Planning A Kitchen Extension: Tips for Designing the Best Layout

As we often say, the kitchen is almost always everyone’s favorite room, the place where family members gather to share meals, conversations, laughter and details about how their day unfolded. A successfully designed kitchen – no matter its size– is one to which folks gravitate. The best kitchens are places of warmth, camaraderie, and joy, to say nothing of wonderful cooking aromas and delicious foods.

But they aren’t always big enough. As we all learned during lockdowns and stay at home orders during the pandemic, few rooms accommodate everyone’s needs, particularly when the whole family is home at the same time, for days on end. Adding an extension to the kitchen is a great way to make room for more activities, more meals, more downtime with family and, consequently, more joy.

But how to plan it? How to ensure you’re approaching this project wisely, and incorporating the best ideas for this new square footage? We’ve got some suggestions on that, and keeping these in mind will help this extension come to life in just the ways you’re imagining.

1) Consider hiring an architect to draw up plans. Depending on how complicated this job is going to be – a whole new room or perhaps a wall knocked down and expanded outward? — hiring an architect means having a firm plan to give to your builder. Architects do much more than draw; they can tell you whether that wall you want removed is a load bearing one that has to stay put, for example. They can tell you how many permits you need from the city. And they can often recommend an experienced, trustworthy builder who is knowledgeable about kitchen extensions. You don’t have to keep them on board for the whole project, but at least get drawings and specs, and you’re starting off on the right foot.

2) Do you want to build onto the back and extend the patio? Whether you can build out, or on the side of the house to add the extension depends, in part, on the size of your property and zoning bylaws. This is why the right builder-renovator is so crucial. It’s not enough to have a vision; you must have someone working on the extension who can tell you whether your dream can be realized in practical terms.

3) Think carefully about how you’ll use the extra space. Do you want to add a dining table to your kitchen, or an island where a wine rack and bar stools fit comfortably? Knowing what functions you want this space to perform is key, and your builder-designer can help. They will have lots of suggestions you may not have considered – a new back door into the garden, perhaps? — because they have been doing extensions for a long time.

4) Set a firm budget – then add 10 – 15 percent. However much you imagine the extension will cost, you can’t anticipate all the potential hurdles and hiccups in the supply chain, especially now, as the effects on shipping are still reverberating because of the pandemic. Allowing for up to 15 percent for additional, unexpected costs means you won’t be caught short when the bill goes up.

5) Set a realistic timetable. Kitchen extensions can take anywhere from 12 weeks to six months, depending on everything from the weather to tradespeople availability to delays in product shipments. Don’t schedule work to begin when the kids are starting a new school term, for example, or when your spouse has just started a new job. Of course, life can’t be put on hold completely, but a building project like this is stressful enough; try to avoid making it worse by letting work get underway when the family is super busy to begin with.

These are some of the key factors you should have in mind when you begin planning a kitchen extension. How the space is going to be used, how it will be designed and the products and materials it will showcase are all vital aspects of this undertaking. Your first phone call should be to a trusted architect or professional builder, who will be more than happy to begin working to realize your vision. And while a project like this can be noisy and chaotic, it will result in you having the kitchen of your dreams. Doesn’t that make living with a little disruption seem more than worth it? We think so, too.