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Side Extension Ideas for Homes of All Sizes

When a potential customer approaches our construction company in Norfolk hoping to build an extension for their home, our first question is “What type of extension?”. Many types of extensions can be built onto a property. In today’s blogs, however, we’re solely going to be discussing side extension ideas.

A home side extension is an ideal solution for properties that need a little extra space. But with so many ways a side extension can be utilised, it can be tricky to understand what a side extension can and cannot achieve. 

Keep reading to find out more about side extensions – what they are exactly; how does planning permission for side extensions work; and, of course, a few side extension ideas we think you’ll love. 


What is a Side Extension?

Adding a side extension is a popular way for homeowners of detached and semi-detached homes to extend their property. 

This is achieved by building an extension structure onto the side of the property. The only difference a house side extension has from a rear or front extension is its position at the side of a dwelling. 

Depending on the size of a side extension, one can be used to add more rooms to a household or extend existing rooms, such as the kitchen. 

As a side extension is built onto the side of a home, you will need a decent amount of available space at the side of your property. This means that terrace houses are not able to benefit from a side extension. 


Side Extension Ideas

This collection of side extension ideas will give you the inspiration needed to start thinking about your own side extension project. 


1. Timber Frame Side Extension  

Timber frame extensions continue to rise in popularity, but why? Well, first of all, building with timber is a sustainable building method. This means if being eco-friendly is important to you, a timber frame extension is the way to go. 

Also, they look incredible and just as good as extensions built with brick-and-mortar. Not only do timber frame extensions hold up against traditional extensions, but they are usually assembled quickly and they can be more affordable. 

Many love timber frame extensions for the countering effect of wood against brick. And if you have the space around the side of your home, choosing to build sustainably could give you the extra space you’re after in an eco-friendly way. 

For more information on timber frame extensions, read our quick and easy guide


2. Two-Storey Side Extension

If you’re thinking there isn’t much space by the side of your home to extend outwards very far, then you could extend upwards also.

Yes, you can build a two-storey side extension onto your home. This idea is great if you want enough extra space for your home to include a new bathroom, a bedroom, or both.

With this side extension idea, different architectural styles can be used to create an incredible addition to your home. You can opt to have your double-storey side extension stand out with a conflicting design to the original home. Or you can blend extension and house together seamlessly. 

If creating extra space for your property is of the utmost importance, this side extension idea is the go-to choice. 


3. Side Extension to Bungalow 

Those who live in bungalows are often searching for new ways to introduce some space into their home. With only one floor to work with, we can see why. Besides converting the loft, there are few alternative solutions. 

Considering that many people move into bungalows for the convenience of having no stairs and one floor to maintain, adding an extra floor to create a chalet bungalow doesn’t make much sense. 

But with a house side extension, you can keep your bungalow one storey and benefit from more space. You almost lose the image of a cramped bungalow and gain the impressive look of a stretched single-storey house. 


4. Create a Kitchen Diner with a Side Extension

Earlier in this blog, we mentioned how a side extension can be used to enlarge the rooms already in a home. If you’re content with the number of rooms you have in your home and don’t want to add any more, you could use this side extension idea to improve the rooms you have. 

One room that often benefits from a side extension is the kitchen. Our local construction experts in Kings Lynn have helped countless people create incredible kitchen diners in their homes. 

And this is usually achieved with a side extension. Oftentimes, homes with a small kitchen just need a little added space to turn their compact cooking and eating areas into grand and wide kitchen diners. 

This side extension idea is also a great way to promote a more open-plan house layout.  


5. Add a Sympathetic Side Extension to an Older Property 

Restoring an old property and turning it into something new is a passion project that many people take on every year.

As Norfolk renovation specialists, we have helped to remodel period properties. One thing we always enjoy doing is renovating with sympathy. This means restoring and renovating an old property with carefulness to retain its historical character and charm. 

When would you need a sympathetic side extension? Someone may have renovated an old property and realised the space is not substantial enough. Or they may have their eye on a period home they wish to restore but don’t think it will be big enough to live in or sell. 

This side extension idea is perfect for such situations. If you’re restoring an old home with sympathy, you don’t want to tarnish this with an oddball extension. Instead, you can build a side extension that matches the original home with incredible accuracy. This way, you’ve successfully achieved more space and kept that character alive and thriving. 


6. Introduce Light Into Your Home with a Side Extension

Many homes of all shapes and sizes face this common concern. And that is not enough natural light is reaching their inside space. 

Whether it’s the farthest point in your kitchen or a corner of the living room that often appears dim and dull, adding a side extension close by could help. In particular, a side extension featuring clever glazing. 

With a side extension that is mostly made up of glass windows or doors – like bi-fold doors – the chance of more light flooding into your home turns from an impossibility to a guarantee. 

This side extension idea isn’t just ideal for aesthetic reasons, but also our health. Natural light is a great thing for us humans to get used to receiving more of. 


Can I Build a Side Extension Without Planning Permission?

No, you do not always need planning permission to build a side extension onto your property. This is made possible by permitted development rights

Permitted development rights are a scheme created by the government. This allows homeowners to make improvements to their properties without the need for planning permission. 

So, no you don’t need planning permission to build a side extension, though you may want to go down the route of planning permission when you hear the rules and guidelines that come with permitted development rights. 

You can build a single-storey side extension onto your property with PDR if: 

  • You use similar materials to the existing dwelling 
  • Your extension takes up less than 50% of the land around the existing dwelling 
  • The extension is less than 4m in height 
  • Its eaves and ridges are not taller than the existing dwelling
  • Side extensions must take up less than 50% of the width of the existing dwelling 

You can build a two-storey side extension onto your property with PDR if: 

  • You use similar materials to the existing dwelling 
  • Your extension takes up less than 50% of the land around the existing dwelling 
  • Your extension must take up less than 50% of the width of the existing dwelling 
  • Its eaves and ridges are not taller than the existing dwelling
  • The existing dwelling is not a single-storey home 
  • Terraces must be no more than 3.5m higher than the next tallest terrace

These guidelines also apply to timber frame extensions, but remember, materials must be similar to the existing dwelling. 

Keep in mind, it’s best to speak to a professional contractor before attempting to build a side extension under permitted development rights. There may be important considerations to take into account for your individual project. 


Side Extension or Loft Conversion?

Deciding whether to build a house side extension or loft conversion can be difficult. What it really comes down to is thinking about what you want to achieve with home improvement. 

Such things to consider are: 

  • How important is extra space to you
  • Which will add the most value 
  • What will your type of property allow you to build
  • Will you be going down the planning permission route or permitted development rights 
  • The disruption to your home life during the building 
  • What’s your budget 

Speaking to a local construction company may be the best approach. With Bespoke Norfolk Group, for example, you could consider both options and ask a professional for their expert opinion, taking everything about your goals and challenges into account. 


Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you can take some inspiration from these side extension ideas for your own project. Bespoke Norfolk Group in Kings Lynn have been fortunate enough to complete multiple side extension projects. With this experience under our belt, we can safely say that a side extension could be the missing piece to turn your house into a home. 

We’ve seen how our past side extension projects have improved the lives of our clients, and perhaps a project like this could do the same for you. 

If you’re based in Norfolk or close by and you’re interested in building a side extension, you can reach out to our team and tell us all about it.