Extending your house can considerably increase your property’s value. Not just in terms of financial value, but also as a meaningful living space for you and your family.

When you’re working with a small space it’s important to consider what need you want it to fulfil. Clearly defining this will be the starting point of your design process.

A limited space should be interrogated from a practical and emotional perspective to clearly define what role the room could play in your living environment.

Being absolutely clear about these needs, with the draughtsman working on your project, is key. The draughtsman or designer needs to be able to translate your vision into actual, realistic building plans, no matter how small the space you’re working with is.

Will you need to submit these building plans for approval, even when it’s a small home extension?

Yes.

A home extension for added space remains a more cost-effective alternative than buying or moving to a bigger house - especially when you love the home you’re living in.

Here are five things to consider when planning an extension project in a limited space.

Work with What’s Already There

Reconfiguring your existing structure can dramatically change your house’s layout. Adding internal walls for more privacy, or removing existing walls to create a bigger, open plan living area are both feasible and practical extension options.

However, keep access and the relation to your home’s central rooms in mind when you’re considering this. The way these rooms merge will partially determine the design efficacy of your extension.

Efficient flow and practicality will determine whether you’ll be able to move comfortably from room to room.

When you have a small room with supporting walls you can’t knock down, removing doors and finishing off the door frames can make your space seem bigger because of the flow it allows from one room to the next.

Go up

Building an additional level is another option for extending a limited space. If you have a backyard garden that you want to keep intact, building a second storey won’t infringe on that area.

Because your property’s existing roof would need to be removed and reconfigured into a new floor structure to support the upper extension, this could turn out to be a costly construction project.

Looking into the estimated building costs from the beginning will assist you in determining whether building up will be a viable extension option.

Capitalise on Natural Light

If you want to make a small living area seem more spacious, consider the sunlight it could let in. This should be your starting point for the extension’s design. Taking advantage of the angles that would let in the most light will create the illusion of a bigger room.

However, it’s vital that you investigate how much sunlight filters into a room during different seasons. You don’t want to add a glazed extension on the side of your house that never gets any light. And although a room may afford you the warm, winter sun, it could also heat it up in summer.

Use your Ceiling Space

If you have a vaulted ceiling you can bring in a lot of natural light by installing glazing all the way to its tip. This will create the illusion that your space spills seamlessly into the outdoors.

This approach can work for older homes, as well as contemporary spaces.

When you’re concerned about privacy, or your view isn’t ideal, add frosted film to the glazing. This will allow the natural light to liven up the room while still ensuring your privacy.

Open up the ridge on a pitched roof with a flat ceiling void above it. This will make your space more impressive in terms of height. This feature is executed by fitting insulation in the pitched roof structure.

Think about Extending your Kitchen

Kitchens are often the heart of a home. Even if you have a small kitchen with a lot of cabinetry, you could consider removing some of it to open it up.

You may ask, “But what about my kitchen storage then?”

It might be worth the effort to look at whether you can create a ceiling feature by hanging up your pans. This trick works very well when the kitchen is old and the design dated, giving it a contemporary look with a lot of clean lines.

Kitchens clutter easily. Free up more space in small rooms to make them more practical.

You could also connect a small kitchen and dining room by removing the walls that separate them. Not only will this make the room seem bigger, it will also make the kitchen more functional.

Check in with your Neighbours

Whether you’re adding glazing to the tip of your vaulted ceiling, to allow more light in, or building another storey - talk to your neighbours.

This added feature may affect their privacy and you don’t want a complaint to be made with your local authority half-way through your home extension.

Although you don’t always need neighbour consent with a home renovation, it’s worth letting them know when and what you’re building to avoid any unpleasantness.