Extending a Small House

Make the most of smaller properties with clever extension ideas!

making the most of space in smaller homes

It’s almost always cheaper, easier and less stressful to extend a property than to move to a whole new home. However, those living in smaller houses don’t always consider an extension to be an option and so opt instead for relocation. Here at Refresh Renovations, our back catalogue of extensions on properties includes a surprisingly large amount of homes that aren’t considered large – so we know a thing or two about creative renovation and expansion.
No matter the size of your home, a clever or smart conversion or extension can often be enacted to improve or extend living space. Read on for our favourite space-saving additions!

Extending the floorplan of an awkwardly shaped Period Property

Whilst older and period properties can make for beautiful homes, their layouts were not designed with contemporary modern living in mind and so often homeowners find they need to extend a floorplan despite a somewhat awkward layout. What is fortunate is that often older houses aren’t necessarily as small as they feel – it’s the compact design that makes them feel that way, and so clever extension can really help expand the scope of the structure. For downstairs ground-floor extensions many homeowners find it easiest to extend into outside unused space such as courtyards, garden paths and onto patios. Even the smallest of physical extension can feel vast when combined with the creation of a more open-plan layout downstairs and the removal of unnecessary corridors and dividing walls.

Extending out, Sideways

Indeed small side extensions can have a big impact on the likes of terraced and semi-detached homes. Extensions need only be a metre or so but the utilisation of other unused (or under-used) space can feel much bigger. To give the impression of further space even where it doesn’t exist, choose a steel-framed glass structure to flood through the interiors with natural light and to look out over the garden or yard, if there is one.

Elongate the Kitchen

The Victorian and Georgian terraces that line many a city street in the UK have a propensity toward long, narrow kitchens – which are fine for a solo chef but feel very crowded when more than person needs to be present (particularly when there’s a WC or bathroom situated at the end of it!). The elongation of a galley kitchen can be achieved either through the removal of an additional room at the end or through the removal of some of the unused countertops at the end. This area can then have doors fitted (preferably glass, to reinforce a feeling of space and provide light) out to the outdoor space and be left as floorspace with stools or seats; giving a space for those who do wish to sit, chat and socialise in the room without over-crowding it. If the kitchen backs onto a side return, use it and extend outwards to properly use this floorspace. Side return extensions can sometimes be completed under standard homeowner Permitted Development Rights, so check with your Refresh Renovations Project Manager to understand if formal planning permission will need to be applied for or not.

Lighten a Space that can’t be Extended

Sometimes there really is no way to extend a home, and that’s OK – there’s still a trick that can be used! One of the keys to a room looking large is its colour scheme; dark shades tend to contract and light hues expand. Keeping décor light and zoning a room through interior design and colour schemes can make it feel a lot bigger than it actually is. To really implement illumination, consider adding larger windows, floor-to-ceiling glass doors or even skylights with complementary lighting fixtures added in. The more natural light a room can benefit from, the better. The installation of skylights is also considerably cheaper than investing in a whole extension so even if budgetary constraints are only temporary, it makes for a great ‘quick fix’ until you’ve saved up enough to begin your dream renovation.

Extend Up!

Where an outwards extension isn’t appropriate or achievable, extending a home upwards and adding another floor, mezzanine or balcony space may be an option. While certainly more unusual than a standard ‘out-the-back-into-the-garden’ home extension, additional floors being added in to a property are by no means unheard of and Refresh has completed many of them. There may be additional planning permission requirements for upwards extensions but such admin will all be managed by the Renovation Project Manager; and can be advised upon well ahead of time.

Convert Under-used Rooms

If space is at a premium, homeowners can often find additional capacity in their existing rooms – particularly those that are under-used. Both garage and loft conversions are gaining vast popularity amongst homeowners who find that they tend not to use these spaces to their full potential. Transforming these spaces into home offices, additional bedrooms, cinema rooms, home gyms or even self-contained apartments gives the opportunity for better and more frequent usage and even perhaps for a further income generated by sub-letting. The possibilities are essentially endless for such room conversions and rarely require any formal permission to be granted from local authorities, unless they are set to change the overall usage of the property. Conversions are also often quicker and more cost-effective than full extensions, and can add hefty value to the market price of a home.
We know that not every home is a palace with large sprawling gardens to extend out and into… but we don’t believe this needs limit your renovation potential. Refresh Renovations relish the challenge of transforming living spaces of all shapes, sizes and types – so invite our experts round for a visit and let us loose on giving you more workable space in your home. We promise, you won’t regret it!

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For help and advise on your extending a smaller property, get in touch today for a free no obligation talk with the team!

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