When you’re thinking about a home extension, it is very easy to think you should add as much space as you possibly can. But this is very often not the case.
In our experience it is better to reconfigure your existing space to make it as well-designed and integrated as possible before adding any new space than to simply add a large extension that may result in a labyrinthine experience that creates more problems than it solves.
Our home extension designs seek to make your existing space work as hard as it possibly can before we look to add any new space.
By doing this we provide the space you need as simply and cost-effectively as possible.
From there, we consider a number of design ideas that make the whole feel more coherent and spacious.
1. Reconfigure your existing space first
If you want a big kitchen diner and have a separate kitchen and dining room, think about removing the wall that divides them before adding any new space. This will create a much bigger space that immediately gives you at least some of the feel you want. If you then add an extension that is the same size as your kitchen and dining room combined, the end result will be that you have created a space that is four times the size of your original kitchen, but you will have only added twice the amount of space.
2. Have open ceilings
Think about having open ceilings because this will give an incredible feeling of space and airiness. One example of this strategy in action is in this Herefordshire home extension.
This is a particularly good strategy to use in tight hallways. When we re-imagined this Cotswold cottage, we left the hallway open all the way to the loft. This means instead of having a hallway that is 8m3 we created a hallway that is 24m3!
3. Create spaces that look out onto open spaces
Wherever possible, think about flow points not end points and create spaces that look out onto the outdoors. By doing this, your eye travels to the horizon rather than to a wall. Your experience of that space will be a lot bigger.
Here’s a recent home extension project we completed that used this idea.
4. Keep flooring the same
By using the same flooring throughout a space, your eye line is free to travel in every direction without being interrupted by a change in floor style. Sometime we talk about floor finishes being poured into spaces and then flowing through spaces. This idea can be used to help think about how floor finishes can be used to connect spaces.
See how this works in this extension to a Georgian house.
5. Use floor to ceiling glass
When you add new external walls, consider using floor to ceiling glass rather than brick work. Doing this means your spaces will feel bigger because they are visually connected to the outside. You can build on the idea by flowing the same flooring material inside as outside.
Here’s a home extension to a timber framed house that used the idea of floor to ceiling glass.
When you use this strategy, you should also think about the visual impact of your outside space. Your eye will be drawn to the horizon and any views (this project in the Malvern Hills is a perfect example) but also think about visual cues nearer your home. A beautiful tree in the foreground, for example, will help focus the eye more effectively.
6. Have doors opening onto the outside
While windows give a wonderful visual connection with the outside, you can take the idea one stage further and have glass doors that give a physical connection.
If you can, include glass doors in any floor to ceiling glass walls you create. When they’re open, your indoors and outdoors will be as one – and your home will feel much more spacious.
Here’s a Herefordshire home reconfiguration that used this idea.
7. Recess beams in new openings
Using the same flooring throughout a space means your eye won’t be disturbed when it travels through a space. It is a good idea to try to do the same thing when you’re thinking about the ceilings. When you’re creating new openings, recess the beams into the ceilings and don’t use doors. This will help the spaces flow into each other much more effectively and create more space.
We used this principle when we re-imagined this Cotswolds cottage.
These design ideas will help you create a more coherent home extension that feels bigger and more spacious than it really is.
It is worth bearing in mind that there is a direct correlation between the amount of space you add and the amount it costs. So by employing these design ideas, not only will you be creating a more coherent home extension that feels bigger and more spacious, but you’ll also be saving money. You’ll also be using less space in your garden, giving you more outdoor space to enjoy too.