ARTICLE Stephanie Matheson
They come in many different shapes and sizes, and can vary greatly in cost depending on your house and the specifics of your renovation: same-level or lean-to extensions. The outcome of even the smallest of extensions can be dramatic with valuable added living space gained, plus improvements to the layout of the ground floor and extra natural daylight. Last but not least, this type of addition is a lot more affordable than a loft or basement conversion.
Some of the most common alterations are the creation of an open-plan kitchen diner or one large living/dining/kitchen space. Opening up walls is usually a straightforward process, however, load-bearing walls may need to be strengthened which would incur additional costs. Moving electrical or plumbing points will also have an impact on the overall cost of your renovation.
Conservatories and lean-to extensions are hugely popular across the UK, and especially in London, too, where space is generally limited and the inner city boroughs are made up of narrow (and often dark) terraced houses. A glass-box style addition to your house could extend your kitchen space and let light flow into your house, or it could provide a separate extra room – your very own sunroom sanctuary to retreat to. It’s about adding more living space, adding more light and also adding value to your property.
Planning your extension project will take time and energy. The process involves researching home designs and building materials, as well as finding the right building providers. Spending extra time early on, in the planning stage, is well worth the effort, as it means that you can choose materials and fittings and agree on a design early on to avoid costly changes further down the track. Early renovation estimates from your chosen building provider are usually a guideline based on a series of assumptions. Even when you get the actual quote, plan in a contingency budget of at least 15 to 20 per cent for unforeseen problems and extras.
A Refresh Renovations consultant will look after all the planning for you. For more info see also top tips to choosing a renovation builder.
Once your consultant has drawn up the plans, your builders will be able to use these for a more detailed quote. 3D renders of a renovation concept can be very useful. They show you exactly what your finished renovation will look like. While they may be a little more expensive than line drawings, they help save money in the long run as the likelihood of having to alter your plans further down the track is reduced. Major building work typically requires building consent from your local council. Other types of consent may also be required. A Refresh renovations consultant can let you know exactly what you need.
When you decide on the layout of your extension and the new floor plan of your ground floor, think about how the rooms flow into each other and how the flow works from the indoors to the outdoors. Having large windows and French doors or sliding doors will make the space feel larger and lighter and allow for that easy indoor-outdoor flow. Other practical considerations include insulation and heating, as well as power outlets, light sources and any multi-media outlets or home automation devices you may want to install.
Getting the interior design finishes sorted will add the final touches to your new space. Continuing the same style throughout your whole house will create a harmonious flow throughout, while setting your new space off with a different colour scheme or accessories could make an interesting statement. You will have flooring materials, wall colours, textiles and upholstery, and many other features to work with.
See also our Living Room Style & Accessories Guide.
In terms of the exterior of your home, typically you will be able to keep all or most of the original cladding on your house when you are extending your home, and simply add the same style of cladding to your addition so it blends in perfectly. This is usually the most straightforward and cost-effective option. Alternatively, you can opt for your extension to stand out from the rest of your home by using different cladding materials and colours. If you are adding a conservatory or lean-to to your house, the look is somewhat predetermined and usually involves framed glass walls and ceilings and joinery in a colour of your choice.
If the cladding of your current house is damaged or simply doesn’t look good anymore, this is a great time to assess the different cladding materials that are available on the market today. Cladding can change the look and feel of your house significantly and if your current cladding is looking tired and aged, new cladding will radically increase its street appeal and its (resale) value. Brick and timber have long been the cladding of choice in the UK, but man-made weatherboards or a coat of rendering can be suitable and budget-friendly alternatives.
You might be interested in reading about our top four kitchen styles to choose from.
If you would like to discuss home renovation options for your next renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your project. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.