Kitchen Extension Ideas: 21 Inspiring Designs

Kitchen extensions can turn a small, cramped cooking zone into a bright, open-plan and multi-functional space to be enjoyed by family and friends. Take a look at our collection of exciting kitchen extension ideas that maximise this practical area
by Sander Tel
22nd June 2023

Are you looking for kitchen extension ideas? A kitchen extension is the sought-after home addition for those wanting a social, light-filled and open cooking-entertaining hub. This space is quite often the heart of the home, and especially for those with small kitchens, extending may be the best route to tapping into the potential this zone has to offer.

But where should you begin with gathering your kitchen extension ideas or planning your brand-new addition? Firstly, it’s important to be in the know with planning permission and your local area’s restrictions on development. For the most part, kitchen extensions – that are single-storey and at the rear of a property – will fall under permitted development. Before collating your kitchen extension ideas, though, use our guide to extending a home under permitted development to see what you can likely achieve with your space and budget.

It’ll also be crucial to identify how exactly you’ll want to use the new zone – note why you want the extra space and what for, then you can begin to curate a list of features that are essential. Perhaps a stand-out kitchen island, sliding or bifold glazed doors, or maybe a cosy snug zone?

The most popular form of kitchen extension is the side return addition, which involves building into the often-unused side and rear area of a property (these are commonly found in terraced homes). This comes with a generous opportunity for features such as lean-to glazed roofs which will help contribute to the bright and airy feeling most are after.

Though, your options are fairly open when it comes to developing successful kitchen extension. To help you see what potential is laying in store, we’ve gathered a collection of amazing kitchen extension ideas for you to use as a trusty design guide.

1. Contemporary Flat Roof Kitchen Extension

This kitchen extension by CDC Studio is a generously-sized flat roof addition that accommodates a new multi-functional family space. The architects worked to a brief that outlined the need for more space while still having functional zones that could be used however the family needed. The new addition, for example, can hold a 20-seater table for special occasions.

flat roof kitchen extension ideas

Photo: Richard Chivers

Complete with dramatic Douglas fir ceiling joists, a striking rooflight from Glazing Vision and sliding doors that provide unimpeded views to the garden, this contemporary kitchen extension elevates the Victorian home significantly. A Rockwool solution was used to insulate the Bauder single ply roof, too, which provides U-values of 0.15 W/m2K.

Read More: Flat Roof Extensions: Here’s What You Need to Know

2. Small Kitchen Extension in Urban Area

The owners of this Putney home replaced a tired lean-to conservatory with a single storey, flat roof extension that wraps around the side return.

The design brief called for as much natural light as possible all year round, so the couple specified IDSystems’ theEDGE2.0 sliding glazed doors. The system’s ultra-slim intermediate frames, which measure just 20mm wide, enable the glass panels to be as large as possible. This  provides the home with bountiful light and a seamless connection with the garden space.

small kitchen extension ideas

To enhance this, the doors were installed on an extended track to open into a pocket wall. This has helped to increase the amount of available floorspace for cabinets and the island unit. “Pocket sliding doors have become hugely popular because they overcome the only real drawback of these systems – namely the requirement to have a fixed frame for the panels to slide behind,” explains Edward Stobart, IDSystems’ sales manager.

3. Side Return Kitchen Extension

When drawing up your kitchen extension ideas, it’s important to make note of where you can maximise light. Architects Holland Green transformed this once-redundant side return into a luxurious kitchen space with an exciting glazed roof from IQ Glass.

glazed roof kitchen extension

Photo: Claire Williams

The glazed kitchen extension’s feature roof extends beyond 7m in length, allowing constant daylight to enter the space to create an open-feeling family zone that’s never dull or dark.

The project also makes use of three track glazed doors, also from IQ Glass, with slim sightlines of 21mm. These boast an unbroken threshold to create an awe-inspiring seamless transition between the house and garden.

More Inspiration: Side Return Extensions: Project Inspiration and Expert Advice

4. Wow-Factor Glazed Addition

This home has been upgraded with a structurally-impressive glazed kitchen extension, designed by Scenario Architecture. The addition replaces a once-tired conservatory and makes use of steel beams that span the width of the house in a unique alignment.

Each beam and column is finished with compact insulation to avoid thermal bridging whilst keeping a slender profile.

wow factor kitchen extension ideas

Photo: Matt Clayton

This rear extension has been meticulously designed to have a minimal impact on the original architectural character and appearance of the original property’s fabric, yet draws daylight right through the length of the ground floor.

5. Multi-Functional Family Addition

This large kitchen-dining-living extension by Plus Rooms combines elements of the existing structure with a staggered back wall to subtly distinguish different zones.

multi-functional kitchen extension ideas

A sleek sliding door, measuring 2.75m x 2.7m, and two folding doors at 4.6m x 2.7m and 2.1m x 2.7m (all in powder coated aluminium) were installed to provide multiple access points and capture the garden views. Frameless solar reflective skylights were installed in the flat roof structure.

Expert View: 5 Top Tips for Designing a Wow-Factor Kitchen Extension

James Bernard, Director of Plus Rooms, shares his top pieces of advice on how to create a show-stopping kitchen extension

  1. You cannot design your new kitchen extension in isolation. Think about your garden or outdoor space and how you want your kitchen to showcase the view. This is fundamental as it affects your decision on the layout, position of windows, the type of doors and the location of furniture. Using the same tiles inside the kitchen and outside on your patio is an excellent way to create a flush, seamless look.
  2. Consider the aspect of the sun and decide carefully how much light you’ll want in your kitchen. Modern glazing techniques will help keep rooms warm in winter and cool in summer, and you can even select a self-cleaning solution. So, if you would like to maximise daylight, think of the angles and where glazing will be best placed.
  3. Think carefully about the style. Sleek, minimalist and neutral-coloured kitchens are still popular, but industrial and modern designs are growing in popularity. Copper fixtures and fittings, large sinks, bare light bulbs, chic wooden dining tables and contrasting painted cabinets give a very distinctive and characterful look.
  4. Combine your surface textures to add depth and interest to the room. An exposed brick wall offers a clever contrast and breaks up a smooth perfect finishing with the rough texturing. Surfaces need to be functional and non-staining, but mixing in some other materials can soften the overall look and help divide the room up into relaxation and cooking areas.
  5. Alternate the ceiling heights. To avoid an extension appearing like a rectangular box on the end of your home, think of using a variety of ceiling heights to create atmosphere within the space.

6. Glass Box Kitchen-Diner Extension

Looking for kitchen extension ideas for a traditional home? AR Design Studio created this ultra-modern glass rear extension, which delivers a bright new kitchen-dining-living hub to this period home. The contemporary zone opens up to the garden and sky through a collection of frameless glazed walls, doors and roofing.

The bright communal spaces of the kitchen extension contrast with the period home without disturbing its original character.

Looking for period home extension ideas? Take a look at these Period Home Extensions: Design Ideas for Combining Old and New

7. Sleek & Modern Kitchen Design

This dilapidated Victorian house has been welcomed into the twenty-first century with a new kitchen extension and complete home refurbishment, masterminded by Oliver Leech Architects.

The home, which acts as a city pad for the Gloucestershire-based family, features a brand-new light and airy extension that’s been built into the homes unused side return. This holds a window seat, contemporary kitchen setup and comfy snug zone.

A neutral scheme characterises the new kitchen extension. It features exposed Dougals fir timber fins that find their structural properties turned into a design feature, alongside plaster walls, brushed copper worktops and concrete flooring that harmonise perfectly.

8. Traditional Home Upgraded with Open-Plan Addition

Located in a conservation area near Peterborough, this home has been upgraded with an expansive yet sensitive addition. Studio McW was briefed to modernise the period dwelling through adding a multi-functional space that would allow the owners to enjoy all corners of the home’s plot.

Photo: Lorenzo Zandri

They drew on a kitchen extension idea that would feature an open-plan, L-shaped kitchen that doubles as a space for dining, living and socialising. A large concrete kitchen island takes centre stage, which is paired with sleek kitchen cabinets and an oak parquet flooring. Lofty vaulted ceilings comprised of painted exposed rafters lend the modern addition a barn-like charm, which helps the structure to blend nicely with the original build.

More Inspiration: Open Plan Living Ideas – Kitchen, Living & Dining Rooms

9. Light-Filled Kitchen Makeover

In this transformation of the rear of a Hertfordshire property by Atelier Architecture + Design, a new light and airy open-plan space has been created.

Open plan kitchen renovation

The single storey rear and side extension includes full length sliding glass doors, allowing there to be seamless connectivity with the outside and plenty of natural light to flood into the home. Modern fittings by Kitchen Matters and a neutral colour palette of warm greys and browns complete the scheme.

10. Kitchen Extension with an Industrial Edge

In this beautiful split level family home, the team at TAS Architects came up with a collection of kitchen extension ideas that would redefine the ground floor to create areas for relaxing, eating and entertaining, while retaining a feeling of unity. The project’s final design palette utilises varied textures. Steel frame doors join the inside and external zones.

Extension with glass walls

11. Listed Home with a Wow Factor New Addition

Think about how you’re going to add wow factor to your home when collating your kitchen extension ideas. This grade II listed property was formed of an amalgam of three parts constructed in different eras: the initial 15th century oak frame house, a Georgian facade and two Victorian wings to either side of the original structure. Ashton Porter Architects worked to complement this clear historical sequence with a fourth element that is unashamedly contemporary.

Extension with glazed wall

Slender steel framing, aluminium cladding, glazed white bricks and structural glass make up the addition, which is rotated away from the residence to frame the views into the valleys and Souths Downs. A floating aluminium and sedum roof finishes the scheme.

See More: 12 Characterful Listed Home Extensions

12. Multi-Storey Kitchen-Diner Development

This house had been extensively modified in the 1980s. Studio Octopi was brought on board to design an extension, while recapturing and preserving the original proportions of the Georgian terrace building.

Tall infill extension

A 10m high glass infill addition forms a double height living room at the lowest level and a master ensuite on the upper level. An open tread stair allows views out while moving between levels. The new sections were clad in bricks that match the existing ones, improving visual connectivity with the main property.

13. A Striking Statement

This newly-formed dining space has a modest footprint of 10m2, but combined with a loft extension above creates a distinctive look. Filled with innovative ideas from architects Alma-nac, it transforms the rest of the house, too, allowing for layouts to be reconfigured and encouraging an abundance of light to flood in.

Rear kitchen extension at dusk

A 3m high glazed pivot door, protruding up from the sloping roof, creates a theatrical link with the rear garden, adding a sense of grandeur to the small yet practical London abode.

14. Kitchen Extension with Expansive Glazing

The owners of this London home wanted to create a large open-plan culinary space that was more sociable and took better advantage of the west-facing sun. Whiteman Architects came up with this kitchen extension idea, bringing light and space to the home.

Extension with glazed roof

The ceiling was used as a way of zoning the new room – a small section of overhead vaulting along the length of the addition creates an area for a kitchen-diner, which then wraps round into a larger vaulted ceiling for the living room. A full-width roof window enhances the sense of height and space while retaining the identity of the existing period property.

Read More: Window Design: Choosing the Right Glazing for Your Project

15. Sleek & Elegant Overhaul

This grade II listed building, once plagued by heavy window frames, poor thermal performance, limited views and a leaking skylight, has been upgraded with an elegant, virtually-frameless glazed composition by Space Group Architects. The interior has been opened up to enable a better flow of light, function and circulation and new concrete finishes act as a surprisingly warm backdrop for the other materials within the scheme.

Elegant kitchen extension

Inside the kitchen extension, a large stainless steel storage wall enables light to bounce back into the space. On the opposite side, a backlit etched glass wall conceals a larder under the stairs. To finish the look, bespoke oak joinery has been carefully inserted and wrapped around the newly created zones, softening the new addition’s overall feel.

16. 1950s Home Remodelled & Extended

This late 1950s four bedroom semi has gained a large single storey full width rear kitchen extension along with a garage conversion. The contemporary style addition by Model Projects incorporates a new open-plan kitchen dining and family area leading out onto the rear terrace.

Rear kitchen extension

The addition features a flat roof with rooflights and full height glazing that maximises the views outside. A combination of grey brick and timber cladding externally breaks up the rear facade. The garage was replaced with a home gym, allowing for bike storage and a workout area.

17. Minimalist Kitchen Extension Design

Previously, the rear garden of this Victorian terraced house was only accessible through a small doorway off a utility room. IBLA Architects removed the rear walls, existing bedrooms and staircase and relocated the kitchen downstairs from the upper level, adding a new plywood kitchen island.

Kitchen extension

The glazed infill side extension brings light into the middle of the floor plan and a new stair hides ample storage in the form of pull-out larder units, leading up to a family bathroom in place of the old culinary space.

18. Seamless Rear Extension

Feneley Studio completed this extensive renovation to a five bedroom home – extending it both horizontally and vertically. The remodelled staircase area is flooded with light and leads onto new bedrooms housed within the roof extension.

Rear kitchen extension

On the ground floor, the rear kitchen extension idea was designed to provide the family with a large social, cooking and dining area, with utility spaces hidden to the side. A polished concrete floor ensures a good flow between the different zones, and bespoke rooflights capture the morning and evening sun.

19. SIPs Kitchen Extension

When Caroline and Gustavo Ordonez-Sanz bought this Victorian property, there was an existing two-storey extension to the rear but this required modernising. It featured an arched window opening, which proved to be important to the design of the overall property and was used to get light into the hallway.

The couple wanted to restore this original feature, so they planned to demolish the existing structure and build a new single-storey kitchen extension, incorporating their desired design features.

Structural Insulated Panel Extension interior

Photo: David Barbour

The single-storey extension has been constructed with structural insulated panels (SIPs), which ensures a speedy build and energy efficient space, and has been fit with complementing high performance windows and doors. The panels are also made in a factory and assembled on site, so the precise engineering helps to limit thermal bridging.

Amongst the statement roof glazing is a sedum roof, which has ecological benefits in terms of water attenuation and increased biodiversity.

20. Georgian Home Uplifted with Kitchen Extension

David Blaikie Architects was challenged to create a new cooking/eating area that formed a link between the basement storey and the small east facing garden of this traditional Georgian home.

Rear glazed extension

The team controlled the transition from historic building through to the outside space by retaining one of the original outhouses and creating a new addition, with a sequential internal arrangement so that the use of the building changes as you move through towards the garden.

21. Sympathetic Kitchen Extension with Wow-Factor Glazing

The Old Rectory used to be a nursing home in the 1980s but its structure dates back to the Victorian times. It was completely dilapidated and in desperate need of an overhaul until a family spotted the build’s potential.

Sympathetic House Extension with Wow-Factor Glazing

Photo: FRENCH + TYE

They commissioned Gruff Architects to transform the interior and demolish the rear addition, replacing it with a new, contemporary structure. The rear elevation holds a spacious kitchen-diner perfectly suited to modern family living, establishing a great connection between the home and garden.

Sympathetic House Extension with Wow-Factor Glazing

Photo: FRENCH + TYE

Light floods the extension through arched and pill-shaped glazing – by IQ Glass – which references the home’s period design details, such as the grand hallway arcs.

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