How to plan a kitchen extension



Are you thinking about how to plan a kitchen extension? You’re certainly not alone. Study after study have  shown that we are actually thinking more about home improvements now than we ever were before lockdown. There are various reasons for this, of course. Firstly, there was much discussion on social media about people almost being shamed into home improvement action through embarrassment on Zoom calls; the background of the Zoom call exposing the state of their home. This may have been a factor for some people. However, more likely is the fact that with so much time on our hands – and so much time now being spent at home – our thoughts naturally turned to improving our homes. Add to this, the fact that many households – conversely – found themselves with extra disposable income as family holidays were impossible last year. It meant that the home improvement sector remained buoyant throughout the pandemic.

So, you may have realised that your kitchen is too small for your needs. Or you may simply just feel like a change. The question of how to plan a kitchen extension might spring to mind for several reasons. A kitchen extension could be the solution for maximising the space you have. Plus, it’s an opportunity to rework the interior layout of your home too.

Plan a kitchen extension – Create a wishlist

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As with anything to do with home improvement, the devil is in the detail.The secret to success of any project lies in the planning. As one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, famously said, ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail.’

The first thing you need to do to plan a kitchen extension is to think carefully how you intend to spend your time in it. Think also about what the possibilities are for the space. Consider how to make best use of the space and how to use it most efficiently. Don’t just get caught up with how it is going to look. Of course, this is important. But any kitchen space is lived in ultimately, not just looked at.

Look at your existing kitchen space. Note down any elements you would like to keep as well as the things that get on your nerves. Then start producing a wishlist. This could include anything from an island to more countertop space to a better link to the garden. Consider the style of the interior too. Is it going to be a streamlined, ultra-modern and contemporary look? Or, are you looking to create a more traditional vibe?

Your red lines – the absolute essentials – that you simply can’t do without need to be nailed down. These are the things that you are not prepared to compromise on. It’s a good idea to prioritise these and list them in order of preference.

Of course, you should be realistic and practical too. Try to avoid any features or gadgets that you’ll probably never use. If you want your kitchen extension to be a truly efficient space, you need to consider every aspect and every angle carefully.

Set your budget

Obviously, setting your budget is very important. More important, however, is sticking to your budget once you have set it. As a rule of thumb, a single-storey extension will typically cost between £1200 to £3000 per sq. metre – depending on the finish. If you want to plan a kitchen extension, you should always set aside around 10% of your total budget as contingency.

However, even when you set a budget carefully, it’s remarkably easy to go over budget. This is why you need to consider elements such as addition roof lights, changing the entrances or additional work – such as rewiring – that is needed very cautiously. This is the type of work that seriously adds to the budget. If you need to relocate the kitchen and plumbing, the cost will rose substantially. Therefore, think about whether you can work with the existing layout you have.

Do you need planning permission?

Better to be safe than sorry. When you plan a kitchen extension, you should always check whether you need planning permission. If the project impacts on your home’s outside space, you require planning permission. This depends on how far you are extending out from the original walls of the property.

A good barometer as to whether you are likely to succeed in obtaining planning permission from the local council is to look at what work has been done in your street. However, even if there are kitchen extensions all around, it is still sensible to check with your local council. Planning permission rules are complicated. They can depend on a property’s type, location and distance from other properties.

Fortunately, many kitchen extensions fall within what is known as ‘permitted development’. This means that there is no need to gain formal planning permission. Check out all the guidelines at

Choose the type of kitchen extension you want

The type of extension you choose is dictated to a large extent by the amount of space you have available outside, its shape, and the rules laid out by your local council. A single-storey extension is the most popular. Side-return extensions – popular for Victorian terraced houses – use the narrow space projecting from the back of a property. A wrap-around extension essentially combines the two and forms an L-shape.

All, obviously, create more space for your home. It’s all about matching the type of kitchen extension to the priorities on your wishlist.

Plan the kitchen layout

When you plan a kitchen extension, you need to consider how much space you need to set aside for the actual kitchen itself. A key consideration has to be your storage needs. You will need to think about what type of units would work best, as well as size and shape.

It’s also important to consider the flow of the layout. For a decent and comfortable flow, you should leave around 1 metre to 1.2 metres of clearance between units.

And don’t forget one of the key principles of kitchen design – the working triangle. In a nutshell, this means the path between the sink, fridge and cooker needs to be clear. These are the key working points of the kitchen.

One of the biggest mistakes of kitchen design planning is to try and squeeze more units or countertop space into a design where the space isn’t really there. This will only make the space look cramped and smaller than it really is.

Blend the old with the new

Flow of people around a kitchen extension is important, but flow is also important from a design point of view too.

A kitchen extension needs to flow with the rest of the house. To integrate the new space, it is usually advisable to keep structural details – such as the floor and ceiling height –  the same. It’s also advisable that the likes of window frames and skirting boards are the same too. This enhances the flow and keeps a sense of continuity.

For more advice about how to plan a kitchen extension, get in touch with the. Kitchen Warehouse team.


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