The kitchen has become the hub of the 21st century home. Once contained in separate rooms, our cooking, dining and living areas have blurred together into bright, open-plan layouts.
A multifunctional kitchen zone, with a beautiful and efficient design, is now high on the modern family’s wish list. But realising such a scheme can often require creating additional space.
There are a number of ways that you can transform a cramped and dated interior into something with real wow factor. Consider combining rooms by removing adjacent walls, adding a side or rear extension to your home, converting a garage or even excavating a basement extension.
Whatever route you choose, a clever and stylish space that fits around your lifestyle will require careful planning. Here are the best design ideas to inspire your kitchen extension project.
Opt for a vibrant feature wall to elevate a neutral or minimalist kitchen scheme. Focus on one or two key hues and try to incorporate the same colour across different textures and accessories. A moss green wall makes this white extended island pop without compromising the light levels. Subtle emerald glassware and a selection of house plants tie the two colour palettes together.
Cupboard storage uses more material and is likely to be a more expensive option. You can save on kitchen costs by specifying on-trend open shelving. Make a design feature out of bright crockery or a selection of intricate wine glasses that were previously tucked away from view. Added bonus: it’ll make your kitchenware easier to locate.
Pay homage to a home’s historic character with contemporary interpretations of period finishes. In this Georgian-style kitchen, traditional recessed cupboards and brick-effect tiling enhance the authentic hearth. Playful pops of sapphire across the flooring and central island add a modern touch, while copper pendant light fittings reference heritage materials and add texture.
If sunlight is limited, or your extension faces out onto an unsightly landscape, consider creative ways of lifting your scheme. A bespoke lighting system can emphasise a room’s architecture, for an entertaining space with depth and ambience. Many companies out there offer automated illumination, so you can even synchronise your lighting with your day-to-day routine.
If you’re keen to embrace multi-functional living, then settle on a key colour or material. While zones vary in usage, they shouldn’t appear disparate or unconnected. An element of continuity can help open-plan spaces flow together, without looking contrived. In this scheme, the same vibrant pink hue follows through from the kitchen splashback and the breakfast island stools, to the soft furnishings in the lounge.
Follow the lines of an island when it comes to dividing open-plan space. One way of measuring where to place a free-standing worktop is to trace the old wall boundary. Here, the unit sits adjacent to the previous external divide. Don’t feel constricted by a typical rectangular design either. This bespoke L-shape scheme is multifunctional, incorporating a preparation space and a casual eating zone.
Kitchen drawers can all too quickly devolve into a muddled mess. Organise your storage in a way that’s easy to maintain. Special drawer dividers can provide a space for everything, from cutlery to tinned foods. With this design by Team 7, you can even specify the exact measurements of your kitchenware and regular buys. It’ll save you heaps of time and ensure you’re utilising every inch of space!
Expand and brighten a kitchen space by installing folding or sliding doors. Opening up a wall to an external patio can create an illusion of depth and airiness — preventing a small or light-deficient area from feeling cramped. If the view is restricted, consider the outdoor scheme carefully. Here, cream walls reflect light back into the kitchen, elongating the line of sight.
Experiment with a mixture of wood for an eclectic kitchen space with natural appeal. You can avoid a chaotic and confused scheme by choosing a style to unite your furnishings and fittings. Here, a retro design and leather handles create cohesion among these mismatched kitchen units. Assorted vintage chairs complete the look.
Carefully consider the way the sun falls across your kitchen. You’ll want to shape the layout of your scheme around its glazing to make the most of the available natural light. Place dining tables where the maximum amount of sunlight falls, and ideally, choose furniture that fits the space as closely as possible. This long but narrow dining set mirrors the dimensions of the rooflight above.
Plan your design with your storage needs in mind. For an ultra-efficient kitchen, make sure voids and inaccessible recesses are put to use with innovative cupboard organisers. This Magic Corner storage unit is a nifty solution for space-starved homes. Baskets at the front bring units at the back forward when the door is opened, allowing you to see everything at a glance.
Treat your indoor and outdoor spaces holistically for a multifunctional social space. Full-width retractable glazing can allow a kitchen extension to integrate seamlessly with an external dining or cooking area. Try featuring similar colour palettes and materials across both zones to blur the boundary. This type of design is perfect for the summer months when you may want to cook and host outside without restrictive access.
Designing a kitchen across multiple levels is a great way to section off space and add architectural drama to a scheme. Here, a sunken dining spot creates a sophisticated hosting area. While the raised position of the preparatory zone marks a shift in functionality, the flow of the white and warm wood theme ensures a smooth transition.
When space is a squeeze, every square metre counts. Innovative thinking when it comes to furnishings can go along way. Make a list of your must-have appliances and storage needs. It’ll help you identify which aspects could be combined into a multi-use unit. This sink island is working double-time with a curved bench fitted snugly into the reverse side.
Extending into a garden? Don’t waste a scenic outlook. Opt for bold fenestration to frame the surrounding landscape and incorporate it into your interior. Floor-to-ceiling glazing or a seamless corner like this can provide an ideal viewing point. For an atmospheric entertaining space, pair swathes of glass with a subtle outdoor lighting scheme to create added drama in the evening.
Experiment with elements of popular design trends. Merging traditional wood counters with industrial-style concrete or steel can create a unique and edgy space. In this scheme by Johnny Grey, the modern kitchen island has been reinterpreted in two quirky contrasting halves. A handy overhead lighting and storage rig reflects its convex form.