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How to plan a kitchen extension

If you have made the decision to extend your kitchen, you may already have a good idea of what you want from your new space. Gone are the days of when a kitchen was simply a place to prepare and cook food. Now it can be truly multifunctional, accommodating areas for informal and formal dining, entertaining, family time, and work. It is, therefore, no surprise that with such a great demand on functionality, there also comes a need for more space. A well-designed kitchen extension will not only improve the aesthetic appeal of your property, but it will also improve the way that you live in it too.

This guide has been designed to help you navigate the practicalities you should consider before beginning the kitchen design stage, from planning permission to the flow of your floorplan. 

Determine what of type kitchen extension is best for you 

Working out the space and layout of your build is your first task, and your architect or builder will guide you on this. Can you extend to the side of your property, or is a rear extension your only option? Could an extension compromise your garden? 

Careful consideration should be taken when extending into your outdoor space, and retaining as much of it as possible whilst getting the most from your extension is key. Your architect will be able to advise you and credible builders should be happy to show you past examples of their work. Save images of properties with kitchen extensions that appeal to you and try and visit real homes if you can. This will help you get a real feel of what you can expect from your own project. 

Does your kitchen extension need planning permission?

Once you know what type of extension you want for your kitchen, a good source of information regarding planning permission is on your local council’s website. Not all builds require planning permission and they might be covered under what’s known as ‘permitted development rights’. 

There are additional restrictions on homes in conservation areas, national parks, and world heritage sites, so it is crucial to do your homework and seek guidance from an expert and your local planning authority before any work begins. It is also worth thinking about site access to enable deliveries and parking for the various tradespeople that will be coming through your door. Can your current electrics, heating, and plumbing cope with the new additional space, or do you need to consider alternatives such as underfloor heating, for example? 

Hire the right people

Choosing the best experts available is vital to the success of your build. Especially as it can take 10-12 weeks, on average, to complete a kitchen extension. It is always best to get recommendations from trusted family and friends who are local to where you will be carrying out the work. 

To avoid costly mistakes, if you are planning on using a kitchen design company, appoint them as soon as your first set of plans are available. A kitchen designer worth their salt will be able to spot any obvious issues such as poorly placed windows that could compromise your new kitchen layout. 

Design your kitchen extension to suit your needs

How you are planning to live in your new extension will almost certainly influence its layout. Will you need space for a formal dining table and a sofa, for example? Do you dream of bi-folding doors opening out onto the garden? Is a separate utility room needed, or could floor-to-ceiling cabinetry hide bigger appliances effectively enough? 

While open-plan designs vary from project to project, splitting your space into zones is often a good place to start. It is considered best to position a kitchen closest to the original part of the house, so dining and living areas can afford views of the garden through sliding or bi-folding doors. Also take into account other factors such as how will you access the garden from the kitchen and vice versa. Have you factored in a separate entrance that would accommodate muddy boots and recycling? 

It is crucial that in a large room, functionality is not lost. Imagine how you want to use the space and zone it so that each part has a clear function, such as distinct cooking, dining, and entertaining areas. How they’re arranged is down to personal preference, but there should be a natural flow between the zones. 

Many people experience a level of stress during an extension build but with the correct planning, it is entirely possible for the process to be an enjoyable one. We understand that choosing cupboard doors, handles and worktops is by far the more exciting but the overall result will be more successful if as much thought is put into the space itself too. 

Looking for more advice on planning your kitchen extension? Take a look at our top tips for designing a bespoke kitchen, and for current kitchen inspiration, check out our stunning kitchen trends for 2020.

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