structural glazing and a structural glass roof would start from £20,000. But it does all depend on what finishes are used and whether solar control is included.

    3. Extend up into the roof

    glazed loft extension

    Image credit: James Munro, Granit Architecture and Interiors/ Andrew Beasley

    Utilising the roof space is a no-brainer, especially if you live in a top floor flat. It’s also a popular extension ideas for bungalows. This Granit Architecture extension creates a wonderful light-filled space with the added benefit of a roof terrace. This has been created with two connected glass dormers on top of a terraced house and now offers a rooftop living room and study, and a bedroom and en-suite bathroom.

    This extension would have a starting price of £75,000 as the loft already existed, it would be more expensive if a new storey had to be built.

    4. Buy ‘off-the-shelf’ to save budget

    glass extension to add onto the rear of a house

    Image credit: Solarlux Winter Garden, around £55,000,  Thames Valley Window Company

    It is possible to buy ‘off-the-shelf’ glass extensions like this Solarlux Winter Garden. The Thames Valley Window Company creation that doesn’t require extensive building and is therefore less expensive. It’s a more cost-effective way to gain an extension and will save time and money. They start from £2,5000 m2 and there are four different styles to choose from. This shows there are extension ideas for every budget.

    5. Create a better flow

    Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki

    This Victorian house was dark and cramped but by adding a single storey extension and incorporating the side return, the whole downstairs flows better and with much improved use of the space. Thanks to the thoughtful side return extension ideas there is now a bigger open-plan kitchen with dining space, more storage and much better access to the garden.

    6. Open up with glazing

    Kitchen with window extension and retractable doors

    Image credit: Russian For Fish

    Replacing walls with large glazed doors means this kitchen is completely open to the garden. There is no threshold, so you can walk straight out to make the most of the garden, which becomes an extension of the house. This once dark room at the back of a Victorian house is now flooded with light and it makes a fantastic entertaining space.

    A large box window also adds a useful shelf for sitting or for displaying plants, and brings even more light in. An extension like this with Russian For Fish would cost from around £140,000.

    6. Get the kitchen you want

    A kitchen extension with large windows looking out onto a garden

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Most people embark on an extension to improve their kitchen, either because it’s small, dark or an awkward shape. Getting an architect and designer involved at an early stage is essential to get everything you want or sometimes a clever builder can create space you hadn’t even thought about. Expect to pay from £50,000 for a kitchen extension, but obviously it depends on the size and specification.

    ‘Think of a kitchen extension as adding quality not quantity, by adding the things the existing room is missing – such as natural light, ceiling height, an interesting view, access to the garden etc.’ says Howard Miller, of bespoke kitchen designers, H. Miller Bros. ‘You can transform an existing room by adding just 3m2 if that space has a nice tall ceiling with a skylight, places to hang lighting or plants, a big picture window with a window seat or a beautiful view through a set of doors to the garden.’

    7. Think about a porch

    white terraced house exterior with small porch extension and white picket fence

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    If your front door opens directly onto the living room, or you have a small hallway, a porch is a good option, it could be used for coats, shoes, bags and prevents dirty footprints being walked directly into the house. It is also a useful barrier from the elements.

    A porch in keeping with your home could be an asset and could add value to your home, however, make sure the porch is in proportion, it shouldn’t be higher than 3m at the highest point and the ground area measured externally should not exceed 3 m2, but it should be no smaller than 2 m2 to make it worthwhile. It must also be over 2m from the road or boundary. You generally don’t need planning permission for a porch.

    Adding a small front porch will cost from £2,000 to build, depending on requirements.

    8. Convert the garage

    Small living room TV ideas with freestanding shelving unit

    Image credit: Future PLC/Jo Henderson

    Garages become dumping grounds for all sorts of stuff and often the car doesn’t get a look-in, but it could be a much-needed extra room.Garages welcome extension ideas for every budget, because of the relatively simple nature of the build. The structure is already there, so it doesn’t need to be built from scratch, just converted, so it’s a cost-effective way to gain more living space.

    Or consider building a room above a garage, but remember to include plenty of insulation to prevent it from feeling cold. Converting a single integral garage will cost from £12,500.

    9. Add an atrium

    A conservatory with brick walls, a radiator and bench painted cream

    Image credit: Vale Garden Houses

    An atrium is another way of bringing in light and they are often used to create a design statement entrance. They are essentially a large open-air, skylight-covered space surrounded by a building, and can be made in all styles, contemporary or traditional. Structural glazing for atriums generally start at £1000 per m sq.

    10. Gain outside space with a balcony

    balcony garden from kitchen

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Scarboro

    A balcony on the first floor will extend the space and bring in light and ventilation to a bedroom, first floor living room or even kitchen. For a stunning design feature opt for a contemporary glass balcony. A weatherproof balcony will create an extra seating area and will also make the most of any views, all year round. Another extension idea for every budget. As a guide to budget glass balustrades start from £750 per linear metre, for a standard external balcony fixed to the floor.

    11. Welcome a conservatory or Orangery

    A bright and airy conservatory with a dining table and grey chairs

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Traditionally, a conservatory was a building attached to the main house and was a place to grow plants, whereas orangeries were grand buildings used to grow orange trees in period homes. Nowadays, conservatory extension ideas and orangeries are pretty much the same thing – an extension of the main house to provide an extra room. They provide ideal space for a dining room or additional lounge area.

    The legal definition in the UK is that it is a building with at least 50% side walls and 75% roof area. Conservatories and orangeries come under permitted development, so there is usually no need for planning permission. Expect to pay between £4000 – £10,000 for a fairly standard conservatory.

    What is the cheapest way to build an extension?

    When it comes to exploring extension ideas for every budget calculating accurate costs are key. Obviously doing it yourself is the cheapest option if you have the skills. Most of the elements can be bought separately – bi-fold doors start from around £1200 a panel and roof lanterns start from around £1350, but it might be an idea to have a professional designer draw up plans.

    ‘A glazed structure is a fantastic way to build an extension at a fraction of the cost’, says Ryan Schofield of The Thames Valley Window Company. ‘Which depending on the size, can be added to your home for under £20k. A traditional glass conservatory starts from around £1800 m2 with contemporary winter gardens and orangeries starting from £2,500 m2.’

    What type of extension adds value?

    Extension ideas for every budget add value to a house, when done right. ‘If an extension is an asset to a building and it is built to regulation and based on the design and materials all being used in the correct way, then this will certainly add value to your property.’ Says David Conlon founder of En Masse Bespoke.

    ‘Some extensions will add a far greater value to the property than the build cost, so this is certainly the sweet spot you should aim for in your design and budget stage. If you’re concerned about the project paying for itself, it could be wise to consult an estate agent to gauge how much the property would increase in value with the extension in place.’

    ‘A house extension will almost always add value to your home but the amount of value that an extension will add to a property’s value will vary considerably, depending on the size, style and complexity of the extension, not to mention the location of the property’ says Mike Fairman of Checkatrade.

    ‘In the UK, an average 3-bedroom house with an extension that creates a double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom can add up to 10-12% to the value of the property. It’s important to do your homework to understand how the design of your extension will impact the value it adds to your home. Adding double bedrooms and bathrooms tend to add the most value.’

    If one of the main goals of your house extension is to add as much value to your home as possible, please see below.

    • Loft conversion – average value add: up to 20%
    •  Single-storey extension – average value add: 5-8%
    • Double-storey extension – average value add: up to 12%
    • Conservatory – average value add: 5-7%
    • Garage conversion – average value add: 10-20%